By

Sierra Garcia
About the author

Sierra Garcia is an interdisciplinary marine scientist and environmental writer with a focus on oceans, climate, and communities. She is Estuary's multiplatforms editor, and does outreach and planning as well as some reporting for the magazine. Her work has appeared in publications serving a wide range of audiences, including Grist, JSTOR Daily, and the Oxford Climate Review. She was proudly born and raised in Monterey County.

Articles by Sierra Garcia

Climate change is heating, salinizing, and expanding the San Francisco Estuary, a review of nearly 200 scientific studies concludes.

Sea level rise, changing snow and rainfall patterns, and warmer waters are some of the changes already observed in the Estuary and expected to continue through the rest of the century as greenhouse gas concentrations rise. Changes to water are at the heart of the documented and further expected impacts; there’s less of it entering the system overall, but more arriving in torrential bursts, and more saltwater creeping inland from the Bay. The scope of the research is expansive even...
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Cutting Green Tape

A novel exemption lawmakers passed to California’s landmark Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in late 2021 has helped fast-track at least four habitat restoration projects so far, with more to follow in the next couple years. The Statutory Exemption for Restoration Projects, or SERP, offers a rare reprieve from California’s stringent environmental review and permitting process — and a clear indication of the urgency the state’s leaders feel in advancing ecological restoration work. “When [SERP] passed, it was a little bit...
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Gone Fishing

As the weekend dawns and California slumbers, the sportfishers descend, like clockwork, on the banks and waves of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. They carry nets for herring or poles for sturgeon, heavy and light tackle, bloodworms or anchovy or any number of delectable morsels to attract the desired target. They tread industrialized East Bay shorelines and marshy Delta banks, hop aboard sporty six-pack boats for more ambitious trips or humbler craft for a leisurely solo excursion....
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A new partnership is pushing to tally the “blue carbon” in marine and coastal ecosystems.

Seagrass meadows, kelp forests, and even the seabed can all lock away carbon—but exactly how much is still up in the air for these and other ocean ecosystems. The Seascape Carbon Initiative, a partnership formed in late 2021 between four environmental problem-solving organizations and one independent carbon verifier, is pushing the science forward so protecting and restoring these valuable ecosystems can join mangrove forests and terrestrial forests as certifiable nature-based carbon capture projects.   “Conceptually, the science is pretty good,”...
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Can Birds and Solar Float on the Same Ponds?

In the late 2000s, small-aircraft pilots gliding above the Napa countryside began to notice an odd, glassy glint reflecting off a tennis-court-size patch of land between vineyards. Large solar arrays were less common back then, but the solar panels themselves likely weren’t the reason planes doubled back, flying low, for a closer look: it was their placement in the middle of a pond. Floating solar panels, like the ones Napa’s Far Niente winery finished installing in 2009, could be a...
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