An interdisciplinary scientist trained in marine ecology, with experience in policy, management, and public outreach, Foley assumed leadership late last year of the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP). Along with overseeing the RMP’s rigorous efforts to study and manage Bay pollutants, Foley who comes to the RMP from New Zealand’s Auckland Council, where she used long-term environmental monitoring data to inform both regional and national management and policy strategies, says she’ll draw on her social-science background to include the public in the program’s work. That means calling upon citizens for data collection and getting them involved in improving the health of the Bay, right where they live or work. “We try to develop integrated programs that are not just looking at the Bay, but looking upstream and into the watershed,” says Foley. “Citizen science can be really important as a way to link those efforts from the top of the mountains to the Bay.”As it closes out its third decade staring down climate change and increasingly complex pollutants, however, the program needs continued—and expanded—support, Foley says. “The cost of science to inform decisions continues to increase. Federal funding to support this work, however, is not keeping pace. We want to achieve cost-effective and multi-benefit solutions to water-quality issues.”

Pearls in the ocean of information that our reporters didn’t want you to miss
 

Melissa Foley's list of concerns as the new head of San Francisco Bay’s premier water-quality program is long: microplastics, pharmaceuticals, PFASs, and other chemicals and contaminants entering the Bay through runoff and treated sewage.

An interdisciplinary scientist trained in marine ecology, with experience in policy, management, and public outreach, Foley assumed leadership late last year of the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP). Along with overseeing the RMP’s rigorous efforts to study and manage Bay pollutants, Foley who comes to the RMP from New Zealand’s Auckland Council, where she used long-term environmental monitoring data to inform both regional and national management and policy strategies, says she’ll draw on her social-science background to include the public in the program’s work. That means calling upon citizens for data collection and getting them involved in improving the health of the Bay, right where they live or work. “We try to develop integrated programs that are not just looking at the Bay, but looking upstream and into the watershed,” says Foley. “Citizen science can be really important as a way to link those efforts from the top of the mountains to the Bay.”As it closes out its third decade staring down climate change and increasingly complex pollutants, however, the program needs continued—and expanded—support, Foley says. “The cost of science to inform decisions continues to increase. Federal funding to support this work, however, is not keeping pace. We want to achieve cost-effective and multi-benefit solutions to water-quality issues.”

About the author

Nate Seltenrich is a freelance science and environmental journalist who covers infrastructure, restoration, and related topics for Estuary. He also contributes to the San Francisco Chronicle, Sonoma and Marin magazines, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, and other local and national publications, on subjects ranging from public lands and renewable energy to the human health impacts of climate change. He lives in Petaluma with his wife, two boys, and four ducks. www.nate-reports.com

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