Maya Hayden

Coastal Adaptation Program Leader

As Coastal Adaptation Program Leader, I focus on Point Blue’s Protecting Our Shorelines initiative and ensuring that climate-smart conservation principles and nature-based solutions are considered in climate adaptation planning efforts along California’s coast. As with many folks here at Point Blue, I strive to be a bridge between science and decision-making. I work in partnership with coastal resource managers and decision-makers throughout the state and beyond to understand and address their science needs, to improve existing or develop new decision-support tools, and to build community awareness, access, and capacity to use the best available science to plan for and adapt to sea level rise and other climate change stressors along the coast. My expertise is in plant ecology. I have always been interested in the interactions between physical and biological processes, particularly in wetland and riparian systems. My goal is to apply our understanding of the impacts of water management, land use, and climate changes on physical-biological linkages to improve restoration and management outcomes.

The San Francisco Bay Area has been my home base for many years, though my work, research, and teaching has taken me throughout California and parts of Oregon. Most recently I was a California Sea Grant Extension Fellow working as the Coordinator for the San Francisco Bay and Outer Coast NOAA Sentinel Site Cooperative, where I focused on collaborative implemention of NOAA’s science-service-stewardship mission to improve resilience to sea level rise in the Bay Area. I received my Ph.D. in riparian plant ecology from UC Berkeley. I combined field data with mesocosm experiments to explore linkages between physical processes and cottonwood seedling establishment dynamics on the Sacramento River in California’s Central Valley. I obtained an M.S. in Biology from Stanford, where I examined effects of elevated greenhouse gases and nitrogen deposition on seed quality of California annual grassland plants. In between graduate degrees, I worked as a seasonal field biologist and environmental consultant primarily focused on riverine systems and addressing environmental impacts of land use changes and water management in California.

By far the strangest field conditions I have encountered were as a PRBO intern monitoring nesting seabirds on Alcatraz Island!

I work out of our Petaluma headquarters and in the East Bay.