Meg Sedlak's picture

Meg Sedlak

Senior Program Manager
Clean Water Program
Bay Regional Monitoring Program

Meg Sedlak received a B.A. degree in Geology from Carleton, College in Northfield, MN and a M.S. degree in Water Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her master’s thesis was a study of the dehalogenation of polychlorinated biphenyls in sediments. Prior to joining SFEI in 2004, Meg Sedlak worked for an engineering consulting firm providing assistance to industrial clients on regulatory compliance issues and fate and transport modeling. Ms. Sedlak also has held positions at: the Swiss Federal Institute of Environmental Science and Technology where she conducted laboratory research on the fate of tributyltins; Resources for the Future where she evaluated environmental policies on hazardous waste; and the US Forest Service where she served as a trail ranger in the Chugach National Forest (Alaska). At SFEI, Ms. Sedlak assists with the management of the Regional Monitoring Program.

Related Projects, News, and Events

These scientists want you to rethink how you use plastics: SFEI and 5 Gyres issue a new video (News)

The short (3-min) video summaries the goals of the SF Bay Microplastics Project, a regional program aimed to better understanding the distribution of microplastic in San Francisco Bay and adjacent National Marine Sanctuaries, the pathways by which these contaminants enter the Bay, and possible means of controlling their release. 5 Gyres and San Francisco Estuary Institute are collaboratively carrying out the project.

Image from KQED

Hunting for Plastic in California’s Protected Ocean Waters (News)

Rebecca Sutton, Meg Sedlak, and Diana Lin of SFEI, in partnership with Carolynn Box of 5 Gyres, conducted ocean water sampling associated with an ambitious project. The project is focused on determining the characteristics and fate of microplastics in the Bay and adjacent ocean waters. KQED reporter Lindsey Hoshaw published a story covering the team's activities along the California coast. After determinng that the Bay has greater than expected microplastic pollution, the science team, as reported by Hoshaw's story, is conducting further ground-breaking research.

Non-Sticks Stick Around: Estuary News highlights findings from new RMP study (News)

Estuary News writer Kristine Wong interviewed SFEI’s Meg Sedlak, lead scientist on the latest RMP study to be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, to learn more about the problems associated with a persistent class of fluorinated contaminants known as PFASs.

Monitoring San Francisco Bay for microplastics - photo by Plus M Productions

Microplastic Pollution in San Francisco Bay and Adjacent Marine Sanctuaries (Project)

Plastic pollution is gaining global recognition as a threat to the resilience and productivity of ocean ecosystems. However, we are only just beginning to understand the scope and impacts of microplastic particles (less than 5 mm) on coastal and ocean resources, and the San Francisco Bay Area is no exception. A preliminary study of nine water sites in San Francisco Bay, published in 2016, showed greater levels of microplastics than the Great Lakes or Chesapeake Bay.

RMP Completes Major Revision of its Strategy to Monitor Emerging Contaminants (News)

Global leaders in the study of emerging contaminants, the stakeholders that make up the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) believe that preventing a pollution problem is safer and more cost-effective than cleaning one up. For this reason, the RMP focuses on monitoring contaminants of emerging concern, or CECs.

Contaminants of Emerging Concern Strategy (Project)

More than 100,000 chemicals have been registered or approved for commercial use in the US. For many of these chemicals, major information gaps limit evaluations of their potential risks, and environmental monitoring of these chemicals has not been required by regulatory agencies. Nevertheless, researchers and government agencies have begun to collect occurrence, fate, and toxicity data for a number of these chemicals.

SFEI scientists process microplastic samples collected from San Francisco Bay.

Local News: Scientists launch major study of microplastics pollution in San Francisco Bay (News)

SFEI and The 5 Gyres Institute have launched an ambitious two-year research project to monitor San Francisco Bay for pollution in the form of tiny particles of plastic pollution, reports ABC7 News. These microplastic particles are eaten by local fish, according to previous studies, which can expose them to harmful contaminants. 

New Microplastic Pollution Study to Launch in San Francisco Bay and Adjacent Ocean Waters (News)

A two-year investigation on microplastic and nanoplastic pollution in San Francisco Bay and the surrounding ocean will launch this month, led by two research centers, the San Francisco Estuary Institute and the 5 Gyres Institute.

RMP Keys to Success Highlighted in Two Manuscripts (News)

RMP Keys to Success Highlighted in Two Manuscripts

Microplastic Pollution (Project)

The RMP has conducted initial studies of microplastic pollution in San Francisco Bay. Findings from a screening-level RMP study of microplastic pollution in our Bay show widespread contamination at levels greater than other U.S. water bodies with high levels of urban development, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay. Wildlife consume microplastic particles; ingestion can lead to physical harm, and can expose aquatic organisms to pollutants like PCBs that the plastics have absorbed from the surrounding environment.

Guest Speaker: Dr. Sarah Diringer on mercury contamination in rainforests of Peru (Event)

A recent report from The Guardian suggests a "chronic mercury epidemic" in Peru. Dr. Sarah Diringer visits SFEI to share her new findings on the impacts of gold mining and deforestation on mercury mobilization in the Peruvian rainforest. Join us!

Title: Artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) exacerbates soil and heavy metal mobilization in Peru

RMP Update (Project)

The Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay is an innovative collaboration of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, the regulated discharger community, and the San Francisco Estuary Institute. It provides water quality regulators with information they need to manage the Bay effectively. The Program issues a report each year, the Pulse of the Bay in odd years and the RMP Update in even years.

PBDEs in San Francisco Bay: A Summary Report (Project)

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are a group of flame retardant additives used in thermoplastics, polyurethane foam, and textiles. These diphenyl ethers possess one to ten bromine atoms; although 209 congeners are possible, only some of these are manufactured or result as degradation products. The three commercial mixtures of PBDEs, each named for the bromination level of its dominant components, are "PentaBDE," "OctaBDE," and "DecaBDE."

Harbor Seals Contaminated by Banned Scotchgard Chemical (News)

The San Francisco Chronicle published an article featuring research conducted by Meg Sedlak and other RMP scientists, which has found elevated concentrations of PFOS, a persistent fluorine-containing chemical, in San Francisco Bay apex predators. Once the prime ingredient in Scotchgard, PFOS has remained elevated in harbor seals even though it has declined in sea birds that share their fish diet.

RMP eUpdate Newsletter (Project)

Sign up for the RMP eUpdate Newsletter and keep up to date on the latest from the San Francisco Bay Regional Monitoring Program (RMP) for Water Quality.