Photo: Jude Stalker


Ariel Rubissow Okamoto lives in San Francisco with her husband Paul Okamoto, a green architect, and her two daughters.  She has worked as a freelance editor since she graduated from Wesleyan University, Connecticut in 1981, where one of her teachers was Annie Dillard.

Noteworthy Projects

Natural History of San Francisco Bay, UCPress, 2011
The first definitive guide to the hydrology, ecology and restoration of the Bay (see "The Bay Book").

UC Research News & Profiles, 2011-2013
Writer of articles and interviews for new University of California web page. The page describes projects and findings of university researchers statewide, with a special emphasis on relevance to the real world.

Science Action Briefs 2001-2007
Writer and editor of seven 8-24-page publications designed to update decision-makers and stakeholders statewide concerning the latest results of the CALFED Bay-Delta program's scientific research.  Interviewed leading regional scientists and summarized their work.

ESTUARY Newsletter 1992-2001 & 2011-Present
Managing editor for a bimonthly, 12-page magazine on environmental issues related to California water.

State of the Estuary Reports 1996-2002
Researcher, writer and editor for three 65-page scientific reports on the status of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary (wetlands, wildlife, waters, ecosystem).

Bay Nature Magazine October-December 2004
Co-editor of 16-page supplement describing South Bay salt pond restoration process and challenges.

Guide to the Parks 1992 & 2004
Researched, wrote and selected photos for 140-page guidebook to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 

Oral History Project, 2008-2009
Interviewed nine watershed keepers in charge of maintaining San Francisco's water supply in the wildest lands remaining in the Bay Area. Recorded, transcribed and edited their histories and memories.

California Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan 2008
Edited and organized 203-page statewide plan including 163 actions to combat invasions, as well as a rapid response plan.

Newsletter Editor
Served as managing editor for several NGO newsletters including Ridgelines for the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council and The Urban Ecologist for Urban Ecology.


Client List
(past and present)

Public Agencies
CALFED Bay-Delta Program, Science Progam
Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
National Park Service
San Francisco Estuary Project, U.S. EPA
San Francisco Municipal Railway, MUNI
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Geological Survey
University of California, Office of the President
Water Resources Center Archives

American Farmland Trust
Bay Area Ridge Trail Council
Golden Gate Parks Conservancy
Greenbelt Alliance
Low Income Housing Fund
Mount Veeder Appellation Council
Oceanic Society
Sierra Club
Southwest Parks & Monuments Association
Trust for Public Land
Urban Ecology



Ariel is a reliable, talented and versatile writer who can delve into a science topic and construct a sharp story or keen analysis. For the University of California Research website, I’ve assigned to her several stories that require her own research and interviews with some of the top professors and scientists in their fields. She has a great knack for not only culling and writing relevant information for the lay reader, but also capturing the personalities of UC professors and the passion that they have for their work.

Andy Evangelista,
Research Coordinator, Strategic Communications
University of California, Office of the President

Ariel Rubissow-Okamoto was the lead technical writer for the CALFED Bay-Delta Authority for several years. She was in charge of the four "Science-in-Action" fact sheets that have been, in my view, spectacular successes. That success is largely due to her skill at taking a science story, and the scientists involved, and turning it into something living and exciting, while still holding on to the substance. I have known Ariel for years, and there is no one better.

Samuel N. Luoma
Senior Research Hydrologist
US Geological Survey, Menlo Park
W. J. Fulbright Distinguished Scholar

In my years of experience working on natural resource issues in the Central Valley and San Francisco Estuary, I have found Ariel to be the premier environmental science writer in the Bay Area, She has the unique ability to synthesize complex technical research surrounding specific policy issues, and then to present this information in a manner that is accessible to policymakers, scientists and the general public. In addition to her writing skills, Ariel's sense of humor, patience, and thoughtful approach to her writing only add to her value as a professional and as a person. I recommend her without hesitation.

Tim Ramirez
Former Assistant Secretary for Water Policy & Science
California Resources Agency currently with SFPUC

I like the way Ariel writes. She has great writing skills.

Mark Stephenson
Director Marine Pollution Studies, Calif. Dept. of Fish and Game
Moss Landing Marine Labs

Ariel's work is careful and thoughtful, informed by her extensive experience in the environmental arena and forth-right concern for the integrity of the larger product. Her participation in our publishing projects has been invaluable, and we've benefited from her attention to detail and willingness to extend herself on the projects' behalf.

Susan Tasaki
Publications Manager, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto worked with me as an editor and project coordinator for our special 16-page publication on the South Bay salt pond restoration project, which appeared in the October-December 2004 issue of Bay Nature. I found her very skilled and diplomatic as an editor; extremely knowledgeable about the Bay Area environment and the major players in the field; quite efficient as a manager; and a fine writer, with a great command of the facts and a distinctive, clear voice for getting them across to readers.

David Loeb
Publisher/Editor in Chief, Bay Nature Magazine

I have worked with Ariel, her writers, and her graphics team for over ten years. We have received great feedback from our partners on the quality of their work for us, including ease of reading, great graphics, and technical soundness.

Rebecca Fris
California Landscape Conservation Cooperative

Ariel's talent for distilling complicated technical issues into readable and engaging stories has added to our ability as regulators and engineers to make sound decisions about how to manage our Bay and watersheds. She has a knack for creating products that are easy to read and pleasing to review. I have had the pleasure of knowing her for more than a decade now, not only as a member of her editorial board but also through my work for the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board and on the California Water Resources Control Board.

Steven M. Moore
P.E., Civil Engineer

© Copyright 2015, Ariel Rubissow Okamoto, all rights reserved. Design: Darren Campeau



Ariel Rubissow Okamoto
San Francisco, CA
415 922-1130

Photo: Afsoon Razavi