Donald Yee's picture

Donald Yee, PhD

Senior Environmental Scientist
Clean Water Program
Bay Regional Monitoring Program
Contaminants of Emerging Concern
Watershed Monitoring and Modeling

Dr. Yee received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering and his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from M.I.T. His dissertation research focused on competitive interactions of trace metals on phytoplankton. Prior to joining SFEI in 1999, he has had experience in post-doctoral research on geochemistry and consulting in the private sector on environmental regulatory policy. Since joining SFEI, Dr. Yee has worked on various projects for the Clean Water Program. Projects for the Regional Monitoring Program included studies of atmospheric deposition of trace metals and organic contaminants to the estuary, and a survey in SF Estuary waters of VOCs, dioxins, and other priority pollutants not regularly monitored by RMP, and cores in the Bay and adjoining wetlands to examine pollutant histories and processes. His other work for SFEI has included investigations of loads of PCBs from point source dischargers, monitoring in the Grasslands Bypass Project with the US Bureau of Reclamation, and the Aquatic Pesticide Monitoring Program. Dr. Yee is also currently the SFEI QA Officer.

Related Projects, News, and Events

Dredged Material Testing Thresholds for San Francisco Bay Area Sediments (Project)

This page presents sediment chemistry thresholds for seven different contaminant classes, used by the Dredged Material Management Office (DMMO) for determining when bioaccumulation testing will typically be required for dredged material proposed to be discharged at unconfined open water disposal sites in San Francisco Bay. These same thresholds are also used by DMMO to determine when additional analysis of the post-dredge sediment surface (“residual” or “z-layer” sediments) may be warranted.

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 the information they need to manage the Bay effectively. The RMP produces two types of summary reports: The Pulse of the Bay and the RMP Update. The Pulse focuses on Bay water quality and summarizes information from all sources.

Next Generation Urban Greening (Project)

SFEI is working with partners across the Bay Area to design tools to help cities achieve biodiversity, stormwater, and climate benefits through multifunctional green infrastructure.

Development of Lake County Water Quality Data Exchange Program (Phase 1) (Project)

SFEI will leverage its experience as a Regional Data Center for CEDEN to deliver a scientifically sound data management strategy and plan for the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake (HPUL) and the Lake County Watershed Protection District (District).

California Environmental Data Exchange Network (CEDEN) (Project)

The California Environmental Data Exchange Network (CEDEN) is a central location to find and share information about California’s surface waters, including streams, lakes, rivers, and the coastal ocean.

Regional Data Center (Project)

SFEI is one of the state's Regional Data Centers that exchanges water quality data to the California Environmental Data Exchange Network (CEDEN). SFEI provides data management and visualization services to the San Francisco Bay-Delta and northern montane regions.

Contaminant Data Download and Display (CD3) (Project)

Contaminant Data Display and Download Tool or CD3  is an innovative visualization tool for accessing water quality data for the San Francisco Bay-Delta and northern montane regions. It is the primary tool for accessing and downloading the San Francisco Bay Regional Monitoring Program’s (RMP) long-term dataset and other project data stored in SFEI's Regional Data Center (RDC).

Montezuma Technical Review Team (Project)

The Montezuma wetland restoration project is returning ~2,000 acres of diked baylands to tidal, seasonal, and managed wetlands in an eastern portion of Suisun Bay near the town of Collinsville, California in Solano County.

Load Monitoring in Representative Watersheds (Project)


There is an urgent need for estimates of stormwater loads by watershed and by region. The recently adopted Municipal Regional Permit (MRP) specifically requires generations of additional information on the loads of sediment and contaminants. In addition, the Mercury and PCB TMDLs require reductions in watershed loads by 50 and 90 percent, respectively. Understanding the loads from representative watersheds is critical for addressing these information needs and achieving these load reductions.

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.

RMP Annual Meeting 2016 (Event)

The RMP Annual Meeting is held every year in the early fall. The meeting is an opportunity for RMP stakeholders to discuss current RMP projects and highlight interesting new research. 

PFAS Stays in San Francisco Bay (News)

SFEI senior scientist, Dr. Rebecca Sutton, published a new study in the journal Chemosphere showing that it will take almost 50 years for PFOA concentrations in water to stabilize in San Francisco Bay. This pales in comparison to the trajectory of PFOS concentrations that will not stabilize in sediment and fish for 500 years. PFOS and PFOA are harmful to humans, causing liver damage, endocrine disruption, fertility decrease, and cancer.

DEDUCE: Delta Environmental Data for the Understanding of a California Estuary (Project)

The purpose of this project is to expand the existing San Francisco Bay Regional Data Center (RDC) to include the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh (Delta). The anticipated outcome of this project is an estuary-wide data repository where one currently does not exist. 

New Manuscript on Pollutants in the Guadalupe River Addresses Key Questions (News)

Guadalupe River is contaminated with mercury mining wastes from runoff associated with the historic New Almaden Mining District in the upper watershed that produced 40 million kilograms during its working life (1850-1975) and with PCB and other urban pollutants from a long history of urbanization and industrial land uses.

SFEI has been monitoring pollutant concentrations in the Guadalupe River during winter storms since October 2002. The result is one of the world’s most extensive data sets on mercury, PCBs, and other pollutant concentrations and loads in an urban river.  In a recent manuscript, SFEI staff used the dataset to answer three major questions.

Find more data in CD3! (News)

The Contaminant Data Display and Download Tool is a public tool for accessing and visualizing contaminant data. All data are comparable to CEDEN, the California Environmental Data Exchange Network.

We are happy to announce the release of some new enhancements to CD3 including:  

RMP Keys to Success Highlighted in Two Manuscripts (News)

RMP Keys to Success Highlighted in Two Manuscripts

Regional Stormwater Monitoring and Urban BMP Evaluation (Prop 13) (Project)

Nonpoint source pollution has been identified nationally, in the State of California, and in the Bay Area as the leading source of degradation of natural waters. The magnitude of nonpoint source pollution is accentuated in coastal areas where human population is high and where pressures from urban development, industrial and commercial activities, and recreational use are the greatest. San Francisco Bay is listed as an impaired water body for PCBs and mercury under Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act . The RWQCB has recently developed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) reports for the Bay for mercury and PCBs.

Clean Watersheds for a Clean Bay (Project)

The Clean Watersheds For A Clean Bay project is multi-year project focused on implementing the PCBs and mercury Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) water quality restoration programs, and is the next step in the effort to reduce loading of sediment-bound pollutants to the Bay. Funded by the USEPA, BASMAA, and 6 six of the Bay Area countywide stormwater management agencies, this project is evaluating control options to reduce mass loadings of PCBs, Hg and other pollutants from urban stormwater runoff to the San Francisco Bay. 

SFEI Collaboration with UMN Led Team Find Potential BDE By-Products Mostly Naturally Formed, but Higher in More Urbanized Areas of San Francisco Bay (News)

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), widely used as flame retardants, were previously poorly characterized, but significant information on their distributions and impacts have been collected in recent decades. However, the distributions and impacts of their degradation and by-products remain relatively poorly known.  A study led by researchers at the University of Minnesota, in collaboration with the San Francisco Estuary Institute, Science Museum of Minnesota’s St.

2014 RMP Sediment and Bivalve Data Now Available on CD3! (News)

In 2014, the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) collected sediment and bivalve samples from San Francisco Bay as part of its long-term monitoring program. Results from these samples are now available on SFEI's Contaminant Data Download and Display (CD3) Tool.