Pete Kauhanen's picture

Pete Kauhanen

GIS Manager
Environmental Informatics Program
Geographic Information Systems
510-746-7370

Pete Kauhanen is an experienced environmental scientist, planner, UAS expert and GIS specialist with over 10 years' experience generating, obtaining, and analyzing GIS data for environmental projects.  He has a background in watershed ecology, green infrastructure planning, habitat mapping, fire management, utilizing indigenous knowledge to achieve conservation goals, as well as large and small scale mitigation and conservation projects and initiatives.  He earned both his MA and BA from Stanford University where his studies focused on ecology, behavioral ecology and using GIS to study environmental anthropology. For his Masters thesis he created a 10 year fire history for a section of the Western Desert of Australia to highlight the effects of the Australian Aboriginal Martu people on local ecology, habitat types, and predictive capabilities for biodiversity.  His findings resulted in changing the prescribed burn policy of Western Australia’s Department for Environmental Conservation and have broad implications for fire management and climate change adaptation. Most recently, Pete has been utilizing UAS (or drones) in order to map and model wetlands and other natural resources in order to address issues such as erosion, wetland health and trash quantification. Pete continues to bring his GIS experience to bear on projects where scientific research intersects policy and management decisions.

Related Projects, News, and Events

Sediment for Survival (Project)

The tidal marshes and tidal flats along the San Francisco Bay shoreline depend on sediment delivered by the tides. Healthy sediment supplies are essential for maintaining resilient marshes and tidal flats that can persist into the future and build up as sea level continues to rise. Currently, the sediment supply in the Bay is adequate to meet the sediment needed by tidal marshes and tidal flats. However, as sea level rise accelerates in the coming decades, the sediment needed for these habitats to survive will increase considerably.

Sediment for Survival report released (News)

SFEI worked with local, state, and federal science experts to develop the new Sediment for Survival report. The report provides a regional sediment strategy aimed at examining the future of sediment in the Bay and informing sediment management for the resilience of tidal marshes and tidal flats to climate change.

Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands (Project)

Through the EPA-funded Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands project, SFEI and sixteen partner organizations are developing multi-benefit tools to enhance climate change resilience in San Francisco Bay. Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands has two major components: Multi-benefit Urban Greening and Tidal Wetlands Restoration. Through both components, we have developed strategies that inform  policy, planning, and design of innovative implementation projects.

"Trees and Hydrology in Urban Landscapes" report completed (News)

The Trees and Hydrology in Urban Landscapes report has recently been released as part of the EPA-funded Healthy Watersheds, Resilient Baylands project. It supports building links between stormwater management and urban ecological improvements by evaluating how complementary urban greening activities, including green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) and urban tree canopy, can be integrated and improved to reduce runoff and contaminant loads in stormwater systems.

Trees and Hydrology in Urban Landscapes (Project)

Effective implementation of urban greening strategies is needed to address legacies of landscape change and environmental degradation, ongoing development pressures, and the urgency of the climate crisis. With limited space and resources, these challenges will not be met through single-issue or individual-sector management and planning. Increasingly, local governments, regulatory agencies, and other urban planning organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area are expanding upon the holistic, portfolio-based, and multi-benefit approaches.

Preparing for the Storm (Project)

Preparing for the Storm is an innovative public-private partnership funded by the US EPA to improve watershed health and resilience in the Alameda Creek watershed.

Coastal Wetlands, Beaches and Watersheds Inventory (Project)

The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and SFEI will develop an inventory of the wetlands and other surface waters of all California’s coastal HUC-8 watersheds,  including the inland Delta of the San Francisco Estuary, to help implement the OPC’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.  The inventory will include a dashboard and other online tools that enable the OPC and the public to track progress toward multiple OPC strategic targets, and to more generally summarize information about the current distribution, abundance, diversity, and condition of sur

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.

California Trash Monitoring Playbook now available (News)

With the Ocean Protection Council-funded trash monitoring project concluded, the project team is eager to deliver its results to you. The team has compiled its data, composed its reports, and is now ready to share with you two reports, intended for use by trash-monitoring practitioners and the diverse constellation of stakeholders who benefit from trash-monitoring efforts. Now available on trashmonitoring.org are:

California Trash Monitoring Methods Project (Project)

The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC), in close partnership with the State Water Board, has recognized the importance of standard methods for trash monitoring and has funded this project. The Southern California Coastal Water Research Project (SCCWRP) and San Francisco Bay Estuary Institute (SFEI) have partnered up to test multiple trash monitoring methods with a goal of developing a library of methods with known levels of precision, accuracy, and cross-comparability of results, and linking these methods to specific management questions.

Satellite Imaging to Detect Cyanobacterial Blooms (Project)

Satellite remote sensing will aid the State of California in assessing cyanobacterial bloom threats to animal and human health across the state’s numerous large lakes. 

Development of a Trash Monitoring Method for Tobacco Product Waste (Project)

Smoking has long been known to lead to tobacco-related diseases and harmful health outcomes, including heightened risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Not only is tobacco harmful to individual health outcomes, but it also harmful to the environment. Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter and an estimated 4.5 trillion butts are improperly discarded every year worldwide. Cigarette butts contain at least 4,000 chemicals, and about 50 of these are carcinogenic.

Coordinated Mapping: How various efforts can work together (News)

SFEI is coordinating the mapping for two inventories of surface waters, wetlands and other aquatic resources in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and along California’s coast. Both efforts will apply the California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI) standardized mapping methods and the final map will be integrated into EcoAtlas and made publicly available.

Delta Aquatic Resource Inventory (Project)

DARI is the Delta Aquatic Resources Inventory of surface waters, wetlands and other aquatic resources in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). The goal of the DARI project is to develop a geospatial inventory of aquatic resources that will be used as a common base map for the Delta. A similar mapping approach used to create the California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI) will be applied to provide a map of the aquatic resources and their associated attributes.

Coyote Creek Native Ecosystem Enhancement Tool (Project)

The Coyote Creek Native Ecosystem Enhancement Tool (CCNEET, neet. ecoatlas.org) is an online decision-support tool to identify opportunities to improve ecological conditions. CCNEET was inspired by the need for a watershed approach to environmental resource management. Available ecological and environmental information is synthesized by objectives, management questions, and enhancement actions to identify and justify potential habitat improvements along the creek corridor. The overarching goal of CCNEET is to help coordinate habitat conservation and enhancement along so that multiple projects and limited funding can result in meaningful ecological improvement.

Shallow Groundwater Response to Sea Level Rise (Project)

As sea levels rise and extreme storms become more frequent, communities are developing climate adaptation plans to protect housing, jobs, ecosystems, and infrastructure from flooding. However, these plans often neglect an important potential flood hazard – emergent groundwater. Shallow groundwater in coastal communities will rise as sea levels rise, increasing the risk of flooding communities from below. The threat of rising groundwater levels was identified by the Coastal Hazards Adaptation and Resiliency Group as a critical data gap in regional climate resilience planning.

Resilient Silicon Valley (Project)

Tools for the creation of a resilient Silicon Valley ecosystem.

RipZET: A GIS-based Tool for Estimating Riparian Zones (Project)

The Riparian Zone Estimator Tool (RipZET) is a decision support tool developed by the San Francisco Estuary Institute and Aquatic Science Center for the California Riparian Habitat Joint Venture and the California Water Resources Control Board to assist in the visualization and characterization of riparian areas in the watershed context.

South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project: GIS & Web Services (Project)

The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast. When complete, the project will restore 15,100 acres of industrial salt ponds to a rich mosaic of tidal wetlands and other habitats.

San Francisco Bay Shore Inventory (Project)

SFEI is developing an online interactive map to support regional planning and assessment given accelerated sea level rise around the Bay.