Katie McKnight's picture

Katie  McKnight

Senior Design Manager
Design and Communications
Resilient Landscapes Program
Shoreline Resilience
Watershed Science & Management
510-746-7390

Katie McKnight joined SFEI’s Resilient Landscapes team in 2016. Her work focuses on fluvial and tidal geomorphic processes in Bay Area rivers and wetlands, with particular focus on climate change adaptation and sediment management. Her work also examines how landscapes have changed over time and uses this information to guide landscape-scale restoration and adaptation strategies in watersheds and along shorelines. Her skill set includes fieldwork, synthesis of scientific literature, geospatial analysis, cartography, scientific illustrations, graphic design, oral presentations, and project management. Prior to joining SFEI, Katie earned her Master of Landscape Architecture in Environmental Planning from UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design.

Related Projects, News, and Events

Sediment Solutions (Project)

Sediment Solutions is a timely and innovative project that builds on SFEI’s past work, operationalizing cutting-edge science to inform management approaches that take advantage of natural processes to provide more creek sediment to baylands, increase climate resilience, and enhance creek health. With study areas in North Bay, East Bay, and South Bay, the project will provide new guidance for management strategies that support flood risk management and ecosystem health benefits throughout the region.

Where creeks meet baylands: opportunities to re-establish freshwater and sediment delivery to the baylands of San Francisco Bay (Project)

As baylands restoration and climate change alter the ecosystems of the Bay, novel restoration approaches are needed to meet growing challenges. Paramount among these challenges for the baylands is a projected lack of inorganic sediment to help wetland elevations keep pace with sea-level rise over the coming decades. One restoration approach that may address this challenge is to diversify the way that creeks are connected to baylands, returning those connections to the adaptive, resilient nodes of habitat complexity that they were historically.

Preparing for the Storm (Project)

Catalyzed by the extensive damages caused by the Winter 2016-2017 storms and the opportunity to align flood response with major habitat improvement, Preparing for the Storm is an innovative public-private partnership to improve watershed health and resilience in the Alameda Creek watershed.

Conceptual Understanding of Fine Sediment Transport in San Francisco Bay (Project)

Sediment is a lifeblood of San Francisco Bay. It serves three key functions: (1) create and maintain tidal marshes and mudflats, (2) transport nutrients and contaminants, and (3) reduce impacts from excessive human-derived nutrients in the Bay. Because of these important roles, we need a detailed understanding of sediment processes in the Bay.

Laguna de Santa Rosa Master Restoration Plan (Project)

The Laguna de Santa Rosa is an expansive freshwater wetland complex that hosts a rich diversity of plant and wildlife species, and is also home to a thriving agricultural community. Since the mid-19th century, modifications to the Laguna and its surrounding landscape have degraded habitat conditions for both wildlife and people.

Restoration Plan for the Laguna de Santa Rosa Completed! (News)

SFEI completed a Restoration Plan for the Laguna de Santa Rosa in the Russian River watershed. SFEI, Sonoma Water, and the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation worked with technical advisors, stakeholders, tribal representatives, and local landowners to develop the Restoration Plan that provides a restoration planning framework and conceptual designs for  multi-benefit habitat restoration projects that support people and wildlife.

Managing Open Space in Support of Net Zero (Project)

Protecting carbon stocks and increasing carbon sequestration can support climate change mitigation and maintain healthy, resilient ecosystems. To support SFPUC managers in making informed carbon management decisions, the Alameda Watershed Carbon Assessment offers scientific guidance on the watershed’s current and potential performance as a natural climate solution. This assessment was framed by two main objectives: to quantify current carbon stocks in the Alameda Watershed, and to evaluate opportunities to enhance carbon sequestration in its vegetation and soils.

Landscape Scenario Planning Tool (Project)

This project is a tool for planning scenarios of landscape-scale restoration. The tool is designed to inform ongoing and future restoration planning efforts. In particular, this tool will help inform implementation of restoration objectives as described in the Delta Plan, as well as the ongoing Ecosystem Amendment to Chapter 4.

Delta Wetlands and Resilience: Blue Carbon and Marsh Accretion (Project)

Restoring wetlands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) can mitigate subsidence, sequester carbon, reduce GHG emissions, and provide habitat for wetland dependent species. These benefits–their magnitude, scope, and resilience to future sea level rise–depend on the type and siting of new wetlands; rates of carbon accumulation, GHG emissions, and vertical accretion; and opportunities for wetlands to migrate upslope.

Introducing the Landscape Scenario Planning Tool Version 2.0 (News)

In partnership with the Delta Stewardship Council, the San Francisco Estuary Institute has developed version 2.0 of the Landscape Scenario Planning Tool, a GIS-based analysis toolkit to evaluate user-designed land use and restoration scenarios for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh. This free mapping toolbox brings together ten years of science-based research and peer-reviewed methods for California’s Delta-Suisun region. 

Making Nature’s City Toolkit (Project)

In partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Urban Alliance, the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) has developed the Making Nature’s City Toolkit

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.

Introducing the Making Nature's City Toolkit (News)

Making Nature’s City Toolkit (makingnaturescity.org) is an interactive, beautifully designed website that guides cities through an actionable, science-based approach to support biodiversity in cities. Based on SFEI’s 2019 report titled Making Nature’s City, the Toolkit is intended to make the report’s core urban biodiversity framework more accessible to actors and decision-makers in cities across the world. 

Flood Control Channel Classification Scheme for the San Francisco Bay Region (Project)

SFEI is working with the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board and a team of technical advisors on a pilot effort to develop a classification scheme for Bay Area creeks and rivers that are managed for flood conveyance (i.e., flood control channels). Focused primarily within Sonoma and Santa Clara Counties, this pilot effort investigates relationships between local stream health indicators and flood control channel composition and management activities.

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.

New Life for Eroding Shorelines (Project)

The New Life for Eroding Shorelines project explores living shoreline approaches for sea level rise adaptation that can reduce erosion at the marsh edge and improve habitat quality for marsh species. Solutions explored include reestablishing marsh-fringing barrier beaches to attenuate waves at the marsh edge and reintroducing California Sea Blite (Suaeda californica), a rare and endangered plant with the ability to climb driftwood and other shoreline features, providing much-needed high-tide refuge for marsh wildlife.

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.

Special Study on Bulk Density (Project)

Sediment bulk density is the total mass of mineral and organic sediment within a defined volume. It is a key variable in many research questions pertaining to Bay sediment studies but one that is often poorly quantified and can be misinterpreted. The motivation for this report comes from a recommendation by Schoellhamer et al. (2018) to compile more accurate estimates of bulk density of Bay sediments to convert between volume and mass with a higher level of certainty.

Resilience Atlas (News)

The Resilience Atlas is an interactive mapping platform that visualizes the past, present and future conditions of the Bay’s edge and surrounding watersheds by combining layers of information, such as shoreline infrastructure, shoreline change over time, and sea level rise. 

SFEI's and SPUR's Adaptation Atlas shared by multiple media outlets (News)

The newly released Adaptation Atlas (adaptationatlas.sfei.orghas been making waves on several significant media outlets, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, Politico, ABC 7 News, East Bay Times, and the Marin Independent Journal.

We welcome you to learn more about the adaptation strategies that might be best suited to your own "natural jurisdiction."