Lester McKee's picture

Lester McKee, PhD

Senior Environmental Scientist
Clean Water Program
415-847-5095

Dr. McKee graduated with a BSc. in Geology from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand in 1993. He conducted his Ph.D. research at Southern Cross University, northern New South Wales, Australia, in the fields of hydrology and nutrient biogeochemistry. In 1997, Dr. McKee began work as a consultant in the Center for Coastal Management in Australia where he carried out management related field, laboratory, and desktop research for clients including local councils, Environment Protection Authority, Department of Land and Water Conservation, and the Brisbane River Management Group. In 2000, he joined the staff of SFEI as Director of the Watershed Program. In that role he manages a diverse group of highly motivated staff that conduct applied science projects and develop scientific information relevant to policy development and environmental management of the Bay and its local watersheds. Topics of study include hydrology, water quality, geomorphic processes, the distribution and quality of endangered species habitat, macroinvertebrate studies, resource mapping using geographic information systems (GIS), and historic stream, floodplain, and landscape form and function and change through time. Although Dr. McKee and his team get to look at watershed processes through a variety of scientific methodologies, he himself specializes in the design and implementation of scientific studies on the sources, transport, transformation, and loadings of sediments, nutrients and trace contaminants in Bay Area watersheds. For further information, interested parties should view Dr. McKee’s C.V. available on SFEI’s Web site or contact him directly for discussion.

Related Projects, News, and Events

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.

Green Infill - Clean Stormwater (Project)

SFEI collaborated with the San Francisco Estuary Partnership and San Mateo Countywide Water Pollution Prevention Program to monitor the effectiveness of Low Impact Design elements constructed at the Gellert Park/Serramonte Main Branch Library in Daly City.

GreenPlan-IT (Project)

Green infrastructure (GI), such as permeable pavement, rain gardens, tree-well planters, or bioswales, can be used as cost-effective, resilient approaches to managing stormwater at its source while delivering environmental, social, and economic benefits for your community. GreenPlan-IT is a versatile open-source toolset that helps aid municipalities with their efforts to plan and evaluate the placement of green infrastructure in the landscape and track the effectiveness of these installations in reducing stormwater run-off, PCB, and mercury in receiving waters.

GreenPlan-IT Toolbox evolving quickly to meet increased demand (News)

With the conclusion of the first round of funding for the Green Plan Bay Area project http://www.sfestuary.org/our-projects/water-quality-improvement/greenplanning/, SFEI produced GreenPlan-IT in collaboration with SFEP, a technical advisory committee, pilot partners, and BASMAA. GreenPlan-IT is an innovative planning tool to help municipalities evaluate multiple management alternatives for green infrastructure in the urban landscape.

GreenPlan-IT featured in the newsletter of the National Water Quality Monitoring Council (News)

GreenPlan-IT, a toolset created in a collaboration with SFEP, US EPA, and local partners, has been featured in the newsletter of the National Water Quality Monitoring Council, which has in turn been distributed broadly to subscribers throughout the nation and beyond.

Hacienda Avenue Bio-Infiltration Basins (Project)

The Hacienda Avenue Green Street Project in Campbell, California, reconstructed 1.4 km of public right of way along W. Hacienda Avenue from Winchester Boulevard to Burrows Road. In collaboration with the City of Campbell and the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, scientists from SFEI installed monitoring equipment in two adjacent basins to measure how the basins infiltrated water over the course of a rainy season. This award-winning project infiltrated 100% of the stormwater flowing into it during the rainy season of 2015-2016.

GreenPlan-IT Site Locator Tool v2.1 Update (News)

SFEI’s GreenPlan-IT is a planning level toolkit which help municipalities with green infrastructure planning, assessment and reporting. Green infrastructure is a multi benefit tool that helps to restore the natural water cycle of infiltration and filtration (most notably of mercury and PCBs) within the urban environment.

GreenPlan-IT Phase II nears completion (News)

SFEI has completed development of Phase II of our GreenPlan-IT application -- a toolset to empower municipalities to plan, assess, track, and report their green infrastructure investments. This helps restore the water cycle and improve filtration of water quality contaminants. In the latest round of implementation work, we collaborated with the cities of Richmond, Oakland, Sunnyvale, and the county of Contra Costa to meet their green infrastructure planning and reporting needs, while also providing needed enhancements to the toolset in response to user feedback.

SFEI's journal article on Green Stormwater Infrastructure featured as the Editor's Choice (News)

A team led by Dr. Jing Wu penned a paper in January on using Green Stormwater Infrastructure to protect the Bay from PCBs and other contaminants. "Optimal Selection and Placement of Green Infrastructure in Urban Watersheds for PCB Control" is now featured in the Editor’s Choice section of the Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment for the American Society of Civil Engineers. 

Russian River Watershed Projects at the San Francisco Estuary Institute (Project)

Our projects in the Russian River Watershed help us to understand our past, understand our present, and envision our future. Learn more about what SFEI is doing in partnership with others to advance our scientific understanding of this valuable landscape.

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.

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.

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.

“Towards a Coarse Sediment Strategy for the Bay Area” completed! (News)

The release of “Towards a Coarse Sediment Strategy for the Bay Area” represents a step forward towards beneficially reusing coarse flood control channel sediment by outlining reuse challenges, and identifying incentives for participation and potential solutions.

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.

Alameda Creek Watershed Sediment Forum (Project)

Alameda Creek is the largest watershed in the Bay area draining approximately 650 square miles of the East Bay interior hills and valleys, including the Livermore-Amador and Sunol valleys. The creek then cuts through the East Bay Hills via Niles Canyon before flowing across its large alluvial fan and floodplain complex, ultimately discharging into the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay. Average annual rainfall in the watershed varies from 24 inches on Mt Hamilton at an elevation of 4,400 ft above sea level to 15 inches near the Bay margin in Fremont.

Small Tributaries Loading Strategy (Project)

The Small Tributaries Loading Strategy (STLS) is overseen by the Sources, Pathways, and Loadings Workgroup. It focuses on loadings from small tributaries (the rivers, creeks, and storm drains that enter the Bay downstream of Chipps Island), in coordination with the Municipal Regional Permit for Stormwater (MRP).

Load Monitoring in Representative Watersheds (Project)

Overview

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.

Investigating the future of sediment in the San Francisco Bay (News)

SFEI scientists are currently working with regional partners and science advisors to assess the future sediment supply to the Bay and how that compares to the sediment needed for baylands to survive sea-level rise. Currently, baylands (tidal marshes and mudflats) are receiving enough sediment to keep pace with sea-level rise. However, sea-level rise is expected to accelerate in the coming decades, which could cause baylands to drown unless they get more sediment.

Coyote Creek Watershed Historical Ecology Study (Project)

This report synthesizes historical evidence into a picture of how Coyote Creek looked and functioned before intensive modification. Prepared for the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the report helps explain contemporary landscape conditions and identify options for watershed restoration, natural flood protection, and integrated water management.