Katie McKnight's picture

Katie  McKnight

Associate Environmental Scientist
Design and Communications
Resilient Landscapes Program
Shoreline Resilience
Watershed Science & Management
510-746-7390

Katie McKnight joined SFEI’s Resilient Landscapes Team as an Environmental Analyst in 2016. Her work focuses on applied science projects relating to ecosystem restoration, climate change adaptation and water and sediment management. Katie earned her Master of Landscape Architecture in Environmental Planning from UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, during which time she conducted diverse research studies in China, Portugal, Morocco, Boston and all over the Bay Area. Originally from North Carolina, Katie received her B.S. in Environmental Science and Agroecology from North Carolina State University. Prior to joining SFEI, Katie worked as a research assistant at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, conducting geospatial and hydrologic analyses on arctic ice core samples as part of the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment project.

Related Projects, News, and Events

Photo Credits: Micha Salomon (L), Dee Shea Himes (R)

Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands (Project)

Through the Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands project, SFEI and sixteen partner organizations is developing multi-benefit tools to enhance climate change resilience in San Francisco Bay. Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands has three major components: Making Nature’s City: a Science-based Framework for Building Urban Biodiversity, Tidal Wetlands Restoration and Implementation Projects.

Visualization of dry bulk density definition.

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. 

Photo by Jessica Christian / SF Chronicle

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."

Resilient By Design: Science Advisors (Project)

The challenges of accelerating sea level rise and aging shoreline infrastructure are creating a once-in-a-century opportunity to redesign the Bay shore. Originally constructed with little regard for the Bay, the future shoreline can more successfully integrate the natural and built environments to make a healthier shore for both the Bay and local communities. New shoreline design approaches must incorporate the complex ecological and physical processes of our urbanized estuary while anticipating the future challenges of climate change and extreme weather.

San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas: Working with Nature to Plan for Sea Level Rise (Project)

In partnership with SPUR, The Operational Landscape Units project, funded by the SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, will create a new way of looking at the Bay.

Resilience Atlas (Project)

The Resilience Atlas is a compilation of cutting-edge science, creative visions and relevant spatial data to support planners, designers, policy-makers, and residents in the creation of the healthy cities, shorelines and surrounding landscapes of the future. The main goal of the Resilience Atlas is to make the science of resilience more accessible to help communities successfully adapt and thrive in the face of climate change and other challenges.

Landscape Vision for Calabazas Creek, San Tomas Aquino Creek and Pond A8 (Project)

SFEI released a resilient landscape vision for the interface of Calabazas Creek, San Tomas Aquino Creek, and Pond A8 in South San Francisco Bay that benefits both flood management and  bayland habitat restoration. The vision, developed in coordination with a team of regional science experts, explores a reconfigured shoreline that could improve ecosystem health and resilience, reduce maintenance costs, and protect surrounding infrastructure.

Vision for Upper Penitencia Creek completed! (News)

SFEI recently completed a resilient landscape vision for Upper Penitencia Creek in San Jose that integrates flood management and ecosystem support. SFEI and the Santa Clara Valley Water District worked with technical advisors and local stakeholders to develop the vision, which identifies a range of multi-benefit management opportunities that increase flood storage in a manner that expands recreational amenities, supports water supply needs, and enhances habitat for a variety of native fish and wildlife species.

Science Support for Resilient By Design Competition (News)

The challenges of accelerating sea level rise and aging shoreline infrastructure are creating a once-in-a-century opportunity to redesign the Bay shore. Originally constructed with little regard for the Bay, the future shoreline can more successfully integrate the natural and built environments to make a healthier shore for both the Bay and local communities. New shoreline design approaches must incorporate the complex ecological and physical processes of our urbanized estuary while anticipating the future challenges of climate change and extreme weather.

Photo courtesy of Canopy.org

SFEI partner Canopy plants oaks in East Palo Alto (News)

On Martin Luther King day, 170 volunteers came out to help plant oaks and other native landscaping at the St. Francis Assisi church in East Palo Alto. With guidance from SFEI, and funded through the Healthy Watersheds, Resilient Baylands project, the planting highlights the partnership between SFEI and the non-profit urban forestry group Canopy, based in Palo Alto.

Urban Ecological Planning Guide for Santa Clara Valley published (News)

SFEI partnered with the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority to create a guide for how to support biodiversity across the urbanized landscape of Santa Clara Valley. Urban greening projects, such as street trees, green infrastructure, and backyard gardening, are already occurring piecemeal across urban areas. Harnessing this momentum can help these efforts build greater benefits for biodiversity.

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

SFEI completed a long-term Restoration Vision 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, and landowners to develop the Restoration Vision, which identifies opportunities for multi-benefit habitat restoration and land management that supports people and wildlife.

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.

Urban Ecological Planning Guide for Santa Clara Valley (Project)

SFEI partnered with Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority to create a guide on how to support biodiversity across the urbanized Santa Clara Valley. Urban greening projects (e.g., street trees, bioswales, gardens) are developing in piecemeal fashion. Designing and linking projects with ecology in mind can better support biodiversity, which in turn can help cultivate a sense of place and human health benefits.

Upper Penitencia Creek: Resilient Landscape Vision (Project)

The San Francisco Estuary Institute-Aquatic Science Center and the Santa Clara Valley Water District worked with technical advisors and a group of local stakeholders to explore a range of multi-benefit management opportunities along Upper Penitencia Creek, culminating in this Resilient Landscape Vision. The vision focuses on ways to expand flow conveyance and flood water storage from the Coyote Creek confluence upstream to the Dorel Drive bridge in a manner that works with the existing landscape features and supports habitats for native species.

New Life for Eroding Shorelines: Beach and Marsh Edge Change in the San Francisco Estuary (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.

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.

The Adapting to Rising Tides Bay Shoreline Flood Explorer, developed by SFEI

BCDC GIS, Graphics, and Technological Services (Project)

The San Francisco Estuary Institute is working to provide support for the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) though Geographical Information Systems (GIS), Graphics, and Technological Services.

Care in the Time of Corona (News)

We offer you a simple tool that we created for our 75-person “work community” to help each other that yours might also find helpful. This is a mapping tool, which we call Care in the Time of Corona. It helps us locate and efficiently provide the support that our SFEI staff might offer one another. Quite simply, it facilitates assistance within our organization so that people can help their colleagues deal with challenges of this unprecedented situation. The errands, food, medicine, or even compassionate discussion they need can be addressed through a convenient and filterable map. We hope this guidance and the spirit behind it will help support your community and sustain a sense of well-being as we meet this challenge head on together.