Pete Kauhanen's picture

Pete Kauhanen

GIS Manager
Environmental Informatics Program
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

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.

Santa Clara Valley Water District Priority D5 Project's Watershed Condition Assessments (2010 to 2018) (Project)

SFEI and the Santa Clara Valley Water District's (Valley Water) Priority D-5 Project have been conducting baseline ecological condition assessments in Santa Clara County, CA to characterize the distribution and abundance of stream and wetlands in five major watersheds, and assess the overall ecological condition of streams in the watersheds based on the California Rapic Assessment Method for streams (CRAM).  The surveys employ the state's recommended Wetland and Riparian Area Monitoring Plan's aproach that includes the use of GIS-base maps of aquatice resources (BAARI), and spatially-balanced ambient stream surveys using CRAM.

New Interactive Map Helps Delta Governments and Communities Plan for Adaptation by Understanding Flood Risks from Rising Sea Level and Storms (News)

The Adapting to Rising Tides program of the SF Bay Conservation & Development Commission (ART BCDC), Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) and the San Francisco Estuary Institute / Aquatic Science Center (SFEI) are unveiling the East Contra Costa Shoreline Flood Explorer. SFEI developed the new explorer as a complementary tool to the Bay Shoreline Flood Explorer to allow government organizations and communities in East Contra Costa County to access interactive online maps of local flood risks due to rising sea levels and storm events. These tools help to both highlight what our region could look like without intervention, and to encourage local and regional adaptive plans to minimize flood risks.

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.

Adapting to Rising Tides: Bay Shoreline Flood Explorer (Project)

SFEI’s Environmental Informatics team has designed and developed the Bay Area Flood Explorer for the Bay Conservation and Development Commission's (BCDC) Adapting to Rising Tides (ART) program. The project is designed to highlight threats posed by sea level rise. The map displays sea-level-rise data created by AECOM, which was developed with support from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Toll Authority, and the greenhouse gas reduction funds.

Adapting to Rising Tides: East Contra Costa Shoreline Flood Explorer (Project)

As a continuation of our collaboration with BCDC and the Adapting to Rising Tides (ART) team, the technical team at SFEI has developed a new version of the sea-level rise visualization tool which focuses on East Contra Costa and the Delta. The East Contra Costa Shoreline Flood Explorer incorporates regionally specific data that takes into account inundation and flooding information as a product of riverine flooding and sea-level rise.  The map visualizes these data in conjunction with storm events and makes it available to the public, businesses, and policymakers so that they can assess and prepare for potential impacts to communities.

 

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.

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.

EcoAtlas (Project)

California's EcoAtlas provides access to information for effective wetland management. EcoAtlas is a set of tools for generating, assembling, storing, visualizing, sharing, and reporting environmental data and information. The tools can be used individually or together, and they can be adjusted or tuned to meet the specific needs of environmental planners, regulators, managers, scientists, and educators. The maps and tools can be used to create a complete picture of aquatic resources in the landscape by integrating stream and wetland maps, restoration information, and monitoring results with land use, transportation, and other information important to the state’s wetlands.

Resilient Silicon Valley (Project)

Drawing on resilience science, regional data, and local expertise, we will develop the vision and tools that will allow stakeholders in the region ensure that local actions contribute toward the creation of a high-functioning and resilient Silicon Valley ecosystem.

Photo by Shira Bezalel

Featured in Forbes: Drones And Artificial Intelligence Help Combat The San Francisco Bay’s Trash Problem (News)

In a partnership with Kinetica, a data analytics start-up, and Oracle, SFEI and SCCWRP leveraged public funding from the California Ocean Protection Council to advance automated trash detection capabilities. The team deployed servers in the @Oracle Cloud to increase performance dynamically. Learn more about this project...

Bay Area Aquatic Resource Inventory (BAARI) (Project)

The Bay Area Aquatic Resources Inventory (BAARI) is a GIS base map of the Bay Area's wetlands, open water, streams, ditches, tidal marshes and flats, and riparian areas. BAARI was developed using standardized mapping protocols to ensure that the level of detail and wetland classification system is standardized across the region. 

Images by Pete Kauhanen

SFEI Unoccupied Aerial Systems (Project)

SFEI has developed novel, cost-effective solutions to costly problems. In particular, our work with drones or Unoccupied Aerial Systems (UAS) has yielded very promising results. We have used UAS to address a number of scientific challenges and use cases. SFEI applications of UAS include, wetland monitoring, restoration monitoring, sediment volume estimations, and trash surveys leveraging machine learning algorithms. In the course of our use of UAS, we have derived some useful analyses on the technology that lend the resulting products credibility and reliability.

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.

logo created for the San Francisco Estuary Partnership by SFEI

SFEI Provides Science Leadership and Support for State of the Estuary Report and Conference (News)

The San Francisco Estuary Partnership (SFEP) brings together the estuarine community every two years at the State of the Estuary Conference and, periodically, SFEP also reports on the State of the Estuary, summarizing the latest scientific findings about ecosystem health. This State of the Estuary Report is the only place where a holistic view of ecosystem function is provided across both the Bay and the Delta. This year, SFEI provided scientific leadership and technical support for the report, which focuses on the ties between social and ecological resilience for our estuary.

Drone photo by Pete Kauhanen

SFEI GIS Internship Opportunity - Delta Aquatic Resource Inventory Mapping (News)

The San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) is one of California’s premier aquatic and ecosystem science institutes. Our mission: provide scientific support and tools for decision- making and communication through collaborative efforts. We provide independent science to assess and improve the health of the waters, wetlands, wildlife and landscapes of San Francisco Bay, the California Delta and beyond. 

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.

SFEI Developed the Bay Shoreline Flood Explorer for BCDC’s ART program, with More to Come (News)

Over the past year, SFEI has been working with the Bay Conservation and Development Commission's (BCDC) Adapting to Rising Tides (ART) program to develop their new Bay Shoreline Flood Explorer. SFEI’s Environmental Informatics team has designed and developed this public-facing and relevant web tool to highlight threats posed by sea level rise. The tool’s sea-level-rise data was created by AECOM, supported by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Toll Authority, and funded with support from greenhouse gas reduction funds.

Drones for the Environment (News)

The Institute has been making use of drones for a number of projects over the past few years. However, recently, within the Environmental Informatics program, SFEI has been using UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) in particularly innovative ways.

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.