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

Baylands Change Basemap (Project)

The Baylands Change Basemap will update the existing map of tidal marsh, tidal flats and diked baylands to incorporate the many changes in baylands distribution and abundance that have occurred over the last two decades. It will also include new information about land use and infrastructure that affects baylands restoration and management constraints and opportunities. To ensure the map is as up-to-date as possible, the project will develop procedures for ongoing local updates and change detection to cost-effectively maintain the basemap’s high value. 

New Delta Habitat Map! (News)

The Delta Aquatic Resource Inventory (DARI) is a map of surface waters, wetlands and other aquatic resources in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. A similar mapping approach used to create the Bay Area Aquatic Resource Inventory (BAARI) was applied to complete a consistent map across the larger San Francisco Estuary. Both DARI and BAARI are integrated into the California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI), which serves as the basemap in EcoAtlas.

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.

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.

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 surfa

Trees, Hydrology, Urban-Greening, and Nature-Based Solutions (News)

Two key reports support nature-based solutions. Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) and enhancements to the urban tree canopy offer benefits to stormwater management, urban ecological improvements, and complementary urban greening activities.

On KGO TV, these projects were featured on July 1, 2021.

Sonoma County Riparian Corridor Mapping Pilot Study Project (Project)

Through an EPA-funded Wetland Development Grant, Permit Sonoma, County of Sonoma (County), in coordination with the Sonoma Ecology Center (SEC), the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI), and a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), developed the Sonoma County Riparian Corridor Mapping Pilot Study (Pilot Study).  The Pilot Study is Permit Sonoma’s initial step in the development of an automated GIS method to update its riparian mapping database countywide using LiDAR derived stream data.

California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI) (Project)

The California Aquatic Resources Inventory (CARI) is a Geographic Information System (GIS) based map of wetlands, streams, and riparian areas within California that is hosted online through EcoAtlas.

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.

10-year Reassessment of Streams in the Coyote Creek Watershed (News)

SFEI and the Santa Clara Valley Water District just completed a report characterizing the amount, diversity, and distribution of aquatic resources in the Coyote Creek watershed, and the overall ecological conditions of streams in the watershed. The 2020 ambient stream condition reassessment survey used a watershed approach and the California Rapid Assessment Method (or CRAM) to compare the amount of stream miles in good, fair, and poor condition among the Hills and Valley regions as well as differences between a 2010 baseline survey and the 2020 reassessment.

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

https://www.valleywater.org/project-updates/2012-d5-ecological-data-collection-and-analysisSFEI 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 to assess the overall ecological conditions 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 watershed aproach that includes the use of GIS-base maps of aquatice resources (BAARI), and spatially-balanced ambient stream condition surveys using CRAM.

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.

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. 

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.

EcoAtlas (Project)

EcoAtlas is a set of tools for generating, assembling, storing, visualizing, sharing, and reporting environmental data and information.

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.