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

Statewide Wetland Tracking, Science, and Policy Development Support (Project)

SFEI’s Wetland Science Focus Area’s Director, Josh Collins, is a leader in the coordination of statewide science advisory teams and acquiring funding to develop monitoring and assessment tools that support the State’s Wetland and Riparian Area Protection Policy.

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. 

EcoAtlas: New CARI Editor and Modern Delta Habitat Types (News)

An accurate basemap is fundamental to watershed planning and assessments. The California Aquatic Resources Inventory, or CARI, offers such a basemap for aquatic resource identification and classification. But to keep it current and enhance its details, SFEI-ASC must leverage local knowledge. The new CARI Editor promotes regional stewardship and allows users to submit updates, deletions or new features for streams and wetlands.

Santa Rosa Plain Wetlands Profile: A Demonstration of WRAMP (Project)

The Santa Rosa Plain WRAMP project demonstrated the use of the State’s standardized monitoring and assessment tools in a North Coast watershed setting and described how the results can support watershed based management and planning decisions to protect and manage the state’s wetlands at a landscape scale. 

Petaluma Valley Historical Hydrology and Ecology Study (Project)

This project reconstructs the historical hydrology and ecology of the Petaluma River watershed prior to major Euro-American modification. It demonstrates the efficacy of historical hydrology and ecology in identifying and prioritizing multi-benefit restoration opportunities.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

California Trash Data Dive 2018 (News)

On November 16, 2018, the project team helped to coordinate a Trash Data Dive convened by the State Water Board’s Office of Information Management and Analysis. Hosted at SFEI’s offices, the Trash Data Dive was well-attended and drew participants from all over California to discuss the opportunities to address entrenched problems with respect to trash-related information.

GreenPlan-IT Tracker Released to the public (News)

Municipalities across the state and beyond are carefully planning and implementing green infrastructure in their developed landscape to restore key aspects of the natural water cycle. Green infrastructure helps to achieve stormwater attenuation and contaminant filtration by increasing the pervious surfaces in often sophisticated ways.

Using Drones to Improve Corte Madera Marsh Management (News)

SFEI is increasing the use of drones to support assessing and monitoring the health of local ecosystems. We recently completed UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems), or drone, flights over Corte Madera marsh. This effort will improve marsh management by studying marsh erosion processes and detecting changes in the marsh edge due to marsh growth or attrition from winter storms.

This is the second time that SFEI has surveyed Corte Madera marsh’s edge, but this times comes with significant improvements.

Mapping Outside the Box: Visualizing Bay Landscapes in New Dimensions (News)

The most recent meeting of the San Francisco Estuary Geospatial Workgroup featured Pete Kauhanen and Lawrence Sim of SFEI's Environmental program. This meeting focused on emerging technologies for visualizing the changing Bay around us. Presenters discussed new data, tools, and approaches that are helping inform regional natural resource management.

State of the Estuary Conference on Twitter (Event)

In an event convened by the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, SFEI contributed its own intellectual labor to the State of the Estuary Conference. Letitia Grenier served as the lead scientist for the State of the Estuary Report, unveiled at the gathering, and SFEI's scientists and technologists were featured prominently in the program on subjects ranging from nutrients to landscape resilience to green infrastructure to data and tools. By all measures, it was a successful conference.