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

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).

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.

Storm Flows Key to Managing Pollution in Highly Urban Watersheds (News)

Urban runoff is a large and potentially controllable source of pollutants for San Francisco Bay and urban centers around the world. SFEI scientists conducted intensive measurements for suspended sediments and a range of trace organic pollutants in dry weather and storm flow runoff from a fully urban watershed. More than 91% of the loads for every pollutant measured were transported during storm events, along with 87% of the total water discharge.

National science experts gather to discuss Flood Control 2.0 (News)

A panel of nationally and internationally renowned scientists gathered in the Bay Area at the beginning of June 2015 to provide feedback on the EPA-funded Flood Control 2.0 project. SFEI hosted a two-day meeting with the panel that included a focused technical discussion with the project team and a broader discussion about future flood control and ecosystem management challenges at the Bay interface with invited guests from Bay Area flood control districts and natural resources agencies.

RMP Publication: Storm Flows Key to Managing Pollution in Highly Urban Watersheds (News)

Urban runoff is a large and potentially controllable source of pollutants to San Francisco Bay and many other urban aquatic ecosystems around the world. In a RMP study conducted in water years 2007-2010, SFEI scientists made intensive measurements for suspended sediments and a range of trace organic pollutants (PCBs, dioxins, PAHs, PBDEs, pyrethroids and OC pesticides) in dry weather and storm flow runoff from a fully urban watershed in Hayward.

RMP Journal Publication on Contaminant Loads from the Delta to San Francisco Bay (News)

Results of RMP monitoring of loads from the Delta to San Francisco Bay were recently published in the journal Water Environment Research. The article follows up on a paper published in 2009 in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry describing mercury concentrations and loads from this large river system to the Bay. This new article presents estimates for PCBs for a 6-year monitoring period and estimates for PAHs, PBDEs, dioxins and furans, the organochlorine pesticides DDT, chlordane, dieldrin, and selenium for shorter periods.

RMP Journal Publication on Contaminant Loads from the Delta to San Francisco Bay (News)

Results of RMP monitoring of loads from the Delta to San Francisco Bay were recently published in the journal Water Environment Research. The article follows up on a paper published in 2009 in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry describing mercury concentrations and loads from this large river system to the Bay.

City tries to eliminate toxic runoff with green infrastructure (News)

SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - In the last few days, many Bay Area storm sewers got their biggest flush out, spewing all kinds of nasty materials out into the Bay.Most Bay Area cities have two sewer systems, one for human waste, the other for storm runoff.

In runoff systems anything that goes into the sewer or is already in it ultimately goes into the Bay. Then huge storms come along, which can dislodge toxics, some of which are stuck in sewers for decades.

Special Issue of Marine Geology Published on Sediment Transport in San Francisco Bay (News)

The first ever compilation of research focused on sediment transport in the San Francisco Bay coastal system was published in November as a special issue of the journal Marine Geology, edited by USGS scientists. The volume’s 21 papers investigate this complex and ever-changing system through the lenses of hydrology, chemistry, ecology and many other disciplines.

Journal Publication on PCBs in the Exterior Caulk of Bay Area Buildings (News)

An article coauthored by SFEI staff on polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations in caulking was recently published in Environment International. The study analyzed PCB concentrations in 25 caulk samples from the exterior of ten buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area. PCBs were detected in 88% of the caulk samples collected from the buildings and relatively high concentrations of PCBs were observed in concrete and masonry buildings built between 1950 and 1980.

New Reports Show Sources of Pollution in SF Bay (News)

A KTVU story by Tom Vacar features Tom Mumley and Lester McKee

"Any component of our urban landscape that allows our water to run off very very quickly also allows the contaminants to run off very very quickly as well," said Lester McKee.