Vice Chair's Page

About Phil Isenberg

 

Phil IsenbergPhil Isenberg is Vice-Chair of the Delta Stewardship Council.  Previously, he served as a Sacramento City Council member from 1971-1974, Mayor of Sacramento from 1975-1982 and as a member of the California State Assembly representing portions of Sacramento, Contra Costa and San Joaquin Counties from 1982 to 1996.  His state legislative district contained major parts of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  His subject area focus as an elected official included land use planning, water and resource issues, state budget and fiscal matters, redevelopment reform and healthcare issues.

Vice-Chair Isenberg holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law and a Bachelor of Art in Social Science and Government from California State University, Sacramento. He was in private practice and also served as President of Isenberg-O’Haren Government Relations from 2004 to February 2010.  He is currently an inactive member of the California State Bar.

Vice-Chair Isenberg served as chair of the California Marine Life Protection Act Blue Ribbon Task Force from 2004 to 2006 and served as chairman of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force from 2007 to 2008.  The recommendations of the Delta Vision Task Force provided much of the structure of the major water/Delta policy changes adopted by the legislature in 2009 and signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger.

He was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to a six year term on the Delta Stewardship Council, and was initially elected to a four year term as Chair of the Council by his colleagues at the Council's inception in 2010. At the conclusion of his term in 2014 as Chair, he was elected Vice-Chair.

Speeches / Presentations / Panels

June 24, 2014 Phil Isenberg Power Point Presentation - Some Hard Facts: Water, the Delta and Drought

This 15-slide luncheon presentation was made before the members of the Sacramento Chapter of Lambda Alpha International.

December 4, 2013 Phil Isenberg Noontime Almond Board Power Point Presentation

The presentation comes on the heels of several media accounts about the growth of the Almond Industry in CA, and the need for more groundwater to sustain it.

May 13, 2013 Four Videos from PPIC's Symposium: Stress Relief - Prescriptions for a Healthier Delta Ecosystem

The videos feature speakers involved in the half-day event held in Sacramento. Video # 3 includes DSC Chair Phil Isenberg as part of a panel discussion.

April 24, 2013 Video ASCE Keynote Speech - Building a Framework for Flood Risk Management

On April 24-26, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) held a summit in Washington, DC entitled Building a Framework for Flood Risk Management. The highlights include Phil Isenberg as the keynote speaker.

January 28, 2013 Phil Isenberg Videotaped Speech during the UC Davis California Water Policy Seminar

The 1 hour 15 minute speech offered Chair Isenberg's thoughts about the future of the Delta. The text of his talk can be found here.

January 28, 2013 Phil Isenberg Speech to UCD California Water Policy Seminar

This 10-page speech is entitled "If We Can't See the End of the Tunnel, Are We Still on the Road to Somewhere?" It was delivered on Jan. 28, 2013 as part of the UC Davis California Water Policy Seminar Series.

May 6, 2012 What We Want to Hear, Compared to What We Need to Know About Water and the Delta

Chair Isenberg offered this speech to the Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club in Sacramento.

April 20, 2012 California Bumps Up Against Hard Facts: Water and the Delta

Chair Isenberg offered this speech at the California Water Law and Policy Conference in San Francisco.

March 27, 2012 The Delta Plan Power Point Presentation

Chair Isenberg offered this 11-page PowerPoint presentation at the annual Executive Briefing of the Water Education Foundation. It's entitled: "The Delta Plan."

January 23, 2012 VerdeXchange Conference Presentation in Los Angeles

Chair Isenberg offered this presentation to the VerdeXchange Conference, which brings together public and private leaders and business executives from all sectors of the economy to discuss the opportunities and challenges of creating sustainable economic growth and to meet the people that are leading this change.

September 21, 2011 Doing More with Less; Moving Toward Long-Term Sustainable Use of Delta and Bay Water

Chair Isenberg offered this speech at the 10th Biennial State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference in Oakland.

July 28, 2011, Southern California Water Committee (33 min. Video)

The keynote presentation was offered by Delta Stewardship Council Chair Phil Isenberg who spoke about the ongoing development of the DSC’s comprehensive Delta Plan.

June 3, 2011 Salmon Odyssey - Commonwealth Club (1 hour Audio)

Before an audience at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Chair Isenberg was part of panel discussion on the history of salmon in California. The discussion was recorded and runs 1 hour and 10 minutes.

October 16, 2010 Good Water, Wild Salmon, Vital Delta Power Point Presentation

Chair Isenberg offered this 9-page PowerPoint presentation to the Sisters of the Holy Names. It's entitled "Good Water, Wild Salmon, Vital Delta: Implementing the Water/Ecosystem/Delta Legislation of 2009.

August 18, 2010 Water and the Delta: This and That Power Point Presentation

Chair Isenberg offered this 10-page PowerPoint presentation to the California Association of Sanitation Agencies. It's entitled: "Water and the Delta: This and That."

July 2, 2007, Testimony of Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force Chair Phil Isenberg

Chair Isenberg testified before the Subcommittee on Water and Power, Committee on Natural Resources. The hearing was on “Extinction is Not a Sustainable Water Policy: The Bay-Delta Crisis and the Implications for California Water Management”

Op Eds/Media

June 30, 2014 The Current Drought Exposes Long-Standing Water Problems, Not Create Them: Can Policymakers and Scientists Learn From This?

This six-page essay offers historical perspective & personal comments about drought conditions in CA. It appeared in the June 2014 issue of San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science.

November 2009, Delta Vision - Phil Isenberg on the State's Water Policy

Comstocks reporter Rich Ehisen discusses water politics with then Chair of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force, Phil Isenberg

April 19, 2012, Phil Isenberg: Logue's Delta Plan Concerns Misplaced

DSC Chair Phil Isenberg responds in the Appeal Democrat to State Assemblymember Dan Logue's opinion piece where the Assemblymember expressed concerns about the Delta Plan

October 16, 2011, Another View: Delta Plan is a Fair Way to Balance Water Supply

DSC Chair Phil Isenberg responds to a Sacramento Bee Viewpoints article which voiced concerns over the Delta Plan.

May 2012, Running the Aquatic Gauntlet of California's Water Politics

Comstocks reporter Rich Ehisen discusses the navigation of California's water politics with Delta Stewardship Council Chair Phil Isenberg

July 26, 2012, Comments from DSC Chair Phil Isenberg Regarding BDCP Announcement

These thoughts by Chair Isenberg are in response to requests for comments on the BDCP announcement by Gov. Jerry Brown & US Interior Sec. Ken Salazar. These are the views of Chair Isenberg, not of the DSC.

The Current Drought Exposes Long-Standing Water Problems, Not Create Them: Can Policymakers and Scientists Learn From This?

The Current Drought Exposes Long-Standing Water Problems, Not Create Them: Can Policymakers and Scientists Learn From This?

Significant Communications

March 20, 2013, A Letter from Dr. Robert Pyke to CA Natural Resources Dep. Sec. Dr. Jerry Meral re:a Bay Delta Conservation Plan Press Release

Dr. Pyke asks Dr. Meral questions about a March 14, 2013 BDCP Press Release. Dr. Pyke then responds to statements he says Dr. Meral made during a meeting with the Bay Conservation & Development Commission.

March-April, 2013, Three Letters re:BDCP: the First from Delta Vision to Natural Resources; the Second from Robert Pyke to Delta Vision; the Third from Robert Pyke to Phil Isenberg

These three letters, written over a two week period, deal with comments about BDCP with Delta Vision initiating the conversation, Dr. Pyke responding, and then Dr. Pyke conferring with DSC Chair Phil Isenberg.

May 16, 2013, Letter from Jo Lynne Russo-Pereyra, Cucamonga Valley Water Dist., to Gov. Jerry Brown and Sec. Sally Jewell, U.S. Dept. of the Interior

This two-page letter offers support for the successful completion and permitting of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.

August 24, 2011 and September 29, 2011 Correspondence Between the DSC, the State Water Contractors, and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority

The August 24, 2011 letter is addressed to DSC Executive Officer Joe Grindstaff from Daniel Nelson of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and Terry Erlewine of the State Water Contractors. The September 29, 2011 letter is in response to those two gentlemen from DSC Chair Phil Isenberg.

April 23, 2012, A Letter to Little Hoover Commission Chairman Daniel Hancock in Opposition to the Proposed Merger of the DSC into the Natural Resources Agency

DSC Chair Phil Isenberg voices his concerns and offers his reasoning as to why the DSC should not be evenloped into the Natural Resources Agency. The Little Hoover Commission is responsible for reviewing gubernatorial actions such as these.

June 12, 2012, A Letter to Mr. Brian Nissen Regarding his Proposal for a New L.A. Desalination Plant

DSC Chair Phil Isenberg responds to Mr. Nissen's letter seeking review by the DSC of his proposal for a new desalination plant. A draft proposal of the plant is also attached.

July 2, 2012, A letter to the Honorable Joan Buchanan Voicing Opposition to AB 1095

DSC Chair Isenberg wrote to Assemblymember Buchanan opposing her proposed legislation that would provide covered action exemptions to projects in the Delta

July 3, 2012, Testimony offered by DSC Chair Phil Isenberg before the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee in Opposition to AB 1095 (Buchanan) (2 hour 23 minute audio)

The testimony shows up approximately 1 hour and 17 minutes into the audio file. A accompanying letter sent to Assemblymember Buchanan can be viewed here.

January 21, 2013, An Email and Letter from Dr. Robert Pyke to DSC Chair Phil Isenberg re:a Letter Sent to DOI Sec. Ken Salazar et al. About the BDCP

Dr. Pyke refers to Phil Isenberg in his 8-page letter to Sec. Salazar and thought Mr. Isenberg would like to review it.

Recommended Readings

National Research Council of the National Academies: Sustainable Water and Environmental Management in the California Bay-Delta (2012)

This 209-page report discusses the issue of scarcity, factors affecting species & the Delta ecosystem, future water-supply & delivery options, scientific uncertainties, the degree of likely restoration, & the need for planning.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (1983) Edward R. Tufte, Graphics Press LLC

Presenting Graphic Information --- What government reports ought to look like, and seldom do

National Research Council of the National Academies: Sea-Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon and Washington: Past, Present and Future (2012)

In compliance with a 2008 exe. order, CA state agencies have been incorporating projections of sea-level rise into their coastal planning.This 250-page study provides a projection of the changes in sea level expected in CA, OR, & WA.

Public Policy Institute of California: Comparing Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (2008), Jay R. Lund, etc.

This 184-page report concludes that a peripheral canal around the Delta is the most promising way to balance two critical policy goals: reviving a threatened ecosystem and ensuring a reliable, high-quality water supply for CA

Public Policy Institute of California: Managing California’s Water: From Conflict to Reconciliation (2011)

This 16-page report discusses the need for California to make significant changes in water policy in order to avoid continued environmental and economic deterioration.

Public Policy Institute of California: A complete list of additional PPIC publications on water-related issues

The PPIC makes all of its publications available for viewing on this website.

October 30, 2012, Can Climate Change Help? Climate Change May Have a Positive Effect on Reservoir Coldwater Pool, and A Framework for Regulatory Transition: Accommodating Projected Climatic Shifts at the Operational Level

These two documents, authored by Robert Shibatani, CEO and principal hydrologist of the Shibatani Group in Sacramento, have a combined length of 14-pages.

The Great Thirst: Californians and Water, 1770s-1990s (1992) Norris Hundley, Jr., University of California Press.

Useful research and information on water and environmental issues in California

April 20, 2012, Facts and Information on California's Water and Environmental Debates

This 33-page booklet provides information on a wide range of water issues facing California with particular focus on the Delta.

Cadillac Desert: The American Desert and Its Disappearing Water (1986) Marc Reisner, Viking Press.

Useful research and information on water and environmental issues in California

June 12, 2012, A Review and Comparison of Agency Restoration Strategies and Actions for Central Valley Listed Salmonids

The San Joaquin Tributary Association offers a 123-page report to better understand how the public can help improve the Central Valley salmonid abundance.

Overtapped Oasis: Reform or Revolution for Western Water (1990) Mark Reisner & Sara Bates, Island Press.

Useful research and information on water and environmental issues in California

April 19-20, 2012, Accelerated Climate Change: How a Shifting Flow Regime is Redefining Water Governance in California

This 22-page paper, authored by Robert Shibatani, CEO and principal hydrologist of the Shibatani Group in Sacramento, was presented during the California Water Law and Policy Conference in April, 2012.

July 25, 2012, California Water Governance at Risk: Losing Ground to Climate Change at the Operational Level

This 7-page paper, authored by Robert Shibatani, CEO and principal hydrologist of the Shibatani Group in Sacramento, is an expansion of his earlier work, Accelerated Climate Change, which can be found here.

The California Water Atlas (1978) State of California, William L. Kahrl, Project Director and Editor

The California Water Atlas has been scanned and put online for free public access by the David Rumsey Map Collection.

National Research Council of the National Academies: A Scientific Assessment of Alternatives for Reducing Water Management Effects on Threatened and Endangered Fishes in California’s Bay-Delta (2010)

This 94-page report is intended to provide a scientific evaluation of agency actions, to help refine them, and to help the general public to better understand the dynamics of the Delta ecosystem.

National Research Council of the National Academies: A Review of the Use of Science and Adaptive Management in California’s Draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan (2011)

This 82-page report reviews the use of science and adaptive management in the draft Bay Delta Conservation Plan and identifies opportunities to develop a more successful plan.

Beautiful Evidence (2006) Edward R. Tufte, Graphics Press LLC

Presenting Graphic Information --- What government reports ought to look like, and seldom do