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Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee Member Profiles

Randy Fiorini, Chair

Delta Stewardship Council

Chair of the Delta Stewardship Council.  Randy Fiorini was born in Turlock, CA, where he was raised on his family’s tree fruit and wine grape farm. After graduation from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1975, Mr. Fiorini returned to Turlock and assumed managing partner responsibilities for Fiorini Ranch. Mr. Fiorini was elected to serve as the Chairman of the California Canners and Growers, Chairman of the California Cling Peach Advisory Board, and was appointed by two Presidents to serve on the US Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Fruits and Vegetables. Recognized for his agricultural leadership and on-farm achievements, Mr. Fiorini was selected by the United States Jaycees in 1987 as the Outstanding Young Farmer in the United States.  Mr. Fiorini’s public involvement with water issues began in 1992 when he was elected to be a director of the Turlock Irrigation District. He served in that capacity for 16 years. During that time he also served as president of the San Joaquin River Group Authority, president of the California Farm Water Coalition, and as president of the Association of California Water Agencies.  In March 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Mr. Fiorini to serve on the Delta Stewardship Council. Mr. Fiorini was elected by his colleagues as Vice-Chair at their initial meeting and in 2014 he was elected Chair. He was reappointed to his position by Governor Jerry Brown in May 2016.

 

Chuck Bonham, Director

CA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Charlton “Chuck” Bonham was appointed as Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, effective September 6, 2011. Prior to his appointment as Director of Fish and Wildlife, Mr. Bonham served in a number of roles for Trout Unlimited over ten years, including since 2004 as the organization’s California director. Mr. Bonham was responsible for developing, managing, and implementing TU's programs in California. These programs include the California Water Project, Sportsmen’s Conservation Project, and restoration and watershed projects in both northern and Southern California. In addition, Mr. Bonham was a senior attorney for the organization. Mr. Bonham also served on the Board of Directors of the Delta Conservancy, whose mission is to conserve, sustain and enhance the cultural, agricultural, recreational, wildlife and natural habitat resources of the River Delta region, as well as develop and promote sustainable protection, management and stewardship programs through research and education. Mr. Bonham received his J.D. and Environmental and Natural Resources Law Certificate from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College, in Portland, Oregon. Before Trout Unlimited, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, West Africa, and an instructor and guide at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, in Bryson City, N.C.

 

Karen Ross, Secretary

CA Dept. of Food & Agriculture

Karen Ross was appointed Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture on January 12, 2011, by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Secretary Ross has deep leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally, and here in California. Prior to joining CDFA, Secretary Ross was chief of staff for U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a position she accepted in 2009. Prior to that appointment, she served as President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers from 1996-2009, and as Vice-President of the Agricultural Council of California from 1989-1996. Before moving to California, Secretary Ross served as Director of Government Relations for the Nebraska Rural Electric Association and as Field Representative for U.S. Senator Edward Zorinsky.

 

Grant Davis, Director

CA Dept. of Water Resources

Grant Davis, 54, of Petaluma, has been appointed director of the California Department of Water Resources. Davis has been general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency since 2009, where he was assistant general manager from 2007 to 2009. The agency provides wholesale water, wastewater treatment and flood control. It is the largest energy user in the county and became carbon-free in 2015 by providing its water through 100 percent renewable energy. He was executive director of the Bay Institute from 1997 to 2007, senior district representative in the Office of Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey from 1993 to 1997 and principal of Impact Consulting from 1990 to 1993.

 

Matt Rodriguez, Secretary

CA Environmental Protection Agency

Matt Rodriquez was appointed California Secretary for Environmental Protection by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. in July 2011. As Secretary, Mr. Rodriquez oversees the activities of the California Air Resources Board, the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, the Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Department of Pesticide Regulation, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the State Water Resources Control Board. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, he advises the Governor on environmental policy.  He comes to the Agency with more than 24 years of environmental experience with the California Department of Justice where he served as a Deputy Attorney General from 1987 to 1999.  Most recently, he served as Acting Chief Deputy Attorney General for Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.

 

John Laird, Secretary

CA Natural Resources Agency

John Laird was appointed California Secretary for Natural Resources by Governor Jerry Brown on Jan. 5, 2011. He has spent nearly 40 years in public service, including 23 years as an elected official. The son of teachers and raised in Vallejo, Laird graduated with honors in politics from the University of California Santa Cruz in 1972. He then served on the district staff of U.S. Representative Jerome Waldie, and as a budget analyst for the Santa Cruz County Administrator.  In 2002, Mr. Laird was elected to represent the 27th Assembly District in the California Assembly, which includes portions of Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara Counties. He was re-elected in 2004 and again in 2006, when he received more than 70 percent of the vote. At the beginning of his second term, Mr. Laird joined the Assembly leadership team when Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez named him chair of the Budget Committee, a position to which he was reappointed by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass in 2008.  Continuing his public service as California’s Secretary of Natural Resources, Mr. Laird has made climate change adaptation, water conservation and supply reliability, enhanced relationships with tribal governments, State Parks access, farmland conservation, and oceans sustainability among other issues top priorities. As Secretary, he provides administrative oversight to thirty departments, commissions, councils, museum, boards and conservancies – and is a sitting member of sixteen conservancies, councils, boards and commissions within the purview of the Agency.

 

Bill Edgar, President

Central Valley Flood Protection Board

Bill Edgar was appointed as a member of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board on January 27, 2012 by Governor Brown, and subsequently, on March 19, 2012, the Governor appointed him as the Board’s President. Mr. Edgar has been the co-owner of Edgar & Associates LLP, an accounting services firm since 1999. He was contract Executive Director for the Sutter-Butte Flood Control Agency from December, 2007 to January, 2012. He served as Interim City Manager for the City of Sacramento during 2011 while the City was recruiting for a new City Manager. Mr. Edgar was a member of the California Reclamation Board from 2001 to 2005. He was City Manager for the City of Sacramento from 1993 to 1999, and Assistant City Manager from 1977 to 1992. During that time, he also served concurrently as the first Executive Director of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency from 1988 until 1992. Mr. Edgar’s career in government service spans almost 50 years having served as Assistant City Manager and City Manager for the City of Pleasanton from 1965 to 1977 and the State of Pennsylvania prior to that. While in Sacramento, he developed a successful record of inter-agency cooperation during his separate assignments as the executive directors for the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, the Sacramento Transit Development Agency, the Sacramento City/County Office of Metropolitan Water Planning and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency. Bill’s contributions to the community have been honored by the American Society of Public Administration, the League of California Cities, the League of Women Voters and the Modern Transit Society of Sacramento.

 

Skip Thomson, Chair

Delta Protection Commission

Solano County Supervisor Skip Thomson, of Fairfield, serves on the Council in the post reserved for the chair of the Delta Protection Commission. He has worked in the public sector since 1975. He served as Solano County Supervisor from 1992 to 2002, and then as County Assessor from 2003 to 2005. He was elected again to the Solano County Board of Supervisors in 2012 and reelected in 2016. Thomson’s supervisorial district includes parts of the Yolo Bypass, the Cache Slough region, and other portions of the Delta.  He also serves as Chair of the Delta Protection Commission and sits on the Delta Counties Coalition, among many other Boards and Commissions. As a Solano County Supervisor, Supervisor Thomson’s priorities include preserving and advocating for the Delta and its residents. Supervisor Thomson served in the U.S. Army, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations at U.C. Davis, and has been married for more than 40 years. He and his wife Gail have two sons, who have also chosen public service as a career.

 

John Callaway, Lead Scientist

Delta Science Program

John Callaway received his PhD in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences from Louisiana State University in 1994.  He is a Professor and Program Director for the Graduate Environmental Management Program at the University of San Francisco.  Prior to his position at USF, John was the Associate Director of the Pacific Estuarine Research Laboratory (PERL) at San Diego State University. At USF, John teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in introductory environmental science, applied ecology, wetlands, and restoration ecology. His research expertise is in wetland restoration, specifically wetland plant ecology and sediment dynamics. Recent research projects focus on the development of restored wetlands, including evaluations of the importance of plant species diversity and the role of physical heterogeneity in the development of ecosystem functions. His research includes projects in San Francisco Bay and Tijuana Estuary. This work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, California Sea Grant, and other agencies.

 

Barry Thom, Administrator

NOAA Fisheries, West Coast

Barry Thom is the Regional Administrator of NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region. He has worked extensively on salmon recovery in the Columbia River basin and West Coast, including convening the Columbia Basin Partnership, a collaborative process to establish long-term goals for Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead and managing the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.  Mr. Thom is also the U.S. Commissioner to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). In this role, he serves as head of the U.S. delegation and lead U.S. negotiator responsible for the formulation of U.S. positions related to potential resolutions for tuna and tuna-like species in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. From 2009-2010, he served as Acting Regional Administrator for the former Northwest Region of NOAA Fisheries, during which time the West Coast Trawl Catch Share fishery was developed.  Prior to that, he was the Deputy Regional Administrator of the Northwest Region.  He became Deputy of the newly merged West Coast Region in 2013. Mr. Thom began his career as a research biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and moved to NOAA Fisheries in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 2001. While in Silver Spring he served on the Pacific Salmon team and as the Protected Species program coordinator within the Office of Protected Resources. He returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2006. Mr. Thom earned a Master’s degree in Fisheries Science from the University of Washington in 1997 and a Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries Science from Oregon State University in 1992.

 

Campbell Ingram, Executive Officer

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy

Campbell Ingram is the first director of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy. The California legislature created the conservancy in 2010 to manage habitat restoration and economic development in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The area is the West Coast’s largest estuary and serves over 25 million people. As director, Mr. Ingram has the chance to implement various projects around the Delta.  Some of those projects include sustainable water delivery, balancing human and animal needs and hundreds of restoration efforts up and down the Central Valley.

 

Felicia Marcus, Chair

State Water Resources Control Board

Felicia Marcus was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) for the State of California in 2012, and designated by the Governor as Chair in April of 2013. The Board implements both federal and state laws regarding drinking water and water quality, and it implements the state’s water rights laws. The Board sets statewide water quality, drinking water, and water rights policy, hears appeals of local regional board water quality decisions, decides water rights disputes, and provides financial assistance to communities to upgrade water infrastructure. Before her appointment to the Water Board, Marcus served in positions in government, the non-profit world, and the private sector. In government, Felicia served as the Regional Administrator of the U.S EPA Region IX in the Clinton Administration where she was known for her work in bringing unlikely allies together for environmental progress and for making the agency more responsive to the communities it serves, particularly Indian Tribes, communities of color, local government, and agricultural and business interests. While at U.S. EPA, Felicia worked extensively on the range of environmental issues under EPA’s jurisdiction, most heavily in air quality, Bay-Delta water, tribal, and US-Mexico border issues. She currently serves or has served in the past on many non-profit boards and Advisory Councils including the Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Leadership Council, Sustainable Conservation, USC-Kesten Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, and the Center for Diversity and the Environment. She is also currently an Obama Administration appointee to the Commission on Environmental Cooperation-Joint Public Advisory Council (US, Mexico, Canada) and was a Schwarzenegger Administration appointee to the Delta Stewardship Council prior to being appointed to the Water Board.

 

Josephine Axt, Chief of Planning

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Josephine served in this capacity since 2015; prior to coming to the regional office, she served as Chief of Planning at Los Angeles District. She oversees a division with technical expertise in plan formulation, environmental compliance, economics, watershed planning, and flood risk management. Her Planning and Policy Division’s role includes reviewing subordinate District products, guiding project development, and conducting quality assurance. While Chief of Planning Division at Los Angeles District, Josephine oversaw a group of about 50 people in the formulation and evaluation of alternatives in the major mission areas of flood risk management, navigation, and ecosystem restoration. She worked closely with non-Federal sponsors, to manage flood risk, improve navigation, and restore ecosystems throughout southern California, southern Nevada, southeastern Utah, and Arizona.

 

Federico Barajas, Deputy Regional Director

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Region

Barajas’ former position was Area Manager for Reclamation’s Northern California Area Office, managing the programs and facilities within the Shasta and Trinity Divisions of the Central Valley Project, along with the Orland Project and the Trinity River Restoration Program. Prior to becoming the Northern California Area Manager, Barajas was the Deputy Area Manager for the Central California Area Office, and earlier was the Deputy Area Manager for the Bay Delta Conservation Program in the Region’s Bay-Delta Office. Barajas began his Reclamation career in the Mid-Pacific Region in 1991 as a Project Manager in the Planning Division, managing and directing multiple long-term water resources projects throughout the Region for more than 10 years. His positions since that time have included Manager for the San Luis Drainage Collaborative Resolution Program, Regional Liaison for Reclamation’s Commissioner's Office, Special Assistant to the Regional Director and Special Assistant to the Department of the Interior’s Assistant Secretary for Water & Science. During his tenure with Reclamation, Barajas has provided program direction and management oversight for a number of complex projects in connection with sensitive water resource issues. Barajas is a graduate of the Reclamation’s Leadership Development Program and the California Agricultural Leadership Program.

 

Austin B. Ewell III, Deputy Assistant Secretary

U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Water and Science

Austin Ewell serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science in the U.S. Department of the Interior.  In this capacity, Austin provides oversight and acts as the primary policy lead for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S Geological Survey. The USBR is the largest wholesale water supplier in the country and the USGS is the nation’s premier natural science and information agency; these agencies each have a $1B+ budget and over 5,000 employees.  Austin represents Interior in key water matters including conservation, drought and infrastructure initiatives across the administration, and he directs Interior’s WaterSMART initiative.  He coordinates the Department’s sustainable hydropower strategy and overall water policy with a specific focus on California. Prior to joining the staff at Interior, Austin was President and General Counsel at the Ewell Group of Companies, Fresno, CA.  In that capacity he managed water and land use projects including the coordination of consultants to ensure accountability of timelines and deliverables as well as managing the entitlement and regulatory processing of projects.

 

Tomás Torres, Director

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pacific Southwest Region

Tomás Torres is Director of the U.S. EPA, San Diego Border Office and U.S.-Mexico Border Program Manager for the California/Baja California and Arizona/Sonora Border Regions.  Mr. Torres is responsible for EPA’s leadership, diplomatic, and planning efforts within EPA, pertaining to U.S.-Mexico Border Affairs.  Mr. Torres also leads EPA Region 9’s Border Team, made up of representatives from each of EPA’s media program offices (i.e., water, air, waste, Superfund, Pesticides, enforcement, and children’s environmental health protection). Mr. Torres received his Senior Executive Service certification in 2014 and has over twenty years of environmental management experience in the public and private sectors.  In this capacity he was instrumental in the development and implementation of the two most recent U.S.-Mexico environmental border programs, Border 2012 and Border 2020.  Over the years, Mr. Torres has held key leadership positions in hazardous & solid waste, air quality management, and in developing U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Indicators to assess environmental conditions along the U.S.-Mexico Border.  Mr. Torre’s other experience includes managing large and complex Superfund Sites in EPA’s Superfund Program and project management work in the private sector to develop industrial capacity in the areas of air emissions reduction, pollution prevention, waste management, and health risk assessment.

 

Paul Souza, Regional Director

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest

Paul Souza is the Regional Director for the Pacific Southwest Region for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  Mr. Souza will oversee Service programs in California, Nevada and the Klamath Basin of Oregon, implementing federal laws and policies including the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act. He will lead the region’s 50 national wildlife refuges, three national fish hatcheries and 13 fisheries and ecological services field offices from the region’s headquarters in Sacramento. Prior to serving in the Service’s national headquarters in Washington, DC, Mr. Souza was Field Supervisor for the South Florida Ecological Services Office, where he led actions to recover 67 listed species and protect a host of important habitats for migratory birds, fish and other wildlife. He helped lead the effort to restore America’s Everglades with partners, implementing projects to improve the health of the environment for species such as the Florida panther, wood stork and snail kite.

 

Mark Sogge, Director

US Geological Survey, Pacific Region

As Regional Director for the Pacific Region, Mark Sogge oversees USGS centers in California, Nevada, and Hawaii. As a USGS ecologist and research scientist from 1996 - 2008, he led studies that focused on threatened and endangered birds, and Southwest riparian habitats. Mr. Sogge has extensive experience in USGS science management and leadership, starting as Station Leader at the Southwest Biological Science Center (2005-2008), as Chief of Staff for the Western Regional Director (2008-2010), as Associate Regional Executive for the former Pacific Southwest Region (2010-2012), and most recently as Associate Regional Director in the Southwest Region (2012-2013).

Coequal goals

The Delta Stewardship Council was created in legislation to achieve the state mandated coequal goals for the Delta. "'Coequal goals' means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place." (CA Water Code §85054)