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Interagency Ecological Program Annual Workshop

March 2014

The Interagency Ecological Program (IEP) held its annual workshop Feb. 26-28, 2014 in Folsom as a focal point for IEP activities.

The IEP is a science consortium with nine member agencies: three state and six federal. The IEP also partners with the San Francisco Estuary Institute, the Delta Science Program, and many academic and private scientists. The mission of the IEP is, in collaboration with others, to provide ecological information and scientific leadership for use in management of the San Francisco Estuary.

“The IEP workshop was an opportunity for community interaction and input on science priorities which the Delta Science Plan is so big about – One Delta, One Science,” said IEP Lead Scientist Anke Mueller-Solger. “It also introduced the science community to the concept because they didn’t necessarily all know about it.”

She added that the program for this year’s workshop was diverse, with many oral and poster presentations offering a full spectrum of current IEP activities, a student-mentor luncheon, a poster poetry slam, and an interactive drought room.

As in previous years, the IEP workshop featured a three-day program with one of those days in coordination with the California Water and Environmental Modeling Forum (CWEMF http://cwemf.org). The joint IEP-CWEMF oral sessions were held on Wednesday, February 26 and CWEMF and IEP jointly planned a special informal evening event that same evening.

During the Wednesday night event, a diverse group of scientists broke into small groups to identify science priorities for restoration; a chance to discuss potential science actions that support policy and management to guide ecosystem restoration efforts.

“People contributed a lot of great ideas,” Mueller-Solger said. “This is what the Delta Science Plan is really trying to foster and is about.”

In a main talk during the three-day workshop the Delta Stewardship Council’s Lead Scientist Peter Goodwin challenged attendees to “unite and think big!”

“Other states have big, collaborative science centers that allow for big modeling and synthesis efforts,” Goodwin said. “California should have one, too, for Bay-Delta modeling and synthesis. We need to speak with one loud and clear voice to make this happen – One Delta, One Science.”

Mueller-Solger discussed the drought in her talk.

“This year’s drought has to do with the prolonged northward position and “wavy” shape of the polar jet stream,” she said. “This could be due to climate oscillations (e.g. Pacific Decadal Oscillation) and/or climate change. Monitoring and understanding drought effects are an emerging IEP priority. Other priorities are improved monitoring, modeling, synthesis, and collaboration.”

Presentations at the February workshop included talks about recent research in salmon, sturgeon, and food web ecology, modeling ecosystem responses to management actions, contaminant effects, and updates from Fall Low Salinity Habitat (FLaSH) studies.

A poster session on Thursday February 27, was kicked off with a Poster Poetry Slam, a creative opportunity for all poster presenters to give a brief introduction of their poster in any format—Haiku, sock puppets, music videos, and more.

“The poster reception was great and the poetry slam really got people’s attention,” Mueller-Solger said. “Science and scientists can be really funny and even poetic. Presentations at the IEP workshop are generally very technical and professional, but that doesn’t mean that everything has to be dry – it’s great to see people’s enthusiasm, humor, and creativity come through.”

More information about the IEP can be found at http://www.water.ca.gov/iep/.

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)