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8th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference - Oct. 28-30, 2014

September 2014

The latest scientific information, analyses, and syntheses – aimed at the broad community of scientists, engineers, resource managers, stakeholders, and policy and decision-makers involved in the Delta and the San Francisco Estuary – will be shared at the 8th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference, Making Connections, to be held on October 28-30, 2014. More than 1,000 scientists, managers, and policymakers will attend and present the latest results of their research and management decisions.

“I strongly encourage scientists, policymakers, decision-makers, and anyone with an interest in the Delta to attend the conference,” said Dr. Peter Goodwin, Lead Scientist for the Delta Stewardship Council’s Science Program. “This is a major conference that highlights the most recent discoveries that influence decisions on the Delta and our knowledge of how this complex system functions.”

The theme of this year’s conference is “Making Connections,” in the spirit of the Delta Science Program’s concept of One Delta – One Science, and reinforces that management of the Delta ecosystem is at a critical juncture. Political and regulatory mandates require new ways of managing water exports while also restoring landscape-level ecosystem attributes and functions.

To support these activities, scientists must make connections among the external forces that impact the system, management actions, and ecosystem responses. Equally critical is the necessity of the scientific and management communities to work together to ensure a two-way flow of needs, resources, ideas and understandings.

The conference will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center, 1400 J Street. It begins with a plenary session at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, October 28. The session will feature a presentation from Council Chair Randy Fiorini who will talk about the need for actionable science. Also on hand will be the Delta Science Program’s Lead Scientist Dr. Peter Goodwin who will highlight six things that the Delta science community has learned in the last two years. Delta Independent Science Board member Dr. Stephen Brandt will talk about habitat quality from a fish’s perspective. And former Interagency Ecological Program Lead Scientist and current Associate Director for Projects at the U.S. Geological Survey, Dr. Anke Mueller-Solger, will discuss cooperative ecological investigations in the estuary.

Several special sessions will be held throughout the event. For instance, on Tuesday afternoon there will be a session on the management of water and the ecosystem’s health through a drought. There will be two panel discussions; one on whether or not climate science can influence public policy in an era of drought; and another entitled Funding the Delta’s Fiscal Orphans: Science, Governance, and Ecosystem Stress Relief with an opening presentation by Dr. Ellen Hanak of the Public Policy Institute of California and moderated by her colleague Dr. Jeff Mount.

On Wednesday, October 29, the Council’s Delta Science Program, in partnership with the Delta Conservancy, will host a discussion on Policy, Floodplains, and Toxics with a session on implementing the Delta Science Plan introduced by Dr. Goodwin. This will be followed by a presentation on the Interim Science Action Agenda by Lindsay Correa, a senior environmental scientist in the Council’s Delta Science Program.

The next two talks will highlight the outcomes of last June’s Data Summit that brought together scientists, resource managers, decision-makers, academia, stakeholders and interested citizens to discuss a new era in information management and knowledge discovery. The first will be hosted by Dr. Rainer Hoenicke, deputy executive officer for science. The second will be hosted by Dr. Tony Hale from the San Francisco Estuary Institute. The session will conclude with a presentation of the Delta Restoration Network Restoration Hub by Campbell Ingram, executive officer of the Delta Conservancy.

Also scheduled for Wednesday morning is a discussion on the interaction of Science and the Media, moderated by Dr. Lenny Grimaldo, a fish biologist and water resource manager at ICF International, who is also a co-chair of the Conference. There will also be a discussion on the amount of nutrients found in the Delta, how the ecosystem is responding, and what implications this information may have on management decisions. Dr. David Senn, a senior scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute, will moderate.

Later on Wednesday, Dan Ray, the Council’s chief deputy executive officer, will participate in an interactive panel that will explore resiliency through the lens of policy, regulation and management, with a focus on challenges and changes that will be needed to develop new solutions to climate change. Dr. Ted Sommer, an ecologist with the California Department of Water Resources, will also offer thoughts on the restoration lessons learned from his work in the Yolo Bypass floodplain.

On Thursday, October 30, the conference will feature sessions on water policy including predicting outcomes and working towards reconciliation. Chris Enright, senior water resources engineer in the Council’s Delta Science Program, will discuss the direct and indirect effects of large-scale restoration and its implications for science and management. Later in the afternoon, Dr. Tracy Collier, chair of the Delta Independent Science Board, will present the Board’s comments on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan and the BDCP’s reliance on habitat restoration.

Another session on Thursday will address innovative approaches to assessing non-native predators and predation. And Patricia Brandes, a principal investigator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will discuss using acoustic technology to identify the behavior and survival rates of fish.

More than four dozen presentations, panel discussions, and lunch-time seminars are scheduled throughout the run of the conference. Other additional activities include poster sessions on the evenings of October 28-29 including posters that address science, policy and management issues in the Yolo Bypass; fish biology, ecology, and protection; flood management; food webs; global perspectives; human consequences; modeling; watersheds; and others. Approximately 185 posters will be available for viewing with the presenters during receptions on Tuesday and Wednesday from 5:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. in Exhibit Hall B on the first floor of the Convention Center. There will also be various activities during lunch on each of the three days including a presentation by a panel of artists on Wednesday.

This year’s conference is co-chaired by Dr. Lenny Grimaldo, and Dr. Wim Kimmerer, a marine biology research professor at the Romberg Tiburon Center of San Francisco State University.

For more detailed information about the conference, a full schedule of the events, and an opportunity to register, please click here.

And follow the Bay-Delta Science Conference conversation on Twitter at #deltasciconf.

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)