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Cliff Dahm Assumes Lead Scientist Post

September 2015
Cliff Dahm

Dr. Clifford Dahm, an internationally recognized expert in aquatic ecology, climatology, restoration biology, and a professor emeritus of biology at the University of New Mexico, was unanimously appointed by the Delta Stewardship Council as Lead Scientist of the Delta Science Program – a post he held from 2008 to 2012.


In making the appointment, Council Chair Randy Fiorini said, “With his broad understanding of water-related science and his background as the former Lead Scientist for the CALFED Bay-Delta Science Program, Cliff will provide crucial knowledge and scientific leadership as we implement both the Delta Plan and the Delta Science Plan.”


“I look forward to the continuing efforts of building a collaborative scientific community with its search for common truths on the many critical issues that face the Delta,” Dr. Dahm said. “The development of One Delta-One Science is clearly a project of critical importance to California that is helping set standards of how the best available science can more effectively inform the making of policy.”


Dahm’s appointment was the result of a nationwide search and became effective Sept. 8, 2015. He replaces Dr. Peter Goodwin, an internationally-recognized expert in ecohydraulics (the impact of management on aquatic ecosystems), ecosystem restoration, enhancement of river, wetland and estuarine systems, and a professor of civil engineering at the University of Idaho who served three years in the same post.


“Providing the science support to the Council was a highlight during my initial tenure because we were able to fund new badly-needed research, invest in some new young investigators, and take leadership roles in the development of parts of the Delta Plan,” said Dahm. “This will be a homecoming for me and a chance to once again work with a group of exciting and energetic people who are highly focused at furthering California’s coequal goals of water supply reliability and the restoration of the Delta’s ecosystem.”


Dahm served as director of the Freshwater Sciences Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program and the Sevilleta Long-Term Ecological Program. A broadly trained interdisciplinary scientist, Dahm has conducted research in the areas of climate change, aquatic ecology, stream water/ground water interactions, microbial ecology, stream and river restoration, biogeochemistry, geomicrobiology, ecohydrology, and evapotranspiration.


A chemistry graduate of Boise State University, Dahm received his master’s degree in chemical oceanography and his Ph.D. in oceanography/aquatic ecology from Oregon State University. Dahm is married to Rhea Graham, a geologist and water resources specialist, and the couple has two daughters, Katharine and Kristina. To review his curriculum vitae, please click here.

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)