Delta Stewardship Council Considers Science Items

On February 3, 2010, under SBX7 1, the new Delta Stewardship Council was created as an independent state agency tasked with developing the Delta Plan for achieving the coequal goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring and enhancing the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem. The Council consists of seven members with diverse expertise providing a broad statewide perspective.

During the Council’s inaugural meeting held April 1, Phil Isenberg, who previously served as chair of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force, was elected as Council Chair and Joe Grindstaff, former Director of CALFED, was designated as Interim Executive Officer. Grindstaff was also given the authority to administer the day-to-day affairs of the Council. Dr. Cliff Dahm, former Lead Scientist for the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, was also designated as the Interim Lead Scientist for the Delta Stewardship Council during the Council’s first meeting.

Council members are:

  • Chairman Phil Isenberg - In addition to previously serving as chair of the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force, Isenberg has also served as president of Isenberg/O’Haren Government Relations since 2005 and was a member of the California State Assembly representing the 9th District from 1992 to 1996 and the 10th District from 1982 to 1992.

  • Randy Fiorini - Managing partner of Fiorini Ranch since 1975 and managing partner of FarmCo since 2001. Fiorini is past president and board member of the Association of California Water Agencies, past board president and director of Turlock Irrigation District Division #5, and past president and board member of the California Farm Water Coalition.

  • Gloria D. Gray - An elected member of the Board of Directors of the West Basin Municipal Water District, she was appointed to be one of two West Basin representatives on the 38-member board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in 2009. Gray had a 36-year career in the Los Angeles County Departments of Human Services and Health Services.

  • Patrick Johnston - A former member of the California Bay-Delta Authority and the California Delta Protection Commission, Johnston is President and CEO of the California Association of Health Plans. He served 20 years in the Legislature where he chaired the Senate Committee on Appropriations for six years and the Assembly Committee on Finance and Insurance for four years.

  • Hank Nordhoff - Nordhoff joined Gen-Probe in July 1994 as President and Chief Executive Officer. He retired as Chief Executive Officer in May 2009, and became non-executive Chairman of the Board, the position he holds today. From 1992 to 1994, Nordhoff served as president and chief executive officer of Targe Tech and from 1988 to 1992 he was president and chief executive officer of American Biogenetic Sciences.

  • Don Nottoli - Appointed to the Stewardship Council as chair of the Delta Protection Commission, Nottoli is a member of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors. His district includes portions of the City of Sacramento as well as several suburban communities, rural agricultural areas, and portions of the Sacramento River Delta.

  • Richard Roos-Collins - Roos-Collins has been director of legal services for the Natural Heritage Institute since 1991. Previously, he served as deputy attorney general of the public rights division for the California Department of Justice. He is co-chair of the Agricultural Water Management Council.

In subsequent meetings, the Council approved the 2010 Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) for science grants (formerly advertised as the 2009 PSP), which enabled the Delta Science Program to set a new deadline of June 30, 2010 for proposal submittal. Approximately $8 million in grants will be awarded to fund research in four areas.

The Council also was briefed on the mission of the Delta Science Program. The mission is to provide the best possible unbiased scientific information to inform water and environmental decision making in the Delta. This is done through funding research, synthesizing and communicating scientific information, promoting independent scientific peer review and coordinating science-based adaptive management. The Council also discussed procedures for selecting the Delta Independent Science Board and provided guidance in soliciting applications to the Board.

At its June meeting the Council will consider recommendations for the new Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB). Ten scientists were selected from a competitive and diverse pool of 63 applicants and the names were presented to the Council at its May 27-28 meeting, but held over to allow for full public vetting.

The Delta Stewardship Council generally meets on the fourth Thursday and Friday of every month in Sacramento, with two meetings annually to be held in the Delta.