New Delta Independent Science Board Appointed

The Delta Stewardship Council appointed 10 nationally and internationally prominent scientists to the new Delta Independent Science Board (ISB) during its June meeting as required by legislation signed into law last November.

The ISB members came from a diverse pool of 63 applicants. Members will serve five-year terms and may serve no more than two terms.

The Delta ISB reports to the full Council and will provide oversight of the scientific research, monitoring, and assessment programs that support adaptive management of the Delta through periodic reviews. By law, all of these programs must be reviewed at least once every four years.

“The future policy decisions we will be discussing and adopting into the Delta Plan need to be based on sound science,” said Council Chair Phil Isenberg. “Having access to a talented independent science board allows the Council to fully evaluate the complex ecological issues facing the Delta.”

In addition, by statute, the science board also will conduct independent science reviews of specific products to be developed in the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) process, including the BDCP Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report. The ISB has also been asked to review the BDCP and related water operations’ draft biological assessment and draft biological opinions.

The members of the science panel were recommended by Council Interim Lead Scientist Dr. Cliff Dahm, in consultation with former CALFED Science Board Chair Jeff Mount, and Council Chair Phil Isenberg. The members will serve five-year terms, and may serve no more than two terms.

“These 10 scientists bring a wide range of relevant knowledge as well as scientific stature and independence to the study of the Delta,” said Council Interim Lead Scientist Dr. Cliff Dahm. “Their collective expertise covers a large number of disciplines including geology, seismology, entomology, hydrology, fish biology, resource management and habitat restoration. Individually each is more than qualified. As a team, they will be invaluable.”

Brian Atwater. Brian Atwater - Dr. Atwater used coastal geology to help discover earthquake and tsunami hazards of the Cascadia subduction zone, which slants beneath the Pacific coast from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to Cape Mendocino, California. This work has included comparative studies in Alaska, Chile, and Japan. He also produced a widely used public-safety booklet, “Surviving a Tsunami-Lessons from Chile, Hawaii, and Japan.” He has advised earthquake and tsunami scientists in Indonesia, Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka, and has also worked in Indonesia as a Fulbright scholar. His earlier research dealt with sea levels and glaciation in central California and ice-age floods from Montana. Dr. Atwater is a U.S. Geological Survey geologist, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington.

Elizabeth Canuel. Elizabeth Canuel - Dr. Canuel’s major research interests include the biogeochemistry and cycling of organic carbon in aquatic and sedimentary systems, with emphasis on applications of lipid biomarkers, stable isotopes, studies of sediment diagenesis, and influence of humans on the carbon cycle in coastal ecosystems. Currently, she works as a Professor in the Department of Physical Sciences, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia. A member of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Estuarine Research Federation, Geochemical Society, and European Association of Organic Geochemists, she has authored 50-plus peer-reviewed publications and is co-author of the forthcoming book, “Chemical Biomarkers in Aquatic Ecosystems.”

Tracy Collier. Tracy Collier - Dr. Collier recently retired as Director of the Environmental Conservation Division of NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center. He currently works as Science Advisor to NOAA’s Oceans and Human Health Program and holds two faculty positions: Adjunct Professor, Dept. Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology at Washington State University; Affiliate Faculty, Dept. Molecular and Environmental Toxicology at Oregon State University. He has over 125 publications in the field of environmental toxicology, and has broad experience in fish biology, ecology, environmental toxicology, and the generation of scientific information to support management decisions. He received a silver medal for exceptional federal service from the Department of Commerce for his assistance in the Hurricane Katrina Emergency Response in New Orleans.

Michael Healey. Michael Healey - Throughout his career, Dr. Healey has taken a strong interest in how scientific information is used in developing resource management policy. He is recognized internationally as an expert on the ecology of Pacific salmon but also as an expert in the design of resource management systems. He has served on many national and international boards and committees including at CALFED, the Core Team, which developed the Strategic Plan for the CALFED Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP), the ERP Science Board, and the CALFED Independent Science Board. During 2007-08, Dr. Healey served as Lead Scientist for the CALFED Science Program and spearheaded publication of the “State of Bay-Delta Science, 2008.” He was also a science advisor on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force. Dr. Healey is Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

Edward Houde. Edward Houde - Dr. Houde is a Professor in the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. He has served as Director of the National Science Foundation’s Biological Oceanography Program. Dr. Houde is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a past member of the Interagency Ecological Program Science Advisory Group. He has served on numerous committees and panels, including the Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council, the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Ecosystem Principles Advisory Panel, and as Chair of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Marine Protected Areas. He co-chaired the Technical Advisory Panel that developed a Fisheries Ecosystem Plan for Chesapeake Bay and is the U.S. Co-Delegate to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.

Judy Meyer. Judy Meyer - A nationally recognized expert on aquatic ecology and rivers, Dr. Meyer is a past president of the Ecological Society of America and past Director of the River Basin Science and Policy Center at the University of Georgia. She is the 2003 recipient of the Award of Excellence in Benthic Science from the North American Benthological Society and the 2010 Naumann-Thienemann Award from the International Limnological Society. Dr. Meyer has chaired Selection Committees for the CALFED Bay-Delta Ecosystem Restoration and Science Programs’ grant selection process. She has served on the Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the National Academy of Sciences and is currently on several committees of EPA’s Science Advisory Board. Dr. Meyer previously served on the CALFED Independent Science Board.

Jeffrey Mount. Jeffrey Mount - Dr. Mount’s research program focuses on the geology, geomorphology and restoration of lowland river systems. He is also involved in the integration of science and policy in the management of California’s rivers. Author of the acclaimed book, “California Rivers and Streams,” Dr. Mount currently holds the Roy J. Shlemon Endowed Chair in Applied Geosciences at the University of California, Davis, and is the Founding Director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Klamath River, a science advisor on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force and chaired the CALFED Independent Science Board. Dr. Mount received his doctorate in Earth Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Richard Norgaard. Richard Norgaard - A pioneer in the field of ecological economics, Dr. Norgaard’s recent research addresses how complex environmental problems challenge disciplinary scientific understanding and the policy process. He serves on the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and as a member of UNEP’s International Panel on Sustainable Resource Management. He was a member of the Environmental Economics Advisory Committee of the Science Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He has served on the Board of the American Institute of Biological Sciences and as President of the International Society for Ecological Economics. Dr. Norgaard was a member of the CALFED Independent Science Board, and currently works as a Professor in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley).

Vincent Resh. Vincent Resh - Since 1975, Dr. Resh has worked at UC Berkeley as a professor and is currently in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management. His research experience includes over 300 published research studies in wetlands, streams, and large rivers on topics ranging from riverine ecology and habitat restoration to design of monitoring programs. Recently he has led scientific advisory committees on complex and controversial issues, and has been an advisor on monitoring programs throughout Africa and Asia. Dr. Resh has been honored with a Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Lyon, France in 2009 as well as the 2005 “Award of Excellence” from the North American Benthological Society, and the 2005 “Award of Recognition for Outstanding Contributions to Entomology” from the Entomological Society of America, Pacific Branch.

John Wiens. John Wiens - Dr. John Wiens is a leader in the field of landscape ecology. An Emeritus University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University and Chief Conservation Science Officer at Point Reyes Bird Observatory Conservation Science, he grew up in Oklahoma as an avid birdwatcher. This led to advanced degrees from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He served on the faculties of Oregon State University, the University of New Mexico, and Colorado State University, where he was a Professor of Ecology. In 2001 he left academia to join The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as Lead Scientist, working to integrate scientific research into conservation practice. He later became Chief Scientist at TNC. His research, which has emphasized landscape ecology and the ecology of birds, has led to over 200 scientific papers and seven books.