Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB) Update

Farewell to departing Vice-Chair Mike Healey

During its June 8 teleconference, the Delta ISB approved a memo to the Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) regarding its comments on the final staff draft of the Delta Plan.

In its earlier review of the fifth staff draft Delta Plan, the Board recommended that improvements were needed in four broad areas: integration, adaptive management, monitoring needs and performance measurements, and science needs. At the June meeting the Delta ISB found that the final staff draft “makes significant headway in addressing all four of these recommendations.” The Board sent a detailed 19-page memo to DSC on June 12 with specific recommendations to help bring the final draft closer to the Delta ISB’s expectations.

The Delta ISB also finalized a memo to the Department of Water Resources and the California Natural Resources Agency recommending integrating Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) science and providing chapter summaries in the draft BDCP Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS).

At its July 9-10 meeting the Board discussed reviews of other science programs in the Delta. Board members decided to organize their upcoming reviews by themes rather than by individual programs. Their first theme is how Delta habitat restoration efforts are planning for climate change. Board members will also begin reviewing those portions of the administrative draft of the BDCP and Draft EIR/EIS that are not likely to change in the Draft EIR/EIS.

One voice that will be missed during these discussions is Michael Healey, who recently left his position as Delta ISB Vice-Chair for personal reasons.

Throughout his career, Dr. Healey has demonstrated 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 and 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 came to the Science Program from the University of British Columbia in December 2006. As CALFED Lead Scientist, he was also a science advisor to 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.

“Mike Healey is sorely missed,” said Richard Norgaard, Chair of the Delta ISB. “Through his service on the CALFED Independent Science Board, as Independent Lead Scientist for CALFED, as an advisor to the Delta Vision process, and then on the Delta Independent Science Board, Healey came to know the Delta, Delta science, and the complications of the Delta’s governance very, very well. He conveyed his deep knowledge gracefully, steadily, and honestly, always from the perspective of an outsider looking in. He truly represented the best of what independent science has to offer.”

“Throughout his career, Dr Healey has been a tireless advocate for high quality science that increases our understanding of how complex systems work and the uncertainties in our knowledge,” said Peter Goodwin, Delta Science Program Lead Scientist. “He introduced the concept of the Delta Science Program being the ‘honest broker’ of scientific knowledge affecting the management of the Bay-Delta system.”

A search for Dr. Healey’s replacement on the Delta ISB is ongoing.

The next Delta ISB meeting will be a July 30 teleconference.