Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee Members
Susan Tatayon - Chair, Delta Stewardship Council
Susan Tatayon is Chair of the Delta Stewardship Council. Over the course of her 35-year career in water resource management, she has worked for The Nature Conservancy, a multinational water resources consulting firm, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and the California Department of Water Resources. At The Nature Conservancy, she worked with agencies, water, and reclamation districts, and natural resource managers to design, advocate, and implement policies to conserve biodiversity. During her time at a multinational consulting firm, her responsibilities included advising clients about multi-agency, collaborative problem solving, developing strategies or agreements to help clients achieve their water management objectives, and managing projects and staff. At the Bureau, she served as special assistant to the Bureau’s Mid-Pacific regional director, and at DWR, she served as special assistant to the Chief Deputy Director. Tatayon was elected to the Floodplain Management Association board of directors in 2013. From 2011 to 2013, she co-chaired the California Water Plan Update Advisory Committee’s Finance Caucus. In 2009, she served on work groups that helped define the scope of the first Central Valley Flood Protection Plan. In 2007, she served as a member of the stakeholder group advising the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force for sustainable management of the Delta.
Chuck Bonham - Director, California Department of Fish & Wildlife
Charlton “Chuck” Bonham was appointed Director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in September 2011. Before Fish and Wildlife, Bonham served in a number of roles for Trout Unlimited (TU) for more than 10 years, including serving as the organization’s California director since 2004, where he was responsible for developing, managing, and implementing TU's California programs. This included the California Water Project, Sportsmen’s Conservation Project, and restoration and watershed projects in both Northern and Southern California. In addition, Bonham was a senior attorney for the organization. Bonham also served on the Board of Directors of the Delta Conservancy, whose mission is to conserve, sustain, and enhance the cultural, agricultural, recreational, wildlife, and natural habitat resources of the River Delta region, as well as develop and promote sustainable protection, management and stewardship programs through research and education. Bonham received his Juris Doctor degree and Environmental and Natural Resources Law Certificate from the Northwestern School of Law of Lewis and Clark College, in Portland, Oregon. Before Trout Unlimited, he was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, West Africa, and an instructor and guide at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, in Bryson City, North Carolina.
Karen Ross - Secretary, California Department of Food & Agriculture
Karen Ross was appointed Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture on January 12, 2011, by then-Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Ross has deep leadership experience in agricultural issues nationally, internationally, and here in California. Before joining CDFA, Ross was chief of staff for U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a position she accepted in 2009. Prior to that appointment, she served as president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers from 1996-2009, and as vice-president of the Agricultural Council of California from 1989-1996. Before moving to California, Ross served as the director of government relations for the Nebraska Rural Electric Association and as a field representative for U.S. Senator Edward Zorinsky.
Karla Nemeth - Director, California Department of Water Resources
Karla Nemeth was appointed Director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) by then-Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on January 10, 2018. DWR operates and maintains the California State Water Project, manages floodwaters, monitors dam safety, conducts habitat restoration, and provides technical assistance and funding for projects for local water needs. Nemeth oversees DWR and its mission to manage and protect California’s water resources, working with other agencies to benefit the State’s people and to protect, restore, and enhance the natural and human environments. Nemeth worked at the California Natural Resources Agency as Governor Brown’s deputy secretary and senior advisor for water policy beginning in 2014. She was the Bay Delta Conservation Plan project manager from 2009 to 2014 and the environmental and public affairs director for the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District from 2005 to 2009. She was also a community affairs manager at Jones and Stokes from 2003 to 2005.
Jared Blumenfeld - Secretary, California Environmental Protection Agency
Jared Blumenfeld is widely recognized as one of America’s most innovative environmental leaders. In 2016, he founded his own private firm advising clean tech companies in best practices after serving eight successful years as Regional Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency for the Pacific Southwest, including California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and 148 tribal nations, under President Barack Obama. He was previously Director of the San Francisco Department of Environment for nine years, where he and then-Mayor Newsom worked effectively to make San Francisco the most sustainable city in the nation. Blumenfeld also served as general manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, director of the Treasure Island Redevelopment Authority, chairman of United Nations World Environment Day, director of Habitat Protection at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and executive director of Earth Summit Watch for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Blumenfeld graduated from Cambridge College of Arts and Technology and earned a Master of Laws degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of London.
Wade Crowfoot - Secretary, California Natural Resources Agency
Wade Crowfoot was the chief executive officer of the Water Foundation from 2016 to 2018. He was deputy cabinet secretary and senior advisor to Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2013 to 2016. Crowfoot also served as deputy director for Brown’s Office of Planning and Research from 2011 to 2013. He was the West Coast political director at the Environmental Defense Fund from 2009 to 2011 and a senior environmental advisor to former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom from 2004 to 2007.
Bill Edgar - President, Central Valley Flood Protection Board
Bill Edgar was appointed as a member of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board on January 27, 2012, by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. and subsequently, on March 19, 2012, appointed as the Board’s President by Governor Brown. Edgar has co-owned an accounting services firm, Edgar & Associates, LLP, since 1999. He was a contract executive director for the Sutter-Butte Flood Control Agency from December 2007 to January 2012. In 2011, he was the interim city manager for the City of Sacramento while the City was recruiting for the position. Edgar was a member of the California Reclamation Board from 2001 to 2005. He was City Manager for the City of Sacramento from 1993 to 1999 and Assistant City Manager from 1977 to 1992. He also served concurrently as the first executive director of the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency from 1988 until 1992. Edgar’s career in government service spans nearly 50 years, having served as assistant city manager and city manager for the City of Pleasanton from 1965 to 1977 and the State of Pennsylvania prior to that. While in Sacramento, he developed a successful record of inter-agency cooperation during his separate assignments as the executive directors for the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, the Sacramento Transit Development Agency, the Sacramento City/County Office of Metropolitan Water Planning, and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency. Edgar's contributions to the community have been honored by the American Society of Public Administration, the League of California Cities, the League of Women Voters, and by the Modern Transit Society of Sacramento.
Oscar Villegas - Chair, Delta Protection Commission
Yolo County Supervisor Oscar Villegas serves on the Delta Stewardship Council in the post reserved for the chair of the Delta Protection Commission. In November 2016, Villegas was elected for a second term as the Yolo County Supervisor for District 1, which encompasses a majority of West Sacramento and the community of Clarksburg. In January 2018, Villegas assumed the role of chair of the Board of Supervisors. During his tenure on the Board of Supervisors commencing in February 2014, Villegas also served on the California State Association of Counties (CSAC)/League of California Cities Joint Homelessness Task Force, National Association of Counties Board of Directors, Yolo Bypass Partnership, and the Yolo County Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Agricultural Labor. Most recently in 2018, Villegas was appointed to co-chair CSAC's Housing, Land Use and Transportation Committee.
Laurel Larsen - Lead Scientist, Delta Science Program
Dr. Larsen is an associate professor in the departments of Geography and Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley and is a fellow in the Berkeley Institute of Data Sciences, an affiliate of the National Center for Earth Dynamics, and an elected fellow in the Geological Society of America. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and her work focuses primarily on how flowing water structures the form and function of landscapes, with emphases on the Florida Everglades, southern Louisiana, and streams and watersheds across the US, including intermittent streams in coastal California. Larsen’s Environmental Systems Dynamics Laboratory takes a complex-systems approach to environmental problems, seeking to understand the set of interactions and feedbacks that produce surprising or unanticipated behaviors. The lab’s approach to problems integrates fieldwork, data-driven analyses, laboratory experiments, and numerical modeling of physical processes to identify the most critical drivers of landscape-scale change and generate predictions about how landscapes will respond to climate change or changes in management.
Barry Thom - Administrator, NOAA Fisheries (West Coast)
Barry Thom is the Regional Administrator of NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region. He has worked extensively on salmon recovery in the Columbia River basin and West Coast, including convening the Columbia Basin Partnership, a collaborative process to establish long-term goals for Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead and managing the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund. Thom is also the U.S. Commissioner to the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. In this role, he serves as head of the U.S. delegation and the lead U.S. negotiator responsible for the formulation of U.S. positions related to potential resolutions for tuna and tuna-like species in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. From 2009-2010, Thom served as the acting regional administrator for the former Northwest Region of NOAA Fisheries, during which time the West Coast Trawl Catch Share fishery was developed. Before that, he was the deputy regional administrator of the Northwest Region before becoming the deputy of the newly merged West Coast Region in 2013. Thom began his career as a research biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and moved to NOAA Fisheries in Silver Spring, Maryland in 2001. While in Silver Spring, he served on the Pacific Salmon team and as the protected species program coordinator within the Office of Protected Resources. He returned to the Pacific Northwest in 2006. Thom earned a master’s degree in fisheries science from the University of Washington in 1997 and a bachelor’s degree in fisheries science from Oregon State University in 1992.
Campbell Ingram - Executive Officer, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy
Campbell became the first Executive Officer of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy in March of 2011. The Conservancy is tasked with being a lead agency for ecosystem restoration in the Delta and supporting efforts that advance environmental protection and the economic well-being of Delta residents. Previously, Campbell was an Associate Director of The Nature Conservancy’s California Water Program where he participated in the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan effort as a Steering Committee member. Campbell previously worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where he was responsible for implementing several CVPIA restoration programs and the CALFED Environmental Water Program; and prior to that was employed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation working directly for the CALFED Ecosystem Restoration Program.
E. Joaquin Esquivel - Chair, State Water Resources Control Board
E. Joaquin Esquivel was appointed to the State Water Resources Control Board by Governor Jerry Brown in March 2017 and designated by Governor Gavin Newsom as Chair in February 2019. Previously, he served as assistant secretary for federal water policy at the California Natural Resources Agency in the Governor’s Washington, D.C., office, where he facilitated the development of policy priorities between the agency, the Governor’s Office, the California Congressional delegation, and federal stakeholder agencies. He worked for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California for more than eight years prior to his recent appointment, most recently as her legislative assistant covering agriculture, Native American, water, oceans, and nutrition portfolios, in addition to serving as the director of information and technology. He was born and raised in California’s Coachella Valley. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Josephine Axt - Chief of Planning, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Josephine Axt has served in her current capacity with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since 2015. Prior to coming to the regional office, she served as chief of planning at the Los Angeles District. She oversees a division with technical expertise in plan formulation, environmental compliance, economics, watershed planning, and flood risk management. Her Planning and Policy Division’s role includes reviewing subordinate District products, guiding project development, and conducting quality assurance. While Chief of Planning Division at the Los Angeles District, Axt oversaw a group of about 50 people in the formulation and evaluation of alternatives in the major mission areas of flood risk management, navigation, and ecosystem restoration. She worked closely with non-federal sponsors to manage flood risk, improve navigation, and restore ecosystems throughout southern California, southern Nevada, southeastern Utah, and Arizona.
Ernest Conant - Regional Director, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Mid-Pacific Region)
As Director of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region, Conant manages one of the nation's largest and most complex water projects, the Central Valley Project, as well as Oregon's Klamath Project; Nevada's Newlands, Humboldt, Washoe and Truckee Storage projects; and California's Cachuma, Orland, Santa Maria, Solano and Ventura River projects. Most recently, Conant served as the chair of the Water/Special Districts/Environmental Law Practice Group for Young Wooldridge where he was involved in negotiating major water agreements and led water banking and other storage initiatives.
Vacant, U.S. Department of the Interior
Bio coming soon.
Tomás Torres - Director, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Pacific Southwest Region)
Tomás Torres serves as Director of the Water Division at the EPA in San Francisco. The Water Division, in collaboration with states, tribes, and its many stakeholders, is responsible for safeguarding drinking water in the Pacific Southwest and for restoring watersheds, oceans, and their aquatic ecosystems to protect human health and support economic and recreational activities. Torres is responsible for overseeing effective implementation of national water laws and for oversight and funding of state and tribal water protection programs in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, and the outer Pacific Islands. He has more than 25 years of environmental management experience in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining the Water Division in October of 2015, Torres served as Director of EPA’s San Diego Border Office, where he oversaw the development and implementation of environmental protection programs along the U.S.-Mexico border. He has held various leadership positions in EPA’s Land and Superfund programs and has worked in the private sector developing industrial capacity in the areas of air emissions reduction, pollution prevention, and health risk assessment. Torres is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.
Paul Souza - Regional Director, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Pacific Southwest)
Paul Souza is Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Southwest Region. Souza oversees service programs in California, Nevada, and the Klamath Basin of Oregon, implementing federal laws and policies including the Endangered Species Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act. He also leads the region’s 50 national wildlife refuges, three national fish hatcheries and 13 fisheries, and ecological services field offices from the region’s Sacramento headquarters. Prior to serving in the service’s national headquarters in Washington, D.C., Souza was a field supervisor for the South Florida Ecological Services Office, where he led actions to recover 67 listed species and protect a host of important habitats for migratory birds, fish, and other wildlife. He helped lead the effort to restore America’s Everglades with partners, implementing projects to improve the health of the environment for species such as the Florida panther, wood stork, and snail kite.
Mark Sogge - Director, U.S. Geological Survey (Pacific Region)
As Regional Director for the U.S. Geological Survey's Pacific Region, Mark Sogge oversees USGS science centers in California, Nevada, and Hawaii. As a USGS ecologist and research scientist from 1996-2008, he led studies that focused on threatened and endangered birds, and Southwest riparian habitats. Sogge has extensive experience in USGS science management and leadership, starting as station leader at the Southwest Biological Science Center (2005-2008), as chief of staff for the Western Regional Director (2008-2010), as associate regional executive for the former Pacific Southwest Region (2010-2012), and most recently as associate regional director in the Southwest Region (2012-2013).
Larry Goldzband - Executive Director, San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission
Larry Goldzband joined BCDC as Executive Director in August 2012. Prior his appointment, Goldzband was a Coro Foundation Fellow, worked for members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, was Chief Deputy Cabinet Secretary for former Governor Pete Wilson, and was director of the California Department of Conservation. In the private sector, he managed Pacific Gas and Electric Company's charitable contributions program for over 10 years and was the executive director of the PG&E Corporation Foundation. In the nonprofit sector, Goldzband was the policy director for Efficiency First California prior to starting at BCDC. In addition, Goldzband twice served as a BCDC Commissioner for a total of almost ten years. He received his undergraduate degree from Pomona College and his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.