DELTA PLAN INTERAGENCY IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE: The Science Enterprise Workshop: Supporting and implementing collaborative science

Committee of state, local, and federal agencies discusses integrated modeling, what can be learned from other science enterprises in the nation

The second of two biannual meetings of the Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee was held in November of 2016.

The Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee (DPIIC) is comprised of eighteen heads of the state, federal, and local agencies that are responsible for implementation of the Delta Plan, and serves as a forum for these agencies to increase their coordination and integration in support of shared national, statewide, and local goals for the Delta.  Among those in attendance were Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross, Deputy Secretary of Water Policy Karla Nemeth, DWR Director Mark Cowin, DFW Director Chuck Bonham, State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus, Central Valley Flood Protection Board President Bill Edgar, Delta Protection Commission Chair Mary Piepho, Delta Conservancy Executive Officer Campbell Ingram, NOAA Fisheries Assistant Regional Director Maria Rea, FWS Regional Director Paul Souza, USGS Regional Director Mark Sogge, and US EPA Regional Director Tomas Torres.  The Delta Stewardship Council Chair Randy Fiorini is also the chair of the Committee.

Chair Randy Fiorini began the agenda item noting that at a meeting a year ago, the question was raised about why other large ecosystems such as the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes, and Louisiana Coast seemed to attract more federal interest and funding, particularly for science, than does the Bay-Delta.  That question led to how do all the science activities going on connect together?  “Those two questions stimulated a response from the USGS,” said Mr. Fiorini.  “Mike Chotkowski contacted me the week after that November meeting and said, your question is a good one, but I’d like to expand upon that and then help you answer that.  And so the question was morphed into how do these other areas around the country manage, fund, and communicate science?

With Mike Chotkowski’s leadership from USGS; they brought together experts from around the country, and with the help of Jessica Law, the Council’s Interagency Coordinator, together they planned and executed the Science Enterprise Workshop.  “It was an event that many people commented to me that it was the best two days that they have spent in a long time,” he said.  “Those two days were chock full of a lot of usable ideas and information.  I think it’s going to be hard to distill that down into a little bit, but out of this will come a recommendation or two for your consideration.”

The Science Enterprise Workshop was held on November 1st and 2nd at UC Davis.  “The goal of this presentation is to give a quick overview of what happened at the workshop and some of the key recommendations,” said Jessica Law.  First, lessons learned that we heard from the workshop, feedback that we’ve been getting since the workshop, and then really a set of recommendations for us to discuss.”

The term “Science Enterprise’ is meant to encompass all of the science activities that people who are living in, managing, working with these regional systems employ in order to support the policy and management decisions they need to make, said Mike Chotkowski. “This concept is important because, despite the names of all the six systems that we invited to participate in this workshop, these are not really just about the ecosystems.  The science enterprises in these regions also support the social and economic activities that are associated with the people who live in these ecosystems and also the areas that are economically dependent on these regions.”

There were six systems represented:  Puget Sound, the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, the Florida Everglades, the Louisiana Coast, and the California Bay-Delta.  Although these systems are all important from an ecological point of view, they are also important from a social and economic point of view.   “At a first approximation, the six systems we looked at account for about just under 1/3rd of the U.S. population and hundreds of billions of dollars of gross domestic products, so these are really big systems,” said Mr. Chotkowski.  “They are important for reasons that go beyond ecological interests.  So given the complexity and the number of issues that need to be addressed in management of these systems, we felt it was important to really look at science overall and not just at ecosystem science.  We’re looking at these more holistically.”

The workshop program was two days.  On the first day, all six systems were present, and lead scientists or others who were in a position of expertise and responsibility in each of the systems gave presentations explaining how their science enterprise operates, the historical factors, the resource management issues that are being addressed, social issues, and the relative roles of state, federal, and local governments and private interests in conducting science and management.  The second day was devoted to four topical panels; Science strategies in large programs, governance and adaptive management, funding and resource allocation, and then legitimacy, coproduction and communication.

We felt the last panel was very important because in considering a science enterprise where multiple management issues, not just ecosystem issues are being addressed, it’s important that science be viewed as legitimate, credible and relevant, and also that people trust that science is being done as a way to reveal the truth rather than to push an agenda,” said Mr. Chotkowski.  “It’s as important a factor here as it is in a lot of other places, and what we found in the course of the event was that salience was a topic in all of six systems that we looked at, and all six systems have one way or another addressed the issue by either adopting coproduction approaches or other means of ensuring that stakeholders and managers are engaged in the production of science.”

The workshop was attended by 185 participants.  There were four days of activities; the first day, they took the experts who traveled from other parts of the country out in a boat in the Delta to help orient them to what’s going on in the Bay-Delta.  The workshop itself was held on November 1st and 2nd; on the 3rd, a working session was held to help prepare for this presentation and get feedback as to what this might mean for the Delta.

All the recommendations that we’re about to talk about are synthesized at the workshop and during the working session,” said Jessica Law.  “Then we did a survey after the workshop to gather feedback from the community at large about what some important recommendations are overall.”  A report from the workshop is planned to summarize the lessons learned and the outcomes overall.

Mike Chotkowski reminded the committee that the event happened less than two weeks ago, and that it’s going to take awhile to fully sort out what they heard, so what he’ll be describing are some of the first thoughts they had with the organizing committee regarding the messages that should be drawn from this event.

Ms. Law then recapped the list of overall, what they heard.  “Overall key components of effective science enterprises include integrated modeling and forecasting, peer review or over the shoulder review process, communication on important scientific findings, integration of social sciences, willingness to do adaptive management, competitive science funding to attract the best and brightest, and clear leadership and decision making structure with responsibility at the highest level.

These are things that came up repeatedly in discussions from some of these other systems,” said Mr. Chotkowski.  “I would just remind everyone that the five other regional systems that we heard from all have major management issues that they are trying to address, so I think the reappearance of some of these themes over and over again in different systems reflects the fact that some of the same issues are bubbling up elsewhere.  That was doubly interesting to us, not only to hear some confirmation of the issues that we have here are not unique, but also that some of these other systems have done some fairly creative thinking in some cases about how to address them.”

Mr. Chotkowski then ran through the list:

Use integrated modeling and forecasting to support decision making: “This came up in several other systems,” he said.  “Essentially the concept is that the transparent credible models that link physical and biological dynamics are important to ensuring that decision making is informed.  This is an issue that arises everywhere.  These models have been produced in most of these systems; they are fairly well developed in at least three of them.  A couple of them deal with existential issues; for example, the one in Louisiana deals with the question of not only what’s going to happen to local ecosystems but also what’s going to happen to the land over time.  Others are more explicitly oriented towards biological issues, for example in the Everglades.  This theme came up repeatedly, and it’s something we’re going to be developing in much more detail in the report.

Peer review or over-the-shoulder review process:  “Independent review processes help to make research more credible, relevant, legitimate, and efficient,” said Mr. Chotkowski, noting that this includes peer review and independent reviews such as those from the National Academies of Science or bodies like the Independent Science Board, as well as other more creative types of review, such as the ‘over the shoulder review,’ which was described by Denise Reed for the Louisiana system as essentially a more in-depth version of peer review where the review supervision actually occurs during the whole life of the development of the science.

The idea of audits also came up, and essentially what’s meant here is a very rigorous review of existing programs, particularly monitoring programs to make sure that the questions they are addressing are still the most important questions that need to be addressed and that the methods are as efficient as they can be,” he said.  “We heard some examples where these sorts of reviews resulted in pretty significant changes to programs, particularly because long-term monitoring tends to develop a life of its own over time and it’s important to go in with some regularity and check that that money is actually being spent efficiently.”

Clear communication on science findings:  “Everyone felt like clear communication was something that was struggled for in these systems, but it was essential to accomplish it in order to ensure public engagement and understanding,” said Mr. Chotkowski.  “There’s another aspect to this communication issue, and that is that it’s essential that communication be two-way between stakeholders and managers and the people conducting the science as it’s an essential mechanism to ensure that science is usable as opposed to just being useful.  This is another nugget of a concept that came up repeatedly:  the distinction between things that are useful – the things that you might want to have on the shelf for reference later, versus something that’s usable, meaning that it actually has been done in a way that makes it very relevant to the decisions that you need to make, so that it’s something that can be applied directly, rather than just as background for some further investigation.  It’s a very important concept that again gets at the efficiency at which science supports management.”

Integrate social science with natural science and engineering to understand the full scope of management issues:  “It’s important to view these regional systems as more than just about ecology; they are also about the social and economic interests of the people who live in those areas,” said Mr. Chotkowski.  “One thing that’s been developed more in some systems than others is the use of social science and the integration of social science thinking into the management of science programs because there was quite of bit of agreement across the board that having social science perspectives was helpful to formulating and refining science programs to make them really useful to people.”

Be willing to do adaptive management:  “This isn’t strictly a science topic but it did come up in this workshop more than once,” Mr. Chotkowski said.  “In essence, adaptive management is hard to do.  We heard a number of stories from different systems where people have attempted adaptive management and it’s used almost universally now but there were many fewer examples of its success than there were examples of its application.  We heard a couple of perspectives on what’s required for adaptive management to succeed and we’ll be developing those in the report.

Leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit on the part of the people running the adaptive management program are essential to its success; adaptive management in the view of some who spoke is not going to work if it’s done bureaucratically; it really needs a champion in order to succeed, he said.  “It’s also essential that people understand that adaptive management is not experimentation in these system.   Where there are really crucial management issues, no one who is in a position of having to manage and set policy wants to do ‘experiments’, so adaptive management really has to be framed as a mechanism for providing progressively better information to inform decisions over time.”

Mr. Chotkowski noted that it was also said that it’s essential for people who are conducting science to understand the varying levels of tolerance for uncertainty that managers and policymakers have.  “Frequently there’s a mismatch between the views of scientists on the concept of uncertainty means versus what managers think uncertainty, and it’s essential to bridge that gap in order for science programs and science leaders to make science as useful as it can be to management.”

Use competitive funding mechanisms to attract the best and the brightest:  “It’s really important in managing a science enterprise to understand that some of the more difficult problems are only going to be accessible to the best and the brightest and it’s important to find ways to get them working on them,” said Mr. Chotkowski.  “It isn’t enough just to put people on a problem; you have to find the right people to put on them, and one way to do that is by competitive funding mechanisms that make funding available to people who are not just agency scientists but also to academics, consultants, NGOs, people in other countries, and others who might have the relevant expertise that you really need to bring to the table, so it’s important for people who running a science enterprise are engaged in that and figure out ways to achieve it.”

Have clear leadership and decision making structures that have responsibility clearly identified and have links to the highest level of leadership:    There were multiple arguments made for this from some of the larger systems as some of those programs have clear links that are established by the organizing documents that go right to the Department level in the federal government and to state leadership on the state sides.  “This was viewed as being essential for a number of reasons, including making sure that programs are actually responsive to the leadership that’s ultimately on the hook for programs being executed, but also that leadership is essential to avoid bureaucratic inertia or programs being bogged down and being just about process and not about outcomes,” said Mr. Chotkowski.  “Having those clear leadership links made it easier for programs to have champions that had the support of higher management that were able to go in and really get things done.

Jessica Law noted that they have some early returns from the survey.  They have had a 33% response rate; on the left are the results for key components of an effective science enterprise, and on the right are lessons learned for the California Bay Delta.  The difference between the two tables is the one on the right for the California Bay Delta also includes some lessons on focusing more on climate change impacts in the Delta and then having more integration between the bay and the Delta and really the entire watershed.  She also noted that the scale is from 1 to 5 with 5 being very important, and 1 being not that important.  “All of these things ranked as being either important of very important, so we’re taking our cues from that,” she said.

Next steps and recommendations:

Get started on key early initiatives:  Ms. Law said that there are three things they identified as having a lot of momentum that they think early actions can be taken by setting up DPIIC workgroups.  First, to develop a proposal for improved integrated modeling that focuses on forecasting and management decisions, and climate change, sea level rise, ecohydrology, or other topics.  Second, develop a joint funding strategy, an action that was originally identified in the Delta Science Plan to include new competitive research grants program to attract the best and the brightest and to better integrate social sciences and engineering.  Third, to develop near term actions to improve science management and communication between the Bay and the Delta.

Complete the Science Enterprise Workshop Outcomes Report:  The report will further define a suite of recommended actions and best practices for improvement to Delta science management, funding, and communication including, but not limited to, a communication and public education plan for the Bay Delta science community, and to identify champions that can help support these initiatives.  “A formal review of science governance and management structure should be conducted to recommend improvements to better identify leadership, formalize organizational structure, improve decision making, in some way through a third party audit and using that as a method,” Ms. Law said.  “Then additional proposals for how to better integrate social sciences with natural sciences and engineering, and additional tools needed to understand and communicate risk from climate change and sea level rise.”

Ms. Law noted that these are not brand new ideas; work has been done on these already.  “There’s a lot of support we received from the workshop both from within the science community and our outside experts that have been checking in with us since then saying they are happy to help in some way,” she said.

Continue to use DPIIC workgroups to track progress on current initiatives, such as the 2017 Science Action Agenda, the Adaptive Management Framework for water operations and ecosystem restoration.  The Delta ISB is doing a review of the monitoring enterprise, and AB 1755, the data management legislation that was just passed that is being implemented by many of the agencies.  “We think that we can use DPIIC workgroups to track progress on a lot of these while still working on proposals for some of the other key initiatives,” Ms. Law said.

DISCUSSION

The Committee first discussed integrated modeling.

Chair Fiorini began by saying that the need for better integrating models for forecasting was something that was discussed at the workshop extensively.

DWR Director Mark Cowin asked how the integrated models being proposed relate to the existing models in use.  “What kind of time frames are we talking about to get something that’s functional, and why shouldn’t I be skeptical that this won’t be more vaporware?

We’re talking about models that specifically relate both the physical and biological parts of the environment; there aren’t very many of those in our system right now,” said Mr. Chotkowski.  “Models that actually integrate both of those, particularly ones that also incorporate hydrology and changes in atmospheric dynamics over time are thin on the ground.  The question you’re raising about what would be the initial objective and what would be the timeline, those are important questions … we were talking about the desirability of having a small committee get together in order to frame how this would be done, preferably within existing resources and on a specifically chosen problem that everyone agrees would be useful to address and could be addressed in a reasonable amount of time.”

Chair Fiorini asked Dr. Clifford Dahm to cite some successes that have come out of the integrated modeling approach.

Dr. Dahm gave three examples.  The first is the Lousiana Coast.  There, they are trying to protect their coastline and prevent loss of land that is occurring along the coast.  They ahve many options to consider in routing fresh water and sediment in teh coastal area.  “ To do that, they needed something that was spatially explicit that dealt with all of the coastline of Louisiana, and that required getting the engineering models, the sediment transport models, the hydrodynamic models, and the coastal ocean models all working together.  … The Governor’s office provided the resources and they brought modelers, about 50 or 60 of them, from throughout the state of Louisiana.  They brought together the best of the best, and in an 18 month period, came up with something that now has become the focus of their planning effort and they have started to implement this to try to protect that loss of coastal land.”

That was an example of pulling together modeling capacity, much like what exists here in the Delta and the Bay where there is modeling capacity in many of the agencies, in many of the academic institutions, and in many private companies.  “The idea is to get the people here on a regular basis interacting with each other, communicating with each other, and maybe even having a place that they can go and work together, where they have the computational resources that they need and where they can take one model and link it to another model and make sure that they are basically driving a set of scenarios that allow some of these complex problems to be addressed.”

Another example is in the Everglades.  The two big issues are water quality and invasive species, and they really needed to have a better sense of how water quality is affecting the changing condition of the Everglades and facilitating a lot of these invasive species problems that they have.  “This required then the coupling of accurate hydrodynamic models with models that could model the biogeochemical processes that would be going on, so that they could then actually design structurally locations within the Everglades where they could deal with the excess nutrient loading coming in from agricultural areas to the north,” said Dr. Dahm.  “This was an example where they also invested a huge amount of effort in getting different types of modelers working together to address questions that were of concern to the Everglades.”

The third example from the Chesapeake Bay.  There was a water quality issue, in this case turbidity causing optical deterioration of the Bay and also water quality problems that are producing low oxygen and hypoxia problems within there.   “It’s getting a good representation of the hydrodynamics of the Chesapeake Bay and then linking it to all of these disparate sources of sediment and disparate sources of nutrients coming in from 7 states and the DC area – getting those models linked, working together, getting people from the 7 different states involved, so it was a multi-state and multi-agency effort.”

These are the kinds of things we’re thinking about trying to facilitate here in the Delta,” said Dr. Dahm.  “Many of your agencies have outstanding modeling programs, but we really would like facilitate getting these interactions and these discussions and these dialogs going, and also getting progress on where models that might do the same thing but don’t always give you the same answer, run them on the same data set and see where they are coalescing, where there is divergence and use that as a learning exercise, so this is the basic concept that we heard from the workshop.”

Regarding the recommendation for modeling, I have a love-hate relationship with modeling,” said Paul Souza, Regional Director for the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  “I think that at its best, it can be extraordinarily helpful, and at its worst, it can become a rabbit hole.”

He said he was generally supportive of the proposal, but the leadership of the organizations should be engaged so they can make sure their limited capacity is spent on the most important activities.

Michelle Banonis, ‎Bay Delta Office Area Manager at Bureau of Reclamation, agreed with the concept.  “It almost seems like this is more of a two-part process.  It seems like first of all, we need to sort of figure out what the shared objectives are for integration of those models – actually making that call which may or may not be a technical discussion.  Then it seems like pulling the technical folks together to hash out how we integrate those models to achieve those objectives, so I don’t want to put the cart before the horse by getting technical folks in a room to discuss integration when I think we need to have the discussion about what we’re integrating to achieve.”

I think the intent would be for presumably the fish and the water agencies around the table to identify someone in their organization that could meet collectively to have that conversation and by April of next year, bring back any recommendations for consideration,” said Committee Chair Randy Fiorini.  “A select group of people discussing the possibilities and potentially bringing back some recommended actions to be considered.”

Maria Rea, Assistant Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Central Valley Office, spoke in support of some work on this.  “There are existing modeling forums, but I think taking a fresh look as a result of this conference and also with the focus on forecasting and the focus on linking hydrodynamic models or physical models with biological models would be helpful to get that focus. Giving that team a little bit of guidance to make sure whatever they are thinking about is usable, because I think we all have seen a lot of models generated with very good intentions but they don’t really hit the mark when you try to push them across to the management side of the house.”

One of the things we heard also is that integrated modeling is very useful when it comes to forecasting,” added Jessica Law.  “One of the analogies that was used at the workshop was that it’s nice to have a weather forecast that tells you that it rained yesterday at 3pm; it’s even more important to know what the weather’s going to be like in 10 days, and even more important to understand what climate conditions are going to be in the long-term.  So I think the integrated modeling proposal, I think its usefulness is really strong on the forecasting side.  Certainly from the Delta Stewardship Council’s perspective, we have a long-term management goal for the Delta, we’re looking at 2100 in our plan and I think this is something that can be really supportive of that overall.”

I’m encouraged by a lot of the comments I am hearing,” said Mark Sogge, Regional Director for the USGS Pacific Region.  “To me, a key to a good integrated modeling isn’t just modeling that combines the physical and the biological; it’s integrated across agencies, and it’s integrated between the science and the resource community, so I really encourage you to figure out how to move this forward, take those into account, too.  I think that’s got to be the ultimate end game that we’re going for.”

Committee Chair Randy Fiorini then asked the Committee members if they were willing to commit human resources to work on considering recommendations for integrated modeling.

Within reason,” said State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus.  “I think exploring it and seeing if there’s a cost benefit.  There’s value there in a relatively short term with a limited amount of time is something I think we could do, but if it’s somebody full time to work on a workgroup, we have way to many other things that we have to do. There’s always the cost benefit that would be nice, too.  I’ve been sitting here, going back and forth on all these things, and how do you prioritize amongst them? We’re not made of scientists.  None of us are.”

I’m firm maybe as well, but let me caveat my firm maybe,” said Mark Cowin, Director of the Department of Water Resources.  “I agree with the general comments made and concern about the adventures through the rabbit holes.  I do think in the spirit of a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, so that this is a solid recommendation.  I would propose as we get the next report, I think it’s important not only to consider bringing technical modeling experts from our agencies together but someone from our agencies that also deals with policy decision making and the usefulness of models, because frankly even the best integrated modeling system we might develop is useless unless there is buy-in from all of our agencies and a commitment to adopt and use such a framework.  Speaking very bluntly, I think we all have our own protocols, our own ways of doing business, and some of that will have to be overcome if we’re to adopt a new approach.”

How about you come back with a specific proposal instead of an open ended one, and that might facilitate moving the maybes to yes,” suggested Director of Fish and Game Chuck Bonham.  “So you have a sense of the boundaries and the possible work load.  I think it’s the right place to start when you say integrate models, but there’s a whole heck of a lot more that you need to understand to make an informed opinion on how to allocate some of the resources.

What I’m gathering from this is there’s an appetite to consider this, but it needs to be well defined,” said Chair Randy Fiorini.  He then asked if any of the seven recommendations that Mr. Chotkowski discussed that were of interest to other committee members?

Michelle Banonis from the Bureau of Reclamation liked the competitive process idea. “I think we need to think about that a little bit in the context of what we already fund and also how that competitive process probably overlaps and/or integrates with existing processes, like CSAMP, IEP, and even our own existing reasonable and prudent alternative implementation. But I think for our end of things, we probably want to look at competitive science as a real viable option in looking at future adaptive management processes, science, modeling, and things of that nature.”

Mark Sogge, USGS Director for the Pacific region, was supportive of the idea of more integration with the social sciences.  “Almost every forum I’m involved in, whether it be climate change or drought, it keeps coming up that we need more social science integration.”

I think anything on figuring out how to help us all communicate better to translate and bridge between science and policy,” said Felicia Marcus, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board.  ““I think you’ve made some great strides in that over the course, it’s one of the single accomplishments, but we still all have a long way to go, so I wouldn’t want to put that by the wayside.  That always stays at the top of my list … I like usable, as opposed to useful.  I think that has to be constant, a post it on the bathroom mirror, that we have to think about all the time.”

I just wanted to second what Felicia said about the communication aspect,” said Tomas Torres, Director of the Water Division at US EPA in San Francisco.  “We do a lot of great work and we are just as guilty at not being able to communicate effectively on the science.  Looking at the entire watershed, from the Bay all the way to San Francisco, one of the things that I was going to mention was the 2016 SF Blueprint is out, and it includes not just San Francisco but it also includes the Delta.  As we think about resources and funding, it would be good to also leverage those existing efforts that are underway to make sure that we are taking advantage of other resources and capacity that’s out there.”

One of the things I’ve found in my career is oftentimes it’s really important to revisit the decisions that have been made in science investment in the past, and ask are these really the most important questions,” said Paul Souza, Regional Director for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, said it’s important to revisit decisions made in science investment in the past, and assess whether those are still the most important questions.  “I’ve always found that the real magic occurs when you have policymakers and scientists working together and identifying the important investments that are going to allow us information in real time to make the best choices.  I found in my time in the Everglades, we had to have a very purposeful effort to bring that conversation together, and sometimes it was a challenge, as we all have passion and there are legacy investments that occur and people don’t’ want to let go of issues.  But the reality is our budgets are such that we’re not looking at increases these days.  When you see investments, you’re talking about taking that money from somewhere else.  So my question would be, in this workshop, did this conversation come up and do we feel like in the Delta, that we have the apparatus in place that allows us to have those regular check-ins in a vertical integration, scientists and policymakers, looking at what we’re investing in and making sure we’re investing in the right things?

Aside from recommendation one, recommendations 2 through 7 seems largely like common sense sort of ideas that have been contemplated before to me,” said Mark Cowin, Director of the Department of Water Resources.  “Of course it makes me wonder why we haven’t been successful in adopting these approaches in the past, and if you ask me to answer that question, the highest hurdle we have in being more successful in these recommendations is the way we govern ourselves between our agencies, and that’s exactly why we’re sitting around this table today, to try to do that better.  I think we ought to adopt these components as the guiding principles for how we work around this table.”

I have no objections to any of these,” said Mark Sogge, USGS Director for the Pacific region.  “My question is more just now quite sure what would it mean if these were to become our aspirational goals?  If we were to adopt these as some sort of guiding principles?

Chair Fiorini said,  “I’m hoping that you will agree to designate someone from each of your agencies to take a look at these key components and determine specific actions that could be implemented to better manage science, to seek better funding, and to develop better communication options or mechanisms.  I think out of this will come specifics and this will help us to focus on the things that have worked well in other areas that we want to figure out ways to do better here.  But it’s going to require ultimately a workgroup.  It’s going to require a group of folks that are given some direction and asked to report back in six months to you all about some specific actions that should be incorporated among many agencies.”

Mark Cowin, DWR Director said, “There are specific things we can do figure out how to do better relative to any one of these discrete actions, but I think this might not be the complete list, but it’s a good list and if we periodically reviewed it to see how we’re doing relative to this list in our collective actions in the Bay Delta, I think that would be worthwhile.”

I think we have approval to seek out representatives from these agencies to work with these principles to formalize some recommended actions,” said Chair Randy Fiorini.

For progress to be made on many of these items that we’ve talked about here, included the ones you’ve talked about becoming more specific on the items, they really don’t happen unless you have a champion,” said Dr. Dahm.  “You need to have a full-time person who wants to passionately see it get done, as forming committees isn’t a particularly effective way of getting these things implemented.  So I would like us to think about getting a champion for a few of these key things that works full time to make it happen, much like we’ve had David Okita and Kris Tjernell working on Eco Restore – some similar kind of commitment of an individual I think would make these much more likely to happen.”

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