California Watershed Management Action Plan
Steering Committee Meeting
Thursday, February 2, 2006
9:00 Review of Agenda and approval of minutes Cathy Bleier (Resources Agency)
9:05 Watershed Health Indicators Presentation and Recommendations (Stefan Lorenzato, DWR)
9:45 Regional Water Mgmt Planning and Role of Watershed Mgmt
o Current IRWMP activities and financing legislation Mark Cowin (DWR)
o Discussion of watershed interests and roles of other agencies All
10:15 Identifying common watershed goals by region(s) Neal Fishman (SCC)
10:40 Transitioning CalFed Watershed Program to statewide scope
o Program update John Lowrie (BDA)
o Integrating CALFED Watershed stakeholder advisory group with Watershed Action Plan
Steering Committee Robert Meacher (BDPAC, Watershed Subcommittee)
11:20 Working Lands Council Jay Chamberlin (Resources Agency), Steve Shaffer (DFA)
11:30 Results and recommendations from survey of outsourced data bases (NRPI and Funding)
John Ellison, Cathy Bleier (Resources)
11:45 Planning Next Mtg: dates and key agenda items
11:55 Watershed Program updates, announcements, etc.
Attendees: Cathy Bleier, John Ellison, Stan Bajorin (Resources Agency); Rick Brausch
(CalEPA); Stefan Lorenzato, Mark Cowin and Mark Meeks (DWR); Barbara Evoy,
Lauma Jurkevics, Kari Schumaker (SWRCB); Gail Newton, Kevin Hunting (DFG);
Steve Shaffer, Casey Walsh Cady (CDFA); Dennis O’Bryant (DOC); Chris Keithley
(CDF); Neal Fishman (SCC), Al Wanger (CC), John Lowrie (CALFED); Syd Brown
(DPR); Dave Spath (phone-in, DHS); Robert Meacher (Bay-Delta Public Advisory
Committee member and CALFED Watershed Subcommittee Co-Chair)
Introductions: Dept. of Food and Agriculture has joined the CA Watershed Action Plan
Steering Committee. Steve Shaffer introduced himself to committee.
Approval of minutes: 10-20-05 meeting minutes approved.
Watershed Health Indicators and Recommendations: Stefan Lorenzato (DWR).
Barbara Washburn (OEHHA), lead for Action Item #5, “Demonstrate Watershed Health”
(under Governance and Management section), asked Stefan to present this agenda item.
The Watershed Action Plan called for evaluating the State’s use of watershed related
indicators for assessing watershed conditions and watershed trends, and performance
measures for assessing watershed program progress. Stefan gave a powerpoint summary
on the findings and recommendations of the Task Group documents that were sent out
with agenda. He described the USEPA Science Advisory Board’s “Framework for
Reporting on Ecological Conditions” and the recommended modification (addition of a
seventh “essential ecological attribute” for socio-economic health). He also shared
preliminary information gathered from several local or regional groups about how their
indicator efforts might fit into the proposed framework.
o Neal Fishman asked what it meant to “adopt” this framework. Stefan responded that
it was a way to begin to organize data already out there, rather than an expansion of
o Neal also asked how/if it is linked to grants or other funding programs Cathy Bleier
noted that this task was linked in the Action Plan to identifying opportunities for more
coordinated monitoring. She also noted that watershed indicators were included as a
Resources Agency priority for the SWRCB’s Consolidated Grants program, and that
several indicator grant proposals came in from local or regional groups through
CALFED Watershed grant program.
o Al Wanger asked whether we expected indicator efforts to show up in new bond
legislation. Mark Cowin agreed that program performance measurement should be
included in the financing proposal, and that the current draft may have the flexibility
to fund these.
o Al Wanger also asked whether this was consistent with San Francisco Estuary
Institute’s scorecard efforts in the bay area. Cathy explained that SFEI was part of
the indicators work group and, as a result, had started to use the framework in their
o Lauma Jurkevics also noted that this framework can be used to identify gaps in
o Steve Shaffer appreciated the proposed addition of a socio-economic attribute. Cathy
Bleier suggested we find out what socio-economic indicators are being looked at for a
Morro Bay project being funded by Ocean Protection Council.
o Rick Brausch reiterated that the intent of this action item was to address management
needs for reporting. It has a way to go, but he could see the potential.
o Barbara Evoy proposed adoption of proposed immediate, short and mid-term actions,
and revisiting long term actions – some of which have larger funding implications - as
we make progress on these.
o The committee agreed to the following recommended actions:
1. Adopt modified version of USEPA Science Advisory Board Framework for
Reporting on Ecological Condition to use in evaluating watershed health
2. Refine framework as needed:
a) Articulate state goals for health watersheds, based on existing statutes,
strategic plans and program mandates
b) Define socio-economic attribute and identify potential indicators
3. Develop format and complete inventory of watershed condition and program
programs – statewide and regionally
4. Track development of indicators by regional groups and programs, and evaluate
how use of indicators fits with state efforts.
o John Lowrie will take lead on #2, due this summer.
o Barbara Washburn will co-lead #3 and will also provide an intern to work on this.
Due by year’s end or sooner.
o Neal Fishman offered staff support for #3 from SCC.
Regional Water Management and Watershed Management Mark Cowin (DWR).
Cathy Bleier explained that this item was on agenda because of its potential importance
for future funding for watershed work, and also its relevance to Action # 4e under Project
Level Coordination, Local Involvement and Stewardship to: “Evaluate preliminary
effects of integrated watershed planning on watershed groups and watershed activities
through the Integrated Regional Water Management Program, and recommend ways to
continue to promote and improve integration among local agencies and watershed
Mark Cowin provided an update on the Flood Protection and Clean, Safe, Reliable Water
Supply Bond and Financing Acts of 2006 and 2010, which are part of the Governor’s
Strategic Growth Plan, using a powerpoint presentation that is available on DWR
website, (http://www.water.ca.gov/AssemblyHearing_Jan31.pdf). This legislation
provides incentives for regional integration of activities and projects affecting water
management through bond funding and a Water Resources Investment Fund (WRIF).
Integrated Regional Water Management encourages demand mgmt, enhanced supply,
operational efficiencies, water quality improvements and resource stewardship. It is also
intended to foster integration of land use, energy, transportation and other resource
management issues. Eligible resource stewardship strategies include watershed
management, ecosystem restoration, agricultural lands stewardship, water-related
recreation, floodplain management and others.
Mark also reviewed the status of the existing Integrated Regional Water Management
Program. About 50 “regional” proposals were submitted, including over 400 individual
projects, for a total of $1.4 billion dollars; the program can provide $150 million, or about
one tenth of the demand.
o Neal Fishman asked about the $700 million ($200m in 2006 bond and $500m in
2010) designated for Resource Stewardship. Mark discussed potential earmarks (e.g.
ecosystem restoration, Salton Sea, HCPs, and ag land conservation), and said there is
disagreement about how closely activities in this category should be linked to water
supply and water quality.
o Cathy Bleier asked how much guidance the state will provide w/re to watershed
issues, e.g. identifying state watershed priorities for regions to consider, requiring
inclusive stakeholder participation in regional processes, requiring regional plans to
explain why they are NOT including eligible strategies such as watershed approaches.
Mark said there may be opportunities for input if grant program regulations are
o John Lowrie said that it might be helpful to further define sub-regional units, similar
to what has been done for southern California, where watershed and water
management could be practically integrated and demonstrated.
o Robert Meacher asked about ability to use WRIF for stewardship and conservation
activities; this needs to be communicated to water agencies. He also talked about the
challenges of hydrologically based water management by agencies with jurisdictions
that don’t correspond to those boundaries. He said that Plumas County was seeking
amendments and clarifications to the legislation relating to watershed issues.
Common Watershed Goals by Regions – Neal Fishman (State Coastal Conservancy).
Neal reported on progress on Action Item #2 under Governance and Management, to
“Review and update information about agency and program goals, objectives and
activities by region, subregion or watershed….(and to) Identify strategic opportunities
for additional state agency cooperation that will result in more efficient and effective
watershed protection.” He reviewed goals and priorities for a couple coastal regions
identified by the Steering Committee and incorporated into the SWRCB’s Consolidated
Grants program. This revealed a number of common priorities among agencies (e.g.
restoration of specific watersheds to address temperature, sediment and fish recovery;
urban watershed BMPs and other efforts to address pathogens and metals in south). It
also clarified a few conflicting goals and priorities that make progress difficult.
Discussion followed about the usefulness of this exercise and next steps.
Barbara Evoy (SWRCB) said this information, including clarification of conflicts,
would be useful for input to Integrated Regional Water Management and also for
future funding efforts.
Syd Brown (DPR) and others agreed that the long list would need to be further
prioritized to be useful.
Stefan Lorenzato (DWR) said that some changes in existing list was needed. He also
suggested that we link this effort to our Watershed Indicator framework efforts.
Cathy Bleier recalled Jerry Johns’ (DWR) suggestion to use a few actions that reflect
common goals to demonstrate how cooperation could improve or expedite
implementation. If, however, field cooperation is already occurring on common
priorities, we could instead focus on resolving a few key conflicts to move projects
Cathy Bleier also suggested that a narrower list of State priorities could be
incorporated into guidance or regulations for IRWMP.
Action: Neal Fishman agreed to continue effort, working with others, including Cathy
Bleier, Stefan Lorenzato and regional agency reps, to come up with a short list of current
Transitioning CALFED Watershed Program John Lowrie (CALFED).
CALFED programs are proceeding with the transition plan to eliminate the Authority,
establish an Executive Leadership group (similar to former Policy Group) chaired by the
Resources Agency, establish a state policy advisory committee, and move staff to
Resources, possibly under a new water unit. Some programs, including the Watershed
Program, were identified as having indirect links to Delta problems and solutions yet
benefiting CA’s overall water needs; these are considered “coordinated CALFED
The steps outlined in the Watershed Program Transition paper, presented last meeting,
are proceeding, including consideration of integrating the CALFED stakeholder process
with the work of this Steering Committee. Robert Meacher, Bay Delta Public Advisory
Committee member and co-chair of the CALFED Watershed Advisory Subcommittee,
introduced himself to discuss common interests and ways that the subcommittee or some
subset or related group might meet with periodically with Steering Committee, or vice
Dennis O’Bryant said that DOC constituents consider the CALFED watershed
subcommittee to be the only effective stakeholder venue available.
John Lowrie said that the updating of the 18 Month Action Plan provided a good
opportunity to work together with stakeholders.
Cathy Bleier identified several Action Plan topics that lent themselves to stakeholder
input, including input on future funding programs, integration of watershed and
regional water management, regional forums for stakeholder discussions, additional
options for technical assistance. She also noted that the CalFED Watershed
Subcommittee had indicated interest in the Watershed Indicators at their last meeting.
Stefan Lorenzato suggested focusing on those items that relate specifically to
interactions with public and stakeholders.
Lauma Jurkevics talked about opportunity to provide input on what a state program
should look like. She also passed out a proposal by the SWRCB’s Watershed
Management Initiative (WMI) coordinators for regional councils (handout).
Robert Meacher said that the subcommittee could strategize with the Steering
Committee about regional and statewide forums for stakeholder input, including
existing ones, cost-free options, new resources, and also the SWRCB’s WMI proposal
Action: Robert Meacher will work with John Lowrie, Stefan Lorenzato (co-chair of
CALFED Watershed Program’s interagency team), DOC and DFA to establish steps for
representatives from the CALFED Watershed Program advisory subcommittee – or an
expanded subcommittee that reflects statewide scope – to work with Action Plan Steering
Working Lands Stewardship Advisory Council Jay Chamberlin (Resources Agency)
and Steve Shaffer (Dept. of Food and Agriculture).
Jay described this council as an effort that evolved from the CALFED Working
Landscape Subcommittee, which advised BDPAC on activities affecting agricultural and
other working landscape activities. The subcommittee was identified as one of the
CALFED activities with broad applicability and less direct linkage to the narrower focus
emerging for CALFED. Therefore the Secretaries for Food and Agriculture and for
Resources decided to convert this effort to a council that will advise them on the Farm
Bill, state and federal program coordination, and improved collaboration and partnerships
to support private land stewardship (see handout). Proposed membership would be 13
members (include landowners, professionals and practitioners, local agencies, and
environmental/ conservation groups), and 5 state and 3 federal agency ex-officio
members. Major initial focus will be increasing California's share of the Farm Bill,
o Committee inquired about how proposed membership was determined, and how other
agencies might participate.
o Potential merits of including other agencies were discussed, e.g. CDF has technical
and regulatory responsibilities for range and forest lands.
o There are areas of common interest and possibly opportunities for joint action in the
future between the Council and this Steering Committee.
Results and Recommendations on Outsourced Database Survey John Ellison and
Cathy Bleier (Resources Agency)
John Ellison reported on the results of a survey undertaken by Resources Agency to
implement Action Item #2b (under Information to Support Activities and to Demonstrate
Watershed Health) to “Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of outsourced databases and
develop strategy and identify resources for sustaining them, if appropriate”. The
databases in question are the Natural Resources Project Inventory or NRPI (UC Davis)
and Watershed Funding Database (Chico State). There is no more funding in either
contract, however UC continues to provide some support without charge for NRPI, and
the Funding database has been moved to the Resources Agency’s
The survey was distributed via the watershed listserv used by CALFED Watershed
Program. Forty-three people responded (over 2.5% of 1600 subscribers). Most
respondents found both databases easy to use and useful. Concerns and suggestions
addressed data comprehensiveness across state agencies and key federal ones), the need
for up-dating, and the importance of outreach to inform new stakeholders and changing
agency staff persons about its use. Concerns specific to NRPI were the need for
compatibility and automated processes for sharing data among databases to reduce data
entry workloads, and the importance of GIS functionality. Several comments about the
funding database noted its increasing importance as bond-funded grant programs run out.
Cathy Bleier said that the survey responses highlight the fact that NRPI is still the only
public, one-stop shopping site for project information, and that the Watershed Funding
database is the only free one for grant information. Since easy access to publicly funded
information is consistent with Administration and Resources Agency policies to daylight
information, she is looking for ways that all departments can contribute to the
maintenance of these databases. Discussion was limited due to lack of time, however
Stefan Lorenzato suggested that the CALFED watershed program help address the need
for continued NRPI support as part of its consider. Neal Fishman said he would be
willing to consider providing some support for NRPI, depending on how they can use it.
Action: John and Cathy will follow up with departments individually to consider
additional opportunities for participation and to pursue shared funding among agency
Next Meeting: Potential dates - April 13 or 27