2017 Localizing California Waters Presentors

Art Ludwig, Oasis Designs

Art Ludwig is an ecological systems designer with 35 years full-time experience in water, wastewater systems, energy, shelter and human powered transport. His specialty is complex, integrated "systems of systems." Art has studied and worked in 27 different countries, attaining fluency in 5 languages. He has consulted for the states of New York, California, and New Mexico on water reuse policy and building codes, and given dozens of lectures and workshops. He has developed numerous innovations which have been adopted worldwide, incorporated in building codes, etc., all of which he has published into the public domain. These include the Laundry to Landscape and Branched Drain greywater systems.

He designed his own education in Ecological Systems Design, graduating from UC Berkeley. At Berkeley, he developed the first cleaners specifically designed to be biocompatible with plants and soil, and founded a successful business to manufacture and distribute them. Art has authored numerous articles as well as the books "Water Storage" "Principles of Ecological Design," and "Create an Oasis with Greywater."

The past several years Art has dedicated approximately a thousand hours a year to public interest research and sustainabilty policy activism.

Brock Dolman, The Water Institute

Brock Dolman co-directs the WATER Institute, Permaculture Design Program and Wildlands Program. He has taught Permaculture and consulted on regenerative project design and implementation internationally in Costa Rica, Ecuador, U.S. Virgin Islands, Spain, Brazil, China, Canada, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cuba and widely in the U.S. He has been the keynote presenter at numerous conferences and was featured in the award-winning films The 11th Hour by Leonardo DiCaprio, The Call of Life by Species Alliance, and Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution by Vanessa Shultz. In October of 2012, he gave a City 2.0 TEDx talk. Brock completed his BA in the Biology and Environmental Studies departments at the University of California Santa Cruz in 1992, graduating with honors. For over a decade, he has served as an appointed commissioner on the Sonoma County Fish & Wildlife Commission.​

Debbie Franco, Community and Rural Affairs Advisor and Local Drought Liaison Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

Debbie Franco is the community and rural affairs advisor and local drought liaison in the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR). She works on a range of issues, including environmental justice, water, water and energy, and rural community issues. She is a member of the Governor’s Drought Task Force. Before joining OPR, she served as the policy director at the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. She holds a master’s degree in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis

Dennis O’Connor, Senate Natural Resources and Water Consultant

Mr. O’Connor is a Principal Consultant to the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water. In that role, he analysis all proposed water and Delta related legislation, organizes oversight and information hearings, prepares briefing papers on issues relating to water and Delta issues, and advises members of the Senate on California water policy issues. He has played a significant role in a number of legislative efforts, including the 2007 package of flood legislation, the 2009 water package, and most recently the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. He has been with the Senate since January 2003.

Before coming to the Committee, Mr. O’Connor spent 10 years at the California Research Bureau (CRB), a non-partisan policy research branch of the California State Library, serving for six of those years as the Assistant Director for the Environment and Natural Resources. Mr. O'Connor is the author of a number of CRB report’s, including reports on the governance of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the financing of the State Water Project. Mr. O’Connor did his undergraduate and masters studies in economics at CSU Sacramento.

David White, Cofounder and Executive Director of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture

David White has a B.Sc. in Biological Sciences and a Ph.D. in cell biology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He has worked with numerous environmental groups in Ventura County CA over the past twenty five years. He is the cofounder and Executive Director of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture and directs the "Once upon a Watershed" education program active at eleven schools in the Ventura River Watershed. David is also the Director of Environmental Education for Food for Thought's Ojai's Healthy Schools program managing and coordinating the garden and farm based learning programs for the Ojai Unified School District. One of David's favorite things to do is to plant trees with kids.

Gary Conley, Senior Scientist 2NDNATURE, LLC;
B.S. Earth Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz 1998;
M.S. Geography and Watershed Hydrology, California State University, San Diego 2006

Gary works to bring the best available science and technical tools to natural resource managers and policy makers to help them make better decisions. He’s spent the last 10 years working primarily on water quality problems in the Central Coast Region, first on staff at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and now with 2NDNATURE. His recent work focuses on building practical modeling tools designed to facilitate standardized quantification of environmental benefits, objective action prioritization, robust hypothesis testing of effectiveness, and impactful communication of outcomes.

Harold Leverenz, BS Biosystems Engineering, Michigan State U; PhD Environmental Engineering, UC-Davis

Harold has been involved in the modeling, design, and pilot testing of technologies and processes for sustainable water and waste management for the past 15 years. His studies have included decentralized and satellite water reuse systems, natural treatment systems, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions for alternative wastewater systems, and source control systems for nutrient and energy recovery. He is a registered civil engineer in California and conducts research in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Davis.

Jay R. Lund, Director, Center for Watershed Sciences; Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Davis

Dr. Jay Lund is Director of the Center for Watershed Sciences and a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California – Davis. He has long enjoyed teaching, research, and engagement on many aspects of theory and practice for water management and policy, usually trying to integrating economics and operations research with traditional engineering. He has become particularly engaged in working on the wide range of water problems in California with many collaborators, and remains enthusiastic about the potential of system analysis and optimization to provide understanding and insights for management and policy.

He is on the editorial board of several water resources publications and served as President of the Universities Council on Water Resources. In California he was on the Advisory Committee for the 1998 and 2005 California Water Plan Updates, and has served as Convenor of the California Water and Environment Modeling Forum and Chair of California’s Delta Independent Science Board. He has long been involved in applying economic and optimization ideas to provide insights on California’s water problems, including the development and use of the CALVIN model of California’s water supply system. He is a lead author of Comparing Futures for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (UC Press 2010) and Managing California’s Water: From Conflict to Reconciliation (PPIC 2011).

Laura Allen, Greywater Action, Co-founder

Laura Allen is a founding member of Greywater Action and has spent a decade exploring low-tech, urban,sustainable water solutions. She is the lead author of the San Francisco Graywater Design Guidelines for Outdoor Irrigation, and authored the Water-Wise Home: How to Conserve and Reuse Water in Your Home and Landscape (forthcoming on Storey Press). She has a BA in environmental science, a teaching credential, and a master's degree in education. Laura leads classes and workshops on rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse, and composting toilets. Laura has presented widely on greywater reuse, including at the Water Smart Innovations Conference, Bioneers, California Environmental Health Association conference, and California Landscape Contractors Association conference. She participated in state greywater code development in California and was on the code advisory committee for Washington State. Laura was featured in an Ask This Old House episode and was the 2014 recipient of the Silicon Valley Water Conservation Award of Water Champion.

Maria Cahill, Recode

Meg West, Landscape Architect, LEED AP; Vice President, Goleta Water District;

Meg West is the principal Landscape Architect at Meg West Design, a Santa-Barbara based company that specializes in sustainable design . She was inspired to run for a seat on the Goleta Water District Board of Directors in 2014 after serving on the Goleta Planning Commission. Working as one of five Directors at the Water District during this historic drought has deepened her understanding of water issues dramatically, and she is active in efforts to promote and implement integrated solutions for water supply, soil health, pollution, and climate.

Nick Wiegel, Director, California Onsite Water Association

Nick Weigel has over 15 years of experience in civil engineering. Nick received a Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering from California State University, Chico in 1995. In 2001, Nick joined NorthStar Engineering where he has specialized in the design of decentralized wastewater collection, treatment, and dispersal systems. Nick has extensive knowledge in wastewater flow estimating, field analysis of soils, analytical modeling of nitrogen and salt loading, designing advanced and secondary wastewater treatment systems utilizing recirculating sand/gravel filtration systems, aerobic systems, textile filters, and alternative disposal/reuse options such as drip and spray irrigation. Nick is active in the wastewater community and has taught at the California Wastewater Training and Research Center at CSU Chico, is a certified National Association of Wastewater Transporters instructor for the Onsite Wastewater Systems Inspector certification and Operation and Maintenance certification courses, and is currently teaching multiple courses for the California Onsite Wastewater Association. Nick is also on the Professional Advisory Board for the Department of Civil Engineering, CSU Chico, and is chair of the Butte County Wastewater Advisory Committee.

Regina Hirsch, Sierra Watershed Progressive

Regina Hirsch has 18 years of experience monitoring and implementing watershed-based Best Management Practices solutions and assessing effectiveness cumulative of non-point source pollution treatments. After catching the watershed monitoring bug at the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Board and the Morro Bay National Estuary Program, she founded Sierra Watershed Progressive, a consulting/contracting firm which focuses on sharpening tools for Best Management Practices aimed at rehydrating watersheds and enhancing instream flows throughout California. Since 2009, Sierra Watershed Progressive has designed, installed and monitored projects which increase resiliency and onsite sustainable water budgets through water conservation and reuse within critical wildland-urban interfaces. She has facilitated, created, and implemented multiple training and outreach platforms with multiple organizations including Central Coast Salmon Enhancement, California Onsite Water Association, UC Masters Gardeners, California Conservation Corp, Tuolumne River Trust, local Resource Conservation Districts, as well as multiple public and private schools throughout Central California. In addition, Regina is an executive board member of the California Water Reuse Policy Council. Regina Hirsch’s goal is to focus on integrated, collaborative appropriate decision making when it comes to water, energy, plants, soils and most of all, community.

Steph Wald, Watershed Projects Manager Central Coast Salmon Enhancement

Steph has been Central Coast Salmon Enhancement's Watershed Projects Manager since 2003. Her passion is helping CCSE think like a watershed by accomplishing the completion of watershed management plans for Nipomo Creek, Arroyo Grande Creek, Pismo Creek, Santa Rosa Creek, Big Sur River and the San Antonio and Naciemiento Rivers with partner agencies on the Central Coast. When not working at CCSE, Steph is busy with the Carrizo Plain Conservancy and living at Tierra Nueva Cohousing in Oceano. She enjoys hiking, reading, and eating at her favorite restaurant, the Common House at Tierra Nueva.

Tom Hicks, Water Attorney

Tom Hicks is a California water law and conservation attorney. Before law school Mr. Hicks was an energy and water policy analyst at the Natural Heritage Institute and the founder and Executive Director of the Headwaters Institute. He has interned at the San Francisco Office of the City Attorney, California State Water Resources Control Board, and American Rivers. Tom founded and chaired the inaugural California Water Law Symposium sponsored by leading northern California law schools and is a Board member. Tom is a former whitewater raft guide, kayaker, and Colorado Outward Bound instructor. He holds a JD from the University of San Francisco School of Law and a BA from the University of Vermont.

Trathen Heckman, Director, Daily Acts

Trathen Heckman is the co-founder of Daily Acts Organization, Board President of Transition U.S. and a front yard farmer. Trathen works with engaged citizens, leaders and networks to provide innovative community-based solutions, which harness the power of nature and inspired action to build leadership and local self-reliance. This ranges from installing food forests from front yards to City Hall landscapes to helping mobilize thousands of sustainability actions as part of the Community Resilience Challenge, a Daily Acts program that has been replicated regionally and nationally. Trathen is a founding member of the Sonoma County Food System Alliance and worked actively with the Sonoma County Greywater Working Group, which participated in the 2009 California state Greywater law update. He lives in the Petaluma River Watershed where he grows food, medicine and wonder while working to compost apathy and lack.

Ursula Schmidt, MPA, LEED AP, CWEP, Water Conservation Programs Manager The City of Pasadena Water and Power

Ursula Schmidt has over 15 years of experience in the environmental field, managing sustainability plans and conservation programs for local government. Currently as the Water Conservation Programs Manager for Pasadena Water & Power she develops and manages innovative programs designed to enhance water conservation, efficiency, and local supply throughout the City of Pasadena; partners with organizations to pilot new technologies for demand management in the commercial and residential sectors; and develops policy initiatives to steward water conservation and efficiency. In her previous role as the Sustainability Affairs Manager in the City’s Planning Department she managed the City’s sustainability efforts focused on the development, implementation and evaluation of programs and policies included in the Green City Action Plan, a comprehensive blueprint for the City’s sustainability vision. Ms. Schmidt is a involved in local and regional water conservation efforts, and represents PWP as a member of the California Water Conservation Council; Alliance for Water Efficiency and American Water Works Association. She is a member of the International Water Alliance, and has served as an advisory council member on Senator Carol Liu’s Green 21 Advisory Council. Ms. Schmidt is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional , and an accredited California Water Efficiency Professional (Association of Energy Engineers; and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from UCLA, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from California State University Northridge.

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