The Water Table interviews were recorded at the Localizing California Waters conference. Click below to listen to the unedited interviews.

The Water Table: Interviews

Debbie Franco| Senior Advisor of Water & Rural Affairs, California Governor's Office of Planning & Research:

Debbie Franco is Senior Advisor of Water and Rural Affairs in the California
Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR). She works on a range of
issues related to water and to rural communities. Debbie was a member of the
Governor’s Drought Task Force, part of the team that developed the Sustainable
Groundwater Management Act, and co-leads the Wood Utilization/Rural
Economic Development Steering Committee. Before joining OPR, Debbie 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.



Brad Lancaster | Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands:

Brad Lancaster is the author of the award-winning Rainwater Harvesting for
Drylands and Beyond and co-founder of DesertHarvesters.org. Since 1993 Brad
has run a successful permaculture education, design, and consultation business
focused on integrated regenerative approaches to landscape design, planning,
and living. In the Sonoran Desert, with just 11 inches of annual rainfall, he and
his brother harvest about 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year on an eighth-acre
urban lot and adjoining right-of-way. This harvested water is then turned into
living air conditioners of food-bearing shade trees, abundant gardens, and a
thriving landscape incorporating wildlife habitat, beauty, medicinal plants, and
more. The goal of his book series and overall work is to empower his clients and
community to make positive change in their own lives and neighborhoods—by
harvesting and enhancing free on-site resources such as water, sun, wind, shade,
community, and more. It’s catching on, as evidenced by tens of thousands of
practitioners and demand for Brad’s work around the world.



Tom Ash | Senior Environmental Planner, Inland Empire Utility Agency:

Tom passed away earlier this  year. We are saddened by this loss, and honored to have had time with Tom and his total enthusiasm for his work.
Tom Ash has 30 years of experience in the fields of water use efficiency,
sustainable water rates, public education and horticulture. Tom was the UC liaison
to water agencies in southern California starting in 1987. He was instrumental in
the design and implementation of the first water budget rate structure agencies
(IRWD, 1991). Tom has advised the American Water Works Association (AWWA),
the State of California, regional and local water authorities in California, was a
guest lecturer in Australia during the millennial drought (12 years), advised the US
Drought Policy Task Force in 2003-04, assisted business, the landscape industry,
water agencies and university researchers in North Carolina, Colorado, Hawaii,
Oregon, Utah, and Texas during droughts. He has assisted 15 agencies on the
design, public outreach and implementation of financially successful, publicly
popular and sustainable water budget rates. Tom is newly retired from the Inland
Empire Utility Agency as a Senior Environmental Planner.



Martha Davis | Mono Lake Committee:

Martha Davis retired in late 2017 from her position as Assistant General Manager/
Executive Manager for Policy Development at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency
(IEUA). Since 2000, Ms. Davis led many of the Agency’s award-winning planning
and green programs including initiatives promoting water efficiency, renewable
energy, storm water capture, recycled water and climate resiliency. Ms. Davis
continues to serve on the board of directors of the California Section of the
WateReuse Association, and on the boards of the Mono Lake Committee, Sierra
Institute for Community and Environment, the Community Water Center, the Rose
Foundation Northern California Grassroots Fund, and the recently established
Water Efficiency Trust. Previously, Ms. Davis served as the Executive Director
for Californians and the Land (1998-2000) and for the Mono Lake Committee
(1984-1996). Under her leadership, the Mono Lake campaign culminated in a
unanimous landmark public trust decision by the State Water Resources Control
Board to protect Mono Lake. Ms. Davis graduated from Stanford University cum
laude with a degree in human biology and received her master’s degree from
the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She is the recipient of an
honorary PhD in Public Policy from the Kennedy College in Oakland, California.



Brock Dolman | Occidental Arts & Ecology Center:

Brock Dolman is a wildlife biologist and is nationally recognized as a restoration
ecologist and renowned innovator in watershed management and Permaculture
design. Brock integrates wildlife biology and watershed ecology with education
about regenerative settlement design and ecological literacy to illuminate what
it is to live in partnership with a living, emergent Earth and engender societal
transformation. Brock co-founded the Sowing Circle, LLC Intentional Community &
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (OAEC) where he continues to reside and act
as a co- director of OAEC’s Permaculture/Resilient Community Design Program,
Wildlands Program and WATER Institute. He has taught Permaculture and consulted on regenerative project design in 15 countries on 5 continents and widely in the U.S. Brock graduated with honors from the University of California Santa Cruz in Agro-Ecology and Conservation Biology.



Trathen Heckman | Director, Daily Acts Organization:

Trathen Heckman is the founder and Director of Daily Acts Organization. He serves
on the Board of California Water Efficiency Partnership, co-founded Climate
Action Petaluma and is engaged in a range of sustainability and resilience-focused
networks and alliances. Trathen helps people and groups reclaim the power of
their actions to regenerate self, nature and community. He lives in the Petaluma
River Watershed where he grows food, medicine and wonder while working to
compost apathy and lack.



Rick Taylor | Elder Creek Landscapes:

Rick has spent the last 25 years weaving ecological literacy into the landscape
profession through practical cutting-edge solutions. His desire to transform the
industry’s influence from extractive to regenerative has led to the creation of
the Landscape Carbon Calculator and Landscape Analytic Solutions. His decades
of experience in landscape design and construction have deeply influenced the
efficacy of the Landscape Carbon Calculator. Originally founded as a small landscape design/build/maintain contracting business, his firm, Elder Creek Landscapes Inc. has led the SF Bay Area in practical and visionary approaches to sustainability.



Steph Wald | Creek Lands Conservation:

Steph has been with Creek Lands since 2003 developing steelhead-centric
watershed management plans for coastal watersheds in Santa Barbara, San Luis
Obispo and Monterey Counties with partner agencies and organizations. She
received her education at State University of New York College of Environmental
Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY, and University of Northern Iowa in Cedar
Fall, IA. In addition to her experience with Creek Lands, Steph has taught at Cal
Poly, Allan Hancock College and Cuesta College, and directed the Santa Maria
Valley Discovery Museum. Two of her favorite completed Creek Lands projects
include the Carmel River Lagoon Large Wood Debris project which included
delivering partially built LWD structures to the water by helicopter, and being
the facilitator and plan writer for the Big Sur River Watershed Management
Plan. Creek Lands is currently the proud proponent of 4 WCB Stream Flow
Enhancement Program grants, and is actively engaged in figuring out how to
generate a management plan for the Salinas River that covers both San Luis
Obispo and Monterey Counties.



Bert Rapp & Bruce Kuebler:

Bruce has been an Oak View resident since 1999. He is a retired Civil Engineer
with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where he was involved
with water supply planning, water quality, distribution system maintenance,
water conservation, environmental analyses, water rights, and organizational
management. Bruce was appointed to the Ventura River Water District (VRWD)
Board in May 2013. He was elected in November 2013, and re-elected in 2016.
He represents VRWD on the Upper Ventura River Groundwater Agency, which he
helped form beginning in 2014, and has been Board Chair since its inception in
January 2017.

Bert Rapp has lived in Ojai for 39 years. He has a BS in Civil Engineering from Cal
Poly San Luis Obispo. He has worked for 5 years with the Watershed Protection
District on levee design, river hydraulics and hydrology, and for 20 years with
the City of Fillmore as City Engineer and Public Works Director. He was involved
with potable water systems, sanitary sewer systems, stormwater treatment and
management, traffic control and street maintenance, and flood control. Bert
spent 8 years with the Ventura River Water District as General Manager. He is
married, with four children.



Jamie Whiteford | Ventura County Resource Conservation District

Jamie is a District Scientist with the Ventura County Resource Conservation District, where he is focused on expanding the use of agricultural practices that enhance operational resilience and which provide supplemental ecological services in support of the surrounding landscape.



Patrick Michal

Patrick is the water systems manager at Rush Creek Lodge (wastewater, greywater, and freshwater) and holds a T2 and D2 certification from the California State Water Board.  Patrick graduated from the University of South Florida with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy, with a concentration in Environmental Policy.  Patrick began his career working as a Lab Manager in a Parasitology/Ecology lab, helping to design experiments that dealt with climate change and its effects on amphibians and parasites. Patrick's work has been published in the Journal of Ecology and EcoHealth. Patrick also managed the University of South Florida’s Botanical Gardens, specializing in beekeeping as well as helping to create ecological indexes with ArcGIS.  Patrick began to transition his work into the construction/engineering industry, which has aided in his transition to managing water systems in California.

We’d like to acknowledge the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the Tuolumne County Resource Conservation District (TCRCD) and the people of California whose support of Prop 84 made this podcast possible. Thanks to Ryan Evans and Todd Hannigan for editing and mixing. Thank you to Charles Upton, who recorded the original interviews.