DPC Minutes 2022-05-19


Delta Protection Commission Meeting

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Hilton Stockton Hotel, 2323 Grand Canal Blvd., 2nd Floor, Stockton, CA 95207


1. Call to order

Chair Nottoli called the meeting to order at 4:07 p.m. and asked Commissioner Villegas to lead the meeting participants in a flag salute.

2. Welcome and roll call

Commission Clerk Morgan Matz called the roll. Present at roll call: Chair Nottoli, Vice Chair Winn, Commissioners Villegas, Burgis, Kott, Paroli, Slater, Nakanishi, Mussi, Steele, Eddy (for Ross), Vogel (for Crowfoot), ex-officio designee Udang (for Sen. Talamantes Eggman), and ex-officio designee Boparai (for Assemblyman Villapudua). Commissioners Bugsch, Kim and Vasquez were absent with no alternate present.

3. Public comment – Opportunity for the public to address the Commission regarding items not on the agenda

Chair Nottoli asked for public comment and there was none.

4. Report on Delta Stewardship Council activities

Chair Nottoli noted that the Delta Plan appeals of the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Lookout Slough habitat restoration project were denied by the Council, allowing the habitat restoration project to proceed with Delta Plan approval. He also mentioned the Delta Stewardship Council meeting and boat tour on May 26.

Chair Nottoli asked for public comment and there was none.

5. Commissioner comments/announcements

Chair Nottoli asked for comments and announcements from Commissioners and there were none.

Chair Nottoli asked for public comment and there was none.


6. Consider approval of March 17, 2022 meeting minutes

Motion: It was moved by Commissioner Villegas and seconded by Commissioner Vogel to approve the March 17, 2022 meeting minutes; in a roll call vote, the motion passed 12-0-0 with all Commissioners present at roll call voting aye.


7. Receive Executive Director report

Executive Director Vink reported that the Delta Conveyance Project environmental impact report is expected to be released in June or July of 2022, and the Community Benefits Program framework released imminently; that the Department of Water Resources (DWR) would be continuing its soil investigations for the tunnel project after a winter hiatus; that the Commission continues to work with Caltrans on the Clean California grant agreement and begin public outreach efforts; and that Caltrans District 3 had issued encroachment permits for the “Welcome to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area” signs.

Executive Director Vink then provided a discussion of his rationale behind the letter submitted under his signature to the Delta Stewardship Council on the Lookout Slough Delta Plan appeal, arguing against the Council staff’s rationale but agreeing the Council had other rationale for denying the appeals. He recommended the Commission consider a discussion of Delta Plan policy DP P2 (respecting local land use when restoring habitats) at a future meeting. Chair Nottoli agreed that it may be appropriate for the next Commission meeting, and Commissioners Villegas and Burgis provided comment about further discussion.

Executive Director Vink announced that the Commission was seeking an Associate Governmental Program Analyst (AGPA) to replace Claire Cooey, who had recently left the Commission; reported on land use comment letters, including DWR’s West False River drought salinity barrier EIR, Hood septic conversion, Georgiana Slough salmonid barrier, and Mokelumne Aqueduct Resiliency project, which aims to replace two existing aqueducts with a 16.5-mile underground tunnel to convey East Bay Municipal Utility District water.

He then announced that the Asian-American and Pacific Islander Spring Festival, hosted by the Locke Foundation, would be held on May 21, 2022; and that the 2022 edition of Delta Life, published by the Isleton Chamber of Commerce, had been published and would be distributed throughout the Delta.

Chair Nottoli asked if work concerning development of the Delta National Heritage Area remained on track, and Executive Director Vink noted that although the Commission had been granted a 1-year extension on the March 2022 completion of the management plan, that the Commission expected the management plan to be completed by early 2023.

Chair Nottoli asked for public comment and there was none.

8. Receive Delta Protection Advisory Committee (DPAC) report and consider appointments to DPAC

DPAC Chair Mariah Looney reported that the DPAC meeting on May 3 included an update on the Caltrans Clean California project, discussion of the Commission’s efforts to recruit a new Executive Director, and updates on Commission staff activities. She then indicated that the next DPAC meeting would take place in person with date and location to be determined.

Executive Director Erik Vink reviewed the open seats on DPAC, including 5 seats up for regular three-year appointments and an agricultural seat that was vacated upon the resignation of Dawit Zeleke. He indicated that Chair Nottoli and Vice Chair Winn reviewed the applications and made the following recommendations for DPAC appointments: Arron Pellarin (Delta Business); Chris Elias (Delta Flood Entity); Russ Ryan (Delta Water Exporter); Anna Swenson (Delta General Public); Jim Cox (Delta Conservation/Habitat NGO); and Gary Mello (Delta Agriculture). All seats would be for three year terms, with the exception of the Delta Agriculture seat which would be for a one-year term.

Chair Nottoli asked for public comment and there was none.

Motion: It was moved by Commissioner Kott and seconded by Vice Chair Winn to confirm the proposed appointments to the Delta Protection Advisory Committee; in a roll call vote, the motion passed 12-0-0 with all Commissioners present voting aye.

9. Receive presentation on 2022 Delta Leadership Program and class project – 2022 Delta Leadership Program participants

Executive Director Vink introduced the concept and intention of the Delta Leadership Program and gave credit to the other Program facilitators, Lisa Beutler (Stantec) and Mike Campbell (Delta Regional Foundation). He then introduced Program participants Jeremy White, Destiny Rivas, and Ann Rogan, who presented the class projects developed with other program participants: Delta Days, America 250, and Delta Breeze With Ease (DBWE).

Jeremy White of Clarksburg presented the Delta Days initiative, which is intended to designate a specific week or weekend in the month of October to highlight cultural facilities in the Delta. This plan would involve publishing a map marking locations of interest and outreach to local facilities and businesses, encouraging them to hold special events in cooperation with the initiative.

Destiny Rivas of Stockton presented the America 250 initiative, which will work in partnership with local Delta organizations to celebrate the United States’ semiquincentennial in the year 2026. Plans include development of a social media campaign and publication of brochures and other literature to bring attention to the initiative, acquisition of funding through national endowment grants, and use of the HearHere storytelling app to spread knowledge about the Delta’s history.

Ann Rogan of Stockton presented the DBWE initiative, which aims to increase public access to areas of natural and cultural interest along the Stockton waterfront for residents from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Projected next steps include ascertaining local interest in the initiative, identifying prospective stakeholders, and assessing the availability of public funding.

Chair Nottoli asked about Commission support for these initiatives, and Executive Director Vink expressed his optimism that the projects could proceed with additional support from either Commission staff or future Delta Leadership Program participants. Vice Chair Winn as well as Commissioners Nakanishi, Villegas, Burgis, Vogel, Steele, and Eddy expressed their personal support for the initiatives and indicated their willingness to assist in their implementation.
Chair Nottoli asked for public comment and received further expressions of support for the initiatives from Gilbert Cosio and Russ Ryan.

Chair Nottoli and ex-officio designee Udang then presented certificates of achievement and legislative commendations to all participants in the program.

Chair Nottoli called a meeting recess at 5:18 p.m. to allow the meeting room to be cleared in advance of the closed session.

10. Interview Commission Executive Director Candidates

The Commission convened in a closed session at 5:37 p.m., pursuant to Government Code Section 11126(a)(1), for the purpose of interviewing candidates for the Executive Director position. All Commission members present at roll call, with the exception of ex-officio designees Udang and Boparai, participated in the closed session. The closed session also included Deputy Attorney General Carlos Mejia and interview candidates.

11. Report from Closed Session

Chair Nottoli reconvened the Commission in open session at 9:13 p.m. and reported that the Commission voted in closed session to extend an offer of employment as Executive Director to a candidate, contingent upon the completion of a reference check, and delegated to Chair Nottoli and Vice Chair Winn the authority to negotiate the terms of said offer with the candidate.

Motion: It was moved by Commissioner Burgis and seconded by Commissioner Kott to delegate authority to negotiate a salary with said candidate within the range set forth in the job announcement for the Executive Director position; in a voice vote, the motion passed 12-0-0 with all Commissioners present voting aye.

12. Adjourn

Chair Nottoli adjourned the meeting at 9:17 p.m.