Human Dimensions Research in Delta Environments

July 23, 2019

UC Davis Student Community Center — Multi Purpose Room

This event is free, space is limited, preregistration is required by June 15th.


Human Dimensions ResearchThe UC Davis Student Community Center is located at the intersection of California Avenue and Hutchison Drive. The nearest public parking can be found at the corner of Hutchison and Kleiber Hall Drive, $9. The conference includes morning beverages, continental breakfast, and afternoon beverages. Lunches will be available for purchase at venues across the street from the Student Community Center.

For questions, please contact Carole Hom.


The Social Science Task Force is a collaboration between the Delta Science Program and the UC Davis Coastal and Marine Science Institute, more information here.



9:00 Introductions: The Delta and the Social Science Task Force

John and Jim Sanchirico

9:15-10:00 Keynote

Kevin Werner - Evolving Role of Science

WernerKevin has extensive experience working to connect science to application in water resources and climate in the western United States as well as policy and organizational development. In May 2017, Kevin was named science and research director at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center where is he leads a team of over 400 scientists and support staff to deliver management relevant science to resource managers and stakeholders. Previously, Kevin held positions spanning the NOAA mission including leading the creation of the National Weather Service Office of Organizational Excellence, leading NOAA regional climate services in the western US, connecting science and forecasts to water management in the Colorado River Basin, and infusing new science and technology into river forecast methodologies. Kevin also served as the science advisor for President Obama’s Sandy Rebuilding Task Force in 2013. Kevin holds degrees in atmospheric science, mathematics, public administration, and political science.

10:15-11:45 Invasive species management

David Finnoff

Alex Metcalf

Mark Lubell

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-2:30 Flood risk and Management

Rob JohnstonMeasuring Public Values for Coastal and Flood Adaptation

JohnstonRobert J. Johnston is Director of the George Perkins Marsh Institute and Professor of Economics at Clark University. He is also editor of the journal Resource and Energy Economics. Professor Johnston is an environmental economist whose research addresses economic valuation, benefit transfer and ecosystem services, with an emphasis on aquatic and coastal systems. He has also conducted significant work in climate change adaptation. He is currently co-chair of the Ecosystem Science and Management Working Group of the NOAA Science Advisory Board, and on the Steering Committee and Science Advisory Board of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, and the Senior Advisory Board of the Connecticut Sea Grant Program. He is a past member of the US EPA Science Advisory Board, and has served on multiple US National Research Council Panels. His publications include multiple books and approximately 100 journal articles on the use of economics to inform environmental management.

Kate Akyuz

Charles Sims - How climate forecasts influence infrastructure investments

SimsCharles Sims is the Director of the Energy and Environment Program at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy and an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville. His research interests center on environmental and natural resource economics with a specific emphasis on the role of risk and uncertainty in natural resource, environmental, and energy policy. His past research has investigated issues related to invasive and endangered species, forest management, infectious diseases, green energy, and surface water management. Sims’s work has been published in refereed journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the USDA.

2:30-2:45 Break

2:45-4:15 Water and ecosystems

Tanya Heikkila - Institutionalizing Learning in Water Governance

HeikkilaTanya Heikkila is a Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Colorado Denver's School of Public Affairs, where she also co-directs the Workshop on Policy Process Research. Heikkila’s research and teaching focuses on policy processes and environmental governance. She is particularly interested in how governance processes can be designed to facilitate collaboration, foster learning, and resolve conflicts. Some of her recent research has explored these issues in the context of interstate watersheds, large-scale ecosystem restoration, and unconventional oil and gas development. Heikkila has published numerous articles and books on these topics and has participated in several interdisciplinary research and education projects. Prior to coming to CU Denver, Prof. Heikkila was an Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a post-doctoral fellow at Indiana University’s Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. She holds an M.P.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

Sara Breslow - Anthropology and political ecology in the service of ecosystem recovery

breslowSara Jo Breslow is an environmental anthropologist broadly interested in the interdependencies of sustainability and social justice. She serves as the Social Science Lead at EarthLab at the University of Washington (, where she catalyzes collaborative environmental problem-solving using transdisciplinary, participatory, and arts-based approaches. In her own research, Sara uses ethnographic and mixed methods to study senses of place, environmental conflict, and human well-being with a focus on the Salish Sea region, and translates social science insights into tools for decision-making at local to global scales. She holds a BA in biology from Swarthmore College and a PhD in anthropology from the University of Washington.

Brett Milligan

4:15-4:30 Break

4:30-5:30 Panel with Q&A time

Doug Lipton - Science integration at different scales: from local to national

LiptonDoug Lipton is the Senior Research Scientist for Economics at NOAA Fisheries. He obtained a Ph.D. in Agricultural & Resource Economics at the University of Maryland, an M.S. in Marine Science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and a B.S. in Biology from Stony Brook University. He spent 25 years as a faculty member in AREC at the University of Maryland and as Program Leader for the Maryland Sea Grant Extension Program for 20 of those years. His research and extension work has focused on valuation of benefits related to improvements in water quality and the economics of ecosystem based fisheries management applied to the Chesapeake Bay. His current focus is integrating economics with ecosystem-based fisheries modeling approaches. Lipton is a member of the Board of the International Institute for Fisheries Economics and Trade, Marine Resource Economics Foundation and the Maryland Agricultural and Resource Based Industries Development Corporation.

Lisa Wainger - Social science integration in Chesapeake Bay restoration

WaingerDr. Wainger is a research professor of environmental economics at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. She has over 20 years of experience in integrating ecological and economic analysis tools to evaluate costs, benefits and risks of environmental policies. She frequently collaborates to develop interdisciplinary models to project ecological and economic outcomes of management actions and test incentives for achieving goals. Her work emphasizes the implications of spatial variability of human and biophysical drivers on system outcomes. She has applied integrated modeling to the measurement of ecosystem service benefits, nutrient (water quality) trading, wetland mitigation policy, land use policy, and cost-effective multi-objective policy design. She is recent past chair of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee to the US EPA Chesapeake Bay Program and is a frequent economics advisor to government agencies (e.g., White House Council on Environmental Quality, Maryland Department of the Environment), non-governmental organizations, and private businesses.

Scott Redman

Steve Newbold (Panelist) 

NewboldSteve Newbold is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Wyoming. Steve received his PhD from UC Davis in 2002 and was an economist in the U.S. EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) until 2018. At NCEE, Steve conducted quantitative policy analysis including benefit-cost analysis and human health and ecological risk assessments. Steve also provided technical support to the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon and served as a federal agency representative to the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee. Steve teaches courses on environmental and natural resource economics, econometrics, and economic research methods. Steve's areas of research interest include bio-economic modeling, non-market valuation using revealed and stated preference methods, climate change integrated assessment modeling, the economic value of information from new scientific studies, and the theory and practice of benefit-cost analysis.