Independent Citizens Oversight Committee
The Independent Citizens Oversight Committee is a group of six individuals, operating independently from the Advisory Committee, Governing Board and staff of the Authority to provide an unbiased annual analysis of the work of the Authority. The group is responsible for the following tasks:
- Annually review the Authority's conformance with Measure AA;
- Review the Authority's audits and expenditure and financial reports; and
- Publish an annual report of its findings, which will be posted on the Authority's website.
The Oversight Committee will meet at least twice each year: once to discuss and make initial comments on the Authority's annual reports and financial documents; and a second time to discuss, amend, and adopt its findings and recommendations to the Authority, in the form of a written report which will be posted on the Authority's website. Go to the meetings page to view meeting agendas and minutes. For more on the operations of this group, see the official procedural document, Guidelines for the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee.
On May 27, 2021, the Oversight Committee finalized their third review of San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority’s Conformance with Measure AA, covering the period of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. Their summary conclusions were as follows:
- The Authority received another clean audit report from an independent auditing firm, is using sound fiscal management, and is spending the funds raised by Measure AA in conformance with the law. The Authority Staff continues to operate efficiently and effectively, advancing the Authority’s business during the Covid-19 Shelter-in-Place Orders.
- The Authority is continuing to pursue a solid selection and implementation process for restoration projects as envisioned by Bay Area voters when they approved this historic measure to increase the health and resilience of the Bay. It has authorized numerous high-quality restoration projects that will provide important environmental, recreational and climate adaptation benefits for the Bay Area. In addition, the Authority is continuing its important work to improve efficiency in permitting restoration projects; the Oversight Committee supports this work and recommends its continuation and expansion.
- The Authority Staff continues to be open and receptive to our inquiries and recommendations. They have progressed on all, and completed some, of the recommendations made in past years by the Oversight Committee, including addressing issues related to engaging communities of color.
- Understanding that the restoration funded by Measure AA is only a fraction of what will ultimately be needed to achieve its overarching goals, the Oversight Committee recommends that the Authority evaluate updated information regarding optimum restoration goals, then use this analysis to inform and nurture restoration projects as well as to document the value of the sum of the restoration work. We suggest that the Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program (WRMP) will be a useful tool in this effort.
- The Oversight Committee recommends that the Authority ramp up its efforts to communicate to the public the benefits – both for the Bay and its surrounding communities -- of the restoration funded by Measure AA. In addition, we recommend that this communication effort incorporate a discussion of the scale and timing of the future restoration needs of the Bay, given what we now know about accelerating sea level rise. We also recommend that the Authority continue to improve the clarity and detail of its reporting on individual projects in modes that are easily accessible to the public.
Previous reports from the Oversight Committee can be found below:
Contact: Karen McDowell, Deputy Program Manager, Karen.McDowell@sfestuary.org.
The Oversight Committee consists of one representative from each of the four regions (North, South, East, and West Bay), and two members from counties not already represented, currently Alameda and San Mateo. Its members are below. Past members are listed here.
Nancy Cave recently retired from the California Coastal Commission where she worked for 40 years, overseeing many water quality, habitat restoration, flood protection, and public access projects. Ms. Cave retired as the North Central District Manager for the Coastal Commission, working with Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties to update local coastal plans to reflect climate change. Ms. Cave also served on a West Marin task force headed by State Senator Mike McGuire to help resolve public access conflicts.
Paul Jones recently retired from the US EPA where he spent 27 years working in the Water Division, Wetlands Office in Region 9. Mr. Jones has spent his entire career working on habitat restoration, flood protection, water quality, pollution reduction, and financing projects, including on the staff of the San Francisco Estuary Project. Mr. Jones represented US EPA Region 9 on the National Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Workgroup, and organized and led a team to develop the California Rapid Assessment method for wetlands and riparian areas. Mr. Jones was a grant project officer for his entire career with US EPA which has provided him with familiarity in financing, contracting, and monitoring of projects. Mr. Jones volunteers locally and has served on a variety of Boards and Committees including the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory Board of Directors, the Pacifica Land Trust Board of Directors, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, and the San Pedro Creek Watershed Coalition Board of Directors.
Don recently retired as a biologist for the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) and prior to that he was a biologist for the City of San Jose (City) at the San Jose/Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility which discharges to South San Francisco Bay. Prior to working at the City, Don was a biologist at Kinnetic Laboratories Inc. sampling San Francisco Bay for USGS in the 1980’s. At the City Don managed the Salt Marsh Conversion Program and at the SCVWD Don oversaw the management of endangered species habitat restoration projects. Don was a biological contract manager at the City and SCVWD overseeing millions of dollars in consulting and interagency agreements. These skills and experience give Don a well-grounded perspective on projects funded under Measure AA.
Doug Wallace retired in 2019 from the East Bay Municipal Utility District after 25 years of service. For most of his tenure he was the Environmental Affairs Officer, responsible for policy analysis and direction on a wide range of issues including water supply and water quality, ecosystem restoration, the CALFED Bay-Delta program, and sustainability. He co-authored EBMUD’s Climate Change Monitoring and Response plan and helped guide the agency to an industry leadership position on climate change. He was also responsible for external relations with environmental NGOs, state and federal agencies, and the business community. He continues to consult on climate change and natural resource issues, particularly sea level rise adaptation. In addition, he sits on the Tamalpais Design Review Board and works with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby to advance federal carbon fee and dividend legislation.
Dr. Young has dedicated her professional life to protecting the environment. From 2006 - 2019, she was a member of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, serving as Chair from 2014 – 2019. For nearly four decades prior to her service on the Board, Dr. Young advised Bay Area environmental organizations and selected corporations on environmental science and policy, primarily in the areas of water pollution, ecological indicators, and the use of economic incentives. Dr. Young also was an appointed member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board for twelve years, where she chaired the Ecological Processes and Effects Committee and was a member of the Executive Committee. In addition, Dr. Young served on panels of National Research Council; helped to develop “The State of the Nation’s Ecosystems” in 2002 and 2008 for the H. John Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment; and was a member of the Washington State Academy of Sciences Committee on Puget Sound Indicators. Dr. Young holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in Chemistry from Yale University.
Jim Fiedler retired in 2017 from the Santa Clara Valley Water District. He served as Chief Operating Officer from 2007 until retiring. Over his 34 year career he amassed leadership, management and engineering experience in the areas of water supply, water quality, pollution reduction, flood protection, watershed stewardship and public financing. Mr. Fiedler presently serves on the Board of Catholic Charities East Bay and as Officer Emeritus on the San Francisco Estuary Institute Board. He has also served on a variety of boards including: San Francisco Bay Planning Coalition, WateReuse Association, The Water Research Foundation, and the National Association of Flood and Stormwater Management Agencies (NAFSMA). He also served on the Contra Costa County 2018-2019 Civil Grand Jury. He currently volunteers with the Knights of Columbus and AARP Foundation Tax-Aide.