Providing Expertise on Advisory Committees


By Megan Nguyen
CalTrout Communications Associate

Providing Expertise on Advisory Committees

Our Regional Directors and Senior Scientists are appointed to and actively participate in the technical advisory committees of resource agencies and major environmental initiatives.

This means that CalTrout has a seat at the table and is involved in the decision-making process. Often times, our science work is translated into policy and has a direct impact on the way our natural resources are governed and implemented.

This offers an opportunity to frame and enact landscape-scale change. Here are a few committees we participate in.


Cover Photo: Spawning Trout, Payne Lake by Aldaron Laird



California Advisory Committee on Salmon and Steelhead Trout (CAC)

Darren Mierau, North Coast Regional Director, CAC Chair

In 1983, declining populations of salmon and steelhead in California raised public concern. In response, the State Legislature passed a resolution and created the California Advisory Committee on Salmon and Steelhead Trout (CAC) (SJ Res.19 Ch 141).

The role of the public committee is to advise the Director of Fish and Wildlife – Chuck Bonham – and the Chair of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (JCFA) – Senator Mike McGuire – on salmon and steelhead issues within California that are of concern to the public. The CAC consists of eleven (11) members appointed by the JCFA and represents different interests including commercial fishing, recreational fishing, science, policy, and tribal nations.

Since 2017, Darren Mierau – CalTrout North Coast Regional Director – is the Elected Chair of the CAC and holds quarterly meetings to discuss constituent issues such as dam removal. Concerns raised in the committee are then brought to the attention of legislature to make policy changes.

“Our involvement in the CAC is a way for CalTrout to keep the issues our members care about at the front and center of the decision making table with the authority to follow through” – Darren Mierau

The CAC’s unique authority and CalTrout’s leadership shows that our mission to ensure resilient wild fish thrive in healthy waters for a better California is heard at the legislative level.

Learn more about the CAC here.



Fisheries Restoration Grant Program – Peer Review Committee

Dr. Sandra Jacobson, South Coast Regional Director, Committee Member

The Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP) was established in 1981 in response to rapidly declining populations of wild salmon and steelhead trout and deteriorating fish habitat in California. This competitive grant program has invested millions of dollars to support projects from fisheries habitat improvement to fish passage to watershed education throughout coastal California.

The 14 representatives of the Peer Review Committee for FRGP are appointed by the director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to provide advice, oversight and recommend priorities for funding under the FRGP. PRC members are a citizen advisory committee who collectively bring decades of experience in fisheries restoration representing diverse interests. Seven members are recommended by California Committee on Salmon And Steelhead Trout; others are representatives from agriculture and timber industries, academics, water interests and County supervisors. Members are also liaisons to restoration practitioners and interested stakeholders to provide an avenue for citizen engagement in the Program.

Dr. Sandra Jacobson – CalTrout South Coast Regional Director – serves on the Peer Review Committee for the FRGP. She will serve a four-year term and contribute experience in fisheries issues and watershed-scale restoration projects particularly relating to special challenges facing Southern California salmonids and endangered Southern steelhead.

One of the aspects most rewarding working with PRC members is that “this is a highly motivated and experienced workgroup of people from across the state that recognize the value of fisheries in healthy watersheds, economics, recreation and general public well-being. By contributing oversight and recommendations to the FRGP, we can have a direct impact on the way the Program is administered, focal areas, funding priorities, while representing diverse interests.”



Advisory Committee to the Central Valley Flood Protection Board

Dr. Jacob Katz, Central Valley Regional Director, Committee Member

The Central Valley Flood Protection Board (CVFPB) is the State regulatory agency responsible for ensuring that appropriate standards are met for the construction, maintenance, and protection of the flood control system that protects life, property, and wildlife habitat in California’s vast and diverse Central Valley from the devastating effects of flooding.

Water has always been a diving issue for groups such as farmers, hunters, conservationists, and municipalities. To bridge the divide, an advisory committee was formed for the CVFPB to better integrate water management for fish and people. The committee includes members of these diverse interests and they all work together to find new solutions to manage water in the Central Valley.

Dr. Jacob Katz – CalTrout Central Valley Regional Director – brings his science expertise to the advisory committee for the CVFPB. Our floodplain science translates directly into policy, putting forth a new model for floodplain protection where we can have a system that creates habitat for fish and delivers water to people.  

“Multi-benefit projects reduce flood risk while enhancing fish and wildlife habitat by allowing rivers and floodplains to function more naturally.” – Dr. Jacob Katz

This new multi-benefit model put forth by the advisory committee will transform and integrate the way we manage flood protection, water supply, and environmental management.

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