On April 25, the Delta Stewardship Council announced that Jessica Pearson was selected to serve as the council’s executive officer starting May 1. Pearson currently serves as the council’s legislative and policy advisor.
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The Delta Stewardship Council was established by statute in 2009. Pearson is the third executive director for the Delta Stewardship Council since it was formed on April 1, 2010. Joe Grindstaff, who was director of the CalFed Bay-Delta Program, led the transition of that program into the Delta Stewardship Council.
When Grindstaff retired, Chris Knopp assumed administrative leadership in September 2012. Knopp came with 34 years of management experience in the U.S. Forest Service working with federal, state and local agencies. At the council, he oversaw development of the many drafts of the Delta Plan, which was unanimously adopted by the council on May 16, 2013. The Delta Plan became effective with legally enforceable regulations on Sept. 1, 2013.
With the Delta Plan adopted, the Delta Stewardship Council shifted from a planning organization to an operational one. The Implementation Committee was organized and Randy Fiorini, who was then vice chairman, was appointed chairman of the committee.
At the council meeting on March 27, Chairman Fiorini announced action taken in closed session. The council accepted Knopp’s resignation, which he submitted by letter dated March 6. He was asked to serve until April 30 to help with the transition to the next executive officer, and he agreed. Fiorini expressed the council’s thanks for Knopp’s leadership.
Pearson was appointed senior policy advisor to the council in 2011 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. She was appointed legislative and policy advisor in 2012 by Gov. Jerry Brown. Previously, Pearson was deputy secretary for Sustainable Resource Management at the California Natural Resources Agency following three years as policy advisor to the director of the Department of Water Resources.
In announcing the new appointment, Fiorini said, “Jessica has been a key player on a wide variety of resource management issues including the Delta, drought response, climate change and flood policy. Her experience in coordinating efforts across multiple departments is a real asset for the council. We are now on course to implement the Delta Plan and facilitate a coordinated approach across state, federal and local agencies. Jessica is the right person to lead this effort.”
Pearson earned a bachelor’s degree from UC San Diego and a master’s degree in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis. She was an executive fellow in the Capital Fellows Program.