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Resource Technology

Ecological Sciences Roles and Responsibilities

Mission

The mission of the Ecological Sciences Staff is to provide statewide leadership in specific Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) ecological sciences and technical disciplines (including agronomy, biology, conservation planning, grazing land management, forestry, plant materials, water quality, air quality, and cultural resources) in an integrated way that services the needs of NRCS line officers, field staff, landowners, and conservation partners.

Lines of Business

  • Technology Development and Transfer
  • Program Development and Administration

Technology Development and Transfer

  • Develop and Maintain the California Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG)
  • Maintain Conservation Practice Standards and Specifications
  • Provide leadership in Conservation Planning
  • Develop/Distribute Analysis Tools (e.g. RUSLE2)
  • Establish Planning Policies and Procedures (e.g. NPPH)
  • Provide access to agency technical information and  resources (e.g. Technical Resources Library, Website)
  • Direct Assistance to NRCS Field staff and partners
  • Develop Conservation Partnerships
  • Provide Training
  • Outreach to groups (Tribal Nations, traditionally underserved landowners, NRCS Offices, etc.)
  • Quality Assurance and Oversight

Program Development and Administration

  • Deliver national programs (EQIP, WHIP, WRP, CSP, GLCI, PMC, CRP, CREP, Water Bank, Water Quality HUAs, ECP, EWP-Floodplain Easements, etc.).
  • Manage program work products.
  • Develop national reports and databases.
  • Implement related federal statutes - Farm Bills (1985 FSA, 1996 FAIRA, 2002 Farm Security and Rural Investment Act), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Clean Air Act (CAA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), Native America Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), and others.
  • Respond to Field and Area Questions/Requests.
  • Establish new program support Teams/Committees.
  • Develop Conservation Partnerships.
  • Provide Training
  • Outreach to groups (Tribal Nations, traditionally underserved landowners, NRCS offices, etc.)
  • Quality Assurance and Oversight

Thomas Hedt
State Resource Conservationist
(530) 792-5667
Thomas.Hedt@ca.usda.gov

Ecological Sciences Staff
Contact Information Responsibilities
Thomas Hedt
State Resource Conservationist
(530) 792-5667
Thomas.Hedt@ca.usda.gov
Duties: Manage Staff/Leadership in Ecological Sciences and Technical Resources (agronomy, range conservation, biology, wildlife, forestry, plant materials, cultural resources, wetlands biology, soil conservation and conservation planning disciplines, plus management of eFOTG and Toolkit.)

Functions of Staff: Development of technical resources (oversight of eFOTG,) Practice Standards, Tech Notes, New Tools), Training to field and area staff, Environmental Compliance oversight (T&E species, Cultural resources, NEPA, CEQA, Farmland Protection), Technical assistance to Programs (CSP, EQIP, WRP, WHIP, CRP, CREP, GRP), Direct assistance to field offices (discipline specialists), Quality assurances (i.e. spot checks of practices), Management of Certification Programs (CP, CNMP, Pest Mgt). Leadership in Conservation Planning (including Toolkit), Conservation Field Trials, State Technical Guide Committee, Lockeford Plant Materials Center, and specific technical disciplines (non-engineering and non-soils). Program Manager for Lockeford PMC, State-wide leadership for Landscape and Area-wide Planning.

Jen Delorenzi
Management Assistant
Phone: (530) 792-5647
Jen.Delorenzi@ca.usda.gov
Provides management and administrative assistance to staff, including preparing technical directives, travel vouchers, time sheets and travel and meeting arrangements.
Jennifer Cavanaugh
State Wetlands Biologist
Phone: (530) 792-5632
Jennifer.Cavanaugh@ca.usda.gov
Assistance to NRCS Field Offices in Wetland Planning, Identification and Restoration activities, Swampbuster, NRCS Wetland Appeals, Practice Standards, Payment Schedules, eFOTG Development, WRP Monitoring and Evaluation. Leads and maintains Job Approval Authority for wetland technical decisions statewide. Provides technical support to field offices and Area Biologists in aquatic biology related topics. Reviewer for Conservation Planning certification.
Dennis Chessman
State Conservation Agronomist

Phone: (530) 792-5659 Dennis.Chessman@ca.usda.gov
 

Erosion Control (RUSLE2, WEPS and WEQ), Soil Quality (SCI), Conservation Tillage, Crop Management, Practices and Standards, FOTG Development, direct assistance to field offices. Mentor to field and area agronomists. Provide plant materials assistance to field offices and coordinate work with Lockeford Plant Materials Center. Instructor for conservation planning course. Reviewer for Conservation Planning certification. Nutrient Management, Pest Management (WIN-PST), Irrigation Water Management, Practices and Standards, eFOTG Development, direct assistance to field offices, mentor to field and area agronomists.

Ceci Dale-Cesmat
State Rangeland Management Specialist
Phone: (530) 792-5658
ceci.dalecesmat@ca.usda.gov
 

GLCI, CA Grazing Lands Coalition, Rangeland Coalition, range conservation assistance to field offices, Practice Standards, eFOTG development, planning tools, maintenance of National Range and Pasture Handbook, ESDs, soil survey interpretations, mentor to field and area range conservationists.  Quality assurance and oversight for range activities.  Training.  Support to Grassland Reserve Program and Conservation Security Program. Instructor for Conservation Planning Course.  Reviewer for Conservation Planning certification.

Hue Dang
Resource Conservationist
Phone: (530) 792-5657
Hue.Dang@ca.usda.gov
Provide leadership for one-on-one Conservation Planning and Area-wide and Watershed Planning. This includes training, support, and oversight for conservation planning activities, California Planner Certification program, and National Planning Procedures Handbook. Training Coordinator and Instructor for Conservation Planning, Part 2 Course. Program Manager for Farmland Protection Policy Program.
Katie Eskew
Archaeologist, Cultural Resources Specialist
Phone: (909) 799-7407 Ext. 110
Katherine.Eskew@ca.usda.gov
Lead for Southern California cultural resource compliance. Ensures contracts are implemented based on the understanding of the laws and regulations pertaining to cultural resource management and archaeological protection under the National Historic Protection Act of 1966. Duties: conducts literature reviews based on data from the California Historical Information Resources Information System, contacts the Native American Heritage Commission and interested tribal groups, completes cultural resources surveys and reports, maintains a cultural resources database, provides technical assistance on the cultural resource review process to both field office staff and landowners. The southern region includes 17 counties.
Dennis Frommelt
Farm Superintendent
Phone: (209) 727-3129 Ext. 11
Dennis.Frommelt@ca.usda.gov

Manages Farm Operations at Lockeford PMC. Operates and maintains farm equipment. Field operations, maintenance on levees, roadways and irrigation systems. Serves on PMC team.

Daniel Grijalva
Archaeologist, Cultural Resources Specialist
Phone: (925)672-4577 Ext. 110
Daniel.Grijalva@ca.usda.gov
Lead for Central California cultural resource compliance. Ensures contracts are implemented based on the understanding of the laws and regulations pertaining to cultural resource management and archaeological protection under the National Historic Protection Act of 1966. Duties: conducts literature reviews based on data from the California Historical Information Resources Information System, contacts the Native American Heritage Commission and interested tribal groups, completes cultural resources surveys and reports, maintains a cultural resources database, provides technical assistance on the cultural resource review process to both field office staff and landowners. The central region includes 25 counties.
Jon Gustafson
State Rangeland Ecologist
Phone: (530) 792-5654
Jon.Gustafson@ca.usda.gov

Provides leadership to development of Ecological Site Descriptions (ESDs) and State and Transition Models. Coordinates with State Rangeland Management Specialist, State Biologist, State Forester and Soils specialists in developing ecological site descriptions. Coordinates with ongoing soil survey project leaders.

Steve Hill
Natural Resources Manager
Phone: (530) 792-5642
Steve.Hill@ca.usda.gov
Provides assistance to field, area and statewide staff on landscape-level, area-wide, or watershed plans and assessments. Monitors the PL-566 program and provides planning assistance to field and state-wide design staff, including plans, plan supplements, environmental assessments, and contacts with sponsoring local organizations. Assists other RTS staff with conservation planning and related activities.
Terryl Kocsis
Resource Conservationist
Phone: (530) 792-5630
Terryl.Kocsis@ca.usda.gov

Provide training, support and oversight for NRCS Customer Service Toolkit. Serves as State Economics Contact and provides support to payment schedules. Serves as eFOTG Content manager and organizes State Technical Guide Committee Meetings. Serves on the GIS Services Team Providing geodata, GIs analyses, and map products.

Thomas Moore
State Biologist
Phone: (530) 792-5652
Thomas.Moore@ca.usda.gov

Technical lead to state, area and field offices on all issues related to fish and wildlife, with the exception of wetlands. Serves as the NRCS California Environmental Compliance Liaison. Updates to Practice Standards, Specifications and Job sheets, and eFOTG. Mentor to field and area biologists. Serves as the Lead on T&E species conservation and consultations. Provides training on Assessment tools and Environmental Evaluation tools. Instructor for Conservation Planning Course. Reviewer for Conservation Planning certification. Technical specialist for WHIP. Provides biology technical support to other programs, including CSP and EQIP.

Pamela Paullin
Archaeologist, Cultural Resources Specialist
Phone: (530) 527-2667Ext. 109
Pam.Paullin@ca.usda.gov
Lead for Northern California cultural resource compliance. Ensures contracts are implemented based on the understanding of the laws and regulations pertaining to cultural resource management and archaeological protection under the National Historic Protection Act of 1966. Duties: conducts literature reviews based on data from the California Historical Information Resources Information System, contacts the Native American Heritage Commission and interested tribal groups, completes cultural resources surveys and reports, maintains a cultural resources database, provides technical assistance on the cultural resource review process to both field office staff and landowners. The northern region includes 18 counties. Provided leadership in getting on-the-ground results for the National Sage Grouse Initiative.
Stephen Smith
Staff Forester
Phone: (530) 792-5655
Stephen.Smith@ca.usda.gov
Forest and Woodland Related Practices (includes windbreaks), Soil-Forest and Woodland and Windbreak Interpretations, Windbreak Technology, Agro forestry, vegetative practices. Instructor for Conservation Planning Course. Reviewer for Conservation Planning certification.
Margaret Smither-Kopperl
PMC Manager (Lockeford)
Phone: (209) 727-3129 Ext. 102 Margaret.Smither-Kopperl@ca.usda.gov

Manages Lockeford Plant Materials Center (PMC) farm, facility and staff. Develops plant materials and technologies as part of the Plant Materials Program. Develops publications from PMC activities and research reports. Provides direct assistance to field offices and supports field trials. Develops partnerships and collaborates with Public Agencies, RCD, Universities and Colleges and Conservation Organizations to promote plant materials activities.

Tom Share
Cartographer
Phone: (530) 792-5671
Tom.Share@ca.usda.gov
Provides GIS and graphic design support.
Scott Splean
State GIS Specialist
Phone: (530) 792-5631
Scott.Splean@ca.usda.gov
Technical leadership for development and use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and digital geographic information for all NRCS programs and activities in California. Furnishes training and support for GIS, GPS, and remote sensing geospatial analysis activities, software and hardware support. Coordinates acquisition, maintenance and exchange of aerial photography and digital and analog geographic information. Provides technical support for the geospatial components of the Customer Service Toolkit (CST), Electronic Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG), and Soil Data Viewer (SDV).
Ted Strauss
Director Air, Climate and Energy
 
Paul Zellmer
Resource Conservationist
Phone: (530) 792-5629
Paul.Zellmer@ca.usda.gov
GIS Services: Provides geospatial technical and analytical assistance to NRCS programs, and landscape-level watershed plans and assessments. Provides administration and distribution of geodata to NRCS Service Centers and Field Offices.
Walt Bunter
Earth Team Volunteer/Agronomist
Phone: (530) 792-5663
Walt.Bunter@ca.usda.gov

Provides agronomic assistance, including in Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE2), Wind Erosion Equation (WEQ), and release of Technical Notes. Assists in updates to eFOTG. Certified Professional Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Specialist.

Vacant
Plant Materials Agronomist
Phone: (209) 727-3129 Ext. 105

Designs and implements studies in plant materials development and technologies. Co-manages farm activities. Reports activities and research results in Tech Notes and other publications. Provides direct assistance to field offices and assists with field plantings.

Vacant
Archeologist, Cultural Resources Specialist
Phone: (530) 792-5658

Leadership in cultural resources protection and tribal consultation requirements for NRCS work. Conducts field archaeological investigations and prepares reports. Consults with SHPO. Provides training and informational materials to field personnel and other interested parties for the consideration of cultural resources. Provides policy and procedural guidance for considering and managing cultural resources and historic properties. Provides oversight and quality control for cultural resource program. Conducts cultural resources investigations, evaluations and develops treatment plans for mitigation. Training to field offices. Manages archaeology contracts.

Vacant
Archaeology Technician
Assists with cultural resources reviews of NRCS projects in California.