Early 2010 Shuffling of Department Heads

In California water news today, Governor Schwarzenegger announced some reshuffling of environmental department heads. Mike Chrisman, Secretary of Natural Resources, has announced he will retire from that post, which he has held since his appointment by Schwarzenegger in 2003. He will now move onto the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, where he will serve as director of a new Southwest Partnership Office whose coverage area includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. From the NFWF press release:

“Time and again, Mike has proven himself extremely adept at bringing diverse interests to the table and fostering productive dialogue that advances the cause of conservation,” said Trandahl. “Because partnership building represents the core of the Foundation’s work, we fully expect that Mike will take our programs to new heights throughout the Southwest.”
“While the Foundation has a long track record of grantmaking in the Southwest and has maintained staff in California for a decade,” said Trandahl, “the hiring of Mike Chrisman represents a new high-water mark for the Foundation’s involvement in the region. Our growing work to improve San Francisco Bay, the Klamath watershed and the meadows of the high Sierra – to cite only a few examples in his home state – will get a major boost from Mike’s base of knowledge and experience.”

Chrisman will be succeeded as Secretary by none other than Lester Snow, Director of the Department of Water Resources since 2004.

Mike Chrisman

Lester Snow

Replacing Snow as DWR Director will be Mark Cowin, longtime DWR employee and current deputy director of integrated water management. The Governor’s press release summarizes Cowin’s background:

Mark Cowin, 51, of Sacramento, has served DWR for 29 years in various positions, most recently as deputy director of integrated water management for the Department of Water Resources since 2007, where he has overseen DWR’s flood management and dam safety programs, implemented integrated regional water management, coordinated DWR’s efforts related to climate change, and updated and implementing the California Water Plan. Prior to that, Cowin served DWR as chief of the division of planning and local assistance from 2002 to 2007 and assistant director for the CALFED Bay-Delta Program from 1998 to 2002. From 1981 to 1998, he served in a variety of other engineering positions at DWR. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from Stanford University. This position requires senate confirmation and the compensation is $149,496. Cowin is a Democrat.

Finally, John McCamman, who has been serving as acting director of the Department of Fish and Game, has been appointed Director of DFG. His background, from the Governor’s press release:

McCamman, 56, of Sacramento has since 2006, served as chief deputy director of DFG where he has been acting director since November 2009 and previously from 2007 to 2008. McCamman was senior vice president for Fleishman-Hillard Government Relations from 2003 to 2006 and chief of staff for U.S. Congressman George Radanovich from 1994 to 2003. Prior to that, he was county administrative officer for Shasta County from 1992 to 1994 and Mariposa County from 1987 to 1992. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $142,965. McCamman is a Republican.

Mark Cowin

John McCamman

Read the full press release from the Governor’s office, or for more on Chrisman’s new position, NFWF’s press release here.



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