Contributions to adaptive management

Delta Science Governance Survey

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  • A quick summary and link to downloading the full report for the Science Governance Survey

This report summarizes the results from a survey of California Bay-Delta science enterprise stakeholders conducted in 2021 by researchers from the University of California-Davis, University of Colorado-Denver, and University of Arizona.  You can download the full report here.

The goal of the survey is to analyze how science enterprise governance contributes to adaptive management and learning in the Delta. The survey was conducted in collaboration with the Delta Science Program, and the design was reviewed by Delta science experts. The Delta Science Program is the core organization of the Delta science enterprise: “the collection of science programs and activities that exist to serve managers and stakeholders in a regional system. The elements of an enterprise range from in-house programs within single agencies or other organizations to large-scale collaborative science programs funded by governments, to academic research that may operate independently of management and stakeholder entities” (Delta Stewardship Council, 2018).

While the survey results may support or stimulate discussion of a wide range of potential recommendations, one central recommendation deserves attention: the development of a Science Enterprise Leadership Consortium (SELC). Stakeholders reported low levels of confidence in their knowledge of how the science enterprise is governed and links science to policy. Many people participate in multiple science forums with a focus on science communication and synthesis. Yet, our findings and experience in the Delta science enterprise point to a need for better integration of scientific workflows and models, the development of a “collaboratory”, and more communication across the science enterprise. This is coupled with a desire for a more consistent funding stream and associated targets.

We recommend the development of a SELC to facilitate these goals and overcome some of the science enterprise challenges. The science enterprise is composed of multiple collaborative forums, and each collaborative forum has its own associated leadership. The leadership of the collaborative forums, and probably other important science agencies such as United States Geological Survey, can be convened as members of the SELC. They could meet quarterly to discuss the overall activities happening in the science enterprise, educate each other about the roles and capacities of their respective forums, and find opportunities for collaboration. The deliberations of SELC could also focus on more formal structural and funding changes in the science enterprise, such as the potential for a Joint Power Authority or better alignment of the various science enterprise products like the Science Needs Assessment, Delta Science Plan, Science Action Agenda, and State of Bay-Delta Science.

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