Program Delivers Prestigious Keys Awards to Recipents

The John W. Keys, III Award

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Highlighting successful collaboration to improve water supply management, two John W. Keys, III Awards were presented at the third biennial San Joaquin River Restoration Program Science Meeting held in Sacramento, California on August 22 and 23.

In keeping with the meeting theme “Collaborating for the Future,” the Keys Award recipients were recognized for their joint efforts at implementing new, 21st Century runoff forecasting tools for the San Joaquin Watershed. Following in the wake of a 5-year drought, a collective effort unfolded to improve water management opportunities within the San Joaquin watershed using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Airborne Snow Observatory — which applies cutting-edge LIDAR and hyperspectral imagery to accurately measure the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. Drawing on this technology, a diverse range of stakeholders, including environmental organizations, water users and governmental agencies, rallied behind a common vision to increase user benefits in an already stretched watershed. This week, the 3rd Annual NASA ASO Workshop is being held in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. to further advance the collaborative effort and forge new partnerships.

“Collaboration is a linchpin of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program and so, it was fitting that we recognize individuals who exemplify characteristic,” said Donald E. Portz, Program Manager for the Restoration Program.

Keys award recipients at the 2018 SJRRP Science Meeting.

This award honors the memory of former Reclamation Commissioner John W. Keys III. Keys was well-respected for his 36 years of federal service that focused on finding solutions to the complex issues involving managing water resources. The recipients of this award are an excellent example of employees, governmental, non-governmental customers that exemplified outstanding business practices, communication, collaboration and partnering achievements that contribute to building and strengthening relationships.

The award winners are: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation: Chad Moore; Rufino Gonzalez; Emily Thomas; Jerry Herman; National Aeronautics and Space Administration – Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Tom Painter; Judy Lai-Norling; U.S. Department of Agriculture — Agricultural Research Service: Danny Marks; Scott Havens; California Department of Water Resources: David Rizzardo; Friant Water Authority: Jeff Payne; South Valley Water Association: Dan Vink; Sierra Nevada Conservancy: Liz Van Wagtendonk; The Bay Institute: Peter Vorster.

Other individuals closely involved with ASO activities include: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation: Kaitlyn Willems; Craig Mayfield; Christian Buenrostro; Gil Reyes; Friant Water Authority: Steve Ottemoeller; Alexandra Biering; National Aeronautics and Space Administration – Jet Propulsion Laboratory: Kat Bormann; Michael Joyce; Lorraine Sposto; Cristina De Cesare; Dan Berisford; Elizabeth Carey; Hannah Haugen; U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service: Mark Robertson; Andrew Hendrick; Ernesto Trujillo; Micah Sandusky; Micah Johnson; California Department of Water Resources: Frank Gehrke; Mike Anderson.