Bay-Delta Social Science Community of Practice

Bay-Delta Science Conference attendees participating in the virtual Social Science Community of Practice kickoff meeting.

Following recommendations from the Delta Social Science Task Force May 2020 report, A Social Science Strategy for the Sacramento-San Joaquin, the Delta Stewardship Council is helping to develop a more collaborative and integrated network of social scientists and practitioners across the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta system.

At the 2021 Bay-Delta Science Conference, hosted by the Council and U.S. Geological Survey, we launched the social science community of practice (CoP). The Council’s Social Science Integration Team produced a report to capture the key takeaways from the event, including who the CoP will involve and what social science activities and topics will be prioritized.

The CoP will reconvene for an October 14 training and October 20 workshop. View the flyer for more information and to register.


The purpose of the CoP is to bring together social science scholars, practitioners, and allies who are committed to advancing applicable and relevant research on the human dimensions of the Bay-Delta.

This community aims to:

  1. Facilitate collaborative social science research and interdisciplinary investigation,
  2. Provide opportunities for the social sciences to inform management and policy, and
  3. Advance our understandings of the estuary as a complex social-ecological system.
  • Increase the body of social science research relevant to the region by conducting original data collection and investigation; developing and expanding conceptual frameworks linking the social and ecological dimensions of the estuary; and analyzing, reviewing, and synthesizing existing data and relevant comparative data
  • Foster collaboration and co-production of social science by linking academia, agencies, tribes, non-governmental organizations, and communities across the region
  • Communicate social science approaches, theories, tools, methods, and results to public, scientific, and governmental audiences to build literacy for the social sciences and understanding of the human dimensions of the region
  • Inform management and policy with best available social science through frequent engagement and participation in decision-making venues across multiple scales in the region
  • Provide mentorship and leadership opportunities for students and early career scholars and practitioners interested in working on the social sciences in this region
  • Build the social capital needed to thoroughly integrate social sciences into a system that is heavily dominated by natural and biophysical scientific knowledge and approach, ultimately striving for a balanced social-ecological systems approach to management and policy
  • Expand partnerships with other estuarine systems around the U.S. and internationally to learn, share and build improved understandings of social science integration and interdisciplinary science-based natural resource management decision-making

View the CoP’s Charter in PDF format.

  • Diversity in network: recruit, attract, and support members from diverse backgrounds, career stages, geographies, disciplines, and institutions
  • Equity, inclusion, and capacity building throughout all network activities: distribute opportunities for leadership, intellectual, and creative contributions between early, mid, and late-career members
  • Boundary spanning: aim to build relevant, salient, and credible projects through co-production; foster collaboration on projects by engaging members from across academia, government, non-governmental organizations, and practitioners working in communities; prioritize accessibility in science communication and output products

CoP members are based in academia, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Members opt-in to be included in our online CoP directory to facilitate easier connection and collaboration.

(First Last)
Email Affiliation
(Organization, Department)
Expertise/ Discipline Areas of Focus Links to professional platforms
Abigail Harley West Coast Regional Office NOAA Fisheries Economics Regulatory economics
Adina Paytan UC Santa Cruz Education Biogeochemistry, climate, ecosystems, education
Ajay Singh California State University, Sacramento Social psychology, behavioral economics, policy studies Agriculture, water resources, climate change, endangered species
Brett Milligan UC Davis Landscape Architecture/Human Ecology Landscape architecture, urban design, sustainable environmental planning
Caleb Scoville Tufts University Sociology, political science, political theory, economics The politics of environmental knowledge, sociology of knowledge, sociology of science and technology, political sociology, social theory
Darcie Luce San Francisco Estuary Partnership Anthropology Environmental Anthropology
Don Hankins California State University, Chico Geography, conservation, and environmental planning Ecocultural equality, restoration, conservation, Indigenous stewardship, policy
Erik Vink Delta Protection Commission
Josue Medellin-Azuara UC Merced Environmental Engineering Hydro-economic modeling for management and policy, water management, agricultural production adaptation for climate change, sustainable agroecosystems, water informatics, impact analysis
Kathleen Schaefer UC Davis
Kelly Biedenweg Oregon State University Human Dimensions of Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation psychology and human wellbeing, human dimensions of natural resource management, program evaluation and facilitation, environmental education, social learning
Lindsay Correa California Department of Water Resources Regional climate change Environmental policy and management
Mark Lubell UC Davis Political Science, Environmental Science Governance, water management, sustainable agriculture, adaptive decision-making, climate change and local government policy, transportation behavior, plant disease management and invasive species, social network analysis
Mark Nelitz ESSA Technologies Ltd Adaptive Management Adaptive management, human dimension surveys, conceptual modelling, behavior models, decision theory
Megan Wheeler San Francisco Estuary Institute Resilient landscapes urban ecology, social-ecological systems
Mike Antos Stantec and UCI Anthropology Geography, Civic Ethnography Environmental governance, transition management, integrated water management, climate adaptation
Pam Rittelmeyer UC Santa Cruz Human geography, environmental policy Climate change adaptation, risk perceptions
Philip Garone Stanislaus State History Environmental history and ecology, global climate change and history
Robert Benedetti University of the Pacific Political Science
Rosemary Kosaka NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center Fisheries Ecology Economics
Steve Newbold University of Wyoming Economics Environmental economics, natural resource economics, econometrics, ecological modeling
Tanya Heikkila University of Colorado, Denver Public policy, institutional analysis, environmental governance Collaborative governance, environmental conflict, water governance, energy politics
William Swagerty University of the Pacific History, archaeology, anthropology History of agriculture, transportation and communication on the California Delta

View the geography of social science launch event attendees in map format via Datawrapper.

For more information or interested in joining the CoP, email Jessica Rudnick at

Community of Practice members meet quarterly. To join these meetings, please email Jill Harris at

Learn about other social science-related events on the Council on the social science web page.

Advancing Interdisciplinary Research | 2022

This two-part event included a training and workshop on interdisciplinary research in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The event aimed to (1) share knowledge across the social and natural science communities, (2) provide examples of interdisciplinary research that could advance useable science in the Delta, and (3) overcome barriers to interdisciplinary research by spurring new relationships and exploring innovative solutions to the Delta’s entrenched challenges. Training and workshop attendees were a diverse audience of over 80 participants from agencies and academia.

Human Dimensions research in Delta Environments Workshop | 2019

This workshop showcased how social science research addresses management challenges faced by the Delta Stewardship Council, stakeholders, and more. Workshop materials available online.

Learn about specific Council projects on the social science web page.

To learn more about the CoP or to get involved, please contact Jill Harris at