Ca. Gov. Schwarzenegger Appoints Lester Snow as Natural Resources Secretary

SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the appointment of Lester Snow as secretary for the California Natural Resources Agency and also thanked Secretary Mike Chrisman who is retiring from state service effective February 1, 2010 for his dedicated years of service.

“Throughout the course of my Administration, Lester has used his high-level expertise in public resource management to protect California’s water supply. With his skills and knowledge, Lester served a key role in developing the historic comprehensive water package to reform and rebuild our state’s water infrastructure that will benefit future generations of Californians,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “I am confident that he will bring that same level of commitment and dedication to managing the agency in this new role and I look forward to working with him to preserve California’s invaluable natural resources.”

“For the past seven years, Mike has worked tirelessly with me to safeguard our state’s precious natural resources and I am grateful to him for his service to the people of California,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “He is a dedicated public servant and I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Snow has over 30 years of experience working in public water resource management. Since 2004, he has served as director for the California Department of Water Resources. From 2004 to 2001, he was a principal in a water resource consulting company. Prior to that, Snow served as the Mid-Pacific regional director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. From 1995 to 1999, he served as the executive director of the CALFED Bay-Delta program and, prior to that, spent seven years as the general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority. Snow’s experience also includes six years with the Arizona Department of Water Resources including four years as the Tucson area director.

“I am extremely honored by the opportunity to continue serving my fellow Californians in this new position. One of California’s greatest treasures is its natural resources and I am committed to working with the Governor to promote policies that protect our environment and preserve these invaluable assets for future generations to come,” said Lester Snow.

Snow, 58, of Fair Oaks, earned a Master of Science degree in water resources administration from the University of Arizona, and a Bachelor of Science degree in earth sciences from Pennsylvania State University. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $175,000. Snow is a Democrat.

California’s Natural Resources Agency is responsible for the state’s natural resource policies, programs and activities. It oversees 25 departments, commissions, boards and conservancies. From water and wildlife management and conservation to wildland fire protection, energy, ocean and coastal policy, land stewardship, climate change adaptation, sustainable living, and the promotion of outdoor recreation, the agency oversees most all of the state’s functions designed to protect California’s natural resources.

Additionally, the Governor announced the appointment of Mark Cowin as director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the appointment of John McCamman as the director of the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG).

“Mark is an exceptional public servant with a long history of dedicated service in state government and water resource management,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “His skills and experience make him the perfect choice to lead the department and I am committed to working with him to ensure a safe and stable water supply to meet the needs of California’s growing population.”

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.

DWR protects, conserves and develops the state’s water supply. DWR forecasts future water needs, evaluates and inventories existing water supplies and explores conservation and storage options to meet the needs of the state’s growing population. DWR is also responsible for maintaining and repairing levees in the Central Valley and responding to flood emergency situations.

“John’s previous experience with the department makes him the ideal person for this position. He is a terrific public servant to the people of California and I am confident in his abilities to lead the department in managing California’s diverse fish, wildlife and plant resources and habitats,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.

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.

DFG, part of the Natural Resources Agency, manages nearly 969,911 acres of wildlife habitat, including 108 wildlife areas and 123 ecological reserves. The Department manages California’s diverse fish, wildlife and plant resources, and habitats for their ecological values and enjoyment by the public. The Department also manages oil spill prevention programs and enforces environmental laws such as the California Endangered Species Act.

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