Integrated Environmental Modeling


Integrated Modeling for Adaptive Management of Estuarine Systems


May 21-22, 2015, UC Davis Campus

Like many estuarine systems, California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta needs to revolutionize how models and data are developed and integrated to support adaptive management. Durable and adaptive solutions must account for a cascade of interacting social, economic, and ecological effects.

The National Science Foundation is sponsoring an Integrated Modeling Workshop to explore ways to improve the development and application of modeling for multipurpose management of changing estuarine systems. The two-day workshop will bring together experts from Europe, Asia and across the U.S. Potential solutions will be identified and discussed from multiple perspectives: government, academia, NGOs, consultants and stakeholders.

Approaches to be discussed include:

Community modeling leverages the expertise of many public, private, NGO, and academic researchers for understanding complex environmental problems and supporting adaptive management. Community modeling is a way to connect experts on each of the system components through a common framework. Community modeling requires a sustainable business model that works across agencies, universities, NGOs and the private sector.

Public domain models and data can include open source and more proprietary and controlled approaches to develop software and data. Such approaches are especially important where a broad common understanding must be developed among many interests and where alternatives must be compared with transparency and minimal cost.

Integrated Environmental Modeling (IEM) uses information technologies to couple independently developed models. Modular modeling components are assembled flexibly to explore, explain, and forecast the behavior of various system purposes. IEM systems around the world include diverse stand-alone applications and high performance computer clusters.

Workshop Program (Updated May 19, 2015)

  • Integrated Environmental Modeling
  • Decision support systems: science/modeling organizations that bridge the science-policy gap
  • Directions for improved integrated modeling of estuarine systems

The workshop is organized by the Delta Stewardship Council/Delta Science Program and UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. The National Science Foundation is sponsoring the event in partnership with the California Water and Environmental Modeling Forum and the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research.


Student stipends are available on a first come first serve basis. Please fill out the student stipend request form. We can provide an stipend of $100 if located around 50 mi from Davis, $150 if located between 51 and 150 miles from Davis and $300 beyond 150 miles including out of state. 


This workshop was supported by the National Science Foundation under Award: A Workshop on Community Integrated Environmental Models (Grant Number 1464440).  The Organizing Committee acknowledges supplemental support by the Delta Stewardship Council through the Delta Science Program and the Center for Watershed Sciences. 


"Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation."

Collaborators: Christopher Enright

Peter Goodwin

Project Contact: 



Workshop on Integrated Environmental Modeling of Estuarine Systems

Davis, California, May 21-22, 2015



Dear Colleague:


Welcome everyone to the Integrated Environmental Modeling for Estuarine System Management Workshop. The workshop conveners are looking forward to your participation in what promises to be a transformative meeting. We will address new approaches for integrating models and data analytics to accelerate system understanding. We will also consider approaches for bridging the persistent gap between modeling system complexity--physical, chemical, biological, social, economic--and supporting water operations, flood protection, and restoration decision making. The Workshop will offer several opportunities for you to express your own ideas and help emerge new directions.

The attached video by Dr. Peter Goodwin, lead scientist of the Delta Science Program summarizes the Workshop objectives and we think it will motivate your interest and stimulate ideas. We have also attached two papers by key workshop presenters. The paper by Rob Argent (BofM Australia) discusses conceptual modeling as fundamental tool for organizing complex system information. The second paper by Scott Peckham (Colorado University) introduces component integrated environmental modeling concepts. Finally we are also attaching the final workshop program.

We have more than 130 people from around the globe already registered, but there is still some room for more participants. Therefore if you want to invite some of your colleagues, please forward this email. They can find more information in our webpage and they can also sign up following this link. We also have some grants for grad students available

We look forward to your participation on May 21-22.

Sincerely, the organizing committee:



Peter Goodwin, Delta Stewardship Council

Chris Enright, Delta Stewardship Council

Josue Medellin-Azuara, University of California, Davis

Jay R. Lund, University of California, Davis

Alvar Escriva-Bou, University of California, Davis


Benjamin Bray, California Water and Environmental Modeling Forum


Imatge inserida 1

IEM Workshop Videos

Bringing together expertise from around the world and across California, the National Science Foundation is sponsoring an Integrated Modeling Workshop to explore the problems and prospects for improving the development and applicaiton of modeling for multipurpose management of changing estuarine systems.

1. Integrated Environmental Modeling: Connecting system processes: Jay Lund

Peter Goodwin - Welcome and Objectives of Workshop

Gary Bardini

Will Stelle - NOAA

Bill Cooper - NSF, INFEWS

Randy Fiorini - Delta Stewardship Council

Mark Stacey

Robert Argent - Bureau of Meterology Australia

Joseph Lee - Hong Kong University

Karel Heynert - Deltares

Richard Howitt - UC Davis

Ciaran Harman - Johns Hopkins

2. Integrated Environmental Modeling: Connecting system processes II: Josue Medellin

Scott Peckam - Colorado University Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research

Rob Hartman - National Weather Service

Daniele Tonina - University of Idaho

John Bratton - Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab

3. Decision Support Systems: Organizations that bridge the sciece-policy gap: Chris Enright

Denise Lach - Oregon State University

Facilitated Panel Discussion

4. Ways forward for community system modeling and data for systems knowledge and management

Steve Monismith - Stanford University

Steve Brandt - Oregon State University

Lisa Lucas and Noah Knowles - USGS; CASCaDE

Pop up Talks by Exhibitors: Peter Goodwin

White Paper Integrated Modeling Estuarine Systems


Models organize our current understanding, accelerate knowledge discovery, help estimate impacts of alternative futures, and should be continuously updated as knowledge and policy questions change. This workshop explored how models could be advanced more rapidly to inform and supplement monitoring programs, accelerate knowledge discovery, and communicate results to agencies and those responsible for making management decisions affecting large estuarine systems.  The concept of a Collaboratory is proposed that comprises physical space, a virtual network and a structure that draws together interdisciplinary scientists and stakeholder experts from across organizations and geographic areas to tackle identified problems.  


View and download workshop documents here:

NEW! White Paper: Integrated Modeling of Estuarine Systems: Lessons for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta 


View and download Presentations:

Workshop Final Program


Integrated Environment Modeling for Estuarine System Management


May 21-23, 2015

Workshop Program



Wednesday May 20th, 2015 evening:

No host icebreaker: Welcome by Chris Enright – Delta Science Program; Participant Introductions

Tres Hermanas” (5:30 PM, 805 2nd Street, Davis -- 2nd St between G and I near rail depot)



Thursday May 21st, 2015 -- UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center

8:45-8:55         Peter Goodwin—Welcome and objectives of the workshop (Video)

8:55-9:05         Mark Cowin – Department of Water Resources (Video)

9:05-9:15         Will Stelle (NOAA) (Video)

9:15-9:25         Bill Cooper (NSF, INFEWS) (Video)

9:25-9:35         Randy Fiorini (Delta Stewardship Council) (Video)

9:35-9:45         Jay Lund (UC Davis) (Video)


9:45-10:10      Networking Break


I) Integrated Environmental Modeling--connecting system processes I (Jay Lund)

10:10-10:30     Robert Argent (Bureau of Meteorology Australia) (Video)

10:30-10:50     Joseph Lee (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) (Video)

10:50-11:10     Karel Heynert (Deltares) (Video)

11:10-11:30     Richard Howitt (UC Davis) (Video)

11:30-11:50     Ciaran Harman (Johns Hopkins) (Video)


11:50-12:40    Lunch (buffet provided)


II)  Integrated Environmental Modeling—connecting system processes II (Josué Medellín)

12:40-1:00       Scott Peckham (Colorado University Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research) (Presentation) (Video)

1:00-1:20         Rob Hartman (National Weather Service) (Presentation) (Video)

1:20-1:40         Daniele Tonina (University of Idaho) (Presentation) (Video)

1:40-2:00         John Bratton (Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab) (Presentation) (Video)


2:00-2:20        Networking Break


III)  Decision Support systems:  Science/Modeling Organizations that bridge the science-policy gap (Chris Enright) (Video)

2:20-2:40 Lead-in decision support talk:                   Denise Lach (Oregon State University) (Presentation) (Video)


2:40-3:30 Facilitated Panel Discussion (Video)

Integrated systems modeling can give insight into how water supply/quality, ecosystems, and economies are affected by change. The goal of this panel is to learn how technical analyses have supported (or not) management and policy decisions in this system and others. “Decisions” are typically choices among high impact alternatives that trade-off consequences for diverse stakeholder interests.


  • What is the optimal level of engagement for decision makers in developing alternative Delta futures?
  • How do we translate complex analyses into alternative Delta futures that can be effectively negotiated among stakeholders?
  • What is your advice for establishing a skillful and decision-relevant modeling community?
  • What does a successful scientific modeling and decision support organization look like?


Denise Lach (Oregon State University)

Randy Fiorini (Delta Stewardship Council)

David Okita (California Natural Resources Agency)

Robert Argent (Bureau of Meteorology Australia)


3:30-3:40        Break (10 minutes)


IV) It’s an integrated ocean-bay-delta-watershed system: Community modeling for system understanding and management decision support (Ben Bray)

3:40-4:00         Steve Monismith (Stanford University) (Presentation) (Video)

4:00-4:20         Steve Brandt (Oregon State University) (Presentation) (Video)

4:20-4:40         Lisa Lucas and Noah Knowles (USGS; CASCaDE) (Presentation) (Video)


4:40-4:50         Pop-up talks by exhibitors (1 minute each) (Peter Goodwin)  (All Presentations) (Video) 

4:50-5:00         Wrap-up today and next steps for tomorrow


5:00                 Evening Session (with food and drinks)

Demonstrations of data analytics, modeling, and decision support systems

Informal hands-on demonstration and opportunities for participants to talk with model

developers, and hands-on demonstrations. Confirmed presenters include: Palantir; USGS CASCaDE Program; IBM – Galway Bay; Resource Management Associates; Delta Modeling Associates; The Nature Conservancy; ESA; ESSA (Delta EFT), Deadwood project, Bay-Delta Live, DWR Delta Modeling; UCD Hobbes Framework, Karl Benedict (U of NM; )


Friday May 22nd, 2015 -- UC Davis Buehler Alumni Center

9:00-9:20 Review/synthesis of Day 1 and orientation for today. It’s a workshop! (Jay Lund) (Presentation)

9:20-10:20 Panel of Table Moderators (Bruce DiGennaro): Each topic moderator will introduce a question/topic area (10 minutes each). How would you relate your question to what you have learned so far and, if necessary, how should the question be reframed? Overall, what are the big ideas that should be included in a proposal for improving community modeling for system understanding and decision support be developed?

  1. Decision support: How can integrated models and data analytics be used effectively for decision making in a world of diverse stakeholders?
  2. How do we update and maintain system conceptual models as a knowledge organizing framework for integrated modeling?
  3. What is the role of open-source or public domain community models?
  4. Integrated environmental models and data analytics for holding system complexity: How do we get there?
  5. What are organization options that encourage integrated modeling and knowledge discovery?
  6. What is a good business model for consultants/NGO modelers and data analytics people for engaging and supporting agencies?

10:20-10:50    Networking BREAK

10:50-2:20 Round-table break-out discussions based on 6 questions. 10 people max at each table--self selected. There will be three rounds of 45 minutes each so that attendees can participate in three of the six table topics of their choice. One moderator and one lead author/note taker will remain at each table for each of the three rounds.

                     Moderator                  Note taker

Table/Question 1:        Campbell Ingram         Stuart Siegel

Table/Question 2:        Robert Argent              Nigel Quinn

Table/Question 3:        Karl Benedict               Michael McWilliams

Table/Question 4:        Scott Peckham             Steve Lindley

Table/Question 5:        Jay Lund                      Jon Burau

Table/Question 6:        David Senn                  Ryan Luster


10:50-11:35     Round 1

11:35-12:20     Round 2

12:20-1:20      Lunch (provided)

1:20-2:05         Round 3

2:05-2:20        Short break to allow report-out synthesis by lead authors

2:20-3:30        Report out round table topics by lead white paper authors (10 minutes each)

3:30-3:45        Perspectives on transformative approaches to management and policy decision support

Two or three policy people give comments, impressions and advice to lead authors as they embark on the production of an actionable white paper.

3:45-4:00 Wrap up and next steps (Peter Goodwin)            

4:00-5:30 Post-meeting reception



Saturday May 23rd, 2015 -- UC Davis Ghausi Hall 3rd Fl. Conference Room

Writing Team reflects on information generated in the workshop and discusses workshop outcomes and findings. Refine writing assignments as necessary. Develop draft sections.







Thanks to everyone who helped put on a great workshop!



Planning Committee

David Senn (SFEI), Mark Stacey (UCB), Eleanor Bartolomeo (SWRCB), Steve Lindley (NOAA), Bill Cooper (NSF), Nigel Quinn (LBL), Mike Chotkowski (USGS), John Wolfe (LimnoTech),

Chris Foe (RWQCB)


UC Davis Support

Cathryn Lawrence, Barbara Bellieu


Organizing Committee

Josué Medellín (UCD), Alvar Escriva-Bou (UCD), Jiro Ariyama (DSP), Jay Lund (UCD),

Ben Bray (EBMUD), Chris Enright (DSP)



Delta Stewardship Council

National Science Foundation

UC Davis Center for Watershed Science

California Water and Environmental Modeling Forum

International Association of Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research