Experts Offer Views of Foothill Water at Columbia College Foundation Lecture

WHO:        Columbia College Foundation
WHAT:      “Focus on Foothill Water: Beyond the Drought”
A free community event featuring the region’s leading water experts from the Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Regional Watershed Management Group
WHERE:     Sonora High School Auditorium
WHEN:      Thursday evening March 13. Doors open at 6 pm; program 6:30-8:30 pm

A panel of experts on foothill water and a leading authority on California water issues will be the featured speakers at a free community event presented by the Columbia College Foundation Thursday evening, March 13.

“Focus on Foothill Water: Beyond the Drought,” a two-hour evening program at the Sonora High School Auditorium, will be moderated by Columbia College Natural Resources Professor Dr. Tom Hofstra, and features leading experts representing a range of interests including local water districts, agriculture, the environment and native California tribes.

The evening’s keynote speaker is John Mills, a leading authority on California water and a Columbia resident. Mills, one of state’s top water advisors was just appointed to the California Emergency Drought Task Force.  He will offer an overview of the twists and turns in local watershed management over the last 80 years.

Mr. Mills’ comments will be followed by a guided discussion among panel members, all of whom are representatives in the Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Regional Watershed Management Group. Speakers include:

Tom Scesa- General Manager, Tuolumne Utilities District
Jerry Cadagan- Founder, Protect Our Water & Environmental Resources
Lindsay Rae Mattos – District Manager, Tuolumne County Resource Conservation District and Administrator, Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Regional Watershed Management Group
Don Stump – President, Mountain Counties Water Resource Association and President, Calaveras County Water District
Patrick Koepele  – Acting Executive Director, Tuolumne River Trust
Stephanie Suess – Community and Resources Development Director for the Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California. Suess is also a Columbia College Foundation director.
Tom Trott, General Manager, Twain Harte Community Services District

Speakers will focus on the big picture of watershed management – past and future – rather than the specifics of the immediate drought emergency.  “No issue is more critical than water right now,” said Mel Kirk, Columbia College Foundation Board President. “This is a chance to learn from the region’s experts on the issues that got us here, the range of interests involved and the efforts underway to work together on long-range solutions.  The Foundation is pleased to bring these key players together for an educational evening.”

“Focus on Foothill Water: Beyond the Drought” kicks off a new community lecture series planned by the Columbia College Foundation. The program is free. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the evening’s program will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Refreshments by Columbia College Culinary Arts students will be available at an intermission and after the event.

For more information, visit or call (209) 588-5065.

The Columbia College Foundation is a community nonprofit established in 1972 to promote quality higher education that enriches the academic, economic, and cultural life of our community. Our mission is to promote student success by providing community resources that support and expand educational opportunities for Columbia College’s students. Learn more at or call (209) 588-5055.