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Special Studies Section - Staff
Brett HarveyBrett Harvey is a Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) in the Special Studies Research section, where he develops and conducts ecological research in the Delta in partnership with scientists from DWR and other state and federal agencies. He is currently developing research to investigate relationships between habitat use, survival and fitness of juvenile salmon in freshwater tidal habitats. Brett also serves on multiple interagency workgroups which provide technical advice regarding water management effects on fish populations in the Delta. Brett received a B.A. in Theater Arts from University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Ph. D in Ecology from UC Davis as a Graduate Research Fellow with the National Science Foundation.
Kris Jones

Kristopher Jones is a Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) in the Special Studies Research Section.  He serves as Assistant Director for the California Water Quality Monitoring Council, and provides outreach and support to existing and potential partner agencies, organizations, and stakeholders to increases awareness of the Monitoring Council, its workgroups and the My Water Quality portals.  Kris is currently conducting research examining the effects of environmental conditions on lower trophic productivity in the Yolo Bypass.  He also serves on multiple interagency collaborative workgroups, including IEP’s Management, Analysis and Synthesis Team (MAST) and the Tidal Wetland Monitoring Project Work Team.  Kris received his Bachelors of Science in Biology, with a minor in Chemistry, from California State University, Sacramento.  He also received his PhD in Zoology from the University of Oxford, England as a Graduate Research Fellow with the National Science Foundation.

Sarah LesmeisterSarah Lesmeister is a Senior Environmental Scientist (Specialist) in the Special Studies Research Section. Sarah is currently conducting research with multiple universities and state agencies on the effects of drought on harmful algal blooms and zooplankton communities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Additionally, she serves on multiple interagency teams as technical expert on water quality, nutrients, contaminants, harmful algal blooms and lower trophic food web dynamics. Sarah received her Bachelors of Science degree in Evolution and Ecology and Biodiversity from UC Davis. She also received her Ph.D in Ecology from UC Davis as a Delta Science and National Science Foundation GK-12 fellow.
Jared Frantzich Jared Frantzich is a Senior Environmental Scientist in the Special Studies Research Section, where he currently leads a study analyzing North Delta food web response to augmented summer and fall flows through the Yolo Bypass as one of several Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategies. His career began with DWR in 2006 as an Environmental Scientist with the North Central Region Office Water Quality Evaluation Section, where he was involved in compliance and water operation-related continuous and discrete water quality monitoring throughout the Delta.  In 2011, he moved to the Division of Environmental Services Aquatic Ecology Section and became the field lead for the IEP long-term Yolo Bypass Fish and Invertebrate Monitoring Project. Jared comes with over 9 years of experience as an Environmental Scientist with DWR and variety of experience working on Delta aquatic ecology. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from California State University Sacramento.
Sal Batmanghilich

Sal Batmanghilich is a Senior Water Resources Engineer Specialist in the Special Studies Research Section. Sal’s responsibilities include: 1) Designing  and conducting complex statistical analyses and program evaluations to ensure accurate and efficient assessments of potential State Water Project (SWP) impacts on water quality within the San Francisco Estuary; 2) Acting as a subject matter expert on data and database needs; and, providing solutions for implementing the Delta Science Program’s Data Summit White Paper and pending state legislation on data standards; 3) Facilitating meetings, as an active member of Interagency Ecological Program (IEP) and DWR Project Work Teams, convening, leading, preparing summaries, proposing special studies to evaluate water quality impacts on aquatic ecology and engineering solutions, reviewing reports and providing technical comments; and 4) Providing assistance to the branch chief in program management of continuous water quality and data contracts, purchasing, and budgeting.

Mary Xiong

Mary Xiong is a Fish and Wildlife Scientific Aid in the Special Studies section where she assists with collecting zooplankton, phytoplankton, and water quality samples, analyzing samples with microscopes and digitizing imaging equipment, maintaining database, managing data entry, preparing field sampling equipment, and helping other sections with field studies in the Bay/Delta. Mary received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies spring 2015 at CSU Sacramento.

Other Staff

Peggy LehmanPeggy Lehman was a long-time DWR Staff Environmental Scientist; Peggy is now working for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as a Senior Environmental Scientist (Supervisory) in their Stockton – Bay Delta Office.

Her current research focuses on the growth and toxicity of the toxic cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa in the Delta, high frequency phytoplankton and zooplankton distributions in the Delta using flowCAM technology and wetland production.

Previous research includes quantifying material flux in freshwater tidal wetlands, causes of oxygen depletion in the San Joaquin River and the influence of climatic factors on affect phytoplankton species composition and food web dynamics.