SMB Restoration Commission elects Zaldivar as Governing Board chair

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On Feb. 18, L.A. Sanitation (LASAN) Director and General Manager Enrique C. Zaldivar, P.E., was elected as the new chair of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission (SMBRC) Governing Board.

The Chair is elected for a one-year term, with no term limits, and also presides over the Executive Committee. Zaldivar, on the Governing Board since 2008, replaces the outgoing Micheál O’Leary who has served as Chair since the end of 2012, and is departing due to being termed out of his position on the Culver City City Council.

Zaldivar is steeped in many of the Santa Monica Bay issues that the Commission is focused on as expressed in the Bay Restoration Plan. He leads and manages LASAN which oversees key environmental and infrastructure programs such as the City’s Clean Water Program, which includes the flagship Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant; the Solid Resources Program, which has achieved one of the highest recycling rates in the nation at 76.4%; and the innovative Watershed Protection Program, which uses green infrastructure to achieve water quality objectives for urban stormwater runoff, and also provides open space, urban habitat support, and water supply.

Under his leadership, LASAN has benefited the City of Los Angeles and supported SMBRC goals with accomplishments that include:
• The adoption of the Low Impact Development Ordinance, which expanded the participation of the private sector for achieving stormwater quality and capture;
• Successfully implemented the Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance;
• Worked with the City elected Officials and the ratepayers to gain the approval of a 10-year Financial Rate Plan for the City’s Clean Water Program, providing financial stability and efficiency to one of the most critical infrastructure programs of the City;
• Implemented the brand new Clean Streets Initiative through the leadership of the Mayor and City Council, to help achieve a clean, livable, and sustainable environment.

“I have worked with Enrique and his team from the City of Los Angeles for the past decade. The work that LA Sanitation has undertaken, in the past ten years alone, has rewritten the book on large scale environmental engineering,” said SMBRC Executive Director Tom Ford. “Enrique and his team are national leaders on stormwater, wastewater and solid waste management. I am honored to have Enrique as the Chair of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission and look forward to the application of his expertise and leadership in the pursuit of our goals for Santa Monica Bay, its watershed, and its people and wildlife.”
Born in Zacatecas, Mexico, raised in the L.A. region and trained as a Civil Environmental Engineer at Cal Poly Pomona, he began working for the City of Los Angeles straight out of college in 1985 as an associate engineer, and took the helm 20 years later.

“SMBRC has been the champion organization leading the charge in restoring the region’s most precious natural resource – the Santa Monica Bay. I am honored to be elected as its chair as we grow our partnerships for the protection of the Bay’s tributary Watersheds,” said Zaldivar. “It is exciting to work with my colleague board members, our Executive Director and all who work toward the goals of the Commission.”

Six vice chairs were also elected to serve as the Bay Restoration Commission’s Executive Committee, along with Zaldivar. They are:

• Joan Cardellino, CA State Coastal Conservancy
• Fran Diamond, CA Regional Quality Control Board, Los Angeles
• Gloria Gray, West Basin MWD
• Sheila Kuehl, Supervisor, 3rd District, County of Los Angeles
• Bruce Reznik, LA Waterkeeper
• Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay