A beautiful spring day at Wadsworth Pumping Plant. Photo by Blanca Biller
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
April 2, 2019
DVL Discovery: A New Mastodon Species
The Western Science Center at Metropolitan’s Diamond Valley Lake has identified the first new mastodon species in more than 50 years. 

The initial discovery of the Ice Age mammal known as “Max” was made during the lake’s excavation 25 years ago. But finding out it was a new species came about completely by accident.

“We were updating Max’s exhibit panels,” said the Center’s Executive Director Dr. Alton Dooley. “Scientists found anomalies in his tooth measurements. One thing led to another” including studying 400 mastodons in museums across North America to collect the necessary data. The findings are published in the journal, PeerJ .

“Metropolitan Water District had the foresight to work with paleontologists during the construction of the reservoir to make sure these remains were collected and put in a museum for future study,” said Dr. Dooley. Metropolitan Director Randy Record attended last week's press conference at which the findings were announced.

The new species, Mammut pacificus , has narrower teeth and differences in the hips and hind legs than the previously known species, Mammut americanum .

Metropolitan began construction of DVL in 1995. At the time, it was the largest earthworks project in North America and led to the discovery of more than 100,000 fossils. Max and other Diamond Valley Lake fossils are on display at the Western Science Center , which is located next to the DVL Visitors Center .

Photo credit: Western Science Center
Turf's Up - Thanks to Higher Metropolitan Rebates
Ditch your Grass. Claim Your Rebate. Rake in Savings.

That’s the message of Metropolitan's new advertising and outreach campaign to promote its bigger and better turf rebate program. Recently, the Board voted to double the rebates for removing lawns – up to $2 per square foot. That could mean as much as $10,000 back for homeowners, depending on the amount of lawn removed.

The goal is to get more Southern Californians to replace their water-guzzling lawns with native and other plants that use a lot less water.

Many Metropolitan employees have taken advantage of the program over the years and this new incentive may inspire more of us to lose our lawns in favor of California Friendly ® and native gardens.

“We don’t want this to be a drought response program,” said Met’s water efficiency manager Bill McDonnell . “The idea is that 10 or 20 years from now, this will be the norm.”

Metropolitan is also sponsoring free landscape training classes and the BeWaterWise website has lots of helpful information.

"We are reach out to millions of Southern Californians using radio, billboards, newspapers, social media and digital ads, " says Teresa Gonzalez who is helping to manage the campaign. "And because we are in a very competitive media market, we'll use every creative tool we can to get the word out. There's no better time to convert to water smart landscaping," says Teresa .

Some homeowners and businesses can receive even more thanks to additional rebates offered by their local water agencies.
Climbing Mountains and Career Opportunities
One of Dannelle-Mimi Phan’s happy places is on the side of a mountain and she shares her passion for outdoor adventures as the administrative director for the Advanced Mountaineering Program for the LA Chapter of the Sierra Club. 

Over the years, she has assisted with outdoor safety instructions including gear selections.  Dannelle even designed her own backpacking food supplies to address her allergies and vegan diet. She has made lifelong friendships from her wilderness travels.

But she also has worked hard throughout her career to climb to the top. While a junior at Boston College, she was recruited by the Arthur Anderson accounting firm for its leadership program. Dannelle also worked for Fox Studios and Universal Studios where she audited theatrical releases starting with script development and film cost estimates, all the way to post-production and distribution.

“I was on movie sets and met many directors and actors,” Dannelle says. “The job was exciting, but also exhausting and involved a lot of travel.”

Fifteen years ago, Dannelle came to Metropolitan to work in the Auditor’s Office. She’s worked on many audits and learned a lot about how the organization operates.

Keeping a broad perspective and respect for employees is a hallmark of her approach to the work. “Some people are afraid when they find out auditors are looking at their projects,” Dannelle says. “But our job is to help staff succeed and make sure our programs accomplish their goals in the best way possible.”  
New hires, transfers, promotions & retirements are posted here each month.    
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