Canadian Geese like to winter in the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Refuge
and other San Fernando Valley water features. Photo by Gary Tilkian
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
March 19, 2018
Bright Prospects for Stormwater
After a couple of weeks of welcome rainfall in California, people might wonder how water agencies capture and store the stormwater.  

Thanks to data collected by Metropolitan and other agencies, we know more than ever about local rainfall and stormwater. Some of this information was presented to Metropolitan's board in January by Matt Hacker.

For example, we know how much water falls from the sky in Southern California in an average year – about 15.2 inches or about 8.7 million acre-feet.

  • 12 percent - or about 1.1 million acre-feet - makes it into groundwater basins, either through active or passive percolation.

  • 83 percent is used by natural environments and landscapes, or it ‘evapotranspirates’ from land and plants.

  • The remaining 5 percent - about 450,000 acre-feet - goes to the Pacific Ocean. This is measured by flow meters on Southland rivers and streams.

Metropolitan and many member agencies offer rebates for rain barrels . These kinds of decentralized ways of capturing rain are popular, though from a dollars and cents perspective are expensive.

Still, collecting stormwater has captured the public interest so Metropolitan and many other water agencies are working to find cost-effective ways to manage stormwater for the future.

Photo by Nad ia Hardjadinata
These Eagles Have Landed
Bald eagles were recently spotted at not one, but two Metropolitan facilities -- Copper Basin Reservoir and Lake Mathews Reservoir.

A pair of eagles at Copper Basin has nested at the same location for several years, and successfully raised many eaglets in the reservoir. But after a year of nest failures due to competing wildlife, they’re back and thriving this year.

“We should see some eaglets running around soon” said O&M Tech Russ Ingram who closely monitors the nest. The pair, who are tagged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are originally from Alamo Lake in Arizona and have been in the area for about 15 years. 
Landscape Maintenance Tech, John Niedhamer and Environmental Planning staff Tania Asef and Malinda Stalvey spotted a single bald eagle while conducting biological surveys at Lake Mathews.

Bald eagles have been known to inhabit the area around the lake, but a nest has not yet been located on Metropolitan property. Staff hopes to find one during their next survey. After nearly disappearing from most of the United States decades ago due to habitat destruction, illegal shooting and the contamination of its food sources, the bald eagle population now flourishes across the U.S. and was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007.

Many thanks to Russ Ingram of Desert WSO, John Niedhamer and Environmental Planning staff, Mike Melanson, Tania Asef and Malinda Stalvey for observing and photographing the birds for this article.
A Very Welcome Orientation
Every other Monday, you can spot Melinda Snow , a senior analyst in HR, walking through HQ like a mother duck with ducklings in tow – sharing a wealth of information about Metropolitan and escorting a group of new employees through the lobby. For most newly-hired workers – which number about 100 per year - Melinda is the first person they meet as they start their jobs. How lucky!

In charge of new employee orientation (as well as the Employee Service awards and Day Two orientation program), Melinda makes a point to make everyone feel welcome.

Since joining Metropolitan 10 years ago from the private financial sector, Melinda has helped revamped new employee orientation. She has two primary goals – that employees understand our benefits package and their connection to Metropolitan’s mission.“They realize how much of an impact they each can make from the get-go,” she explains. “As an organization, we do big and historic work, and every one of our employees can help make Metropolitan even more successful.”

Melinda likes to explain that Metropolitan's mission and legacy is about reliability and providing a vital service for millions of Southern Californians. She details for new employees some of the ways the district invests ratepayer money responsibly for services today and the future. “I want them to get a sense of how we do things here – and that each employee contributes to our success,” Melinda says. 

The next time you see Melinda with a group of new employees, please say hello.   
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