Independent Citizens Oversight Committee

The Authority’s Governing Board seeks three individuals to serve on the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (Committee). The Committee provides an independent annual analysis of the work of the Authority, focused on the Authority’s expenditures and finances and on the Authority’s conformance with the requirements of Measure AA.  Applications are due November 13, 2020. For more information, see the call for applications here.


The Independent Citizens Oversight Committee is a group of six individuals, operating independently from the Advisory Committee, Governing Board and staff of the Authority to provide an unbiased annual analysis of the work of the Authority. The group is responsible for the following tasks:

  1. Annually review the Authority's conformance with Measure AA;
  2. Review the Authority's audits and expenditure and financial reports; and
  3. Publish an annual report of its findings, which will be posted on the Authority's website.

The Oversight Committee will meet at least twice each year: once to discuss and make initial comments on the Authority's annual reports and financial documents; and a second time to discuss, amend, and adopt its findings and recommendations to the Authority, in the form of a written report which will be posted on the Authority's website. Go to the meetings page to view meeting agendas and minutes. For more on the operations of this group, see the official procedural document, Guidelines for the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee.


On October 2, 2020, the Oversight Committee presented their second review of San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority’s Conformance with Measure AA, covering the period of July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.  Their summary conclusions were as follows:

  • The Authority staff have been open and receptive to the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee’s inquiries and recommendations.
  • The Authority is continuing to pursue a solid selection and implementation process for restoration projects as envisioned by the Bay Area voters when they approved this historic measure to increase the health and resilience of the Bay.
  • The Authority has authorized numerous high‐quality restoration projects, as summarized in the Annual Report, that will provide important environmental, recreational, and climate adaptation benefits for the Bay Area.
  • The Authority staff have progressed on all and completed some of the recommendations made by the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC) from the previous year, which are discussed in this letter.
  • The Authority staff have managed to adapt, progress and report on Authority business during Covid‐19 Shelter‐in‐Place Orders.
  • The Authority continues to receive clean audit reports from an independent auditing firm and is using sound fiscal management.
  • The Authority is spending the funds raised by Measure AA in conformance with the law.

Their full report can be found here.

Previous reports from the Oversight Committee can be found below:


Contact: Karen McDowell, Deputy Program Manager,


The Oversight Committee consists of one representative from each of the four regions (North, South, East, and West Bay), and two members from counties not already represented, currently Alameda and San Mateo. Its members are below.  Past members are listed here

Cindy Darling is the CFO of Darling H2O Consulting, Inc. where she focuses on water supply alternatives. Ms. Darling served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Resources Agency for four years where she worked on the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Prior to that she represented Calfed in the Bay Area, managing water supply and water quality planning efforts. Ms. Darling also spent close to 15 years as a field biologist and environmental specialist for the California Department of Fish and Game. Ms. Darling is also the current chair of the Walnut Creek Planning Commission.

Nancy Cave recently retired from the California Coastal Commission where she worked for 40 years, overseeing many water quality, habitat restoration, flood protection, and public access projects. Ms. Cave retired as the North Central District Manager for the Coastal Commission, working with Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties to update local coastal plans to reflect climate change. Ms. Cave also served on a West Marin task force headed by State Senator Mike McGuire to help resolve public access conflicts.

Barry Nelson has worked on issues related to San Francisco Bay for more than 30 years, including 15 years at Save the Bay, with 9 years as the Executive Director, where he worked on many habitat protection and restoration projects. Mr. Nelson also worked for 15 years at the Natural Resources Defense Council, directing and co-directing NRDC’s California water team. Most recently, Mr. Nelson has worked as an independent water policy consultant for a wide range of clients, including extensive work on flood management and restoration projects. Mr. Nelson served for 9 years as a commissioner on the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, serving also as the chair of the Bay Fill Working Group which is responsible for reviewing the Commission’s laws, policies and the Bay Plan to ensure the region is ready to meet the challenges posed by sea level rise.

Paul Jones recently retired from the US EPA where he spent 27 years working in the Water Division, Wetlands Office in Region 9. Mr. Jones has spent his entire career working on habitat restoration, flood protection, water quality, pollution reduction, and financing projects, including on the staff of the San Francisco Estuary Project. Mr. Jones represented US EPA Region 9 on the National Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Workgroup, and organized and led a team to develop the California Rapid Assessment method for wetlands and riparian areas. Mr. Jones was a grant project officer for his entire career with US EPA which has provided him with familiarity in financing, contracting, and monitoring of projects. Mr. Jones volunteers locally and has served on a variety of Boards and Committees including the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory Board of Directors, the Pacifica Land Trust Board of Directors, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Negotiated Rulemaking Committee, and the San Pedro Creek Watershed Coalition Board of Directors.

Don recently retired as a biologist for the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) and prior to that he was a biologist for the City of San Jose (City) at the San Jose/Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility which discharges to South San Francisco Bay.  Prior to working at the City, Don was a biologist at Kinnetic Laboratories Inc. sampling San Francisco Bay for USGS in the 1980’s.  At the City Don managed the Salt Marsh Conversion Program and at the SCVWD Don oversaw the management of endangered species habitat restoration projects.  Don was a biological contract manager at the City and SCVWD overseeing millions of dollars in consulting and interagency agreements.  These skills and experience give Don a well-grounded perspective on projects funded under Measure AA.