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Reclamation Announces New Regional Director to Tackle West’s Water Challenges

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Karl Stock, left, succeeds Ernest Conant as the new regional director for the California-Great Basin Region of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)
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Karl Stock, who has a reputation for collaborating with stakeholders, is the new regional director for the California-Great Basin Region of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Stock succeeds Ernest Conant, who will assume the role of senior advisor to the Bureau’s deputy commissioner for operations.

Stock is stepping into a job filled with climate-change-related challenges, but also opportunities thanks to historically high funding from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

“I am honored to take on this responsibility and look forward to advancing Reclamation’s mission in the California-Great Basin Region … as we seek to improve water and power reliability for the millions that depend on Reclamation’s projects in the Region through sustainable operational strategies and smart investments,” Stock said in a news release.

Stock’s Duties Include Managing the Central Valley Project

Stock will lead the management, development, and protection of water and related resources in the region, including the Central Valley Project. He will also oversee Oregon’s Klamath Project, Nevada’s Truckee Storage projects, and California’s Orland, Solano, Cachuma, and Ventura River projects.

“Karl’s extensive experience across Reclamation’s many programs and offices, and his collaborative approach will serve our partners well as Reclamation invests historic funding to improve water resources across the California Great Basin and the American West,” said Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton.

Praise for Conant’s Leadership

Conant’s departure leaves big shoes to fill, according to Touton and Friant Water Authority CEO Jason Phillips.

“His vision and executive leadership consistently advanced regional priorities and I wish him all the best in his new role,” Touton said of Conant.

Said Phillips: “Since 2019, Ernest has led the region, and one of the most complex water systems, the Central Valley Project, through some of the most challenging times, including prolonged drought periods, regulatory pressure and headwinds, and the urgent need to address aging infrastructure in dire need of attention.

‘Without Ernest Conant’s leadership, the effort and construction project to repair the Middle Reach of the Friant-Kern Canal would not be where it is today, only months away from completion.”

Stock’s Track Record for Solving Water Challenges

Stock has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Brigham Young University and a Master of Science in Public Administration from the University of Colorado Denver.

He joined Reclamation in 2001 and most recently served as manager of the Reclamation Law Administration Division.

“Karl has been a key leader in western water and power for more than two decades and his experience will be crucial as we continue to strengthen partnerships and develop innovative approaches to sustaining water resources,” said Reclamation Deputy Commissioner David Palumbo.

Phillips also expressed approval of Stock’s promotion.

“His long history of finding solutions to the complex issues facing water, resource, tribal, and wildlife issues will undoubtedly serve the Bureau and its stakeholders well. We look forward to working closely with Mr. Stock in his new role.”

 

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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