SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Leaders of key federal, state and regional water agencies discussed common strategies for addressing California's water issues at the 2009 California Water Conference here Oct. 27-28.

In keynote addresses, commanders of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles districts and South Pacific Division joined Terrence "Rock" Salt, principal deputy assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, and Corps Director of Civil Works Steve Stockton in pledging full and continued cooperation with partner agencies to develop sustainable, long-term solutions to California's water management challenges.

The Society of American Military Engineers' (SAME) Sacramento Post hosted the conference, as part of SAME's mission to enhance relationships between government and private engineering professionals.

"Through this conference, there will be a better common understanding of what the issues are," said Col. Tom Chapman, commander of the Corps' Sacramento District and president of the SAME Sacramento Post. "Maybe it will provoke a lot of thoughts, a lot of discussions, so that we can all jointly get at solutions to these water resource challenges."

Representatives from the Corps and other water agencies, including the California Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, discussed solutions to levee safety problems, climate change, dam safety, water quality and management of the challenged Bay-Delta ecosystem in issue-focused small group sessions.

The Corps is moving toward addressing water issues in the context of their relationship to their surrounding watershed system - a move away from the Corps' historical approach of analyzing projects in isolation, said Salt.

In a video address to the conference, U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, praised ongoing cooperation between the Corps and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on the Folsom Dam Joint Federal Project; a series of improvements to the dam aimed at improving flood protection for the Sacramento area.

"The decisions made by the agencies and the individuals in this room will impact our economy, our environment and our way of life for generations to come," Matsui said.

"To be successful, projects are not only going to have to be substantial, but also dynamic in their ability to adapt to a changing climate and environment," she said. "We need to make sure the right decision made today is the right decision 50 years from now. The integrity and ingenuity on display by both the Corps and the Bureau, as well as the fact that the JFP (Joint Federal Project) is still on time and on budget shows me and my colleagues in Congress that we can overcome immense challenges."

Corps leaders also presented pending projects to industry representatives to help them prepare to bid on upcoming work and better understand Corps contracting processes.