News Release #2016-18
November 21, 2016
SACRAMENTO – Dr. Jeffrey Onsted, an expert in land-use issues and the use of Geographic Information
Systems (GIS), has been named Chief Science Adviser for the California Department of Conservation.
“The issues of land-use planning, climate change and agriculture are very important to this Department and
they are among Jeff’s strengths,” DOC Director David Bunn said. “He will provide a fresh perspective and
scientific approach to projects across our broad scope. Adding Jeff to a staff full of talented, dedicated people is
an indication of our commitment to using good science to inform the Department’s policies and practices.”
DOC administers a variety of programs vital to California's public safety, environment and economy. It
regulates surface mining; tracks land-use change and helps preserve land for agriculture and open space;
regulates oil, gas and geothermal production; and houses the California Geological Survey, which provides
scientific products and services about the state's geology, seismology and mineral resources.
Prior to joining DOC, Onsted was a professor for nine years at Florida International University in Miami.
He taught classes ranging from Geographic Information Systems to Urban Ecology to Environmental Science.
His research was focused on the intersection of urban growth modeling, land use policy, and ecological impacts
of land-use change. Previously, Onsted worked for environmental non-governmental organizations as well as
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).
Onsted earned his bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and Planning from the University of California, San
Diego, and his master’s and doctorate degrees in Geography from UC Santa Barbara. The topic of his doctoral
dissertation was the Williamson Act, a DOC program that helps keep land in agricultural use or open space.
“It’s fitting I should be here now, given that I have such an interest in land-use policy, land-use protection,
the actual efficacy of land-use policy, and the interaction between what you see on the ground and the
regulatory landscapes we create with our laws and regulations,” Onsted said. “This Department’s mandate is to
balance the needs of today with tomorrow's obligations by fostering the wise use and conservation of energy,
land and mineral resources. That seems a very worthy objective, and I’m pleased to be a part of it.”