December 3, 2018
SACRAMENTO – Keali’i Bright, who has an extensive background in California natural resources and environmental policy development, today joins the Department of Conservation as assistant director in charge of the Division of Land Resource Protection (DLRP)
“Keali’i is a dedicated and well-respected public servant, and his knowledge and experience will be a tremendous asset for the department,” DOC Director David Bunn said.
Bright previously served as Deputy Secretary for Climate and Energy at the California Natural Resources Agency.
“I am excited and honored to work with the DOC and lead the Division of Land Resource Protection,” Bright said. “California’s agricultural lands and natural watersheds are essential to our economy and culture. However, they face complex threats from climate change and the state’s growing population. This opportunity will allow me to work with the stewards of these lands toward a sustainable future.”
California is both the most populated state in the nation and the largest producer of agricultural products, generating more than $45 billion in commodities annually. More than 400 commodities are grown in California, including more than a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts.
Population growth and housing costs in California’s coastal urban areas often push development toward the state’s agricultural valleys – many times on the best agricultural soils. Some projections suggest that a million acres of prime irrigated farmland in the Central Valley will be converted to non-agricultural uses in the face of this pressure.
“DLRP rightfully prides itself as being the state’s leader in conserving irreplaceable agricultural lands,” Bright said. “Balancing the needs of agriculture with those of an ever-increasing population is no easy task.”
In his previous role at the Natural Resources Agency, Bright was responsible for agency-related climate adaptation, natural and working land carbon management, energy and oil production, and Salton Sea programs. Previously, he served the Brown Administration as the Deputy Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the Natural Resources Agency. Prior to that, he was the principal consultant on natural resources, environmental protection, energy, transportation, and other issues for the Assembly Budget Committee.