Brown-Nichols Science Award - Honoree Biographies

Randy Brown

Randy BrownRandall Lee Brown was born in Mount Moriah, Missouri in 1937. He attended college at Oregon State University at Corvallis, earning bachelor's and master's degrees in fisheries with a minor in oceanography. He voluntarily served three years in the Army at bases in California, Massachusetts, and Italy. Apart from a year at the Washington Department of Fisheries and several summers in Alaska, all of his formal employment (35 years) was with the California Department of Water Resources, beginning in 1966 as a junior aquatic biologist. While working for DWR, he earned his doctorate degree in ecology from the University of California at Davis in 1986. Dr. Brown became the first Chief of the Environmental Services Office (now Division of Environmental Services) in 1992 and retired from state service as DWR's Chief Biologist in 2000. Throughout his career Dr. Brown received numerous professional honors, most notably the UC Davis College of Agriculture's 1998 Award of Distinction and the Career Achievement Award from Oregon State University College of Agriculture in 2003.

Dr. Brown engaged the regional academic community in scientific questions about the estuary through supporting critical research, publishing credible science, and organizing many conferences, workshops, and symposia. He created the quarterly Interagency Ecological Program Newsletter, funded proceedings for the Pacific Climate Workshop, edited the Department of Fish and Game's Fish Bulletin 179: Contributions to the Biology of Central Valley Salmonids, and co-edited the American Fisheries Society volume Early Life History of Fishes in the San Francisco Estuary and Watershed. Dr. Brown co-chaired the biennial CALFED Science Conference in 2002, 2003, and 2004. He co-founded the California Estuarine Research Society, an affiliate of the Estuarine Research Federation, and served as its first president. Dr. Brown was one of the charter Editors-in-Chief and a principal driving force behind the on-line journal, San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science during its early years.

Dr. Brown was widely respected for his ability to develop scientific bases for management of water projects in California's Central Valley and as a leading scientific expert on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Dr. Brown died on August 26, 2006.


Fred Nichols

Fred NicholsFrederic H. Nichols was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1937, earned a B.A. degree from Hamilton College in 1960 and, after service in the U. S. Navy, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Oceanography from the University of Washington in 1968 and 1972. Dr. Nichols was a research oceanographer at the USGS in Menlo Park as part of an interdisciplinary research team studying San Francisco Bay. His focus was study of benthic invertebrate community ecology. He was the author of more than 50 published reports. He was lead author of the oft-cited 1986 paper published in the journal Science: "The Modification of an Estuary". Dr. Nichols also served in various USGS leadership positions including Chief of the Western Region Water Resources Division National Research Program. He also served on numerous local, state and federal science advisory committees including the NRC Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Case Study Panel (1987-89) and the EPA National Estuary Program San Francisco Estuary Project Technical Advisory Committee (1987-93). He served as President of both the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 1989-90), and Estuarine Research Federation (ERF, 1995-97).

In recognition of his research contributions, his USGS program leadership, and his service to other agencies and institutions, he received the U. S. Department of Interior's prestigious Distinguished Service Award. Both before and after his retirement from the USGS in 2000, Dr. Nichols served in various advisory capacities for CALFED including the Steering Committee of the Comprehensive Monitoring, Assessment, and Research Program (CMARP), the Environmental Restoration Program Integration Panel, the Agency and Stakeholder Science Team (ASET), and as Co-Chair of the 2000, 2003, and 2004 CALFED Science Conferences. He served on the San Francisco Airport NOAA/BCDC Science Panel (2000-2003) and on the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project Science Team (2003-2007). He was one of the founding Co-Editors in Chief (with Drs. Randall Brown and James Quinn), and later was Editor in Chief of the open access on-line journal San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science ( (2003-2008).