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The Brown-Nichols Science Award was established in 2008 in honor of the significant contributions of Dr. Randall Brown and Dr. Frederic Nichols. Each made substantive contributions to science through research, by facilitating good science by others, and by communicating science to managers and policy makers in the San Francisco Estuary and watershed. Together they laid the foundations for the first Bay- Delta Science Conference.

The award is given at each Bay-Delta Science Conference to recognize the contributions of a scientist for significant research and active involvement in facilitating the use of science to manage the San Francisco Estuary and watershed.

Nominations are encouraged for scientists who meet the following criteria. We encourage nominations for scientists from diverse backgrounds, including individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, and women.

The deadline for submission of nomination packages is July 1, 2024.


Candidates for the award are evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. The candidate conducts significant scientific research in the San Francisco Estuary and watershed.

  2. The candidate makes significant scientific contributions to the development of management strategies or policies.

  3. The candidate facilitates the practice of good science by others through management, mentoring, or collaboration.

  4. The candidate has an impact through science communication and encourages scientific literacy through engagement and outreach activities.

  5. Contributions of the candidate are broadly recognized as important by scientists, agencies, and others working in the Bay-Delta.


Nomination package requirements:

  • Nomination letter (written by the Nominator, 4 page maximum)

  • Nominator contact information and relationship to Nominee

  • Nominee contact information and Curriculum Vitae

  • Letters in support of the nomination: no more than five. Submit nomination packages as a PDF via e-mail to:


The deadline for submission is July 1, 2024.

Questions? Contact

The Selection Committee for the Brown-Nichols Science Award

unanimously chose Dr. Larry Brown as the recipient of the 2021 award.

A Research Biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Larry was a

recognized expert on the ecology of California fishes and published over

80 scientific articles and reports on native fishes, benthic

macroinvertebrates, and benthic algae. He was a renowned research

scientist who was recently acknowledged by a Stanford study as among

the world’s top 2% of scientists in his field.


For more than two decades, Larry was very active in the Interagency

Ecological Program (IEP) for the San Francisco Estuary. He was a long-time member and leader of several IEP groups, including the Science Management Team, Management, Analysis, and Synthesis Team, and the Climate Change Project Work Team. The IEP community relied heavily on Larry’s unique ability to lead data analysis and synthesis efforts, including IEP work on the causes of the “Pelagic Organism Decline” in the Bay-Delta. Larry was a sought-after reviewer of papers and programs, a frequent conference speaker, and a productive participant in various expert panels, review teams, and work groups. He served as President of the California-Nevada Chapter of the American Fisheries Society as well as of the Water Quality Section of the National American Fisheries Society. Larry received the Meritorious Service Award of the Department of the Interior in 2018.


Larry passed away suddenly in February 2021. He was a kind, generous, and thoughtful man and scientist who is remembered by his colleagues for being a great friend and mentor, kind, humble, and a beacon of scientific integrity. He was, above all, a kind person with a positive attitude towards life and someone who made life better for all who knew him. Bruce Herbold, Larry’s friend and colleague for over 40 years, received the award on Larry’s behalf at the 11th Biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference.

View a complete list of previous Brown-Nichols Science Award winners.

Larry Brown_edited.jpg

Dr. Larry Brown

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