Date: Apr 17, 2014
Category:
Panel Selected to Assess Nitrates Control Programs: Meetings Begin Week of May 5

Western Growers encourages you or a representative to attend public meetings being held beginning the week of May 5 that will help to assess existing agricultural nitrate control programs and develop recommendations to ensure that ongoing efforts are protective of groundwater supply quality. The outcome of this process will influence the way farming operations are regulated through the irrigated lands programs, specifically, how farming operations will have to track, report and manage nutrients.

Background

The State Water Board has been tasked by the Legislature to develop pilot projects focusing on nitrates in groundwater in the Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley, and to submit a report to the Legislature on the scope and findings of the pilot projects, including recommendations. The State Water Board made 15 recommendations in four key areas to address the issues associated with nitrate contaminated groundwater. These four key areas are: 1) providing safe drinking water; 2) monitoring, notification, and assessment; 3) nitrogen tracking and reporting; and 4) protecting groundwater.

The Board recommended in its report that a panel of experts be convened to assess existing agricultural nitrate control programs and develop recommendations, as needed, to ensure that ongoing efforts are protective of groundwater supply quality. The State Water Board contracted with the Irrigation Training and Research Center (ITRC), a center established within the BioResource and Agricultural Engineering Department of the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, to assemble an expert panel of up to 10 persons. Eight Expert Panel members have been selected and include:  Dr. Charles Burt (irrigation specialist); Dr. Robert Hutmacher (soil scientist); Till Angerman (hydrologist); Bill Brush (certified crop advisor); Daniel Munk (U.C Cooperative Extension); James duBois (grower, Central Coast Region); Mark McKean (grower, Central Valley Region); and Dr. Lowell Zelinski (agronomist).

Details regarding the meetings schedule of the panel, and other information are available on a public website at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/agriculture/

WG Staff Contact

Gail Delihant
Senior Director, CA Government Affairs
916-446-1435

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