Glenn County supervisors protest new irrigation regulations
The Glenn County Board of Supervisors is protesting new regulatory requirements that may soon apply to local farmers with irrigated agriculture land.
The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board's Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program, which was adopted in the San Joaquin area in December, is quickly heading for expansion to cover all agricultural water discharges to groundwater, officials said.
Growers will be expected to track their nitrogen use and efforts to protect both surface and ground water starting in 2014.
County officials believe the new requirements are not needed in this part of the Sacramento Valley because water monitoring results have been excellent.
"Regulatory issues like these are an attempt to fix what isn't broken yet," said Glenn County Supervisor Leigh McDaniel, who agreed to send a protest letter to the Water Quality Control Board by Friday's deadline for written comment.
County officials also intend to speak against the regulations at a public workshop in Colusa on Oct. 30.
"This is a huge topic," said Kandi Manhart, coordinator of the Colusa Glenn Subwatershed Program. "These regulations will have a big impact on our producers and the economy."
Manhart said 918 landowners and 148,017 acres in Glenn County area currently enrolled in the Sacramento Valley Water Quality Coalition. Colusa County has 672 landowners and 132,599 acres enrolled.
The new regulations could cost each farmer about $5 to $10 per acre, according to Coalition President Larry Domenighini.
Growers would be required to prepare and maintain an on-site farm evaluation report and nutrient management plan and summary; implement sediment and erosion control plan, submit data from farm evaluation and nutrient management summary, participate in grower outreach events, cooperate in requested assistance for groundwater quality monitoring; and implement management practices protective of surface or groundwater.
Manhart said the more burdensome regulatory program has been proposed despite a proven record of excellent water quality monitoring results and proactive stewardship by Glenn and Colusa County farmers.
"All this does is create a process," Manhart said. "It does not create a process in water quality."