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Water Wise


Riverside County Farm Bureau, along with the California and American Farm Bureau Federations, provides information to members about issues and events that affect their livelihood and to the public about this vital industry. Farm Bureau is a respected public representative for agriculture at the county, state and national levels.


AG Magazine | AG Information & Statistics  | Water Wise

California Farm Bureau Federation

“Water Wise”

December 1, 2011

 

This is the first edition of “Water Wise”, a formal communications tool to assist County Farm Bureaus in their knowledge and understanding of water issues California Farm Bureau Federation staff is working on, including issues of interest arising in other county Farm Bureaus. Each issue of “Water Wise” will be emailed to county managers/executive directors and presidents. Additionally, each addition will be posted to Pathways for those signed up to access information in that medium.   We plan to produce Water Wise on at least a bi-monthly basis with any additional issues to be published as necessary when there is an issue or issues on which updates need to be made on a more frequent basis.  If you need further detail on any of the issues presented in Water Wise, please contact the staff contact listed at the end of the issue.

 

Quantifying the Efficiency of Agricultural Water Use. The Water Conservation Act of 2009 (SBx7 7) requires the Department of Water Resources, in consultation with the Agricultural Water Management Council and others to prepare a report on a methodology for quantifying the efficiency of agricultural water use and a plan of implementation. The report is due to the Legislature December 31, 2011, but is not expected to be ready until February 2012. To facilitate stakeholder input, the Department convened an Agricultural Stakeholders Committee in 2010 and conducted numerous meetings over the past year. Farm Bureau has actively participated in the meetings and argued for a practical methodology. The draft report was rolled out for public comment November 16. DWR also conducted three workshops in November, with comments due November 30. Farm Bureau submitted comments and requested additional time for our members to comment. The draft methodology report and a summary of the methodology report are posted on the Department’s website at http://www.water.ca.gov/calendar/  Farm Bureau continues to advocate for a realistic and practical methodology. Legislation to implement is expected in 2012. Staff contact: Danny Merkley at dmerkley@cfbf.com or (916) 446-4647

 

Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS, or Septic Systems). Assembly Bill 885 (Hannah-Beth Jackson) passed in 2000 requires the State Water Resources Control Board to develop a statewide policy for septic systems. The new draft Policy reflects a genuine attempt by the Water Board to incorporate the comments they received from Farm Bureau and the public during the previous round of workshops three years ago. Under the current Draft Policy, there are no new requirements for those with properly functioning septic systems. The draft Policy and summary documents are available on the Water Board’s website for a quick and easy understanding of an otherwise complex issue at: www.waterboards.ca.gov/septictanks  This same summary information and brief overview was presented at each of eight Water Board workshops held around the state in October. Farm Bureau attended and commented at all eight workshops. The draft Policy has a tiered approach to addressing the wide variety of conditions and septic systems throughout the state, but most importantly the draft policy leaves much of the control with the existing local agencies while giving guidance to address those systems that pose a threat to water quality. Regional Water Quality Control Boards still have some say in the implementation of the Policy through the Basin Planning process and the establishment of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL). The new draft Policy recognizes a “one size fits all” approach is not appropriate and the Policy does NOT require mandatory solids testing, or well testing as was proposed in the previous draft three years ago.

Staff contact: Danny Merkley at dmerkley@cfbf.com or (916) 446-4647

 

Delta Plan EIR. CFBF is reviewing and will soon submit public comments on a 2,500-page Environmental Impact Report for the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan.  The Delta Plan, which is required by legislation passed in 2009, is meant to function as the state’s plan to achieve reliable Delta water supplies and a healthy Delta ecosystem, while at the same time protecting the Delta and its economy, including its agricultural resources. 

Staff contact: Justin Fredrickson at jfredrickson@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5673

 

Central Valley Flood Control Plan. CFBF reviewed and commented on a 300-page “Working Draft” Central Valley Flood Control Plan.  The plan will guide state investment of $13-16 billion over 25 years in Central Valley levees and flood facilities.  The current plan includes proposals to expand system capacity by means of setback levees and bypass expansion on existing Central Valley farmland.  CFBF is developing a strategy to ensure increased involvement and coordination on this issue in 2012 and beyond, by working with affected County Farm Bureaus.  Staff contact: Justin Fredrickson at jfredrickson@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5673

 

Agricultural Water Transfers. CFBF attended an all-day workshop by the California Board of Food and Agriculture on the topic of agricultural water transfers.  Among other things, the workshop focused on how to streamline “ag-to-ag” water transfers as a way of responding to drought and potential reduced water allocations.  As options, the workshop considered south-of-Delta east-to-west and CVP-to-SWP transfers, as well as the reasons for some of the current constraints on north-to-south transfers.  The Board heard different perspectives from throughout California and described plans to develop recommendations to the Governor’s Office on water transfers as a tool to help California through “the next big drought.”

Staff contact: Justin Fredrickson at jfredrickson@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5673

 

North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board—Irrigated Lands Discharge Program.

The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has begun developing a Water Quality Compliance Program for Discharges from Irrigated Lands to address water quality impacts associated with irrigated agricultural lands in the North Coast Region.  The Regional Board will be holding an initial “Advisory Group” meeting comprised of stakeholders and the general public on December 14, 2011.  CFBF will be in attendance as an interested stakeholder representative. Staff contact: Kari Fisher at kfisher@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5666

 

North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board—Water Quality Objective for Temperature Policy. CFBF’s comments on the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s proposed Policy Statement for Implementation of the Water Quality Objective for Temperature helped delay adoption of the policy, allowing stakeholders additional time to work on clarifying language.  As originally drafted, the Temperature Policy appears to establish a policy of imposing regulatory burdens on all stream reaches regardless of whether they are listed as impaired or not.  Additionally, the policy would suggest that all land uses, including grazing and agriculture, may be required to implement riparian management activities intended to ensure the area achieves maximum site potential shade.  The Board will vote on this matter in early 2012.  CFBF continues to work with staff to refine the Policy. 

Staff contact: Kari Fisher at kfisher@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5666

 

 

 

 

North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board—Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Policy. CFBF submitted comments on the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s CEQA Scoping for the Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Policy.   CFBF will continue to monitor the development of the policy.  Staff contact: Kari Fisher at kfisher@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5666

 

Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board—Mercury TMDL. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted a methylmercury Total Maximum Daily Load (“TMDL”) and Basin Plan Amendment for the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Delta Estuary in mid 2010.  CFBF continues to participate in the Nonpoint Source Workgroup regarding implementation of the TMDL for nonpoint sources, including agriculture.

Staff contact: Kari Fisher at kfisher@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5666

Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board—Long-Term Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board is currently developing the geographic/commodity-based Waste Discharge Requirements (“WDRs”) for the Long-Term Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.  Over the next year and a half, staff will be issuing WDRs in the following order: Sacramento Valley Rice Commission and East-side San Joaquin River Watershed; Tulare Lake Basin (minus Westlands) and West-side San Joaquin River Watershed; San Joaquin County & Delta and Sacramento River Watershed; and Westlands Water District.  During the development of the WDRs, staff has periodically held Stakeholder Advisory Workgroup meetings to discuss groundwater monitoring data gaps and needs.  CFBF continues to actively participate in these meetings. 

Staff contact: Kari Fisher at kfisher@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5666

 

Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board—Agricultural Order. Due to lack of a Board quorum, which has subsequently been filled, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board postponed holding a hearing on the renewal of the Agricultural Order until 2012.  Due to this postponement, the Executive Officer issued Executive Officer Order No. R3-2011-0017 on September 30, 2011, extending the 2004 Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges from Irrigated Lands (Agricultural Order No. R3-2004-0117) through September 30, 2012. 

Staff contact: Kari Fisher at kfisher@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5666

 

Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board—San Jerardo Water Quality Issue. CFBF is working with Monterey County Farm Bureau and affected landowners in the San Jerardo area on Water Code Section 13267 Orders from the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board requiring extensive and costly groundwater monitoring and reporting of technical information, including irrigation efficiency reports and nutrient management budgets. 

Staff contact: Kari Fisher at kfisher@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5666

 

Statewide Wetlands and Riparian Area Policy. CFBF has been following and commenting on the development of a statewide policy to protect wetlands and riparian areas (“Wetland and Riparian Area Policy”).  CFBF was asked to participate in a select group representing agricultural interests regarding the potential impacts wetland regulation will have on agriculture.  CFBF signed onto a joint coalition letter to the Governor opposing the State Water Resources Control Board’s expanded policy and met with representatives of various entities who joined the coalition to discuss future steps.  CFBF also attended a coalition meeting with the Governor’s Office and Cal/EPA to further discuss our concerns with the policy.   Staff contact: Kari Fisher at kfisher@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5666

 

 

Statewide Nutrient Policy. The State Water Resources Control Board is proposing a nutrient policy that would establish nutrient water quality objectives and establish methods to control nutrient over-enrichment in inland surface waters of the state.  Given the potential impact to agriculture throughout the state, CFBF attended a CEQA Scoping meeting and submitted comments on the proposed policy.  CFBF will continue to monitor the development of the policy.  Staff contact: Kari Fisher at kfisher@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5666

 

Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act. CFBF’s Legal Services, Governmental Affairs and National Affairs and Research Divisions are working to develop fact sheets on the State’s Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act and the federal Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Rule.  CFBF has had conversations with AFBF and the Environmental Protection Agency regarding Clean Water Act compliance measures for farm facilities. 

Staff contact: Kari Fisher at kfisher@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5666

 

Streambed Alteration Agreements (Fish and Game Code section 1602) for Water Use. The Department of Fish and Game (”DFG”) continues to take the position that a streambed alteration agreement is required before anyone can divert water in accordance with a water right.  Siskiyou County Farm Bureau, with significant financial assistance from CFBF and numerous county Farm Bureaus, filed litigation challenging this new interpretation of the Fish and Game Code.  A ruling on a demurrer (attempt by DFG to have the case resolved in its favor without a trial) is expected at any time.  Staff contact: Jack Rice at jrice@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5667

 

Russian River Frost Protection Regulation. The State Water Resources Control Board (“SWRCB”) adopted a regulation that imposes certain requirements on all diversions for frost protection in the Russian River watershed on the basis that all diversions for frost protection are unreasonable if they pose a threat of stranding to salmonids.  The regulation will require any farmer whose water use may pose a threat of stranding to salmonids (salmon or steelhead) to alter their water use in a way that will eliminate that potential.  The regulation does not provide useful guidance on how to determine whether a use poses a threat of stranding or what must be done to eliminate that threat.  Several local landowners and a grassroots group called Russian River Water Users for the Environment recently filed a lawsuit challenging the SWRCB’s authority to adopt such a regulation.  No hearings have yet been scheduled.  CFBF is assisting its members in local fundraising efforts.

Staff contact: Jack Rice at jrice@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5667

 

New Flood Control Impacts on Rural Communities. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began remapping California’s floodplains in the years following the Katrina disaster.  These maps and their associated restrictions have the effect of making 100-year certified levees virtually unattainable in rural areas, resulting in building restrictions, mandatory and higher flood insurance costs, and potential ineligibility for flood disaster relief.  Agriculture is the highest and best use of floodplains, but these landowners need to be compensated for absorbing the higher risk when levee fortification is targeted to urban areas.  We are working with a coalition to create a new agricultural flood hazard area under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that would address these concerns. Staff Contact: Elisa Noble at enoble@cfbf.com or (916)561-5618

 

 

 

 

 

City of San Buenaventura v. United Water Conservation Dist., et al. (Ventura County Superior Court). On October 6, 2011, the trial court granted CFBF’s and Farm Bureau of Ventura County’s motion to intervene in a lawsuit brought by the City of Ventura which challenges a set of groundwater charges imposed by the United Water Conservation District.  The groundwater charges were set at a ratio of 3:1 between M&I groundwater users and agricultural groundwater users.  The City of Ventura challenges this ratio, otherwise required by Water Code section 75594, as being an unconstitutional “cross-subsidy” of agricultural use at the expense of M&I customers under the requirements of Proposition 218.  Farm Bureau intends to defend the constitutionality of Water Code section 75594.  Currently, the parties are attempting to agree upon a proper venue to hear the case.  Staff Contact: Chris Scheuring at cscheuring@cfbf.com or (916) 561-5660

                                                                                                            

SWRCB Regulation of National Forest Land Activities. The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) will hold a hearing on December 6th regarding their proposed regulation of waste discharge requirements for nonpoint source discharges for activities on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands. This will affect our members who harvest timber or graze livestock on USFS lands. CFBF has provided comments, and is advocating for an alternate, simplified proposal that would provide adequate protection while limiting potential impacts to our members.

Staff Contact: Elisa Noble at enoble@cfbf.com or (916)561-5618

 

UC Water Quality Study on U.S. Forest Service Grazing Allotments. This project focuses on surface water quality on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) grazing allotments in California (USFS Region 5). Concerns have been voiced about elevated fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) concentrations and elevated nutrient concentrations, and thus possible risk to public health, on several grazing allotments in the Sierra Nevada. This monitoring and educational program will evaluate water quality conditions, sources of water pollution, and guide management to improve water quality where needed.  Farm Bureau serves as an advisory partner on this and related studies.  For more information, see http://rangelandwatersheds.ucdavis.edu/main/projects/public_grazing_water_overview.html

Staff Contact: Elisa Noble at enoble@cfbf.com or (916)561-5618

 

New Clean Water Act NPDES Permit Required for Pesticide Discharges. On October 31, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Pesticide General Permit (PGP) for point source discharges from the application of pesticides to waters of the United States.  This action was in response to a 2009 decision by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in which the court vacated EPA’s 2006 Final Rule on Aquatic Pesticides and found that point source discharges of biological pesticides, and chemical pesticides that leave a residue, into waters of the U.S. were pollutants under the Clean Water Act.  As a result of the court’s decision, NPDES permits are generally required for these types of discharges as of October 31, 2011.  It is not clear yet how California will implement this program.

Staff Contact: Elisa Noble at enoble@cfbf.com or (916)561-5618

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Governor Brown recently announced the following regional water quality control board appointments.   Each appointment requires Senate confirmation and compensation is $100 per diem.

 

North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Region 1)

 

ü  John Corbett, 64, of McKinleyville, has been appointed to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served as a member since 2002. He has been senior legal counsel to the Yurok Tribe since 2003. Corbett was general manager of the North Coast Cooperative from 1983 to 2002. He was a special magistrate judge for the Bureau of Indian Affairs from 1979 to 1982. Corbett received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Corbett is a Democrat.

 

ü  William Massey, 68, of Forestville, has been appointed to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board where he has served since 2000. Massey has been professor emeritus at Santa Rosa Junior College since 2006. He was a professor of economics and political science there from 1974 to 2006. Massey is a Democrat.

 

ü  Irene Tynes, 50, of Crescent City, has been appointed to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. Tynes is a registered nurse who served as a Del Norte County Unified School District school nurse from 2005 to 2010. She was a member of the Crescent City Council from 2003 to 2008 and served as Mayor of Crescent City from 2007 to 2008. Tynes is currently serving as a 2011-12 California Women’s Foundation fellow. Tynes is a Democrat.

 

Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board (Region 4)

 

ü  Maria Camacho, 32, of Beverly Hills, has been appointed to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. She has been a senior account manager at Consensus Inc. since 2008. Camacho was director of public affairs for J.S. Rosenfield and Company from 2002 to 2003 and from 2006 to 2008. She was a co-mediator for the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution in 2005. Camacho received her Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School. Camacho is a Democrat.

 

ü  Maria Mehranian, 54, of La Canada, has been appointed to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board where she has served since 2008. She has been the managing partner of the Cordoba Corporation since 1992 and vice president of urban transportation planning there from 1987 to 1992. Mehranian is a Democrat.

 

ü  Munoz, 59, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board. She is the founder and president of Mujeres de la Tierra where she has served since 2005. Munoz was a senior manager at TreePeople from 2001 to 2003. She was national director of marketing and customer service for the United States Small Business Administration from 1994 to 2000. Munoz received her Juris Doctor degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Munoz is a Democrat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Region 5)

 

ü  Jon Costantino, 42, of Grass Valley, has been appointed to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. He has been a senior advisor at Manatt Phelps and Phillips, LLP since 2010. Costantino was a climate change planning manager at the California Air Resources Board from 2007 to 2010 and a legislative analyst there from 2000 to 2007. He was an air pollution engineer at the Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District from 1992 to 2000. Costantino is registered decline-to-state. 

 

ü  Jennifer Lester Moffitt, 31, of Yolo, will be appointed to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. She has been managing director of Dixon Ridge Farms (DRF), an organic walnut farm and processor, since 2006 and marketer at DRF, from 2004-2006. Moffitt served as an education, outreach and research specialist for the American Farmland Trust, 2002-2005. She was appointed to the food safety working group of the California Walnut Board in 2009. Moffitt is a Democrat.

 

ü  Carmen Ramirez, 35, of Atwater, has been appointed to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. She has been counsel in the Law Offices of Fagalde, Albertoni and Flores, LLP since 2010. Ramirez was an associate attorney with Allen, Fagalde, Albertoni and Flores, 2009-2010. She was a redevelopment associate for the City of Merced Office of Economic Development, 2003-2007. Ramirez received her JD degree from the San Joaquin College of Law. Ramirez is a Democrat.

 

ü  Robert Schneider, 63, of Davis, has been appointed to the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he served as a member from 2000 to 2006. He has been a partner Verve Enterprises since 1995. Schneider was a partner at Bob Schneider Contractor, Ridge Builders Group, West Davis Associates from 1977 to 1997. Schneider is a Democrat.

 

ü  Bruce Delgado, 50, of Marina, has been appointed to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. Delgado has been the mayor of the City of Marina since 2008. He has worked as a botanist for the United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management since 1988. Delgado is registered Green Party.

 

ü  Michael Johnston, 59, of Watsonville, has been appointed to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. He is currently a consultant for Teamsters Local 948 and the California Teamsters State Council of Cannery and Food Processing Unions. Johnston was a campaign coordinator at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 2006 to 2009, and a business representative for Teamsters Local 890 from 1988 until 2005. Johnston is a Democrat.

 

ü  Michael Jordan, 57, of Santa Barbara, has been appointed to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. Jordan has been an account executive for Hub International Insurance Services since 2000. He was a staff agent for State Farm Insurance Company from 1995 to 2000. Jordan was an administrative officer for Commander Fleet Activities, U.S. Navy, Yokosuka, Japan and a supervisory recreation specialist from 1989 to 1992. Jordan is registered decline-to-state.

 

ü  Jean-Pierre Wolff, 62, of San Luis Obispo, has been appointed to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served since 2010. Wolff has been a viticulturist and owner of Wolff Vineyards since 1999. He was an independent technology consultant from 2000 to 2002, senior vice president at Global Energy Services from 1998 to 2002, and vice president of Electro-Test Inc. from 1981 to 1998. Wolff is vice president of the Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District and the vice chair of the San Luis Obispo County Agriculture Liaison Advisory Board. He received his doctorate in science and technology from Walden University. Wolff is a Republican.

Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board (Region 7)

 

ü  Edward Muzik, 60, of Indian Wells, has been appointed to the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served as a member since 2007. He has been general manager of the Hi-Desert Water District of Yucca Valley since 2007 and he was chief financial officer from 2002 to 2006. Muzik was director of operations and finance at Vicom Systems Inc. from 1993 to 2002. Muzik is a Republican.

 

Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board (Region 8)

 

ü  William Ruh, 52, of Montclair, has been appointed to the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served as a member since 2001. He has been director of government affairs for the Citrus Valley Association of Realtors since 2001. Ruh has been a member of the Montclair City Council since 1998. He was a consultant to the Joint Legislative committee on the Alameda Corridor East from 1999 to 2001. Ruh was a field representative for Congressman Jay Kim from 1995 to 1999. Ruh is a Republican.

 

San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (Region 9)

 

ü  Henry Abarbanel, 68, of Del Mar, has been appointed to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. He has been a professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego and a research physicist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography since 1983. Abarbanel served on the Del Mar City Council from 1992 to 1996 and 2000 to 2008. He was chair of the San Diego Metro Wastewater Commission from 2005 to 2008. Abarbanel received his doctorate in physics at Princeton University. Abarbanel is a Democrat.

 

ü  Eric Anderson, 54, of Escondido, has been appointed to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served as a member since 2002. Anderson is a farmer and vice president of La Costa Flower Shop and Nursery. He has been a member of the board of directors of the San Diego County Farm Bureau since 1991 and was president from 1996 to 1998. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Anderson is a Libertarian.

 

ü  Tomas Morales, 48, of San Diego, has been appointed to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. He has been a partner in Golub and Morales, LLP since 2004. Morales was an attorney with Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire from 2000 to 2004 and a partner with Strong and Morales from 1994 to 2000. Morales received his Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School. Morales is a Democrat.

 

Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (Region 6)

 

ü  Peter Pumphrey, 65, of Chalfant, has been appointed to the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, where he has served as a member since 2010. He was a deputy district attorney for San Joaquin County from 2001 to 2004 and a deputy public defender there from 1991 to 2001. He has served on the Chalfant Valley Community Fire District Commission since 2007. Pumphrey received his Juris Doctor degree from Humphreys College of Law. Pumphrey is a Democrat.

 

Staff contact: Danny Merkley at dmerkley@cfbf.com or (916) 446-4647