Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program
Beginning August 2014, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Water Board) began mailing out letters to owners of APNs they believe are not currently enrolled in the Lake County Agricultural Lands Watershed Group.
Do I need to enroll?
Individuals that have commercial farming or ranching operations and irrigate lands associated with that operation will need to gain coverage.
There a few options in order to meet this requirement. The options are: (1) Join a coalition group and apply for a group waiver, or (2) Apply for an individual discharger waiver, or (3) Submit a complete application for a permit.
The Lake County Farm Bureau represents our county's agriculturists at the Sacramento Valley Water Quality Coalition and serves as the point of contact in order to meet these State Water Board requirements. If you have questions about the coalition, or want to enroll in the coalition as an owner/operator of commericially irrigated agriculture please call our office at 707-263-0911.
Sacramento Valley Watersheds
How much does it cost to join?
In 2003, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board approved regulations that affected most growers within the Central Valley who have irrigation return water and/or stormwater runoff leaving their croplands. The program is called the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. The Regional Board decided on three options for growers to avoid pollution of rivers, streams and creeks by pesticides, fertilizers, sediment, and other pollutants. The first thing a grower needs to do is decide which of the three options works best for him or her. The options are: (1) Join a coalition group and apply for a group waiver, or (2) Apply for an individual discharger waiver, or (3) Submit a complete application for a permit.
The coalition group waiver and the individual discharger waiver require owners and/or operators of irrigated lands to manage their operations so they do not cause or contribute to surface water pollution. The waivers contain conditions that require water quality monitoring, implementation of management practices to address water quality problems and reporting to the Regional Board. In order to comply with the conditions of the waivers, coalition groups and individual growers will review the available data for their watershed, develop monitoring plans, and prioritize their efforts to address known problems or pollutants of concern, such as pesticides or nutrients.
Participating in a coalition group is the simplest and most economical way to comply with the requirements. A coalition group is any group receiving Regional Board approval to operate under the terms and conditions of the coalition group conditional waiver. Coalition groups organize growers to share best management practices, conduct monitoring of rivers and creeks, apply for grants, and work cooperatively toward improving water quality. In addition to growers, coalition groups may include representatives from the farm bureaus, county agricultural commissioners, RCDs, the NRCS, farm advisors, and water agencies. The Lake County Ag Lands Watershed Group is one of the ten subwatersheds that comprise the Sacramento Valley Water Quality Coalition. More information about this main watershed coalition is available at www.svwqc.org.
To join any coalition group, a grower must apply to the Regional Board for approval by filing a completed form ILRP 5.0 and paying a $50 application fee. Information on the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program from the Regional Board is available at www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/water_issues/irrigated_lands/
After the grower has received board approval, he or she may then join the Lake County Ag Lands Watershed Group by submitting the required information, and paying all current dues as well as any past dues if appropriate. The Watershed Group is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of five(5) to nine(9) Lake County residents who's main occupation is in the production agriculture industry. Lake Farm Bureau provides clerical services for the Lake County Ag Lands Watershed Group. Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 707.263.0911.
Want to learn more about the program?
Members of Lake County Irrigated Lands Watershed will need to pay a flat adminstration fee, plus a per acre fee. The administration fee has two rates, one for Farm Bureau Members and one for non Farm Bureau Members. Everyone pays the same for acreage charges. These fees are on an annual basis, and are typically sent out late fall. Rates and charges are subject to change as a decision of the Board of Directors and a reflection of State Water Boards' fees and monitoring charges.
Please contact the Lake County Farm Bureau for more information on the 2015 fee structure.