Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board Approves Irrigated Lands Order 3.0

March 17, 2017
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irrigation management
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Last Wednesday, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board modified the Irrigated Lands Program that regulates discharges of waste from irrigated lands into state waters located in Region 3 by approving Ag Order 3.0. The changes came days before the expiration of Ag Order 2.0 that was due to end on March 14, 2017.
Prior to passage of the Ag Order 3.0, the California Strawberry Commission shared their concerns with the proposal, concurring with many of concerns expressed by the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California.
The new Ag Order 3.0 includes some significant changes - most notable is the expansion of Total Nitrogen Applied (TNA) reporting, now a requirement for 1,700 farms and ranches (compared to 600 in the previous order).
Under the new Ag Order 3.0, TNA reporting is now a requirement for all Tier II and Tier III ranches which grow a crop type that has been deemed to have a "high potential to discharge nitrogen to groundwater" (and no longer using risk factor determinations). Strawberry is designated as such a high-potential crop. Other crops deemed high potential: beet, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage (napa), collard, endive, kale, leek, lettuce (leaf and head), mustard, onion (dry and green), spinach, pepper (fruiting), and parsley.
The new Ag Order 3.0 has a term of three years, which is shorter than the usual maximum term of five years for conditional waivers. The shorter term is intended to provide coverage until pending legal issues can be resolved. Once these issues are resolved, the board will draft the next order, 4.0, consistent with the legal decisions, orders and outcomes.
To view the CSC comment letter, outlining strawberry grower concerns with the Order, visit:
http://tinyurl.com/z3qqert
To view a summary of major changes included in Ag Order 3.0, visit (beginning on page three):
http://tinyurl.com/zvggelr
To view the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board's press release, visit: http://tinyurl.com/jujotz4
If you need additional information, please contact Marla Livengood at 916.445.3335 or Jason Sharrett at 805.264.5250.


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