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Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program

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  • NOTICE: DRAFT AGRICULTURAL ORDER - Notice of Opportunity for Public Comment. The Draft Agricultural Order and associated documents are now available for review HERE.

Comment Letters Received:
Letter-1: San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau
Letter-2: Preservation Inc.
Letter-3: Kleen Globe Inc.
Letter-4: Monterey County Farm Bureau
Letter-5: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Letter-6: California Farm Bureau Federation
Letter-7: Grower-Shipper Association of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties
Letter-8: Otter Project and Monterey Coastkeeper
Letter-9: Central Coast Groundwater Coalition
Letter-10: Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
Letter-11: Grower-Shipper Association of Central California
Letter-12: KMI
Letter-13: Environmental Law Foundation
Letter-14: Concerned citizen
Letter-15: Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
Letter-16: California Strawberry Commission
Letter-17: Precision Ag Consulting

Ag Order 3.0 November 2016 Workshops Presentation

Workshops on Agricultural Order Renewal


  • Tuesday August 23rd from 9:00-11:00 a.m. (Agenda)
    Agricultural Center Conference Room
    U.C. Cooperative Extension
    1432 Abbott Street
    Salinas CA 93901
  • Wednesday August 24, 2016 from 10:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. (Agenda)
    Shepard Hall
    Santa Maria Public Library
    421 South McClelland
    Santa Maria, CA 93454

Are you a grower who needs help with the Agricultural Order? Frequently Asked Questions and Sample Forms are available. See Grower Workshops and Resources below.

Changes to Section-C: Groundwater Nitrate Loading Risk Determination of the Annual Compliance form for the September 1, 2015 - August 31, 2016 reporting period must be completed in GeoTracker by no later than midnight of August 31, 2016. All risk determinations of “high” after August 31, 2016 will be required to report Total Nitrogen Applied forms by October 1, 2016.

Total Nitrogen Applied Reports are due October 1, 2016. Tier 2 and Tier 3 farms/ranches that have a “high” groundwater nitrate loading risk at Section-C of the Annual Compliance Form are required to submit a total nitrogen applied reports. The 2016 Total Nitrogen Applied Report form will be posted on our website soon.

Items for Discretionary Review - State Board Order WQ-2013-0101 identifies specific items related to implementation of the Agricultural Order for which interested persons may seek discretionary review by the Regional Board.  Interested Parties have 30 days to request review.  See Items for Discretionary Review below.

Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Overview

The Central Coast Water Board regulates discharges from irrigated agricultural lands to protect surface water and groundwater, using a permit called a Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements that applies to owners and operators of irrigated land used for commercial crop production. The Central Coast Water Board is focusing on priority water quality issues, such as pesticides and toxicity, nutrients, and sediments – especially nitrate impacts to drinking water sources. Staff is prioritizing efforts in the major agricultural areas of the region - the Salinas River, Santa Maria, and Pajaro River watersheds.

2012 Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges from Irrigated Lands

On March 15, 2012, the Central Coast Water Board adopted an updated Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements (Agricultural Order No. R3-2012-0011). On September 24, 2013, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted Order WQ 2013-0101 which upheld the Agricultural Order with modifications. The Order and Monitoring and Reporting Program are available at the links below. Growers can view which Tier their farm is in by accessing their eNOI in GeoTracker. Growers can also download the “5-Year Compliance Calendar” in the Grower Workshops and Resources section below.


1. Enroll in the Order by filing an electronic-Notice of Intent (eNOI)
2. Develop and Implement a Farm Plan
3. Implement management practices to protect water quality
4. Conduct Surface Water Receiving Monitoring and Reporting (Cooperatively or Individually)
5. Conduct Groundwater Monitoring and Reporting (Cooperatively or Individually)
6. Install Backflow Prevention devices
7. Submit Annual Compliance Form (Tier 2 and Tier 3 ONLY)
8. Conduct Individual Discharge Monitoring and Reporting (Tier 3 ONLY)
9. Develop and Implement Certified Irrigation and Nutrient Management Plan (Tier 3 ONLY)
10. Develop and Implement Water Quality Buffer Plan (Tier 3 ONLY)

Agricultural Order, R3-2012-0011
Tier 1 Monitoring and Reporting Program, R3-2012-0011-01 (revised 8/22/2016)
Tier 2 Monitoring and Reporting Program, R3-2012-0011-02 (revised 8/22/2016)
Tier 3 Monitoring and Reporting Program, R3-2012-0011-03 (revised 8/22/2016)

How do I enroll in the Agricultural Order and identify my farm/ranch tier?

Enroll Agricultural Operations and Farms/Ranches - electronic Notice of Intent (eNOI)
All owners and operators of irrigated land used for commercial crop production must submit an electronic Notice of Intent (eNOI) to enroll their operation and all individual farms/ranches. In addition, owners and operators must keep the information in the eNOI complete and up-to-date. Growers can also view which Tier their farm is in by accessing their eNOI.

Click here for more information and a link to the Electronic NOI Submittal and Update Tool.

Farm/Ranch Tier Review
Growers may request that Water Board staff review the tier assigned to their individual Farm/Ranch if the grower determines that the farmer/ranch meets the criteria for a specific tier, other than the tier that was assigned, because the tier that was assigned was based on incorrect information.

To request a Tier Review, growers must submit a completed Tier Review Request Form, including any necessary documentation. The Farm/Ranch will remain in the assigned tier and must comply with the requirements for that tier until such time as the Executive Officer notifies the growers that the farm/ranch tier has been changed. Tier Review Requests are an item for which interested persons may request discretionary review.  See Items for Discretionary Review below.

Tier Review Request Form

Note: The Agricultural Order also provides that a grower may submit a request to the Executive Officer to approve transfer to a lower tier based on a lower level of waste discharge and lower threat to water quality. For these requests, see page 17, Part A. Condition 18 in the Agricultural Order.

Annual Compliance Form
Growers with Tier 2 and Tier 3 Farms must also submit an Annual Compliance Form. The Annual Compliance Form is available online and can be accessed with the electronic-Notice of Intent (eNOI) by logging into GeoTracker.  Instructions and sample form are available below in the Grower Workshops and Resources section.

How do I terminate my enrollment in the Agricultural Order?

Terminate Enrollment - Notice of Termination Forms
If you no longer own or operate irrigated land for commercial crop production and which to terminate coverage under the Agricultural Order for your operation, you must update your electronic Notice of Intent and complete a Notice of Termination. In addition, the owner or operator must notify the succeeding owner or operator of the existence of the Agricultural Order by letter and provide a copy of to the Water Board.

Notice of Termination - Operation

Notice of Termination - Individual Farm/Ranch

Grower Workshops and Resources

For Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 Growers:
* Grower Workshop Presentation
* Grower Compliance Calendar
* Grower Compliance Calendar (Chinese Version)
* Grower Compliance Calendar
(Spanish Version)
* Farm Water Quality Plan Template
* Backflow Prevention
* Protection of Trade Secret and Private Information
* Nitrate in Drinking Water
* Nitrates in Drinking Water (Spanish Version)
* Nitrate in Drinking Water (Chinese)
* Responsible Parties: Landowner and Operator
* Farm/Ranch Inspections

Local Water Quality Information:

* GeoTracker GAMA Groundwater Quality Maps and Data
* Central Coast Ambient Monitoring Program
* 2010 303(d) List of Impaired Surface Waterbodies

Resources for Laboratories:
* GeoTracker Authorization
For Tier 2 and Tier 3 Growers:
* Annual Compliance Form Instructions and Sample Form
* Annual Compliance Form Instructions and Sample Form (Spanish)
* Annual Compliance Form Instructions and Sample Form (Chinese)
* Photo Monitoring Protocols**
* Attachment 1 (Writable Photo Documentation Reporting Form)
**All photos and forms to be retained on-site, in Farm Plans.

For Tier 3 Growers:
* Individual Surface Water Discharge Monitoring and Reporting Overview
* Template - Sampling and Analysis Plan and Quality Assurance Project Plan for Individual Surface Water Discharge Monitoring (MS Word)

Irrigation and Nutrient Management for Tier 2 and Tier 3:
* Total Nitrogen Applied Form new
* Total Nitrogen Applied Instructionsnew
* Total Nitrogen Applied Guidancenew
* Download tool N_from_fertilizers
* Download tool convert_to_gallons
* Download weighted avg concnew
Sample Fertilizer Calculations

* Sample Nitrogen Recordkeeping Template (MS Excel)
* INMP Resources for Growers
* Tier 3 INMP Requirements
* Nitrogen Management Training Materials

2015 Total Nitrogen Applied Presentation
Example 1
Example 2
Example 3
When to report your crop

Cooperative Groundwater Monitoring Programs

The Agricultural Order and MRP provide landowners and operators the option to comply with groundwater monitoring requirements by either sampling groundwater wells individually on their agricultural operations, or by joining a groundwater cooperative monitoring program approved by the Executive Officer. There are advantages and disadvantages to both the individual and cooperative groundwater monitoring options (including cost and responsibilities).  Individual landowners and operators should evaluate the options carefully and choose the option that best fits their specific situation.

The Executive Officer has approved the following two cooperative groundwater monitoring programs:

1. Central Coast Cooperative Groundwater Coaltion (CCGC)

2. Santa Rosa Creek Valley Cooperative Groundwater Monitoring Program

For more information, see the Grower Resource Document for Approved Cooperative Groundwater Monitoring Programs.

The Executive Officer’s approval or denial of a cooperative groundwater monitoring program is an item for which interested persons may request discretionary review.  See Items for Discretionary Review below.

Water Quality Monitoring Data

Items for Discretionary Review

State Board Order WQ-2013-0101 identifies specific items for which interested persons may seek discretionary review by the Regional Board. These items include the following:
  1. Executive Officer’s Determination to Approve or Deny Tier Changes
  2. Executive Officer’s Determination  to Require a Transfer to a Higher Tier
  3. Executive Officer’s Approval or Denial of a Cooperative Groundwater Monitoring Program
  4. Executive Officer’s Approval or Denial of A Third Party Project or Program
The State and Regional Water Quality Control Boards use electronic subscription mailing lists (aka: listservs) for sending information to interested parties. If you would like to receive email notification when the Items for Discretionary Review list has been updated, please visit the following web-page and subscribe to the email list titled “Ag Order Items for Discretionary Review.”


A list of items for Discretionary Review since September 24, 2013 is provided below. Interested Parties will be allowed 30 days from the date of the document identifying the action to seek discretionary review by the Regional Board. Interested Parties seeking discretionary review of the above items must send their request to:

Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
Attention:  Board Chair (c/o Executive Officer)
895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101
San Luis Obispo, CA  93401

List of Items for Discretionary Review - Updated April 21, 2016

Agricultural Regulatory Program Enforcement

Administrative Civil Liabilities:
Notice of Violation:

Technical Assistance Providers

Several organizations such as the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service), RCDs (Resource Conservation Districts), UCCE (UC Cooperative Extension), Farm Bureaus, and other nonprofit organizations are available to provide technical assistance to growers regarding management practices implementation and guidance through enrollment and other Ag Program requirements.
Technical Assistance Providers
Private Industry Consultants
Central Coast Irrigation and Nutrient Management Program

Related Links