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Agricultural Regulatory Program

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Announcements

On September 24, 2013, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted Order WQ 2013-0101 which supports the Agricultural Order with modifications.  The Agricultural Order is in full affect as modified by the State Board.  For more information, go to the State Board website:   http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/public_notices/petitions/water_quality/a2209centralcoast_ag.shtml

Now available:  Revised Annual Compliance Form for Tier 2 and Tier 3 Farms is now available by logging into GeoTracker.  Growers must determine nitrate loading risk by January 15, 2014.

Now available: Tier 3 Individual Surface Water Discharge Monitoring and Reporting Template for Sampling and Analysis Plan and Quality Assurance Project Plan and an Overview of Tier 3 Individual Discharge Monitoring Requirements with instructions on finding a laboratory that can conduct required analytical methods. See Grower Workshops and Resources below.


Agricultural 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.

IN SUMMARY, GROWERS MUST DO THE FOLLOWING TO COMPLY WITH REQUIREMENTS:

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 (link coming soon)
Tier 2 Monitoring and Reporting Program, R3-2012-0011-02 (link coming soon)
Tier 3 Monitoring and Reporting Program, R3-2012-0011-03 (link coming soon)

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., Water Board staff encourages growers to submit these requests by July 1, 2012 so that the requests can be reviewed and approved before growers must comply with requirements of the higher Tiers, such as electronic submittal of annual compliance information for Tier 2 farms/ranches in October 1, 2012.

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
(Spanish Version)
Farm Water Quality Plan Template
Individual Groundwater Monitoring Guidance
Alternative Individual Groundwater Monitoring Form
Cooperative Groundwater Monitoring Guidance
Backflow Prevention
Protection of Trade Secret and Private Information
Nitrate in Drinking Water
Nitrates in Drinking Water (Spanish Version)
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** approved by Executive Officer
Photo Documentation Reporting Form**
**All photos and forms to be retained on-site, in Farm Plans.
(Photo Monitoring links coming soon.)

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

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 cooperative groundwater monitoring programs:

  • Central Coast Cooperative Groundwater Program (Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Benito Counties)
  • Santa Rosa Creek Valley Cooperative Groundwater Monitoring Program (San Luis Obispo County)
For more information, see the Grower Resource Document for Approved Cooperative Groundwater Monitoring Programs.

Water Quality Monitoring Data

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