Agricultural Regulatory Program
You can receive irrigated ag program updates by e-mail.
Subscribe online: Agricultural Discharges
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.
- Agricultural Regulatory Program Operational Measures
- Agricultural Regulatory Program Contacts
- State Water Board's Agriculture - Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Website
On March 15, 2012, the Central Coast Water Board adopted an updated Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements (Agricultural Order No. RB3-2012-0011). The updated Order and Monitoring and Reporting Program are available at the links below. The Order places farms in one of three tiers, based on risk to water quality. For many farms (Tier 1 and Tier 2), the new requirements are similar or less stringent than the previous Order. Farms in Tier 3 have more stringent requirements. Water Board staff will contact owners and operators to confirm the appropriate tier for their farm(s). 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, RB3-2012-0011
Tier 1 Monitoring and Reporting Program, RB3-2012-0011-01
Tier 2 Monitoring and Reporting Program, RB3-2012-0011-02
Tier 3 Monitoring and Reporting Program, RB3-2012-0011-03
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
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)
Water Quality Monitoring Data
- Agricultural Regulatory Program - Cooperative Monitoring Program Reports
- Irrigated Agriculture Program Cooperative Monitoring Fact Sheets
- Central Coast Water Quality Preservation, Inc (CCWQP) manages the Cooperative Monitoring Program (CMP) on behalf of irrigated agriculture throughout the Central Coast. The CCWQP Executive Director is Kirk Schmidt, at (831) 750-5449, and the Technical Program Manager is Sarah Greene Lopez , at (831) 331-9051.
- Central Coast Ambient Monitoring Program (CCAMP): Monitoring Program
- CCAMP - Agricultural Surface Water Assessment Summary
- Report on Surface Water and Groundwater Quality Conditions in Agricultural Areas
- GeoTracker – Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program
Agricultural Regulatory Program Enforcement
Administrative Civil Liabilities:
- Central Coast Water Board Proposes Fines Ranging From $2,070 to $19,410 to Six Farming Operations for Alleged Violations of the Irrigated Lands Agricultural Order
- Central Coast Water Board adopts Stipulated Administrative Civil Liability imposing $60,000 fine on Bradley Land Company
- The Central Coast Water Board Issues $7,455 Administrative Civil Liability to Pacifico Azul, Inc
- The Central Coast Water Board Issues Four Administrative Civil Liabilities $3000 - $14,000 (2/10/2009)
- Enforcement for Failure to Comply with Monitoring and Reporting Requirements - 5/5/2011
- Enforcement for Failure to Update Enrollment Information - 9/19/2011
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