Irrigated Lands Program - Agricultural Order Renewal 4.0 (In Progress)

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Irrigated Lands Program


Information on this web page relates to the renewal of the Agricultural Order adopted by the Central Coast Water Board on March 8, 2017. This is a three-year Agricultural Order which must be replaced by March 7, 2020. The current Agricultural Order is the third Agricultural Order adopted in the central coast region, so is referred to as Ag Order 3.0. Information provided in this page relates to the development and documentation of the fourth Agricultural Order (Ag Order 4.0). For information on the Water Board’s implementation of the current Order (Ag Order 3.0) and what growers need to do to comply with the updated requirements, please go to the Water Board’s main Irrigated Lands Program web page.

Draft Agricultural Order 4.0 Documents

April 9, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis and associated response to protect public health and safety is adversely impacting individuals, communities and businesses alike and it is uncertain how the crisis will progress in the coming weeks and months.  In acknowledgement of this uncertainty and how the crisis is impeding the ability to effectively implement the Ag Order 4.0 public process and stakeholder’s ability to effectively engage in the process, The Central Coast Water Board is hereby extending the draft Ag Order 4.0 public comment period 60 days to June 20, 2020. 

Although not the only stakeholder group currently struggling to participate in the public comment process, the agricultural industry that will ultimately be subject to the forthcoming Ag Order 4.0 requirements is particularly struggling to engage in the public process at this time.  This is because agriculture, designated as “critical infrastructure” necessary for providing food during the crisis, is subject to compounding factors such as labor shortages and supply chain limitations while having to address additional worker and food safety issues associated with the COVID-19 crisis.

The public comment period is being extended to facilitate a fair and inclusive public process, one that effectively engages a broad spectrum of interested and affected stakeholders relative to the progression of the COVID-19 crisis and the development of suitable alternatives that may be used to carry out the public process while following COVID-19 related guidance associated with social distancing, gathering restrictions, and shelter-in-place, etc.

Moving forward the Central Coast Water Board will implement the following:  

  • Provide at least two weeks advanced notice of rescheduled draft Ag Order 4.0 workshops.
  • Provide at least one week between the date of the last workshop and the close of the public comment period to allow the workshops to help inform written comments.
  • Provide at least three weeks advanced notice of the first public Water Board meeting to discuss draft Ag Order 4.0; the first meeting will be devoted to stakeholder input.
  • Schedule additional Water Board public meeting dates in August and/or September to facilitate the next step in the public process (i.e., receive additional public comment and Water Board direction on the draft order).

The Central Coast Water Board will provide updates as needed to inform stakeholders of the Ag Order 4.0 process as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds.

The Central Coast Water Board remains committed to the ongoing Ag Order 4.0 process to address agricultural sources of water quality and beneficial use impairment and its mandate to protect and restore the water resources we all depend on in the Central Coast.  The COVID-19 crisis warrants compassion, flexibility and reasonableness, and the Central Coast Water Board will proceed accordingly while maintaining focus on its water quality mandate.

Best regards and good health to you and your families in the coming weeks and months.


February 21, 2020 (revised June 11, 2020)

The Central Coast Water Board has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and a Draft Agricultural Order 4.0 for the regulation of waste discharge from irrigated lands throughout the central coast region. The public review period for the Draft EIR and Draft Agricultural Order 4.0 is from February 21, 2020 until June 22, 2020. Persons interested in this proposed permit are encouraged to submit written comments electronically. Written comments are due June 22, 2020 by 11:59 PM and may be submitted via email to AgNOI@waterboards.ca.gov with either “Comments on Draft EIR” or “Comments on Draft Ag Order” in the subject line. During the public review period, Central Coast Water Board staff will hold public workshops on the Draft EIR and Draft Agricultural Order 4.0; staff will provide notice at least 10-days prior to the workshops.

Documents Available for Public Review

Setback Interactive Map Tool and Instructions

Central Coast Water Board staff created an online tool in response to grower and other interested party requests for a tool that illustrates what the proposed setback requirement would be for individual ranches. Links to the tool are provided below.

Recall that Draft Ag Order 4.0 includes setback requirements from surface water bodies. These requirements are described in Draft Ag Order 4.0 beginning on page 40, under Part 2, Section C.5. - Riparian Area Management for Water Quality Protection. Riparian Setback Monitoring and Reporting is discussed in Draft Ag Order 4.0 Monitoring and Reporting Program beginning on page 50. This tool is in draft form. Please let us know if you find any errors so we can fix and improve the tool.

Public Workshops

Please join Water Board staff at one of three stakeholder workshops to learn more about the Agricultural Order. Due to health concerns from COVID-19, these workshops will be conducted virtually to avoid in-person gatherings. These virtual workshops are free of charge and will be hosted using the Zoom video conferencing platform. Attendees can use a computer or mobile device to view presentations and take part in a question and answer session with Water Board staff. Presentations will cover Agricultural Order 4.0, monitoring and reporting requirements, and information about the draft environmental impact report.

All workshops will have the same content, so please only attend the workshop for your county. We will send updates to notify stakeholders if any workshop information changes.

Learn more about joining a Zoom meeting HERE.
Download Zoom software HERE.

Date Location Time
June 2, 2020
Tuesday

Virtual Workshop #1
Santa Cruz County & San Benito County
Join Zoom Workshop #1
Meeting ID: 935 7000 7730
Dial in: +1 669 900 9128

9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
June 3, 2020
Wednesday

Virtual Workshop #2
Monterey County & San Luis Obispo County
Join Zoom Workshop #2
Meeting ID: 929 6678 3121
Dial in: +1 669 900 9128

9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
June 4, 2020
Thursday

Virtual Workshop #3
Santa Barbara County & Ventura County
Join Zoom Workshop #3
Meeting ID: 998 8326 7124
Dial in: +1 669 900 9128

9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

There will be five brief presentations which will be followed by a question and answer session. For questions, please contact Water Board Staff at AgNOI@waterboards.ca.gov.

Members of the public are invited to participate in the workshops. A quorum of Central Coast Water Board members may be present at the workshops; however, the Central Coast Water Board will not be taking any action at the scoping meetings.

Workshop Presentation Recordings and Slides

Audio Files of Workshop Question and Answer Sessions

June 2, 2020 Workshop – Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties

June 3, 2020 Workshop – Montery and San Luis Obispo Counties

June 4, 2020 Workshop – Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties

Ex Parte Disclosure Requirements

This item is subject to the ex parte communication disclosure requirements of Water Code section 13287, as explained in https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/laws_regulations/docs/exparte.pdf. Interested persons who communicate with board members other than at a noticed board meeting or submitted as a comment letter in compliance with the public notice must publically disclose the ex parte communication within seven days of the communication. Section 13287 defines interested persons as dischargers and their representatives/employees; persons with a financial interest in the general order; and representatives acting on behalf of an interest group. A sample disclosure form as well as further explanation of the requirement is available at: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralcoast/publications_forms/forms/docs/central_coast_disclosure.pdf   Ex parte communications between interested persons and board members concerning this item will be prohibited beginning 14 days prior to any meeting scheduled for adoption of an order in this matter.

Opportunities for Public Input into the Agricultural Order

The following list provides links to board meeting information for agenda items related to Ag Order 4.0.

Public Scoping Meetings – Listening Sessions
Listening Sessions, August 2017: The Central Coast Water Board held public listening sessions on the development of the new Agricultural Order at three regional locations in August of 2017. Links to the scoping meeting flyer and scoping meeting presentations are provided below:

California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Process

February 21, 2020 (revised June 11, 2020)

The Central Coast Water Board has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the regulation of waste discharge from irrigated lands throughout the central coast region. The public review period for the Draft EIR is from February 21, 2020 until June 22, 2020. Persons interested in this proposed permit are encouraged to submit written comments electronically. Written comments are due June 22, 2020 by 11:59 PM and may be submitted via email to AgNOI@waterboards.ca.gov with “Comments on Draft EIR” in the subject line.

May 25, 2018

The release of the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is planned for August 2019, which is concurrent with the planned release of the draft Ag Order 4.0. The release of the final EIR is planned for February 2020, which is also concurrent with the planned release of the final Ag Order 4.0. Please note these dates represent a later time frame than was presented in the March 2018 CEQA scoping meeting presentations.

March 20 – March 29, 2018

CEQA scoping meetings

  • Presentation
  • Draft notes: These notes are real time transcriptions and may contain shorthand, abbreviations, and typographical errors due to nature of live note taking. Staff has not edited or modified these notes. These notes were projected during each of the meetings.

February 16, 2018

  • Notice of CEQA scoping public workshops for Agricultural Order 4.0. Please see notice for more details.
  • Initial Study for Agricultural Order 4.0 Public review and comment period for the Initial Study is from February 16, 2018 to April 30, 2018. Please see Initial Study for more details.
  • Fact Sheet - Development of the Agricultural Order for Discharges from Irrigated Lands (Ag Order 4.0)

Please contact Shanta Keeling at 805-549-3464 or Shanta.Keeling@waterboards.ca.gov for questions regarding CEQA.