Program Factsheets

The Central Valley Region is the State's largest regional board, encompassing 60,000 square miles, or about 40 percent of the State's total area. Thirty-eight of California's 58 counties are either completely or partially within the Regional Board's boundaries, formed by the crests of the Sierra Nevada on the east, the Coast Ranges and Klamath Mountains on the west, the Oregon border on the north, and the Tehachapi Mountains on the south. Included are 11,350 miles of streams, 579,110 acres of lakes and the largest contiguous groundwater basin in California. The following list are the main Central Valley Water Board programs, and their facts sheets.

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Administrative Section - Operations and Program Support

The Administrative Section provides administrative support for the management of 18 technical and regulatory programs across 3 offices (Rancho Cordova, Redding and Fresno) within the Central Valley Water Board.

Basin Planning

Water Quality Control Plans or "Basin Plans" provide the foundation for all Central Valley Water Board regulatory actions. Basin Plans identify beneficial uses of surface and ground waters, water quality objectives to protect those uses, implementation actions to achieve objectives, and a monitoring and surveillance program to insure that implementation actions are effective. All actions by the Board must be compliant with the Basin Plans. The Central Valley Water Board has two Basin Plans: one for the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Basins and one for the Tulare Lake Basin.

Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program

The Cannabis Cultivation Waste Discharge Regulatory Program addresses water quality impacts from cannabis cultivation and associated activities on private property in the Central Valley Region.

Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability (CV-SALTS)

In 2006, the Central Valley Water Board, the State Water Board, and stakeholders began a joint effort to address salinity and nitrate problems in California's Central Valley and adopt long-term solutions that will lead to enhanced water quality and economic sustainability. Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability (CV-SALTS) is a collaborative basin planning effort aimed at developing and implementing a comprehensive salinity and nitrate management program. The goal of CV-SALTS is to maintain a healthy environment and a good quality of life for all Californians by protecting our most essential and vulnerable resource: WATER.

Compliance and Enforcement Program

The State Water Resources Control Board and its nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards protect the waters of the State by ensuring compliance with clean water laws and taking enforcement actions when violations occur. The Water Boards have authority under the California Water Code to regulate and enforce any activity or factor that may affect the quality of the waters of the state.

Confined Animal Facilities Program

The Central Valley regulates several types of confined animal facilities, including dairies, feedlots, poultry facilities, and horse facilities. Historically, the Confined Animal Facility Program primarily focused on dairies. However, the Central Valley Water Board recently adopted General Waste Discharge Requirements for poultry facilities and is working on General Waste Discharge Requirements for feedlots to be considered at a future Board meeting.

Delta Program

The goals of the Delta Program are to continue coordination with the State Water Board and San Francisco Bay Regional Board regarding planning and permits that affect Delta water quality and to implement the 2014 Delta Strategic Work Plan. The 2014 Delta Strategic Work Plan identifies priority projects that will improve water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Forest Activities Program (FAP)

The Forest Activities Program permits discharges of pollutants in storm water runoff to waters of the states from timber harvesting and fuels management activities under a Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements. There are two main program areas: participation in the inter-agency review team led by CAL FIRE for timber harvesting projects on non-federal lands, and oversight of timber harvesting projects on U.S. Forest Service lands.

Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program

The Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) regulates waste discharges from irrigated lands using seven geographic and one commodity-specific general orders for growers that are part of a third-party group (coalitions). There are 14 coalitions helping growers comply with the general orders. There is also a general order for growers who choose to be regulated individually.

Land Disposal Program (LDP)

The Land Disposal Program (LDP) regulates the land discharge of solid and liquid wastes to prevent water quality impacts. These wastes include municipal solid waste (MSW), hazardous wastes, designated wastes (such as petroleum impacted soils and auto shredder waste), and nonhazardous and inert solid wastes.

Mining Program

The Mining Program oversees the discharge to land of mining waste from active and inactive mines. Currently, Central Valley Water Board staffs regulate 95 mine sites with known or potential water quality impacts. This is a subset of the 47,000 abandoned mine sites with physical and/or environmental hazards that have been identified across the State by the Department of Conservation. About 10 of the 95 mine sites are active gold mines, 10 are inactive mine sites, 31 are closed mine sites, 10 are sites with remediation underway, and 34 are abandoned mines. Region wide, approximately three personal years (PYs) are budgeted for Mining Program staff, which is spent managing high priority enforcement cases, conducting inspections and reviewing compliance reports for active and closed sites, and identifying potential responsible parties for abandoned mine sites.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program is a federal program, under the Clean Water Act, that has been delegated to the State of California for implementation through the State Water Resources Control Board and the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards. The NPDES program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United Sates. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Since its introduction in 1972, the NPDES program has been responsible for significant improvement to water quality.

Nonpoint Source Program

Nonpoint source pollution is the leading cause of water quality impairment in California. The primary nonpoint sources in the Central Valley include runoff and percolation from land use activities related to agriculture, timber harvests, abandoned mines, recreation, and urban and rural development. The goal of the Central Valley Nonpoint Source Program (NPS Program) is to restore waters impacted by NPS pollution and protect unimpaired water bodies by assessing NPS pollution problems and causes and implementing management programs.

Oil Fields Program

The Oil Field Program regulates oil field discharges and oversees monitoring activities to ensure the protection of surface and groundwaters and human health. This includes issuing effective regulatory and monitoring orders for discharges to land in a timely manner. It also includes reviewing aquifer exemption applications, UIC permits, and SB4 related groundwater monitoring programs and providing appropriate comments to State Water Board in a timely manner.

Site Cleanup Program

The Site Cleanup Program (SCP) regulates and oversees the investigation and cleanup of contaminated sites that are polluting, or threaten to pollute, surface and/or groundwater. In Region 5 there are currently 28 technical and administrative staff (see office distribution below) overseeing investigation and cleanup actions at sites that have been impacted by releases of pollutants to soil, soil gas, groundwater, surface water, sediments and/or indoor air. SCP sites include pollution from recent or historical surface and/or subsurface releases at large industrial facilities such as military bases, railyards, oil refineries and factories. SCP sites also include smaller facilities such as dry cleaners, plating shops, pesticide and fertilizer distribution facilities, equipment repair facilities and blighted sites located in urban areas throughout the region.

Storm Water Program

The Storm Water Program implements National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to regulate the discharge of pollutants in storm water to waters of the U.S. The program is divided into three main areas of activity: construction (including Caltrans projects), industrial, and municipal. The Central Valley Water Board has 12 PYs to implement the program.

Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP)

The California Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) was created to fulfill the legislative mandate for a unifying program that would coordinate all surface water quality monitoring conducted by the State and Regional Water Boards. The SWAMP program conducts water quality monitoring directly and through collaborative partnerships, and provides numerous reports, fact sheets and tools, all designed to support water resource management in California.

Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)

The Federal Clean Water Act Section 303(d) requires states to develop lists of impaired water bodies and develop load reduction programs (called TMDLs) that insure that the impaired water body meet standards (water quality objectives to protect beneficial uses) by a specified date. A TMDL establishes numeric targets to attain applicable water quality standards, establishes the waterbody's maximum allowable pollutant load consistent with those targets, and allocates the allowable load among the pollutant sources. The Board typically establishes the TMDL and its implementation plan through an amendment to the Basin Plan.

Underground Storage Tanks

The Groundwater Protection Act (Sher, 1983) created the Underground Storage Tank (UST) program in California. The State Water Board maintains statewide authority over the program, adopting cleanup policies and regulations. The two main components of the program are permitting of operating tanks (leak prevention) which is run by the local Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPAs), and cleanup which is shared between select CUPAs and the 9 Regional Water Quality Control Boards. Authority to require UST cleanups is found in both the Water Code and the Health and Safety Code.

Waste Discharges to Land

The Waste Discharge to Land Program regulates discharges of waste that may affect the quality of surface and ground waters of the state. The Program includes staff from three offices: Redding, Sacramento, and Fresno. This Program is the oldest state water quality control program, and covers a wide variety of discharges. In the Central Valley, the Program primarily regulates wastewater (sewage) treatment facilities, food processing industries (including wineries), wastewater recycling, sand and gravel mines, and other industries that discharge non-hazardous wastes. A staff of 23 full-time positions currently regulates over 1,400 facilities in the Central Valley.

Water Quality Certifications

The Water Quality Certification program regulates removal or placement of materials in wetlands and waterways in the State. Examples of such projects include navigational dredging, flood control channelization, levee construction, channel clearing, fill of wetlands for development, bridge piers, docks, etc. These types of projects generally require a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and the State's Water Quality Certification is issued pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to certify that the project approved by the Corps will also meet State water quality requirements.