Nonpoint Source Program (NPS)


The purpose of the Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program (NPS Program) is to restore waters impacted by NPS pollution and protect unimpaired waterbodies. The primary causes of NPS pollution impairment or threat in the Region are from forestry, urban runoff, hydro-modification, abandoned mines, and grazing. Restoration on forested lands and grazing are high priorities in the NPS Program while pollution from urban runoff, hydromodification, timber, fuels management and abandoned mines are primarily addressed through other programs. Federal resources under the 319(h) program allocates 1.9 PY for the NPS work. Staff resources are focused on total maximum daily load (TMDL) implementation priorities.

The Region's NPS Program in part implements the statewide Plan for California's Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program, and is consistent with the statewide Policy for Implementation and Enforcement of the Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program.

Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Development

There are approximately 223,655 acres of irrigated agriculture located in the Lahontan Region based on 2016 data from the Department of Water Resources. Irrigated acreage in the region consists of primarily of pasture, with lesser amounts of managed wetlands, unclassified agriculture, and miscellaneous food commodities.

Discharges from irrigated lands include irrigation runoff, flows from tile drains, and stormwater runoff. These discharges can affect water quality by transporting pollutants, including pesticides, sediment, nutrients, salts, pathogens, and heavy metals, from fields into surface and groundwaters.

Water Board Workshops
The Lahontan Region does not currently have an Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) to regulate agricultural operations to ensure that beneficial uses of groundwater and surface waters are protected. In September 2019, staff held an informational workshop at the Water Board’s regular meeting to present the legal drivers for developing an ILRP and to discuss different conceptual options for program development. “Precedential requirements” of the State Water Resources Control Board’s 2018 review order WQ-2018-0002, the ESJ (Eastern San Joaquin) review order and its implications for regulation of agricultural discharges in the Lahontan Region were discussed. This ESJ review order established a robust set of requirements to be incorporated into all ILRP permits statewide.

A follow-up workshop was held at the Water Board’s January 14, 2021 meeting to present a staff report recommending four actions for future irrigated lands regulation in the region. Those actions are:

  • Action 1: Renew and Update the Bridgeport Grazing Waiver
  • Action 2: Water Quality Improvement on Grazing Lands, Bishop Creek Vision Project Project
  • Action 3: Develop a General Order for Irrigated Pasture Lands
  • Action 4: Develop a General Order for Irrigated Agricultural Food Commodities and Ornamentals such as Row Crops, Orchards, Flower/Tree Farms, etc.

Actions 1 and 2 are in the early stages of development. Actions 3 and 4 have no identified funding or staffing resources at this time, and development timelines are unknown.

Please check this site for progress and additional information, including opportunities for involvement with these actions.

January 14, 2021 Water Board Meeting Materials

Staff Contact

Ben Letton, Supervising Engineering Geologist
Planning and Regulatory Division

Related Links

Available Documents

Questions or Comments about NPS in the Lahontan Region?

  • Please email Mary Fiore-Wagner, Senior Environmental Scientist - Supervisor for the NPS Program.