Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program




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

    November 27, 2018: 10:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
    Watsonville Public Library
    Meeting Room, 2nd Floor
    275 Main Street, Suite 100
    Watsonville, CA 95076

    November 28, 2018: 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
    Agricultural Center Conference Room
    1432 Abbott Street
    Salinas, CA 93901

    November 30, 2018: 10:00 a.m. – noon
    Santa Maria Public Library
    Shepard Hall
    421 S. McClelland Street
    Santa Maria, CA 93454”

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The Central Coast Water Board approved a new Agricultural Order on March 8, 2017. This is a three-year Agricultural Order which must be replaced by March 7, 2020. The new Agricultural Order is the third Agricultural Order adopted in the central coast region, so is referred to as Ag Order 3.0.

Ag Order 3.0 requires groundwater monitoring in 2017 and also expands the Total Nitrogen Applied reporting requirement. Please review the highlights of these two requirements below.

We will provide additional information soon, such as an updated compliance calendar, information about workshop opportunities, and more.

Groundwater well monitoring is required in 2017. Growers must sample: 1) primary irrigation well located on each ranch, and 2) all domestic wells located on the assessor parcel numbers where the ranch is located. Two rounds of sampling from all required wells are due in 2017. The first sample from each required well must be drawn from March-June 2017 and the second sample from September-December 2017. Groundwater samples must be collected by a qualified third party, such as a consultant, technician or person conducting cooperative monitoring on behalf of the grower. As in Ag Order 2.0, laboratory analysis must be conducted by a State certified laboratory that can coordinate with the grower to submit the sampling results electronically using the Water Board’s GeoTracker electronic deliverable format (known as EDF).

For more information about groundwater monitoring requirements, please see any of the Monitoring and Reporting Program documents below, Part 2 A and B. Groundwater monitoring guidance documents, including a list of qualified laboratories, will be available soon on this webpage in the Grower Workshops and Resources section.

The Total Nitrogen Applied reporting requirement is now expanded to include all Tier 2 and Tier 3 ranches that grow any crop with a high potential of loading nitrogen to groundwater. These “high risk” crops include the following: beet, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, Chinese cabbage (Napa), collard, endive, kale, leek, lettuce (leaf and head), mustard, onion (dry and green), spinach, strawberry, pepper (fruiting), and parsley. If any of these crops are grown on your ranch, then a Total Nitrogen Applied report is required for all crops grown on the ranch.

The first Total Nitrogen Applied report for Ag Order 3.0 is due on March 1, 2018. You will need to report the Total Nitrogen Applied to all crops harvested on the ranch during the 2017 calendar year. Make sure to track all nitrogen applied from fertilizers, compost, and other materials to each crop; track the total volume of irrigation water applied to the ranch; sample your irrigation water for nitrate; and sample your soil for nitrogen, so you can accurately report on March 1, 2018.

For more information on Total Nitrogen Applied reporting, please see the Monitoring and Reporting Program for Tier 2 or Tier 3 ranches below, Part 2C. Total Nitrogen Applied reporting instructions and forms are available on this webpage in the Grower Workshops and Resources section.


Irrigated Lands 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.

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.

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. Tier Review Requests are an item for which interested persons may request discretionary review.  See Items for Discretionary Review below.

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

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 two cooperative groundwater monitoring programs:

1. Central Coast Groundwater Coalition (CCGC)

2. Santa Rosa Creek Valley Cooperative Groundwater Monitoring Program

The Executive Officer’s approval or denial of a cooperative groundwater monitoring program is an item for which interested persons may request discretionary review.  See Items for Discretionary Review below.

Water Quality Monitoring Reports and Data

Surface Water Quality Monitoring Reports and Data
Groundwater Quality Monitoring Reports and Data

Items for Discretionary Review

Agricultural Order R3-2017-0002 identifies specific items for which interested persons may seek discretionary review by the Regional Board. These items include the following:
  1. Executive Officer’s Determination to Approve or Deny Tier Changes
  2. Executive Officer’s Determination  to Require a Transfer to a Higher Tier
  3. Executive Officer’s Approval or Denial of a Cooperative Groundwater Monitoring Program
  4. Executive Officer’s Approval or Denial of A Third Party Project or Program

The State and Regional Water Quality Control Boards use electronic subscription mailing lists (aka: listservs) for sending information to interested parties. If you would like to receive email notification when the Items for Discretionary Review list has been updated, please visit the following web-page and subscribe to the email list titled “Ag Order Items for Discretionary Review.”

A list of items for Discretionary Review is provided below. Interested Parties will be allowed 30 days to seek discretionary review by the Regional Board. Interested Parties seeking discretionary review must send their request in writing, postmarked no later than 30 days from the date of the List of Items for Discretionary Review notice, to:

Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
Attention:  Board Chair (c/o Executive Officer)
895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101
San Luis Obispo, CA  93401
List of Items for Discretionary Review - Updated July 10, 2017

The List of Items for Discretionary Review includes the following items:

  1. Santa Rosa Creek Valley Groundwater Monitoring Cooperative
  2. Central Coast Groundwater Coalition workplan and approval

Agricultural Regulatory Program Enforcement

Administrative Civil Liabilities:

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