What is in this article?:
- Nitrogen use has been elevated to the No. 1 spot on the list of issues confronting California agriculture.
- A proactive educational approach has headed off an onslaught of legislation leading to new regulations or taxes.
Cornerstones of plan
The cornerstone requirements of the East San Joaquin Water Coalition plan:
Farm Evaluation Plan describes measures the farm is taking to protect surface and groundwater quality. The plan is completed once and updated annually, depending on the vulnerability designation. In low vulnerability areas, plans are kept at the farm headquarters but must be provided to the Regional Water Board upon request. Members in high vulnerability areas must submit plans to the coalition for compilation by region.
Nitrogen Management Plans summarize nitrogen fertilizer applications compared to crop production. The annual plan, the first due in 2014 or 2016, depending on the farm size and vulnerability designation, will list the previous year's nitrogen use and projected use for the upcoming season. In high vulnerability areas, the plan must be signed off by a Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) or a grower trained to self-certify the plan. Members in low vulnerability areas keep the plan at the farm headquarters and need no sign-off.
Sediment and Erosion Control Plans are required, if a field has irrigation drainage or frequent storm water runoff into surface waters. Areas where these plans will be required are to be outlined in a report due to the water board in January 2014.
For all of the new plans, the coalition has until April 11, 2013 to submit proposed templates to the Regional Water Board. Plan details are being refined by a working group made up of Central Valley coalitions and commodity organizations.
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