What is the Coalition?
A group of agricultural interests and growers formed to represent all “dischargers” who own or operate irrigated lands east of the San Joaquin River within Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Mariposa Counties and portions of Calaveras County. See this GIS map for the coalition boundaries.
Are you a discharger?
The California Water Code has been interpreted to presume that, if you irrigate crops and any irrigation or storm water leaves your property, that water could contain waste constituents which may affect downstream surface water quality. When any surface water leaving your property contains farm waste, you are a "discharger" subject to regulation.
What are the Coalition's goals?
- File required reports with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board
(Regional Board) to provide conditional waiver coverage for members of the coalition.
- Develop and implement an economical and scientifically valid water monitoring program
for area rivers and agricultural drains (as required by the waiver).
- Spread costs equitably among farm land owners/operators who are coalition members.
- Communicate to landowners where water monitoring indicates problems and work to solve
What work has the Coalition already completed?
- Formed an organization with a Board of Directors and Technical Committee.
- Filed a notice of intent and general report with the Regional Board on October 30, 2003,
documents required to fulfill the new regulations for watershed coalitions.
- Held numerous meetings to inform growers of the new regulations.
- Completed the conditional waiver "deliverable" due April 1, 2004.
How do land owners/operators join the Coalition?
- In August 2006, the Central Valley Water Board created a deadline (December 31, 2006) for irrigated lands owners and/or operators to join Coalition Groups. Please see the membership page for further information on joining the coalition
What will the membership dues be spent on?
- Start-up costs for the coalition including support staffing and report development.
- Legal fees to obtain non-profit (IRS Code 501 (3)(c)) status for the coalition.
- Preparing a monitoring plan for the coalition area rivers and agricultural drains
(due Regional Board on April 1, 2004).
- Paying for water quality monitoring scheduled to begin by July 1,2004.
What if you don't join the Coalition?
You must file a Notice on Intent with the Regional Board to participate in the conditional waiver as an individual. The cost for filing as an individual discharger can be considerable. The California Farm Bureau Federation estimates start up costs and monitoring for an individual waiver at $10,000 for the first year and $3000 to $6000 annually thereafter for monitoring and reporting.
Who is managing the Coalition?
A Board of Directors has been established to manage Coalition affairs (see full list on the Coalition's website). The Board Chairman is Parry Klassen, Executive Director of the Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship (CURES), a non-profit group and signatory to the notice of intent submitted to the Regional Board by the Coalition. CURES temporarily managed the Coalition's activities and finances until the non-profit corporation was set up. For information on CURES, visit www.curesworks.org
Who is responsible for making the Coalition successful?
The individual members of the coalition. Failure of the coalition to meet deadlines, develop the proper monitoring programs or work to correct water quality problems would mean that individual land owners would be responsible for fulfilling those requirements. While Stanislaus County Farm Bureau and CURES representatives signed the notice of intent for the coalition, it is the coalition participants who are ultimately responsible for participating in coalition activities and paying their fair share of all costs to carry out the conditional waiver program.
What are the Coalition's expenses?
The cost for developing the April 1, 2004 deliverable to the Regional Board (monitoring plan and watershed use report) was almost $10,000. The detailed budget for monitoring the watershed's rivers and major ag drains will be developed after the monitoring plan is written but will likely exceed $200,000 annually. On-going funding will be needed to sustain the monitoring and will eventually be charged to coalition members on a per acre basis. The monitoring program for the watershed coalition managed by the San Joaquin Valley Drainage Authority is estimated to cost its members between $4 and $5 per acre.
What other commitments are involved in joining the coalition?
Land owner participants must agree to allow Regional Board staff, upon reasonable notification,
access onto their property to determine compliance with the conditions of the waiver. Individuals
are free to withdraw from the coalition at any time and obtain an individual waiver from the Regional Board.
Coalition Cooperating Entities
Cooperating entities are those local groups and organizations who are committed to assisting the
coalition in reaching its goals. To date, the following entities have signed on to the coalition:
For information on the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition, contact:
- Wayne Zipser, Stanislaus County Farm Bureau: (209) 522-7278
- Diana Westmoreland Pedrozo, Merced County Farm Bureau: (209) 723-3001
- Parry Klassen, CURES: (559) 288-8125
- Stanislaus County Agricultural Commissioner: (209) 525-4730
- Merced County Agricultural Commissioner: (209) 385-7431