About - East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition

What We Are

  • A group formed by agricultural interests that operates similar to an agricultural cooperative. Member dues collectively pay for administering a “group permit” on behalf of members to be in compliance with the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.

What We Are Not

  • A commodity group
  • A lobbying entity
  • A trade organization
  • A special interest group

Why We Were Organized

  • The Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) was adopted in 2003 by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board). To be in compliance with the regulation, owners or operators of irrigated cropland in the Central Valley have two options:
    • Obtain an individual permit for each farming operation.
    • Join a group that represents farmers across a specific geographic region.
  • Throughout the Central Valley, there are seven water quality coalitions or third-party groups organized to represent farmers in the ILRP. The California Rice Commission formed the only commodity specific coalition. These coalitions handle administrative functions, operate water monitoring programs to identify problems in agricultural areas then work with members to solve the problems identified.

How We Started

  • In November 2003, ten local farm groups and county agencies formed a “Co-op” or water quality coalition to give growers an option for complying with the ILRP. In November 2005, the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition (ESJWQC) was granted non-profit status as a 501 c5 organization by the Internal Revenue Service. The Coalition is managed by a Board of Directors and Executive Director. Technical consultants are used to collect and analyze water samples and prepare reports to the Water Board on coalition activities.

Core Objectives

  • Develop and implement an economical and scientifically valid water monitoring program for area rivers, agricultural drains and groundwater basins.
  • File required reports with the Water Board to maintain member’s compliance with the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program.
  • Spread costs equitably among farm land owners/operators who are coalition members.
  • Communicate to landowners where water monitoring indicates problems and work to solve those problems.

Water Monitoring Program Objectives

  • Characterize discharge from irrigated agriculture in the Coalition region
  • Identify locations where water quality objectives are violated
  • Identify potential source(s) of the exceedances
  • Promote to landowners the implementation of management practices to address water quality problems when needed.

Coalition Membership

  • As of January 1, 2019
  • 2,604 members
  • 572,438 acres

2019 Membership Dues Cover:

  • 56 cents per acre fee paid to State Water Board
  • Operation of surface water monitoring program
  • Development of Groundwater Assessment Report for region
  • Membership management and administration
  • Executive Director
  • Technical Program Management

ESJWQC Region

  • The Coalition encompasses the lower Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced River watersheds and includes the irrigated farm land that falls into Stanislaus and Merced counties. These irrigated farmlands lie south of Stanislaus River, east of the San Joaquin River, north of the San Joaquin River up to and including irrigated farmland at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east.

For more information please see our frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.

Board of East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition

Bill McKinney
Treasurer
Almond Grower
Bill Brush
B&B Consulting
Alan D. Reynolds
Gallo Vineyards, Inc
Livingston
Al Rossini
Albertoni Land Co Ltd.
Grape Grower
Mike Niemi
Turlock Irrigation District
Breanne Ramos
Board Secretary
Executive Director, Merced County Farm Bureau
Christina Beckstead
Executive Director
Madera County Farm Bureau
Tom Roduner
WP Roduner Cattle & Farming
Merced
Scott Severson
Mid Valley Agricultural Services
Livingston
 

Non-Voting Members

Parry Klassen
Board Chairman
Executive Director
Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship (CURES)
Wayne Zipser
Vice President
Director
Stanislaus County Farm Bureau
David Robinson
Merced County Agricultural Commissioner
Milton O'Haire
Stanislaus County Agricultural Commissioner
Stevie McNeill
Madera County Agricultural Commissioner
Diana Waller
Natural Resources Conservation Service
USDA - NRCS - Modesto
Dennis Westcot
San Joaquin River Group Authority

Staff of East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition

Parry Klassen
Executive Director
Wayne Zipser
General Manager
Caitie Campodonico
Grower Relations
Emily Coate
Grower Relations
Brittany Grogan
Grower Relations
Jennifer Sanchez
Membership Manager
Michelle Pimentel-Montez
Chief Financial Officer
 
 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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 those problems.
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 join coalition 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.

Contact Information

For information on the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition, contact:

East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition Boundaries

The East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition (ESJWQC) represents all "dischargers" that have paid membership dues and 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.

Use the map below to determine if any or all of your parcels are in the ESJWQC. Zoom in or out and use the arrows as needed to make this determination. If you wish to view a larger map click here.



View
ESJWQC 2016 Boundary in a larger map
© 2019 East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition

1201 L Street Modesto CA 95354 USA (209) 846-6112