Background

The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCBs) are State regulatory boards within the California Environmental Protection Agency.  The SWRCB allocates rights to the use of surface water and, with the RWQCBs, protects surface, ground, and coastal waters throughout the state.  The RWQCBs issue permits that govern and restrict the amount of pollutants that can be discharged into the ground or a water body.

In 1982, the Central Valley Regional Board adopted a resolution that conditionally waived Waste Discharge Reports (WDRs) for 23 categories of discharges, including irrigation return water and storm water runoff.  These waivers terminated on 1 January 2003.  The Central Valley Regional Board adopted a resolution on 5 December 2002 establishing a new Conditional Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges from Irrigated Lands within the Central Valley Region.  The 2002 Resolution was rescinded in July 2003 when the Regional Board adopted a Resolution with two Conditional Waivers – one for Coalition Groups, which form on behalf of individual dischargers, and a second Conditional Waiver for individual dischargers.

The Sacramento Valley Water Quality Coalition (SVWQC) was formed in 2003 and is comprised of 10 subwatershed groups (subcoalitions).  El Dorado County Agriculturalists were originally represented as a subcoalition by the El Dorado and Georgetown Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) with all costs paid for using grant funding.  The grant funding expired in 2008 and in anticipation of members having to pay for the program, the El Dorado County Agricultural Water Quality Management Corporation and El Dorado County Agricultural Water Education Corporation were formed. These organizations were formed and are run by local growers to provide a mechanism for agriculturists to comply with the requirements of the regulation.

Northern California Water Association (NCWA) provides program management services for the SVWQC, providing the official interface between the Regional Board and the subcoalitions.  NCWA has contracted with Larry Walker Associates to implement the monitoring and monitoring program management efforts required by the coalition’s surface water monitoring programs.

El Dorado County in-stream water quality monitoring began at North Canyon Creek near Camino in July 2004 and continued through 2006.  Beginning in 2007 and continuing through June 2008 the monitoring site was relocated to a position on Coon Hollow Creek also near Camino.  The monitoring site was moved back to North Canyon Creek beginning July 2008 after submitting evidence to the Regional Board that Coon Hollow Creek was not representative of surface water conditions in El Dorado County.

In late 2009 the Regional Board adopted a Resolution that allowed up to 2 subcoalitions in the SVWQC to apply for a Management Practices Pilot Program as an alternative to in-stream water quality monitoring.  El Dorado County submitted a Pilot Watershed Management Practices Plan that was approved by the Regional Board resulting in the suspension of water monitoring until at least July 2012.