- What are the El Dorado Agricultural Water Quality Management Corporation?
The El Dorado Agricultural Water Quality Management Corporation is an organization composed of farmers and ranchers from El Dorado County formed to represent all “dischargers” who own or operate irrigated lands in El Dorado County. The organization was formed to represent the County’s agricultural interest while meeting the requirements of the Irrigated Lands Program Conditional Waiver.
- Who is a discharger?
The California Water Code has assumed that if you irrigate crops or pasture lands that any water that leaves your property could contain waste constituents, which may affect downstream water quality. It is assumed that any surface water leaving your property may contain pesticides, animal waste, sediments or nitrates; you are therefore a “discharger” subject to state regulation.
- Who should join the El Dorado Agricultural Water Quality Management Corporation?
Owners of irrigated commercial agricultural lands are considered dischargers under the ILRP and are required to protect the quality of the water from discharges of waste from their property. If you do not wish to deal with the Regional Board directly, you should join the local coalition.
- What are El Dorado Agricultural Water Quality Management Corporation goals?
Develop and implement an economical and scientifically valid water-monitoring program for El Dorado County’s rivers, streams and agricultural drainage areas as required by the state. To spread costs equitably among farmland owners/operators who are members. Communicate with landowners where water monitoring indicates problems and work to solve these problems. To educate our member on best management practices concerning water and to lobby state regulators about our special needs and concerns pertaining to El Dorado County.
- What work has the El Dorado Agricultural Water Quality Management Corporation already completed?
Formed a local organization with a Board of Directors and Technical Committee, all non-paid staff working for El Dorado County’s farmers and ranchers best interest.
Filed a notice of intent and general report with the Regional Board to fulfill the new regulations for watershed coalitions.
Held numerous meetings to inform growers of the new regulations.
Lobbied and received low status monitoring approval which will significantly reduce costs and reporting requirements for members.
Developed a website to educate and inform our members and to give them a forum to express their concerns and to share their knowledge with other members.
- How do land owners/operators join the group and does it have a cost?
Contact the Regional Board through our “Become a Member Page” and download our application. Yes there is a cost for being a member.
- What are membership dues be spent on?
The coalition provides a cost-effective means of obtaining coverage for members. Costs of regulatory compliance are shared among all members and, with the adoption of the Reduced Monitoring Program, fees have substantially decreased. The coalition pays for the shared costs of administrative staffing, report development, billings and required periodic water quality monitoring. Membership dues are paid annually to cover these costs as well as the mandated state fees imposed by the legislature.
- What if I don’t join the El Dorado Agricultural Water Quality Management Corporation and I am a discharger?
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 El Dorado Agricultural Water Quality Management Corporation?
A Board of Directors, elected by its members, has been established to manage El Dorado Agricultural Water Quality Management Corporation affairs (see full list here).
- Who is responsible for making the El Dorado Agricultural Water Quality Management Corporation successful?
The individual members of the group are ultimately responsible. Failure of the group to meet deadlines, develop the proper monitoring programs or work to correct water quality problems could mean that every individual land owners would be responsible for future costs, which could be considerable. 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 state approved program.
The Board works very hard to hold down costs and explores every avenue available to them to lower costs. Current plans call for member participation, which can save thousands of dollars, but members must reply to all requested information.
- What other commitments are involved in joining the group?
Members must agree to allow Regional Board staff, upon reasonable notification, access onto their property to determine compliance with the conditions of the organization. Respond to all questionnaires and surveys promptly. Keep all dues current. Individuals are free to withdraw from the coalition at any time and obtain an individual waiver from the Regional Board.