In 2009 the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board allowed up to two counties to apply to participate in a Pilot Program. It allowed surface water quality monitoring to be minimized based on the use of management practices. The Management Practices Approach allowed us to identify the good practices that our farmers and ranchers use to manage their operations that will continue to ensure excellent water quality in El Dorado’s watersheds. Both Napa (Putah Creek) and El Dorado watersheds were selected to participate in the program. The proposal was submitted and approved by the Executive Officer.
The Pilot Program requires our members to participate in a Management Practices survey for the irrigated acres they are managing. It also requires an annual verification of 5% of the irrigated acreage to validate that the management practices are indeed being implemented. This successful program has deferred expensive annual surface water quality monitoring and saved the members approximately $15,000 a year. We will be required to monitor periodically (every 5 years) to prove that our practices are working.