Please continue to read the research article in full HERE.
by A.T. O’Geen, Matthew B.B. Saal, Helen Dahlke, David Doll, Rachel Elkins, Allan Fulton, Graham Fogg, Thomas Harter, Jan W. Hopmans, Chuck Ingels, Franz Niederholzer, Samuel Sandoval Solis, Paul Verdegaal and Mike Walkinshaw
Groundwater pumping chronically exceeds natural recharge in many agricultural regions in California. A common method of recharging groundwater — when surface water is available — is to deliberately flood an open area, allowing water to percolate into an aquifer. However, open land suitable for this type of recharge is scarce. Flooding agricultural land during fallow or dormant periods has the potential to increase groundwater recharge substantially, but this approach has not been well studied. Using data on soils, topography and crop type, we developed a spatially explicit index of the suitability for groundwater recharge of land in all agricultural regions in California. We identified 3.6 million acres of agricultural land statewide as having Excellent or Good potential for groundwater recharge. The index provides preliminary guidance about the locations where groundwater recharge on agricultural land is likely to be feasible. A variety of institutional, infrastructure and other issues must also be addressed before this practice can be implemented widely.
Please continue to read the research article in full HERE.
by Ellen Hanak, Jelena Jezdimirovic, Sarge Green, Alvar Escriva-Bou
SummaryThe San Joaquin Valley—which has the biggest imbalance between groundwater pumping and replenishment in the state—is ground zero for implementing the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Expanding groundwater recharge could help local water users bring their basins into balance and make a dent in the long-term deficit of nearly 2 million acre-feet per year. The experience with recharge in 2017―the first wet year since the enactment of SGMA―offers valuable insights in how to expand recharge. A survey of valley water districts’ current recharge efforts revealed strong interest in the practice, and a number of constraints. The following actions are needed to better capitalize on future opportunities:
You can read the report in full HERE.
From the SJV Greenprint Phase II Summary Report:
"The San Joaquin Valley (SJV) is one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions; is a vital link in California’s complex water delivery and transportation systems; provides important habitat to protect biodiversity; and is a center for oil and solar energy production. The region has a unique set of assets and challenges related to its agricultural land, growing population centers, biodiversity, energy production, and water availability.
The San Joaquin Valley Greenprint project grew out of the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint... The Blueprint focused on urban challenges, particularly the relationship of land use to transportation, and developed a set of smart growth principles that should minimize development impacts on the non-urban lands of the Valley. The Blueprint revealed the need for better regional mapping of the Valley’s non-urban areas to assist land use and resource management decisions...
The SJV Greenprint is primarily a collection of maps, assembled as a comprehensive, interactive database that catalogs current conditions and trends related to the region’s resources. The maps and data collected for the SJV Greenprint are publicly available through the San Joaquin Valley Data Basin Gateway (http://sjvp.databasin.org)... The collection demonstrates how these resources are interrelated across political boundaries and how they are changing under the influence of population growth, changing land use practices, resource limitations, and changing climate.
Phase I of the Greenprint focused on identifying and mapping Valley resources for the eight counties that comprise the San Joaquin Valley, including Kern, Tulare, Kings, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin Counties... The compiled information includes over 100 datasets related to agriculture, biodiversity, energy, and water resources, as well as supplemental datasets including land use planning, transportation, soils, and land cover...
Phase II of the SJV Greenprint was intended to build on and extend the work in Phase I by demonstrating the real world utility of this information. The Demonstration Projects, described in Section IV, serve as case studies for the use of Greenprint data. A second objective of Phase II was to find an appropriate platform for these curated resources, specifically a host that could provide a user-friendly interface as well as the capacity to update and maintain the data. The San Joaquin Valley Gateway, hosted by Data Basin, was identified as the best platform... A third objective of Phase II was to shed light on key questions and insights into various resource management challenges in the Valley through outreach to experts, regional councils of government, and county planning directors...
Please continue to read the SJV Phase II Summary Report in full HERE.
Existing law establishes various state water policies, including the policy that the Legislature consider other works as may be necessary to develop water to satisfy the requirements of the watershed in which water originates whenever the Legislature authorizes the construction or acquisition of a project that will develop water for use outside that watershed, as specified.
This bill would declare it to be state policy that source watersheds are recognized and defined as integral components of California’s water infrastructure. The bill would state the particular importance to maintaining the reliability, quantity, timing, and quality of California’s environmental, drinking, and agricultural water supply as climate change advances of source watersheds that supply the majority of the state’s drinking and irrigated agricultural water. The bill would state that the maintenance and repair of source watersheds is eligible for the same forms of financing as other water collection and treatment infrastructure and would specify that the maintenance and repair activities that are eligible are limited to specified forest ecosystem restoration and conservation activities.
SECTION 1. Section 108.5 is added to the Water Code, to read:
(a) It is hereby declared to be the established policy of the state that source watersheds are recognized and defined as integral components of California’s water infrastructure.
(b) (1) As climate change advances, source watersheds that provide the majority of the state’s drinking and irrigated agricultural water are of particular importance to maintaining the reliability, quantity, timing, and quality of California’s environmental, drinking, and agricultural water supply.
(2) Recognizing the critical role of source watersheds in enhancing water supply reliability, the maintenance and repair of source watersheds is eligible for the same forms of financing as other water collection and treatment infrastructure.
(3) Nothing in this section is intended to constrain financing for source watersheds supplying local, state, or federal water systems.
(4) Nothing in this section is intended to supersede federal eligibility requirements or alter any of the following:
(A) Funding criteria or guidelines established for a bond or other measure enacted by the voters.
(B) Funding programs related to pollution control, cleanup, or abatement.
(C) Funding programs for addressing public health emergencies.
(c) Eligible maintenance and repair activities pursuant to this section are limited to the following forest ecosystem restoration and conservation activities:
(1) Upland vegetation management to restore the watershed’s productivity and resiliency.
(2) Wet and dry meadow restoration.
(3) Road removal and repair.
(4) Stream channel restoration.
(5) Conservation of private forests to preserve watershed integrity through permanent prevention of land use conversion and improved land management, achieved through, and secured with, conservation easements.
(6) Other projects with a demonstrated likelihood of increasing conditions for water and snow attraction, retention, and release under changing climate conditions.
From the Conservation Strategy Group blog:
The California Legislature passed AB 2087 (Levine), which provides the legal authority for the creation of advanced mitigation credits based on Regional Conservation Investment Strategies approved by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. These conservation strategies, while voluntary and non-regulatory, can be used to:
Regional Conservation Investment Strategies (RCIS) can be developed by any public agency if a state agency agrees that the strategy would contribute to meeting state goals related to (1) conservation and (2) infrastructure or forest management. Mitigation credit agreements, based on an approved RCIS, would provide a way to link mitigation to larger conservation goals and reduce the transaction costs and time required to meet mitigation requirements.
Regional advanced mitigation programs (RAMP) have been a goal of the conservation community for years in order to improve the conservation value and effectiveness of project mitigation. AB 2087 provides a means to achieve this goal.
AB 2087 was sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, with strong support from Audubon California, Defenders of Wildlife and numerous other environmental organizations. The bill was developed by Conservation Strategy Group (CSG) in close cooperation with the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), and other state agencies.
Continue to read post in full HERE.
Note: This program is authorized but no funding for it has been appropriated. Funding is in the process of being identified