Victory! The LA Regional Board adopted a new approach to regulating discharges from agricultural land within the LA Region, our region, through general waste discharge requirements, which will reduce a significant source of pollution (like nitrate and pesticides) into our rivers, ocean, and groundwater.
The new approach includes important individual monitoring, but allows for alternative compliance through participation in collaborative work with Grower Groups. This type of alternative compliance is promising, but has led to accountability issues in the past, resulting in slow progress (like with the 2012 Stormwater Permit.)
That said, our ecosystem and communities cannot wait for clean water. Reducing water pollution must occur as soon as possible. We need to continue to push for more accountability and progress, as action plans are developed and implemented, along with our partners at Heal the Bay, Wishtoyo Foundation, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, and LA Waterkeeper.
We have made some small progress in these areas:
- Growers are now required to monitor their discharges one additional time during the year.
- Growers will be required to follow a reporting deadline of testing every 5 - 8 - 15 months during the year. This is a compromise between what we were asking and what the Farm Bureau was asking for.
- The LA Regional Water Quality Board will be looking more closely at more relevant local data from the County and other groups the Water Board already oversees. (We have submitted to Board staff our Annual Report for 2022-23 and our DNA testing report from the Ventura River. We hope to add Joan's reports from Ormond to their data compilation.)
- The Growers Responsibility Areas and what they are allowed to discharge in that area are more closely aligned. The problem was that there were not clear boundaries or even maps that Growers could follow.
- Possible creation of reporting maps and other integrative technology.
- The staff board correcting VCAILG understanding that they are considered a discharger group by the Water Board.
Surfrider Ventura produced an action alert, gave presentations at 3 hearings, sent in 2 comment letters and had 3 meetings with the Farm Bureau reps. and our partners.
Thanks for all your support on this very important accountability issue to keep our oceans from hazardous runoff from our watershed.