Cooperative Monitoring Program (CMP)
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The CMP is a key element of the existing Ag Waiver. Its sole purpose is to provide a monthly analysis of water quality in agricultural areas. There is no way to determine if the efforts of growers to improve water quality through implementation of significant and expensive management practices are successful without analysis of the downstream monitoring to prove the success.
- Who is the Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program (CMP) managed by?
- The Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program is managed by the Central Coast Water Quality Preservation Inc. (CCWQPI) on behalf of irrigated agriculture throughout the Central Coast.
- Why is a cooperative monitoring program necessary?
- The Regional Water Board has determined that irrigated lands must be regulated to improve
water quality in rivers and stream and has mandated that growers monitor water quality associated with “discharges” from their property. The cooperative monitoring program is an option that growers have to lower overall monitoring costs but growers are obligated to conduct water quality monitoring either individually or as a member of the cooperative monitoring program. There is no exemption from this requirement if you are covered by the Regional Water Board’s order.
- Why is cooperative monitoring preferable to doing my own monitoring?
- Cooperative monitoring is an option that growers have. The alternative is for each grower to
conduct monitoring for the “discharge” from their own property. Water quality monitoring is a requirement of the Regional Water Board’s order and must meet certain technical standards. Each monitoring location will impose a substantial cost, perhaps as much as $8,000 per year. By conducting a cooperative monitoring program the number of monitoring locations are far fewer (as opposed to each and every location where irrigation is conducted). The result is a much more cost effective program.
- When does the cooperative monitoring program start?
- The Regional Water Board’s requirement for cooperative monitoring set two phases for water
quality monitoring. The first phase imposes the obligation to begin monitoring on January 1, 2005 for the Salinas and Santa Maria areas. Monitoring in all other areas is covered by Phase 2 which begins January 1, 2006.
- How often will water quality monitoring occur?
- Sampling will take place at each monitoring location on a monthly basis although sampling
may not occur on the same day each month.
- What will happen to the data collected through the monitoring program?
- All data collected must be reported to the Regional Water Board as a requirement of the Board’
s order. Once data is reported to the Regional Water Board it becomes public information.
- How will the data be used by the Regional Water Board?
- The Regional Water Board has made it clear in its order that the purpose of the cooperative
monitoring program is to assess the health of inland waters generally and not to conduct individual discharge monitoring. Data collected will determine long-term trends in water quality, assess areas where water quality standards and beneficial uses are not being supported, and to conduct follow-up monitoring to better identify problem areas where water quality standards are not being met.
- How does the cooperative monitoring program relate to the Farm Plan or the Notice of
intent that was field with the Regional Water Board?
- The Regional Water Board’s order has several provisions that apply to each grower and these
are separate and distinct from the cooperative monitoring program. For example, each grower must file a Notice of Intent with the Regional Water Board. This must be done by each grower and is not related to the water quality monitoring program. Other requirements such as the filing of a Farm Plan or obtaining educational requirements must be done by each grower and are independent of any cooperative water quality monitoring activities. But note, any grower who filed their Notice of Intent with the Regional Water Board and did not indicate they wanted to be covered under the cooperative monitoring program is responsible for conducting their own monitoring and is NOT covered under the cooperative monitoring program.
- What does the Regional Water Board’s order require for water quality monitoring?
- The Regional Board’s order requires growers to conduct water quality monitoring several times a year.
Significantly, the Regional Board provided growers with a choice, either conduct the monitoring individually or participate in a cooperative monitoring program with other growers. Most growers covered by this order will be participating in the cooperative monitoring program which allows the cost for monitoring to be shared, resulting in much lower costs per grower for the performance of this obligation.
- How does monitoring occur?
- Monitoring occurs in two Phases. Phase 1 will be conducted this year and is focused on sampling sites located in the Salinas River
watershed and the Santa Maria River watershed. Next January, additional sampling will commence throughout all water bodies specified by the Regional Water Board. Samples collected during monitoring are subjected to analysis for a number of constituents which are then reported to the Regional Water Board.
- Return to Conditional waiver of waste discharge requirements for irrigated lands Conditional waiver of waste discharge requirements for irrigated lands
Cases of Civil Liability
- On December 11, 2007, the Franscioni Brother's Inc. who own 2,353 acres of croplands within Monterey County were accused of violations of discharging agricultural wastewaters through an Administrative Civil Liability Complaint No. R3-2007-0098. The accused wastewater dischargers were ordered to pay a civil liability of $2,500 for Water Board staff costs, and were also ordered to pay an additional $2,000 for a Supplemental Environmental Project to provide additional support for agricultural water quality monitoring and an additional $7,961.25 in Cooperative Monitoring Program and enrollment fees required by the Conditional Waiver.
- On December 11, 2007, Strawberry Services, Inc./Ruby Farms was accused of violations of discharging agricultural wastewaters through an Administrative Civil Liability Complaint No. R3-2007-0102. The accused wastewater dischargers were ordered to pay a civil liability of $2,500 for Water Board staff costs, and were also ordered to pay an additional $500 for a Supplemental Environmental Project to provide additional support for agricultural water quality monitoring.
- On December 4, 2008, Agro-Jal Farms was accused of violations of discharging agricultural wastewaters through an Administrative Civil LIability Complaint No. R3-2007-0099. The accused wastewater dischargers were ordered to pay a civil liability of $7,000 and were also ordered to pay an additional $7,000 for a Supplemental Environmental Project to provide additional support for agricultural water quality monitoring.
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