Joint Meeting of Upper and Lower Santa Clara River Watershed Groups

By Sheryl Hamlin

About 30 stakeholders of the Upper and Lower Santa Clara River Watershed met on November 1st, 2017 at the Fillmore City Hall to share information on water projects, discuss potential collaboration and learn about funding opportunities.

Announcements: Important Forum in Oxnard

Lynn Rodriguez, who manages the Watersheds Coalition of Ventura County, reminded the audience of the November 15th water forum in Oxnard, where attendees will hear how the county’s implementation of the Strategic Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014 is progressing. Click here to register for Countdown to Sustainabilty Forum.

With Fox Canyon’s ten years in groundwater management, Ventura County has become a statewide model for GSA (Groundwater Sustainability Agency) formation and management. Click here to read a previous three part series about the legislation.

Click here to learn more about the forum and to register.

Supervisor Long announced the Facebook page for the Fillmore/Piru GSA. According to Ms. Rodriques, a new website will be launched in 2018 with a profile of all GSA’s, including management and contact information.

Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems (GDE)

E. J. Remson of the Nature Conservancy presented the GDE concept, noting that the SGMA legislation provides a guidance framework relating to Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems GDEs which includes identification, sustainability criteria, the establishment of measureable objectives and milestones.

There was also discussion about the funding for GDE projects. Most GDE’s are in private ownership so there is a process for working with the landowner.

The Nature Conservancy has produced an on-line documentary about Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems and their importance. Click here to watch.

Coming January 2018 is a new resource for groundwater: Groundwater Resource Hub.

Funding: A potential new source?

Californians passed Proposition 1 in 2014 which provided billions in funding for water projects. But there are more projects than the available funding from SB 1.

On the horizon is SB 5, a bill recently signed by Governor Brown, for more water projects. Brown’s signature will allow the measure to be put to the voters in June 2018.

According to the proponents of the bill, they have based the bill on Proposition 1, assuming voters will be ready to vote for more water projects. Read more here.

New Non-Profit Conservancy

There was discussion about a new, non-profit conservancy to which the ownership of The Nature Company’s local lands would pass as well as that belonging to the Friends of the Santa Clara River. It is tentatively called “The Santa Clara River Watershed Conservancy”.

New Regulatory Alignment in Sacramento

It was noted that the new head of the State’s DWR (Department of Water Resources) would make the organization more efficient and responsive through regulatory alignment.

NPDES (Stormwater) Regional Permit

Arne Anselm reported that Ventura county falls under the Los Angeles Regional Water Board for permitting. Ventura county already has a fee for stormwater collection, but LA County is considering a stormwater fee on future ballot.

Proposition 1 Disadvantaged Communities (DAC)

$9.8 million in funding for both Los Angeles and Ventura County from Proposition 1 DAC is available. Homelessness is an underrepresented community needing sanitation and clean water for the river bottom residents. However, this population crosses across many different agencies.

For information about the county’s watersheds and coalitions, click here.

For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com

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