UFRWG Irrigated Lands Program
Irrigation season water quality monitoring typically begins in May
and is conducted monthly through October.
In 2011 the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB)
approved UFRWG's request for reduction in the number of monitoring sites
from 3 sites to one representative site for the watershed.
Similar site reductions in other watersheds had been approved
where monitoring results support such a reduction.
In 2012 the CVRWQCB approved the use of data obtained from ambient water
monitoring conducted by Department of Water Resources (DWR) to replace 3 of the
5 monitoring events required of the UFRWG irrigators. This reduced the cost and
time of duplicative monitoring for 2012 season.
2013 monitoring program schedule will depend on the outcome of the new
Agricultural Waste Discharge Requirement (WDR) currently being drafted by the
Regional Board Staff working with Sacramento Valley Coalition representatives.
Landowner surveys, farm evaluations, nitrogen budgets and erosion control plans as
well as educational field days and workshops may become part of the long term
Irrigated Lands Program for our Upper Feather River Group.
The UFRWG Board of Directors will be reviewing new program details and options
as they become available from our Sac Valley Coalition and the Regional Board.
Please join us in local meetings to review and discuss the options that may become
available to our members.
Implementation of water quality and water conservation projects with the assistance
of NRCS and other area programs will continue throughout the 2013 season.
Many active UFRWGroup members have completed water quality related
conservation projects already and numerous interested landowners will be receiving
project funding assistance this year to begin new projects.
Additional funding sources for member projects and BMP implementation are
becoming available and any landowner interested in financial and technical
assistance for such a project is encouraged to contact one of the Board of Directors
for more information.
2013 Irrigation Season Monitoring Schedule
Upper Feather River Watershed Group
PO Box 975 Loyalton, Ca 96118
Plumas and Sierra Counties
2006 Monitoring Season
2007 Monitoring Season
2008 Monitoring Season
UFRWG Agriculture Stakeholders Advancing water stewardship
Indian Creek site below Arlington Bridge Middle Fork FR site above Grizzly Creek confluence
Indian Valley Sierra Valley
UFRWGroup monitors irrigated lands discharges at three Regional Water Board approved sampling sites
Spanish Creek below Greenhorn Creek confluence
Upper Feather River Agriculture and Water Quality
Many challenges are faced by UFRWG landowners, ranchers and agriculture producers to
improve productivity of forage, crop and livestock farming operations and be mindful of
maintaining the water quality of the upper Feather River creeks and streams.
As natural resource and water quality awareness continue to increase in
importance across the state, the agricultural community is stepping up to do their
part in meeting water quality goals.
Monitoring in the upper Feather River watershed by local landowners began in 2005 by
the 110 member UFRWG as part of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board’s
(RWQCB) Irrigated Lands Program (ILRP). Plumas-Sierra UCCE, with Proposition 50 funding,
has assisted the UFRWG with their monitoring. Water quality standards have been set by the
RWQCB and monitoring has provided local farmers and ranchers a tool to evaluate their efforts
in meeting these standards.
As monitoring data is collected and analyzed, the coalition group will need to develop a
management plan for any standard that is not met. These plans may include special projects to
further determine the potential source of a problem, as well as water quality enhancement
projects by coalition members. So far E.coli, DO (dissolved oxygen) and pH are the three
parameters that have shown slight exceedances. A special DO/pH study project developed by
Ken Tate and conducted through the 2008 season showed that natural contributors rather than
agriculture practices are sources of the DO and pH exceedances. Implementation of BMP’s
(best management practices) to reduce E.coli is being encouraged among the UFRWG
membership to ensure potential grazing contributions are reduced.
Many good projects have already been put into place by agriculture landowners. Some
of these landowners have utilized cost share and funding assistance offered by the NRCS,
RCD, FRCRM, UCCE Prop 50, Sierra Nevada Conservancy and other funding partners.
Members with project ideas are encouraged to contact any of these conservation organizations
for technical and funding assistance opportunities, if needed.
Five years of Irrigated Lands water quality data has characterized impacts of local
agriculture practices. Upper watershed permanent pasture and grazing, and haying operations
have a minimal impact on area creeks and streams, since pesticide and chemical use by
agriculture in our area is extremely limited. UFRWGroup is participating in efforts for inclusion
of a low impact upper watershed option in the Long Term Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program
to reflect this fact. The group continues to encourage partnerships among landowners and
local water conservation and water quality organizations to mitigate isolated water quality
concerns at the local level.
ILRP Watershed Monitoring
2011 Monitoring Season
2012 Monitoring Season