CURES announced that farmers in the Central Valley can begin applying for $8 million in funding to install management practices to prevent sediment and farm inputs from reaching regional streams and rivers. The funding comes from a grant provided by the State Water Resources Control Board through Proposition 84, a bond initiative approved by state voters in 2006.
The grant will pay farmers 75 percent of the cost of management practices such as holding ponds, recirculation systems and drip systems on farms in the Central Valley. Funding will be directed to farms in watersheds where water quality monitoring by Central Valley watershed coalitions have identified problems associated with releases from irrigated agriculture. The coalitions represent landowners under the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP) mandated by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Growers must make changes to irrigation and farming practices to meet requirements of the ILRP and can use the Prop 84 funding for practices to prevent future problems.
CURES’ role, in conjunction with watershed coalitions throughout the region, is to identify landowners eligible for the funding. The non-profit organization will also manage contracting of grant funds. “This funding can be a tremendous aid to farmers of crops that have difficulty making capital improvements due to lack of profitability in recent years,” says Parry Klassen, executive director of CURES. “Priority for the funding will be fields located in watersheds with existing management plans and have frequent irrigation or storm water drainage.” Most waterways with management plans are located in the northern San Joaquin Valley, San Joaquin/Sacramento Rivers Delta and southern Sacramento Valley.
Applications for Prop 84 funding can be made by contacting the Central Valley watershed coalitions or by going to www.curesworks.org.