Water quality symposium scheduled for Nov. 6 in Santa Maria, Calif.

The Central Coast Agricultural Water Quality Coalition is dedicated to addressing agricultural water quality throughout the Central Coast of California — from southern San Mateo County and Santa Clara County to Santa Barbara County.

The Coalition consists of volunteer agricultural leaders from a diverse mix of commodities, farm sizes and production systems. The Coalition is a cornerstone for facilitating the participation of diverse interests in agricultural water quality issues through a variety of initiatives.

One such initiative is to address the impacts of nitrates on surface and groundwater. The Coalition will host a symposium on Nov. 6 to discuss a variety of issues related to the interconnections of nitrate with other nutrients related to fertilizer applications.

Specifically, water quality monitoring data will be used to frame the fact that many surface waters and aquifers have known impairments from nitrates.

Also, University of California Cooperative Extension personnel, Mark Gaskell and Dr. Tim Hartz, will address nitrate management tools for strawberries and cool season vegetables.

A tool to predict groundwater nitrate contamination called the Nitrate Hazard Index will be explored by Dr. Letey, representing the California Center for Water Resources. Carol Kendall from the U.S. Geological Survey will present information about how to determine the source and age of nitrates in groundwater using radio isotopic tracing techniques.

The interconnections of nitrate with other water quality constituents will be discussed when Karen Worcester explains a five-point model developed to predict algal blooms. Innovations in phosphate fertilizers and slow release fertilizers will be discussed by Simplot and Western Farm Service, respectively.

Finally, Dr. Rob Mikkelsen, Western North American International Plant Nutrition Institute, will evaluate the global fertilizer industry and how growers can cope.

The Symposium will be at the Good Neighbor Bakery at 2660 Industrial Parkway in Santa Maria. For more information, call Kay Mercer at (805) 208-8039. Reservations are appreciated by Nov. 3.

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