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Author: Rebecca Quist

Landowners can access grant funds in dedicated MAGSA funding pool thanks to NRCS-EQIP WaterSMART Initiative

A $1 million funding pool is available to MAGSA landowners every year for the next 4 years through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) WaterSMART Initiative.

MAGSA was selected as a priority area to receive the targeted funding pool to help eligible farmers and ranchers make improvements for collective water conservation and drought resilience.

Through the initiative, NRCS provides eligible EQIP applicants with the additional resources and tools needed to manage soil moisture, improve irrigation water use efficiency in crop and pasture lands, and protect irrigation water sources from depletion. This may include water delivery automation and monitoring, irrigation water management and conveyance, sprinkler irrigation systems, and more. 

MAGSA’s Implementing Rules & Regulations for Groundwater Well Metering, Measurement, Monitoring, and Construction Policy outlines requirements for well meters and telemetry by January 31, 2025. To assist in meeting the well metering and telemetry requirements, MAGSA strongly encourages applicants to use this opportunity to fund their well flow meters and telemetry!

MAGSA landowners who hope to take advantage of grant funds can apply using the normal EQIP application process but will benefit from competing with significantly fewer applicants for grant dollars. Any MAGSA applications will be sorted automatically by NRCS to compete for the MAGSA-only funding pool.

Growers who are interested must still meet the NRCS EQIP funding eligibility requirements. To be eligible, an applicant must own or lease and manage their land and have an average gross income of $900,000 or less.

MAGSA is planning a series of outreach workshops and events to assist eligible growers with the application process. The first is a webinar to provide an overview of the process. In October, MAGSA will host application workshops and drop-off events in Kerman to make the process as seamless as possible.

MAGSA is assisting our growers with the application process!

Join us for an upcoming webinar on the NRCS EQIP Application Process. This webinar is for MAGSA landowners and operators who are interested in applying for grant funding. Attendees can expect to leave this event with:

  1. A clear understanding of the EQIP application process, including how to enroll in the Farm Service Agency (a critical first step!).
  2. Connections to local NRCS field office staff.
  3. Confidence to complete the application process.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022
12:00 – 1:00 PM Via Zoom Webinar
REGISTER HERE!

Adopted policy amendments introduce new moratorium on well construction below Corcoran Clay and 300-foot domestic well depth recommendation

Amendments to the Groundwater Well Metering, Measurement, Monitoring and Construction Policy and Related Policies were adopted by the MAGSA Board at their July 6th meeting.

The amendments introduced a temporary moratorium effective July 7, 2022 on well construction below the Corcoran clay tapping the confined aquifer. The policy states the purpose for the moratorium is “to provide an opportunity to better the number of wells currently constructed to extend below the Corcoran Clay and to gather sufficient additional data to be used to assess the effect of those [wells]…”.

Because wells drilled below the Corcoran Clay are generally understood to be directly associated with chronic subsidence in the Central Valley, MAGSA plans to gather data on existing wells to better quantify and analyze their impact on subsidence.

Also included in the amendments is a strong recommendation that no new domestic wells be constructed less than 300 feet deep. The recommended depth is below the minimum threshold for wells outlined in MAGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan. The minimum threshold is the lowest allowable groundwater depth before MAGSA reaches an undesirable result. Under SGMA, MAGSA must work to maintain groundwater levels above these minimums. 

Are you a domestic well owner? Find important resources on MAGSA’s website here.

Don Cameron re-elected as Board Chair, Matt Abercrombie to serve as Vice Chair

Don Cameron was unanimously re-elected to serve as Chair of the MAGSA Board for a one-year term. “It’s really an honor to serve as Chair of this Board,” stated Cameron. “It’s a different agency from where we first started; we’ve come a long way.” Cameron represents Raisin City Water District, a member of MAGSA’s Joint Powers Authority.

Matt Abercrombie was elected to serve as Vice Chair of the Board. Abercrombie has served in the role in the past, but this last year’s term the role had remained vacant. Abercrombie is appointed by Fresno County as a landowner representative on the Board.

Groundwater Sustainability Plan revisions submitted to the State

After extensive coordination between MAGSA and the six other Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in the Kings Subbasin, the revised Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) was submitted to the Department of Water Resources (DWR) on the July 27, 2022 submission deadline. The MAGSA Board approved revisions to its GSP at its July 6th Board Meeting.

The revisions came in response to the incomplete determination of the GSP provided by DWR in January 2022. During their 2-year review period, DWR outlined the GSP improvements GSAs needed to make. Their review initiated a 180-day revision period with a July 27 due date. During this time, MAGSA participated in subbasin-wide coordination and communications with DWR to ensure revisions were on the right track.

The revisions include addressing impacts of groundwater level decline and land subsidence impacts to canals and rivers, clarification of minimum thresholds for wells with water quality already over the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), and a commitment to gather further data on interconnected surface water and groundwater.

The comments provided by DWR and MAGSA’s submitted revisions are an expected part of the iterative SGMA implementation process. MAGSA believes the revisions submitted to the State seriously considered the concerns of the State while keeping our local stakeholders and landowners in mind. 

McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Expansion Project finalizes CEQA environmental review process

The McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Expansion Project has nearly completed its first major step of environmental analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). An extensive study undertaken as part of CEQA environmental review found nothing rose to the level of significance that could not be mitigated.

The Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration incudes mitigating measures, environmental factors potentially affected, evaluation of environmental impacts, and a public involvement summary. A Mitigation, Monitoring, and Reporting Program document was also developed as part of the analysis.

A Notice of Determination signaling completion of the CEQA documentation was signed and filed to Fresno County and to the State Clearinghouse on July 8, 2022 pursuant to the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Notice of Determination will be posted for a 30-day period; if there are no challenges, the CEQA environmental review will be considered complete.

Completing the CEQA environmental review is a major milestone for the Expansion Project. The Project will move forward with a second environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), with documents anticipated to be available for public review and comment later this year. 

Kings Subbasin Builds for Drought Resilience at Record Pace

15 basins representing 600 acres of prime groundwater recharge land with a singular goal of groundwater sustainability

Click here to view the StoryMap outlining project details, locations, and more, and to view the highlight video.

In the short span of two years, the Kings Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agencies have invested in 600 acres of prime groundwater recharge land. This land represents 15 dedicated basins that are constructed or in development.

Local water managers have taken the long view as they invest in infrastructure now with the goal to bring sustainability to the groundwater supply shared by all within the Kings Subbasin region.

The additional water infrastructure is anticipated to provide over 15,000 acre-feet of recharge per year on average, directly benefitting groundwater levels for communities and ag lands in the area. An acre foot equals 325,900 gallons, or enough water to cover a football field to a depth of one foot.

Since the Kings Subbasin submitted seven Groundwater Sustainability Plan Plans (GSP) in January 2020, there has been a driven effort to successfully build groundwater recharge capacity to support Kings Subbasin sustainability goals.

Full details of the Subbasin’s efforts are outlined in a StoryMap and video here.

Special Board Meeting October 21, 2021

A Special Board Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 21 at 4:00 PM.

Note:  MAGSA has opted not to continue to hold remote, virtual-only meetings going forward. This meeting will be an in-person meeting for the Board of Directors. MAGSA has added additional attendance options which the Agency hopes will provide enhanced (and COVID risk limiting) access to the best and most current information available to its landowners, stakeholders and other interested parties. Members of the public may participate in the meeting by accessing the Zoom connection or by accessing the call-in information listed below if they choose not to attend in person. The public is encouraged to contact MAGSA directly through the website, through email, by telephone to the office, by dropping off to the office or by direct mail to the office if they wish to communicate or otherwise provide comment on any subject appearing on this Agenda. MAGSA encourages and appreciates your input and participation.

ZOOM DETAILS
Topic: MAGSA Special Board Meeting | October 21, 2021 @ 4:00 – 5:30 PM
Time: Oct 21, 2021 04:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85922811899

Meeting ID: 859 2281 1899
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+13462487799,,85922811899# US (Houston)

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+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
Meeting ID: 859 2281 1899
Passcode: 333858
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kc33pA8FlF

Meeting Materials:

Board Agenda

Board Meeting August 4, 2021

The next regular Board Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August, 2021 at 2:00 PM.

Note:  This Board of Directors meeting will be held live and in person at the regular boardroom of the agency located at:

The Kerman Community Center

15101 Kearney Blvd.

 Kerman, CA 93630

In addition, in accordance with the extension of the Governor’s Executive Order (N-29-20) and the declared State of Emergency, including social distancing directives as a result of the potential threat associated with the COVID-19 virus, members of the public may alternatively participate in the meeting by accessing the Zoom connection or by accessing the call-in information listed below.  The public is encouraged to contact MAGSA directly through the website, through email, by telephone to the office, by dropping off to the office or by direct mail to the office if they wish to communicate or otherwise provide comment on any subject appearing on this Agenda.

ZOOM DETAILS ARE ON THE AGENDA

Meeting Materials:

Board Agenda

Stakeholder Outreach Report

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