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MAGSA and Fresno State Launching Grower Irrigation Academy

The Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT) at California State University, Fresno and MAGSA are partnering to launch the first Grower Irrigation Academy, a program designed to support MAGSA farmers in implementing efficient irrigation and nutrition management practices. The Grower Irrigation Academy will provide growers with workshops, webinars, videos, field days, and interactive tools focused on:

→ Collecting and interpreting soil and water sensor data
→ Regulated deficit irrigation strategies and tools, tailored for the MAGSA area
→ Irrigation system maintenance
→ Soil field capacity, permanent wilting point, and other information about soil-water-plant-atmosphere relationships
→ Fertilizer recommendations that meet local guidelines 

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MAGSA Landowners Begin to Apply for Meter and Telemetry Rebate

Landowners in the McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) have begun installing meters and telemetry and applying for rebates through the Meter and Telemetry Rebate Program.

MAGSA landowners with wells producing more than 2 acre-feet of water annually are required to install meters on those wells by January 31, 2025. MAGSA policy also states that remote telemetry is an additional requirement. 

To lessen the financial burden of these requirements, MAGSA has designed a Meter and Telemetry Rebate Program. The Rebate Program provides financial assistance (approximately a 40% rebate) to landowners to complete the meter and telemetry installation requirements. The rebate program includes a discount on a 1-year subscription for monitoring. MAGSA has also negotiated a discount on the cost of a meter and installation with some local irrigation companies. For an updated list of irrigation dealers offering discounts and to learn more about the Meter and Telemetry Rebate Program, click the button below.

MAGSA Growers Invited to 2024 Vision Event

The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) invites growers to attend our 2024 Vision Event on January 25th from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. For the first time, this annual event will be offered online and in person! This will be an important time of vision casting with the MAGSA team, and we invite you to come with your questions and input on the following topics:

→ Meter and telemetry requirements for MAGSA growers
→ Rebate Program and other financial assistance available for meters and telemetry
→ Accomplishing the McMullin Expansion Project groundbreaking
→ Aquaterra Water Bank progress
→ Groundwater Sustainability Plan updates
→ Future of water marketing in the region
→ How MAGSA will advocate for issues relevant to growers on state and federal level
→ New grower education opportunities

MAGSA 2024 Vision Event
Thursday, January 25, 2024
11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Attend inperson at the Kerman Community Center
(15101 W Kearney Blvd.) OR virtually via Zoom Webinar.
Punjabi & Spanish Translation available virtually
Lunch will be provided in person.

Email info@mcmullinarea.org to submit a question for the Q&A portion of the Vision Event, or include your question in the RSVP form.

New Members Appointed to MAGSA’s Stakeholder Committee

The MAGSA board approved the appointment of Bob Sidhu to MAGSA’s Stakeholder Committee at the December 6, 2023 meeting. Bob states he is “eager to contribute to MAGSA’s efforts in promoting environmentally conscious farming practices, resource efficiency, and community engagement” while collaborating with individuals who are “dedicated to making a positive impact on the agricultural landscape.” MAGSA was honored to also welcome Bradley Abercrombie and Steve Haze as members to the Stakeholder Committee earlier this year.

About the Stakeholder Committee: MAGSA actively involves representatives of diverse stakeholder groups through the Stakeholder Committee. The Stakeholder Committee includes representatives of all stakeholder groups within the MAGSA boundaries. These include two general agricultural representatives, one permanent crop agricultural representative, one dairy agricultural representative, a domestic user representative, a Disadvantaged Community (DAC) representative, an environmental representative, two governmental representatives including County and State, and one local agency representative.

The Stakeholder Committee is an autonomous group and is an advisory group to the MAGSA Board. The Stakeholder Committee provides input on policies, management actions, and projects that may be considered by the MAGSA Board. It is the role of Committee members to act as a liaison between MAGSA and the public, as well as serve as a resource to the broader community. Learn more about the Stakeholder Committee here.

EQIP Deadline Extended & Other Additional Funding Opportunities for Growers

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that the deadline to apply for financial support through the MAGSA EQIP WaterSMART funding pool has been extended to February 16, 2024. To be eligible, an applicant must own or lease and manage their land, and have an average gross income of $900,000 or less. Eligible projects may include: water delivery automation & monitoring; irrigation water management & conveyance; sprinkler irrigation systems, & more.

MAGSA has created an Application Guide to support landowners through the entire EQIP WaterSMART application process. Click the button below to download the guide.

NRCS also announced two other funding opportunities for growers, the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI) and Organic Transition Initiative (OTI). If you have questions about any of these initiatives, contact the Fresno NRCS Field Office at 559-276-7494.

Board Approves Updates to Meter & Telemetry Policy

Updates to the Implementing Rules & Regulations for the Amended (2023) Groundwater Well Metering, Measurement, Monitoring And Construction Policy and Related Policies and Amended Landowner Incentive Program policy were approved by the MAGSA board at their December 4, 2023 board meeting. These amendments were approved following a formal public comment period and review by the MAGSA Technical and Stakeholder Committees.

These updates are related to remote telemetry and data management requirements and accompanying incentives for MAGSA landowners. A key update landowners must be aware of is effective January 1, 2024 and thereafter, the installation of qualifying remote telemetry on each groundwater well will be required.

For an overview of meter & telemetry requirements, visit the MAGSA policy webpage or download our newly-designed Meter & Telemetry Specifications flier here.

MAGSA Continues Water Marketing Discussions

The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) is reengaging consultants to determine what rules might be required to move forward with a water marketing strategy in MAGSA. This process will include landowner input on the proposed program.

As part of the region’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), MAGSA identified development of a groundwater marketing strategy as an important tactic to help MAGSA landowners comply with potential future pumping limits and provide additional operational flexibility for agricultural lands.

In 2020 and 2021, MAGSA worked with a technical consultant to generate a Water Marketing Report. This report includes several sections describing background conditions and issues related to a groundwater market, followed by a “roadmap” for continued development and implementation of a groundwater market in MAGSA. This report along with recordings of past water marketing workshops can be viewed on the webpage below.

Policy and Rules & Regulations Documents on Telemetry and Well Monitoring Available for Public Comment

The draft Implementing Rules & Regulations for the Amended (2023) Groundwater Well Metering, Measurement, Monitoring And Construction Policy and Related Policies and draft Amended Landowner Incentive Program policy have been posted to MAGSA’s policy webpage and are available for public comment.

These proposed amendments are related to remote telemetry and data management requirements and accompanying incentives for MAGSA landowners. Public comments on the draft documents must be submitted no later than December 1, 5:00 PST to allow time for consideration. MAGSA landowners and stakeholders can review and comment on both documents by visiting the webpage below.

Data collection, reporting and management are indispensable elements of the MAGSA Groundwater Sustainability Plan. The data will need to be collected, stored and managed in a precise, accurate, secure and confidential manner to successfully place MAGSA in a position of achieving sustainability at the earliest possible time while maintaining the highest levels of confidentiality for landowners’ Confidential Information as allowed by law. 

Installing telemetry will save growers time and money, and following MAGSA’s well monitoring process is the “cheapest and most streamlined way to do it,” says MAGSA Board Member, Jonathon Degroot.

What happened after the pump turned on? McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Project Update

On March 11 2023, the McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Project pump (located at Terranova Ranch Inc.) turned on for the first time during a record-breaking flood season in California. Downstream communities were at risk of serious flooding during this wet period. The McMullin Project was able to protect the downstream communities of the Kings River’s north fork, Mendota, and Firebaugh from serious flooding by diverting the water to be used for on-farm groundwater recharge.

As a result, the McMullin Project has recharged almost 19,000 acre-feet of water back into the aquifer, accounting for about 20% of the groundwater recharge conducted in California during this time period.

The McMullin Project was able to successfully reroute water thanks to state legislative support. Governor Newsom’s Executive Order passed on March 10, 2023 suspended regulations on flood diversion permitting, enabling water agencies to divert floodwater more quickly for groundwater recharge. When the Executive Order passed, the McMullin Project was ready to take the excess water. This vital flood protection and groundwater recharge was only possible because the necessary infrastructure was in place.

“Projects like this start rebuilding the aquifer. Additional structures and conveyance [are] critical to reaching resilience in the San Joaquin Valley.”

~ Don Cameron, MAGSA Board President & Terranova Ranch Inc. General Manager

The McMullin Expansion Project, Phase 2 of this existing project, will increase the conveyance from the James Bypass from 150 cfs to 450 cfs and expand acreage able to receive flood flows for on-farm recharge from 5,000 to over 40,000 acres. MAGSA is committed to the increasing groundwater recharge and securing a sustainable future for the region through projects like the McMullin Project and its Expansion.

Proposition 218 Acreage Fee Renewed for Next Five Years

The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) landowners and board approved the renewal of the Proposition 218 acreage fee of $19/acre for an additional five years through fiscal year 2027-2028. The Public Hearing was opened on June 7, 2023 and closed on July 5, 2023 in Kerman, CA. 

No written or verbal protests were submitted to MAGSA in opposition to the proposed fee that will continue to be levied on landowners within MAGSA. A majority protest was needed to prevent the renewal of the fee. The $19/acre fee will fund MAGSA administration and activities related to planning and implementing local projects aimed to achieve groundwater sustainability and meet Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requirements. 

The fee will be levied via County tax rolls on all landowners within the GSA excluding parcels of 2 acres or less. To determine if your property lies within MAGSA you can use this CA DWR map tool.  The MAGSA board originally set the rate at $19/acre for the fiscal year 2018-2019 following a Proposition 218 election in 2018. Due to an aggressive pursuit of financial aid for the region through a variety of grants, the acreage fee did not increase.

Learn more about the Proposition 218 Acreage Fee Renewal HERE.

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