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Tag: MAGSA

MAGSA’s McMullin On-Farm Flood Capture Expansion Project Underway

The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) has been awarded a $10 million grant by the State Water Resources Control Board through the Prop 1 Stormwater Grant Program to expand the existing McMullin On-Farm Recharge (OFR) Project located near Helm in Fresno County.  The Project is identified in MAGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan and is a key element in a vision developed by MAGSA to achieve groundwater sustainability under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act through innovative approaches in groundwater banking and crediting.

Phase 1 was constructed in 2012-2018 and diverts 150 cubic feet per second (cfs) of flood and storm flows at the James Bypass onto approximately 5,000 acres of private farmland. Phase 2 is currently under design and when constructed will increase the diversion and recharge capacity from 150 cfs to 450 cfs and increase the potential farmland acreage for receiving flood and storm flows for OFR by about 15,000 acres.

Phase 2 utilizes agreements between various public agencies and will be operated in partnership with Raisin City Water District, which will provide matching funds through a U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant award. Phase 2 will rely upon and promote regional collaboration in managing water resources and facilitate the setting of regional priorities and increased self-reliance.  Combined, the projects will deliver $22 million in benefits to the area and contribute substantially to the solutions required to offset the overdraft of the last century in MAGSA and the Kings Subbasin. This would certainly be a model for State and Federal cooperation.

The project represents a large-scale demonstration project of OFR for improved and more integrated groundwater and surface waters. The project is the type envisioned by the California Department of Water Resource’s FloodMAR approach, in which OFR projects are a key component in changing statewide management that ranges from local and regional water projects to re-operation of the state and federal reservoirs for an integrated surface water and groundwater storage system that can accommodate California’s variable water supply under the changing climate. 

MAGSA, through its contractor Tetra Tech, are preparing the required environmental analysis and documentation. A draft California Environmental Quality Assessment document is expected to be available for public review during the Fall of 2021. A draft National Environmental Policy Assessment document is expected to be available for public review during the Winter of 2021-22.

MAGSA awarded $10 million grant to expand innovative On-Farm Recharge project

The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA) has been awarded a $10 million grant by the State Water Resources Control Board through the Prop 1 Stormwater Grant Program to expand the existing McMullin On-Farm Recharge (OFR) Project located near Helm in Fresno County.  The Project is identified in MAGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan and is a key element in a vision developed by MAGSA to achieve groundwater sustainability under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) through innovative approaches in groundwater banking and crediting.

The grant builds off previous awards for large-scale OFR implementation:  a $5M Prop 1E grant award from California Department of Water Resources to the Kings River Conservation District in 2012, and a $7M grant award through the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to Raisin City Water District in 2018, both requiring substantial private cost share. 

The McMullin Projects represent the first-of-its-kind OFR projects in California and nationally. The Projects are 1) constructing necessary infrastructure to capture and convey storm waters and floodwaters to vast private farm acreage and 2) implementing farm-scale infrastructure and practices in partnership with farmers and landowners to infiltrate captured storm waters and floodwaters on those farmlands.  Through this approach, the McMullin Projects are helping to reduce the ever-increasing threat of regional flood risks and, at the same time, increasing groundwater recharge. 

The first McMullin Project was designed to divert and recharge 150 cubic feet per second of storm flow and floodwater from the Kings River across 5,000 acres of farmland.  This most recently awarded Project’s goal is to more than double the Kings River diversion rate and the total acreage enlisted for recharge. 

This expanded OFR project will implement an experimental data collection program to monitor performance and further develop OFR with greater emphasis on topics such as better integration of OFR with farming practices, protecting groundwater quality, managing costs, and improving groundwater and farmer sustainability.  Information garnered from this Project is important as California begins developing the Flood-Managed Aquifer Recharge (FloodMAR) program as a critical element of California’s water future.  It is also important for all of agriculture in developing approaches to sustain water resources while staying viable. 

Support letters from MAGSA landowners were critical for this award, and all the previous awarded McMullin Projects, demonstrating continued local unified commitment towards greater sustainability.  MAGSA was one of 24 projects funded through the Prop 1 Storm Water Grant Program. The $10M award was one of two awarded at the highest level.  Sixty-seven applications were submitted, totaling $300M in grant requests. Twenty-four projects were awarded, totaling $98 million.

Ideally, the most effective Project will be conducted through a partnership with Raisin City Water District who will provide matching funds through their (Federal) 2018 NRCS-RCPP award.  Prop 1 (State) authorized $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds for water projects including surface and groundwater storage, ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration, and drinking water protection. The State Water Resources Control Board administers Prop 1 funds.  This would certainly be a model for State and Federal cooperation. 

Combined, the projects will deliver $22 Million in benefits to the area and contribute substantially to the solutions required to offset the overdraft of the last century in the GSA and within the Kings Subbasin.  Each of the individual Project(s) are supported by the continuous assistance of both Bachand and Associates and Provost and Pritchard Engineers. MAGSA’s General Manager Matt Hurley commented that “We have one of the most competent and cohesive professional, outreach and landowner collaborations on this team.  We are in truly in great hands as we develop the solutions for MAGSA’s future. We can’t wait to get this Project moving forward!”

MAGSA is hitting the ground running in 2021!

Vision Event sets the stage for the new year

48 individuals attended MAGSA’s 2021 Vision Event on January 20th and heard from MAGSA’s General Manager and technical team on the top priorities for 2021. If you were unable to attend the event, click the video below to watch the recording and learn how to secure a thriving future this new year!

Gathering data on wells to achieve sustainability goals

Groundwater data measured by wells is a key data component for monitoring MAGSA’s sustainability goals. The data is an important metric to measure impacts of future projects and management actions on groundwater levels within the agency boundary and ensures MAGSA can effectively defend accurate groundwater use on behalf of its landowners.

So far, MAGSA has received a Proposition 68 grant which funded a well monitoring video survey, the gathering of well construction information, and site visits. This year, MAGSA is planning to continue collecting well construction information and begin the three-year process of metering wells within MAGSA. You can join the list of landowners interested in receiving a monetary incentive for being an early adopter of meters!

Join the list of landowners interested in receiving an incentive to help cover the cost of meter equipment and installation:

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Study on groundwater credit and water marketing program will conclude this spring

MAGSA received a WaterSMART Bureau of Reclamation grant to conduct a study on a groundwater credit and surface water marketing program. While a water marketing program would entail a proactive strategy for bringing surface water into the area, a groundwater credit system focuses on allocating groundwater resources among landowners within the GSA. Under a groundwater credit system, landowners would be given a groundwater allocation to either keep, trade, or sell to other landowners within the GSA. A well-designed program would improve water use efficiency and provide flexibility for MAGSA landowners. The study will conclude this spring.

Over the last year, Geosyntec has led a team of skilled individuals from organizations across disciplines to consider how a water market might operate within MAGSA. MAGSA held three public workshops to discuss identified market concepts, requirements, trading structures, rules, monitoring, administration, and reporting. MAGSA has also conducted stakeholder interviews and received input on market components.

A final workshop will be held before the study concludes. Look out for further details. Recordings of past workshops can be found on MAGSA’s website.

Learn more about MAGSA’s vision for 2021 HERE.

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