Ag Today December 10, 2018

Delta tunnels won’t get green light before Gov. Brown leaves office. What will Gavin Newsom do? [Sacramento Bee]

State officials pulled back on their effort Friday to secure a crucial green light for the Delta tunnels project, all but ensuring that the controversial plan to re-engineer the West Coast’s largest estuary will remain in limbo after Gov. Jerry Brown leaves office. Facing a likely defeat, the Department of Water Resources withdrew its petition to the Delta Stewardship Council to have the project deemed in compliance with what’s known as the the Delta Plan, a set of policy goals, mandated by state law, that put protection and restoration of the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta estuary’s eco-system on an equal footing with more reliable water supplies. Without the council’s green light, the $16.7 billion project, known officially as California WaterFix, can’t go forward.


Controversy, concerns surround drought contingency plan [Imperial Valley Press]

After four public workshops, the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors will be asked Monday to approve an agreement that addresses California’s part to save the drought-plagued Colorado River as well as bolster supplies of water to Lake Mead. IID General Manager said staff will recommend the approval of the intra-California drought contingency plan agreement between IID and Metropolitan Water District, but the decision ultimately lies with the board….Farmers in attendance at the workshop continued to warn the IID board not to rush into any agreement with MWD. Larry Cox, a member of the Imperial County Farm Bureau, told the board the Farm Bureau is against it as well.


Kern proposes walking away from groundwater management role it previously embraced [Bakersfield Californian]

County government is considering pulling out of a coalition of local water agencies after failing to secure blanket immunity from lawsuits that could arise from efforts to rein in local groundwater pumping. The proposal follows a written assurance by state water officials that the county’s withdrawal from the Kern Groundwater Authority will not, by itself, jeopardize local control of groundwater use across much of the area. Some local water agencies had worried it would. If approved Tuesday afternoon by Kern’s Board of Supervisors, the move would amount to a formal retreat from the county’s previous efforts to take a leading role in helping local landowners — ranchers, oil producers and farmers in areas not represented by an existing water district — comply with state rules intended to make groundwater use sustainable over the long term.


New pesticide regulations expected to reduce Kern’s crop yield [Bakersfield Californian]

Pesticide regulations scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 in Kern County are expected to have a substantial negative impact on local crop production. Rules disclosed Friday by the county’s top agricultural official will govern the use of chlorpyrifos, a potent toxin widely used on almonds, citrus, cotton and other commodities….A ban on aerial application of the chemical will be the most significant permitting condition being instituted by Kern Agricultural Commissioner Glenn Fankhauser, whose action was based on state recommendations. The pesticide will no longer be permitted for use on most crops, and new buffer zones are also being put in place that, at a minimum, will require new coordination among growers.


Santa Barbara County supervisors to revisit housing ordinance for agricultural workers [Santa Maria Times]

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will take another crack at approving code amendments that will streamline the permit process for farmers and ranchers who want to build housing for their agricultural workers….Streamlining permits for ag worker housing has been a hot-button issue for people on both sides of the fence — those who support building more community-oriented ag worker housing and those who want to keep such housing out of established residential neighborhoods. Supervisors considered adopting proposed amendments to the County Land Use and Development Code and to the Coastal Zoning Ordinance at their Nov. 13 meeting but instead chose to send them back to staff for two primary revisions.