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CSPA Press Release: Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program
by Dan Bacher
Tuesday Apr 5th, 2011 11:41 AM
Below is a press release and a California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) letter signed by 118 environmental, environmental justice, and recreational and commercial fishing organizations regarding the Regional Board's proposed Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program. The formal technical comments can be found on the CSPA website (http://www.calsport.org). The hearing is Thursday, 7 April 2011 and will begin at 9:00 AM. The groups will be holding a rally/press conference during the noon recess.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bill Jennings, California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, 3635 Rainier Ave., Stockton, CA (209) 464-5067, Email: deltakeep [at] aol.com

“CLEAN FARMS - CLEAN WATER” CAMPAIGN TARGETS AG POLLUTION

Stockton, California - Over one hundred California environmental, commercial and recreational fishing, and environmental justice organizations have come together in support of “Clean Farms - Clean Water,” a campaign to demand that the Central Valley Water Board do its job of regulating the quality of water coming off of irrigated lands.

On April 7, the Regional Water Quality Control Board will hold hearings on a program to regulate runoff from six million acres of irrigated agriculture, the largest source of pollution to Central Valley waterways and the Delta. Weeks after requiring Sacramento citizens to expend billions of dollars to improve wastewater treatment, the Regional Board is poised to give irrigated agriculture, the largest source of pollution to Valley waters, a free ride to continue business as usual. Critics say the new program is even weaker than the present system, which turns over regulatory responsibilities to agricultural industry advocacy groups.

Says Bill Jennings of the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance, “The present scheme is a dismal failure. The Regional Board doesn't know who is discharging or what pollutants are being discharged to surface and ground water. They don't know the local water quality impacts or if farmers are implementing measures to reduce pollution. And farmers don't know whether their pollution control practices are actually effective in reducing pollution.”

“Monitoring downstream of agricultural areas tells us that virtually all sites exceed water quality standards and almost two thirds are toxic to aquatic life,” says David Nesmith of the Environmental Water Caucus. “Pollution is one of the principal causes of the collapse of Central Valley fisheries. Agricultural pollution also threatens drinking water supplies and public health and impairs groundwater.”

The Board regulates pollutant discharges from cities, industry, and even mom-and-pop businesses. Only irrigated agriculture remains exempt from requirements to monitor discharges and identify measures implemented to reduce or eliminate pollution.

The “Clean Farms - Clean Water” coalition will hold a rally and a press conference on April 7 in front of the Central Valley Water Board office when the Board breaks for lunch. The Water Board meets at 11020 Sun Center Drive, Suite 200, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670. The public hearing will begin at 9 a.m.

The “Clean Farms - Clean Water” campaign can be followed online at: http://calsport.org or

Facebook Cause: http://www.causes.com/causes/593371-california-sportsfishing-protection-aliance?recruiter_id=14065894 or Twitter: http://twitter.com/CalSportPA

Bill Jennings, Chairman
Executive Director
California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
3536 Rainier Avenue
Stockton, CA 95204
p: 209-464-5067
c: 209-938-9053
f: 209-464-1028
e: deltakeep [at] aol.com
http://www.calsport.org