In the Salinas River, water quality and how to manage land uses to prevent water quality degradation continue to be at the forefront of conversations between agricultural producers, municipalities, local interest groups, and federal, state, and local regulatory agencies.
The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (CCRWQCB) has issued the Agriculture Order for waste discharges as well as 3 Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDLs) permits for nutrients, pesticides, and sediment. Together with Stormwater Management Plans, these regulations set criteria for reducing discharge of pollutants into surface water bodies. The federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service has been working with CCRWQCB to assist them in developing and implementing these permits for the protection of Endangered Species Act-listed species. The Channel Maintenance Program, conducted by land owners for flood risk reduction, and Food Safety, which removes riparian and wetland vegetation to insure safe food production, are two programs that impede water quality improvements.
Resource agencies and local stakeholders have been working together to develop reasonable ecological practices to meet food production goals and habitat conservation. However, what is unknown is how to meet the ecological needs of the Salinas River by improving water quality conditions while preserving the economic vitality of the Central Coast. This workshop will frame outstanding water quality issues, report on recent discussions among various stakeholders, and hopefully foster continued dialogue and generate ideas that should help produce reasonable multi-beneficial alternatives that can be implemented.