Jones & Stokes picked for Central Valley 'Ag Waiver' contract

Project to refine its existing program to regulate discharges from irrigated lands, and to prepare the related programmatic environmental documentation...

SACRAMENTO, CA, July 27, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Jones & Stokes, the Sacramento-based environmental consultant firm, has been selected by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board to help refine its existing program to regulate discharges from irrigated lands, and to prepare the related programmatic environmental documentation.

The effort by the state to regulate discharges from irrigated lands, formally known as the Irrigated Lands Conditional Waiver Program, is setting a national precedent in terms of its goals, the size of the area in question (over 7 million acres of irrigated lands within the Central Valley) and the number of growers involved, which is in the tens of thousands.

"We look forward to evaluating various regulatory options for the Board to reduce water contamination from irrigation runoff," said Rushton. "We will be evaluating a variety of management practices that agriculture may use in various watersheds and geographical areas throughout the Central Valley to protect water quality."

The State's program is designed to reduce pollution of rivers, streams and creeks by pesticides, fertilizers, sediment, and other pollutants. Growers within the Central Valley who have irrigation return water and/or stormwater runoff leaving their croplands choose from three options to comply with the waiver program. The most commonly accepted option is to join a coalition group of other growers to fund the water quality monitoring and develop a management plan as required by the Regional Board.

Public involvement is a crucial element in assisting the Regional Board. "We want to continue and expand efforts to fully involve stakeholders, water districts, farmers, and the general public in all aspects of developing and refining the program, and in preparing the environmental documentation," said Rushton.

The multi-disciplinary team assembled by Jones & Stokes is composed of a broad group of engineering and environmental consulting firms and individuals from academia who have extensive on-the-ground experience with all aspects of water quality, agricultural economics, runoff management and control, hydrology, and other disciplines.

Jones & Stokes (www.jonesandstokes.com) is a multidisciplinary, employee-owned environmental consulting firm headquartered in Sacramento. They provide a wide range of natural resource management planning services to public agency and private clients throughout the West. The firm also has offices in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Los Angeles, Irvine, Temecula, San Diego, and Bakersfield, California; Portland and Ashland, Oregon; Bellevue, Vashon, and Olympia, Washington; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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