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Draft Ag Order 4.0, draft EIR out for public review

Draft Ag Order 4.0, draft EIR out for public review

Irrigated lands in Buellton

Sprinklers water a field on Santa Rosa Road in Buellton in this photo from 2018. A new Ag Order 4.0 has been drafted to control contaminants running off irrigated land and a draft environmental impact report analyzing its effects if enacted are available for review and comment.

A draft environmental impact report for the next order regulating the discharge of agricultural waste from irrigated lands prepared by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is now available for public review and comment.

The draft Agricultural Order for Discharges to Irrigated Lands 4.0 is also available for public review and comment until April 6, a Water Board spokesman said.

During the public review period, Central Coast Water Board staff will hold public workshops on the draft EIR and draft Agricultural Order 4.0 and will provide notice at least 10 days prior to the workshops, the spokesman said.

The draft EIR identified potentially significant environmental impacts to agricultural resources from Ag Order 4.0, a permit that would regulate chemical pollutants in irrigation water that runs off farmland in order to protect surface and groundwater sources in the Central Coast Region.

It would replace the existing permit, Ag Order 3.0, that regulates agricultural discharges.

Electronic copies of the draft EIR and draft Agricultural Order 4.0 can be obtained from the Central Coast Water Board website at www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralcoast/water_issues/programs/ag_waivers/ag_order4_renewal.html.

Hard copies are available at the Central Coast Water Board office, 895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.

Written comments are due by 5 p.m. April 6 and may be submitted via email to AgNOI@waterboards.ca.gov with “Comments on Draft EIR” or “Comments on Draft Ag Order 4.0” in the subject line.

While email submittal is preferred, the board will accept written comments at Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program, Central Coast Water Board, 895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.

For more information, visit the Central Coast Water Board’s Agricultural Order Renewal website at www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralcoast/water_issues/programs/ag_waivers/ag_order4_renewal.html or contact the Irrigated Lands Program at 805-549-3148 or at AgNOI@waterboards.ca.gov.

This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, associate editor for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. He can be reached at mhodgson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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