By Robert Rodriguez
The Kings River Water Quality Coalition along with several other South Valley water quality coalitions received a $2 million grant from the federal government to address nitrate leaching from irrigated agriculture.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will be used to launch a program to quantify and minimize the nitrate leaching from farming operations in the southern San Joaquin Valley, including portions of Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties.
The funding that came from the USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grant program will be implemented over 1.8 million acres of irrigated agriculture from Fresno to Kern counties. The goal of the program is to increase the use of conservation practices to protect water quality.
The project includes several partners, including the University of California Cooperative Extension, California State University and California Department of Food and Agriculture.
“This project provides support to growers in their efforts to continue to improve their operational efficiency while addressing groundwater quality objectives recently established for irrigated agriculture,” said Casey Creamer, coordinator of the Kings River Water Quality Coalition, which is administering the grant program in partnership with the six other water quality coalitions.
The coalitions partnering in the grant include the Buena Vista Coalition, Cawelo Water District Coalition, Kaweah Basin Water Quality Association, Kern River Watershed Coalition Authority, Kings River Water Quality Coalition, Tule Basin Water Quality Coalition and Westside Water Quality Coalition.