Grown in Marin
University of California
Grown in Marin

Strong rancher participation in Conditional Waiver Program

Grazing waiver program

As of August 18, 2009, 192 ranchers have submitted Notices of Intent and another 23 property owners have submitted Notices of Non Applicability to the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board in compliance with its Tomales Bay Watershed Grazing Operations Conditional Waiver Program. The waiver program was approved by the Board on July 08, 2008, and requires ranch owners and managers to submit these notices and begin development of ranch water quality plans, as part of the Board's regulatory programs and policies to improve water quality in the watershed. "We are pleased with this level of participation," explained Carmen Fewless of the Regional Board. It represents approximately 84% of the properties and ranches that are covered by the Waiver Program.
            A working group, made up of representatives from the University of California Cooperative Extension, Marin Resources Conservation Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service Petaluma District Office, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Marin County Farm Bureau, Western United Dairymen, California Cattleman's Association, and Marin Organic, have been working with Regional Board staff to provide Tomales Bay ranchers with the information and assistance needed to comply with the waiver requirements. The working group held workshops on September 2, September 10, and September 12 to provide ranchers with the resources and tools to complete required ranch plans, conduct ranch inspections, and submit annual certification. Ranchers who have questions or need assistance can call David Lewis at 415-499-4204 or Stephanie Larson at 707-565-2621.
            Admittedly, regulatory requirements are not readily welcomed by anyone. However, Marin ranchers have a long history of working to improve and maintain water quality. As Merv McDonald stated "We have to do this."
Through these workshops and combined work group resources, ranchers in the watershed are demonstrating the progress in watershed stewardship they have made. -     David Lewis
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