Water Quality Board – new restrictions pending

Beth Costa on Jul 28, 2023
To all Wine Road winery members –

From Family Winemakers of California  & The Wine Institute

Proposed North Coast Vineyard Order
The North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is proposing a “Program for Discharges of Waste Associated with Vineyards.” The vineyard order would place stringent monitoring and reporting requirements for California coastal winegrape growers north of Rohnert Park. While other regional boards have adopted orders that apply to any irrigated crop and consider variables relative to how discharged water may flow, this proposed order is only focused on one commodity, winegrapes, and applies to all vineyards regardless of slope.
CAWG is working with our wine and agricultural partners in asking the Board to reject the current proposal and instead pursue a more direct and low-cost order that would accomplish the same policy goals of the current proposal. For example, the current proposal would require soil testing of nitrogen in vineyards regardless of how little nitrates may have been used in the vineyard. Additionally, the proposed order would require edge-of-vineyard monitoring of sediment, even when there is no risk (flat ground).
While compliance with the requirements in the above two examples is incredibly costly, there is no measurable benefit to the environment or to water quality. That is why we believe an alternative approach must be considered. There is a simpler way of achieving the benefits the Board seeks without creating costly and needless monitoring and reporting requirements.
North Coast growers are encouraged to participate in a public workshop for the proposed order on August 4, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. in the Board’s Hearing Room, 5550 Skylane Blvd, Suite A, in Santa Rosa. This meeting is scheduled to occur with both a physical meeting location and an option for remote participation via video and teleconference. Live video and audio broadcasts of the public workshop can be accessed at the CalEPA Public meeting live webcasts webpage (https://video.calepa.ca.gov). The public workshop will be recorded.
Comments are due by August 14, 2023.

Posted by Beth Costa