The Department of Water Resources (Department) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) put out a statement last week that applies to water transfers in 2021. This statement applies only to farmers enrolled in the California Ricelands Waterbird Foundation’s Nesting Habitat Program and, in summary, allows farmers that are transferring water to leave vegetation on their transfer fields. The statement is as follows:
“Participation in the California Ricelands Waterbird Foundation’s Nesting Habitat Program will not disqualify a farmer from also participating in a 2021 cropland idling water transfer program”
This is a welcomed temporary modification of the transfer policy and it only applies to transfers during 2021, after which the Department and Reclamation will re-evaluate. Additional details of the agreement stipulate that growers participating in both programs this season will not be allowed to irrigate their idle fields after April 1s and they cannot have any seepage into the transfer fields. In July, after the Nesting Program is over, the Department and Reclamation will determine what must be done with the remaining vegetation on the fields.
If you have questions about how these two programs can work together please contact Luke Matthews, CRC’s Wildlife Program Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-607-8988.