WHEEL News: An Insight into Water February 2024

Special Topic

Our special guest this month was Jodi Switzer, Water Program Director for the Farm Bureau Ventura County. Jodi provided an overview of the recent regulatory changes adopted by the Regional Water Quality Control Board in 2023.  In late September 2023, the Water Board adopted a new “Ag Order” for water discharge from irrigated agricultural lands. This order will apply to all irrigated commercial farmland in Ventura County and adds year-round (wet and dry season) requirements for things like nitrogen use monitoring and reporting, runoff control, compliance with water quality total maximum daily load limits (TMDLs) for pollutants like sediment and trash, and increased sample collection, monitoring, and reporting.  Jodi also discussed the Farm Bureau’s Ventura County Agricultural Irrigated Lands Group and how VCAILG is working with the Water Board staff to try to reduce the burden that these new regulations have created for local farmers and growers.  For more information, check out VCAILG’s website.

Committee Reports


Despite the recent rains, California is still behind in rainfall/snowpack. Except maybe in Ventura County, where most official rain gauges are reporting over 100% of normal rain amounts.California sets State Water allocation at 15% 


California housing prices are so high that only 16% of residents can afford to buy. Average mortgage payment in Ventura County has hit $4,100/month Proposition 1 (on November Ballot) aims to shift money from Counties to state programs for mental health care and assistance But the state is already behind on providing mental health services promised under the 2018 No Place Like Home Bond InitiativeOne of the only high-paying job sectors in Ventura County right now is the government itself 


Ventura County Planning Commission votes to recommend language changes in County General Plan to align with lawsuit settlement with oil Aera Energy LLC has been purchased by CRCWhat is really behind California gas prices? Hint: It doesn’t seem to be the oil companies! The California Energy Commission reports that oil companies made 14 cents on every gallon of gas sold in the state while the government pocketed over $1.30. SCE offered Ventura City a cost break on street lights – and the city responds by looking into eminent domain takeover. 


US Fish and Wildlife Service has updated the endangered species take permits to include eagle injuries and deaths from windmills and powerlines Curious about the air quality in your neighborhood or city? Check out https://www.airnow.gov/

Land Use

More transparency is always welcome – following the example of other Counties in the state, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to repeal the hourly charge for staff time to respond to Public Records Act requests. US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case about permitting fees and “add on” costs like developer impact fees. City of Ventura is updating its General Plan…and they want to add policies and programs to restrict local agricultural operations in and around city limits

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Louise Lampara

Louise Lampara currently serves as the Executive Director of CoLab VC, bringing a dynamic blend of leadership, innovation, and community engagement to the forefront of the organization. With a keen eye for strategic development and a passion for fostering collaborative environments, Louise has been instrumental in driving CoLab VC's mission forward.

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