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Posts Tagged: Water Quality

Camp Fire researchers to share findings June 4 in Chico

Tracy Schohr samples water in a stream in Butte County below the town of Paradise. Photo by Ryan Schohr

Researchers who have been investigating the impacts of the Camp Fire and other urban fires in Northern California will gather June 4 in Chico to share what they have learned. Members of the public are invited to attend the Camp Fire Water Resources Monitoring and Research Symposium, which will be held at the California State University, Chico Farm located at 311 Nicholas C Shouten Lane, Chico, CA 95928.

“The recent urban fires across California have raised questions about the fire impacts on watershed health, food safety and groundwater,” said Tracy Schohr, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Butte, Plumas and Sierra counties, who is organizing the symposium.

“The Camp Fire Water Resources Monitoring and Research Symposium on June 4 creates a forum for researchers across a broad spectrum of disciplines to share findings from research conducted in Butte County and across the North State.”

Betsy Karle, UC Cooperative Extension advisor, takes forage sample to look for ash during Camp Fire. Photo by Tracy Schohr
Symposium speakers will discuss their research conducted on waterways, gardens, working landscapes and the urban environment following the devastating wildfires in Butte, Shasta and Sonoma counties. The featured presentations will cover research design, preliminary outcomes and future research needs. 

“Chico State is partnering with University of California Cooperative Extension to host this educational symposium to help our community understand the impacts of the Camp Fire,” said Kasey DeAtley, Chico State professor in the College of Agriculture. “In a region rich in natural resources and agriculture production, there has been significant interest in the topic of urban fire implications and researchers have been working hard to find answers that will be shared at the symposium.”

The program will start at 9 a.m. and will feature three sessions. The day will kick off with a session titled “First Year Findings,” looking at initial rapid response for water quality, surface water monitoring, groundwater monitoring and more.

The second session is on “Urban Fires Impacts on Food and Agriculture” and will feature research presentations from UC Cooperative Extension on livestock drinking water quality and forage, eggs laid by backyard poultry, fruits and vegetables grown in gardens, and post-fire forest management.

The symposium will conclude with a session on future investigations, with Chico State professors sharing an overview of a comprehensive study underway to understand the impacts of the Camp Fire on water quality and soil health.  

For more information and to register, visit https://ucanr.edu/sites/Rangelands. The event is $50 to attend and includes program materials, morning refreshments and lunch. Parking is free at the Chico State Farm.  

Posted on Friday, May 17, 2019 at 2:00 PM
Tags: Tracy Schohr (5), Water Quality (25), wildfire (150)

UC ANR publishes nitrogen management advice for fruit, nuts and other crops

 
Nitrates are water soluble and do not adhere to soil, so they may leach during irrigation.

California growers can download a new series of publications summarizing efficient nitrogen management practices from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. The publications are designed to assist growers in complying with state regulations for tracking and reporting nitrogen fertilizer applied to crops, in an effort to prevent nitrogen from leaching into groundwater.

The science-based publications are associated with a series of trainings for growers and Certified Crop Advisers to develop efficient nitrogen management practices, an effort coordinated by UC ANR's California Institute for Water Resources.

“Our role is to provide farmers, agricultural consultants and policymakers the best science possible for making decisions on managing and protecting California groundwater,” said Doug Parker, director of the water institute.

The free publications, created from training materials, lessons learned from the training sessions and from additional UC research, can be downloaded at http://ucanr.edu/nmgmtpublications

The following publications are now available for download:

·         Principles of Nitrogen Cycling and Management

·         Irrigation and Nitrogen Management

·         Nitrogen Management for Nut Crops

·         Nitrogen Management for Deciduous Fruit and Grapes

·         Nitrogen Management for Citrus and Avocado

·         Nitrogen Management for Cool-Season Vegetables

·         Nitrogen Management for Strawberry Production

·         Nitrogen Management for Processing Tomato

·         Nitrogen Management for Corn on California Dairies

The publications were authored by Parker of California Institute for Water Resources; Patrick Brown, professor in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences; Allan Fulton, UC Cooperative Extension advisor, Tehama County; Tim Hartz, UC Cooperative Extension specialist emeritus, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences; Dan Munk, UC Cooperative Extension advisor, Fresno County; Daniel Geisseler, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, UC Davis Department of Land, Air & Water Resources; Michael Cahn, UC Cooperative Extension advisor, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties; Richard Smith, UC Cooperative Extension advisor, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties; Marsha Campbell, UC Cooperative Extension advisor emeritus, Stanislaus County; Sat Darshan Khalsa, UC Davis project scientist; and Saiful Muhammad, UC Davis graduate student.  

More than 1,000 Certified Crop Advisers have taken the nitrogen management training since 2014. Photo by Steve Beckley

Developed in 2014, the training program has been offered at 11 different locations around the state, most recently in Fresno. More than 1,000 Certified Crop Advisers have taken the training.

Doug Parker, left, and Terry Stark of CAPCA partnered to organize the series of nitrogen management trainings.
“Based on course evaluations, the percentage of participants with good-to-complete understanding of nitrogen management increased after the training,” Parker said. “In addition, the participants found the presenters very knowledgeable and informative. Most importantly, the majority of participants felt they were better prepared to address nitrogen mitigation regulatory requirements after the training.”

The nitrogen management training curriculum was developed by a group of UC ANR faculty, specialists and advisors. The first day focuses on the nitrogen cycle in crop production systems, nitrogen sources, irrigation and nitrogen management, and nitrogen budgeting. The second morning covers annual and permanent crops and nitrogen planning practices.

For more information on the nitrogen management training materials, visit http://ciwr.ucanr.edu/NitrogenManagement.

The Nitrogen Management Training and Certification Program is a joint effort between the California Department of Food and Agriculture, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, California Association of Pest Control Advisers' Certified Crop Adviser Program and the Regional Water Boards.

 

Posted on Monday, March 25, 2019 at 11:12 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

UC Cooperative Extension offers water measurement and reporting courses April 4

At the water measurement training, participants learn accuracy tips such as making sure the measurement location is level with the weir crest.

California water rights holders are required by state law to measure and report the water they divert from surface streams. For people who wish to take the water measurements themselves, the University of California Cooperative Extension is offering training to receive certification April 4 in Redding and Woodland.

At the workshop, participants will:

  • Clarify reporting requirements for ranches.
  • Understand which meters are appropriate for different situations.
  • Learn how to determine measurement equipment accuracy.
  • Develop an understanding of measurement weirs.
  • Learn how to calculate and report volume from flow data.

UC Cooperative Extension is offering a limited number of trainings in 2019. The next trainings will be held at Shasta College Farm and Yolo County Fairgrounds:

  • Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland – Register at http://cecapitolcorridor.ucanr.edu or by emailing Morgan Doran at mpdoran@ucanr.edu or calling the UCCE office in Yolo County at (530) 666-8143. Training will begin at 2 p.m. and should conclude by 5 p.m.

Background on the water diversion law

Senate Bill 88 requires that all water right holders who have previously diverted or intend to divert more than 10 acre-feet per year (riparian and pre-1914 claims), or who are authorized to divert more than 10 acre-feet per year under a permit, license or registration, to measure and report the water they divert. 

Detailed information on the regulatory requirements for measurement and reporting are available on the State Water Resources Control Board Reporting and Measurement Regulation webpage. For diversion or storage greater than or equal to 100-acre feet annually, the law requires approval of installation and certification of measurement methods by an engineer, contractor or other approved professional.

To make it easier for farmers and ranchers to comply with the law, the California Cattlemen's Association worked with Assemblyman Frank Bigelow on a bill that would allow people to get certified to take the measurements themselves. Assembly Bill 589 became law on Jan. 1, 2018. This bill, until Jan. 1, 2023, allows anyone who diverts water and has completed an instructional course on measurement devices and methods administered by UC Cooperative Extension, including passage of a proficiency test, to be considered qualified to install and maintain devices or implement methods of measurement. The bill requires UC Cooperative Extension and the water board to jointly develop the curriculum for the course and the proficiency test.

Posted on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at 11:37 AM
Focus Area Tags: Natural Resources

Impact of Controlling Yellow Starthistle on Watershed Runoff and Groundwater Levels

photo of site

Yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) (YST) is the most pervasive invasive and noxious weed in California. Previous work showed that YST uses substantially more water than forage annual grasses it typically displaces. Soil moisture was 20% higher in annual grass test sites compared to YST...

Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 10:39 AM

Tasty tree fruit in good hands

Researchers from UC Davis and Washington State University Extension are conducting research and workshops helping answer key questions for the tree fruit industry. Photo by Emily Kunz - WIFSS


In mid-September in California's Sacramento Valley the weather begins to tease us with the sense that fall is on its way. Interestingly, as the nights drop in temperature so too drops the desire for the fresh fruits we've enjoyed all summer. The melons, peaches, and plums have dwindled or disappeared from hometown fruit stands and our taste buds are being tickled by the site of the golden pears and the multiple varieties of apples newly arrived from local orchards.

Late in September our antennae go up at the sight of the colorful variety of sparkling fresh apples. During the summer months the abundance of fresh fruit might cause us not to reach for an apple, other than to pay attention to the old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The sight of the Washington sticker on the apple changes everything.

It's understood that it takes water to grow the fruit we consume. Something likely not appreciated is that researchers from the University of California and the Washington State tree fruit industry are working to understand the risk that water used to grow tree fruit may pose for human health. Water is a vehicle for bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.

Water quality training seminars for growers that have to comply with new water testing requirements have already begun in Washington with the leadership of UC Davis researchers such as Melissa Partyka, Ronald Bond, and Jennifer Chase and Ines Hanrahan of the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission. Planning for others is underway in many other regions of the United States. These workshops are spreading the word about proper methods for obtaining accurate water samples in order to be in compliance with regulations in the Produce Safety Rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Partyka, a staff researcher and doctoral candidate in the Graduate Group in Ecology at UC Davis, Bond, a water quality researcher and the field research manager, and Chase, a doctoral student in the Graduate Group in Epidemiology, are all in the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Vet Med Extension and Water and Foodborne Zoonotic Disease Laboratory, headed by UC Cooperative Extension specialist Rob Atwill, which is within the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security. Dr. Hanrahan has become a valuable partner and liaison to the tree fruit industry, helping to both organize and staff the inaugural workshops while advocating for greater collaboration between UC Davis and Washington State University Extension.

The UC Davis team of Partyka, Bond, and Chase, have been in Washington State conducting research and workshops, which will help answer key questions for the tree fruit industry. For instance, whether growers can sample cooperatively and the impact of hold-times on testing accuracy. The trio are members of the Western Center for Food Safety, (WCFS), a Food and Drug Administration Center of Excellence, tasked to conduct research directly related to the FSMA food safety rule for agriculture water.

Bond, Chase and Partyka are featured in an article titled “Simple steps for water sampling” published in the July issue of Good Fruit Grower Magazine. The article, which helps demystify sampling for regulatory compliance, was based on interviews held during the agricultural water quality workshops conducted by these three in Washington last May.  The main article is accompanied by two additional guides: one titled “The math of food safety,” explaining the math required for agricultural water testing and “Water sampling 101,” a simple list of dos and don'ts for water sampling.

The rows of corn stalks have dried in the summer sun. The harvest moon will soon greet us in the evening sky. As our senses tingle with the oncoming change of season, the sound of the crunch of a juicy apple is music to our ears. Is it time to start melting the caramel?

Apple orchard in Yakima, WA, with mylar film for ripening. Photo by Ronald Bond - WIFSS
Posted on Friday, September 23, 2016 at 3:26 PM
Tags: food safety (88), FSMA (2), water quality (25)

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