The Imperial Irrigation District may pick up the tab for a Farm Bureau program that has shown success in removing silt from Valley drains.
The Imperial County Farm Bureau’s voluntary Total Maximum Daily Load program has been previously funded through state grants and a $35,000 donation from the IID. However, now the district could pay out $160,000 for the 2013 calendar year.
The program has to continue for the growers in the area, and the farm bureau is seeking a funding mechanism, said Linsey Dale, executive director of the Farm Bureau. The Farm Bureau has been funding it for the past couple of years.
The program is really a three-part effort: growers working with IID and the regional water quality control board, she said. It reduces silt and sediment that drains to rivers and to the Salton Sea.
The Imperial Valley is one of the only areas with a conditional prohibition for its silt program, where the local growers create the best management practices on their own fields, she said. It allows the locals to keep their independence, without the state having to head down and try to force a program on the area.
Farmers still pay for improvements on their fields, but they get to decide what works on their own fields, she said. The farmers understand what is grown and what would work more than anyone.
“Our program is so incredibly unique because it uses common sense,” Dale said. “It recognizes common sense and it works.”
The funding for the program is used to maintain the database and allow for consultants that go out to the fields and develop the best management practices, she said.
The board will decide whether to continue and increase their funding of the program. The proposed budget includes $50,000 for an on-farm consultant, $46,700 for a full-time staff member and $25,200 in reimbursement to the Farm Bureau for staff time, as well as other costs.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-337-3441.
If you go
What Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors meeting
When 1 p.m. today
Where W. R. Condit Auditorium, 1285 Broadway, El Centro
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