San Joaquin Valley farmers will get updates on water monitoring

jholland@modbee.comJanuary 2, 2014 

  • Water quality meetings

    Modesto: 10 a.m. to noon or 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday in Harvest Hall at the Stanislaus County Agricultural Center, 3800 Cornucopia Way, off Crows Landing Road

    Merced: 10 a.m. to noon or 1 to 3 p.m. Jan. 15 in the San Joaquin Hall at the Merced County Fairgrounds, 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way

Farmers will meet in Modesto and Merced this month to get updates on monitoring for water pollution from their land.

They belong to the East San Joaquin Water Quality Coalition, which has been testing the water for about a decade as an alternative to direct, and more costly, regulation by the state.

The Modesto meetings will be Wednesday, the Merced versions a week later.

The coalition covers more than 700,000 acres of irrigated cropland east of the San Joaquin River in Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties. It is one of several such groups working under the supervision of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state agency. Dairy farmers are in a separate program.

The coalitions started out by testing surface waterways for pesticides and other pollutants and have educated members about how to reduce the risk. They have moved into groundwater and are especially concerned about nitrates, a fertilizer residue that could taint rural water systems.

The update will be provided twice in each city, once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Members can attend either session and are asked to reserve a spot by calling (209) 846-6112. Lunch will be provided between the sessions.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at jholland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2385.

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