The Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County is wrapping up a three-year project funded by a US EPA Clean Water Grant through an agreement with the State Water Resources Control Board. The goal of the project was to reduce pesticide loading and toxicity to surface and groundwater in the Pajaro River watershed by collaborating with growers and landowners and providing cost-share funding to implement a variety of voluntary management practices.
Grant partners, including Loma Prieta RCD, UC Davis Marine Pollution Studies Lab, UC Cooperative Extension, CDPR, NRCS, and other knowledgeable members of the Technical Advisory Committee selected priority areas for outreach to growers and landowners, and helped select project sites.
Nine farms in the upper and lower Pajaro Watershed implemented projects ranging from tried and true practices like hedgerows and grassed filter strips, to more innovative, multistep, collective systems incorporating biochar filtration. This equates to a total of 1,685 irrigated agricultural acres that receive water quality benefits from these grant funded projects.
Three of the projects—a hedgerow planted by elementary school students, a grassed waterway with biochar filtration, and a woodchip bioreactor combined with a carbon biochar filtration system—are highlighted in the May 2020 issue of From the Fields
, a newsletter from the Resource Conservation District with stories from our Agriculture Programs.