March 21, 2022

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2021 Water Diversion and Use Reports Due April 1 for All Diverters
Under the Emergency Regulation for Measuring and Reporting the Diversion of Water adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) in 2016, all water rights holders must annually report their diversion and use of water to the SWRCB. This year, ALL reports of water diversion and use for January 1 – September 30, 2021 are due April 1. The reports must be made electronically using the SWRCB’s Report Management System, here.

The uniform April 1 due date differs from prior years. While water rights holders diverting water under a permit, license, registration or certificate have long been required to report by April 1, those filing Statements of Diversion and Use for riparian and pre-1914 water rights have in the past had until July 1 to file their reports.

The change in reporting dates was occasioned by a 2021 budget trailer bill, SB 155. Beginning with 2023’s reports, SB 155 changes the reporting period from the calendar year to the water year (October 1 – September 30) and establishes a uniform reporting deadline for all water rights of February 1.

As the SWRCB implements this transition, SB 155 sets April 1 as the reporting deadline for all diversion and use reports filed in 2022. In filing this year’s reports, diverters will report their diversion and use of water only for the nine month “stub period” of January 1, 2021 – September 30, 2021. With the transition to water-year reporting, the months of October through December will be reflected in your 2023 report.

In February, Noah Lopez of the California Cattlemen’s Foundation’s Rancher Technical Assistance Program (RTAP) hosted an educational webinar to go over these changes to the SWRCB’s water diversion and use reporting deadlines and to answer producer questions regarding the change. A recording of that webinar can be viewed here, and any questions may be directed to the RTAP team at (916) 406-6902 or via email at rtap@wrstrat.com. Also be sure to listen to today’s episode of Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast “Sorting through the due date changes for water measurement and use reporting.”

RTAP provides free regulatory assistance for all cattle ranchers in California with support from the California Cattle Council.
SWRCB Reinstates Curtailments in Shasta River Watershed, Extends Curtailment Suspension on the Scott
On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced that it is reinstating curtailments in the Shasta River watershed. While the SWRCB had previously suspended curtailment orders initially imposed on September 10, 2021, it has clarified that these suspensions are no longer in effect.

According to the SWRCB, “The most junior water diverters,” as noted in Attachment A here (beginning on the fourth page of the PDF document) “must cease diversions immediately.” All water rightsholders in the Shasta River watershed not listed in red in Attachment A “are directed to work with the Watermaster and State Water Board as appropriate, and if necessary to curtail in order of priority to ensure that the required minimum flows are met and sustained at the Yreka USGS gage.”

The SWRCB has also announced new minimum flow requirements for the Yreka USGS gage for the coming months, intended to avoid “stranding…out-migrating juvenile Chinook salmon, and…juvenile coho salmon.” Minimum flows are 135 cubic feet per second (cfs) through March 24; 105 cfs from March 25-March 30; 70 cfs throughout April; and 50 cfs throughout May.

Should flows at the Yreka USGS gage exceed the minimum flows above by at least 5 cfs, diverters whose water rights have been curtailed “may reinitiate diversions in the same manner as the remaining curtailed water rights in Attachment A (i.e., in coordination with the Watermaster),” according to the SWRCB.

Conditions in the Scott River watershed appear more favorable: On Thursday, the SWRCB renewed its temporary suspension of all curtailments in the Scott River watershed through this Friday, March 25, at midnight. The temporary suspension will remain in place only so long as the 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) flow requirement is sustained at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Fort Jones gage. If flows dip below 200 cfs, diversions under the water rights included in the SWRCB’s “List A1” must cease immediately.

You can find more information on drought in the Shasta and Scott River watersheds on the Scott River and Shasta River Drought webpage. For any questions about curtailment notices or how to comply, please contact the Rancher Technical Assistance Program at (916) 409-6902 or rtap@wrstrat.com.

DWR Unveils “California Water Watch” Website
Last month, the Department of Water Resources launched the website California Water Watch, which aims to provide Californians a snapshot of “current statewide hydroclimate and water supply conditions, including precipitation, temperature, reservoir storage, groundwater conditions, snowpack, streamflow, soil moisture and vegetation conditions.” The website was developed in response to Governor Newsom’s call for a California-centered version of the U.S. Drought Monitor.

The website allows users to view a variety of watershed conditions by typing in their ZIP code or selecting their location on a map. While the resource is primarily intended to provide a snapshot of current hydrologic conditions, there is a section of the site devoted to water forecasting, as well. Ranchers can explore the California Water Watch tools here.

Nazarian Introduces Bill to Prohibit New Animal Feeding Operations and Slaughterhouses
Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian (D-Van Nuys) has introduced Assembly Bill 2764, which would prohibit the creation or expansion within California of animal feeding operation and slaughterhouses with annual revenues over $100,000. CCA will strongly oppose this legislation, which is contrary to state and federal efforts to expand meat processing capacity. For more information, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.

Biden Signs $1.5 Trillion Funding Bill; Includes Cattle Contract Library Pilot Program
Last Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed into law a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill which funds the federal government through the end of the 2022 Fiscal Year. Of particular interest to cattle ranchers, the bill authorizes $1 million to fund the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) creation of a Cattle Contract Library pilot program that is “similar to…the swine contract library the U.S. Department of Agriculture currently maintains.” AMS’s Livestock, Poultry and Grain Market News Division will oversee the effort. For further details about the Cattle Contract Library Pilot Program and other provisions of the omnibus spending bill impacting cattle producers, see last week’s edition of Legislative Bulletin.

SLO County Modified Point of Origin Referendum to be Held April 12
The San Luis Obispo County Cattleman’s Association (SLOCCA) will be holding a vote to repeal the Modified Point of Origin (MPO) regulations currently in place in the San Luis Obispo County brand inspection area. Only cattle producers (beef and dairy) that are property taxpayers, lessees or residents of the MPO area are permitted to vote. Voting will take place on April 12 from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Frontier Building at the Paso Robles Event Center (Mid-State Fairgrounds). For additional details, see the March 7 edition of Legislative Bulletin.

New Stories from California Cattle Country Episode on Humboldt County
Our second episode from Humboldt County at Foggy Bottoms Farm. To listen to the episode and see photos from the visit click here. The episode is also available on a variety of platforms for streaming podcasts. Stories from California Cattle Country is produced by the California Cattlemen’s Foundation with support from the California Cattle Council.

Upcoming CCA Events

CCA Feeder Meeting
May 25-27, San Diego
Click here for registration and room block details. Both are now open!

CCA Midyear Meeting
June 22-23, Rancho Murieta

Upcoming Industry Events

Beef Cattle Health Webinar Series
UC Cooperative Extension in collaboration with UC Davis Veterinary Medicine is excited to offer a series of free online webinars for cattle producers. Every Tuesday evening in March from 5:30-7:00 guest speakers will cover topics important to cattle health and management with Q&A opportunities. The sessions will be live and include lots of visuals. 

March 22: Herd Bull Health Diseases and Injuries Dr. McNabb UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
March 29: Why Did it Die? California Animal Health & Food Safety Lab

Register for one workshop or the entire series by clicking here.

CCA in the News

Bill introduced to extend CA ag vehicle exemption Western Livestock Journal “Under AB 1960, agricultural vehicles are currently exempt from the BIT program since commonly used farm and ranch vehicles also serve as producers’ personal vehicles. According to the California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA), BIT inspections are time-consuming for family farms and ranches. Even minor violations potentially restrict a farmer or rancher from operating a vehicle critical to their business, the association said.” To continue reading, click here.

Industry Groups Ask CARB for Regulatory Relief Amidst Supply Chain Challenges AgNet West “Some of the signatories of the letter include the Agricultural Transportation Coalition and the California Cattlemen’s Association.” To continue reading, click here.

Industry News

Chairman David Scott Announces the Upcoming Hearing on the Issues Between the Beef Packing Industry, the Cattlemen Ranchers, and the Rising Food Prices House Agriculture Committee “House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott of Georgia released the following statement acknowledging his hosting a Full Committee hearing to determine whether anti-competitive behavior by the largest meatpacking companies caused increased beef prices, and unfair difficulties to Ranchers and Farmers, to the detriment of U.S. food consumers.” To continue reading, click here.

California slashes State Water Project allocation as year begins with record dryness Los Angeles Times “Drained reservoirs. Dwindling snowpack. Bone-dry soils. After a record dry start to 2022, California water officials announced Friday that they were cutting State Water Project allocations from 15% to 5%, and warned residents to brace for a third year of drought.” To continue reading, click here.

Ranching groups: Grazing is conservation Capital Press “The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council are fully engaged in the discussion of President Joe Biden’s plan to conserve 30% of the nation’s land and water by 2030. ‘I don’t think there’s any sector that does it better than agriculture and ranchers when it comes to conservation,’ said J.J. Goicoechea a fourth-generation Nevada rancher who serves in leadership roles with both organizations.” To continue reading, click here.

‘Pretty brutal’: Hiring woes plague Biden effort to contain wildfires Politico “In an email obtained by POLITICO, Forest Service officials are already warning employees in California that there have been 50 percent fewer applications submitted for GS3 through GS9 firefighting positions this year compared to last. And regional Forest Service officials from across the Western fire regions reported struggling with low staffing on a Feb. 15 call with Fire and Aviation Management, the minutes of which were obtained by POLITICO. ‘Hiring frenzy – lack of candidates, unable to staff 7 days in many places. Continued decline of folks to do the work,’ the minutes read, describing comments made by Regional Fire Director Alex Robertson.” To continue reading, click here.

season 2 episode 6

Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast

Noah Lopez of the Rancher Technical Assistance Program joins Katie to talk about the The State Water Resources Control Board’s due date change and highlights other issues producers can gain assistance on through RTAP. To listen to the episode, click here.

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