July 17, 2023

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State Water Board to Discuss Grazing Water Quality Tomorrow
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) will host an informational hearing “on the status of livestock grazing management activities by the Water Boards” during its Board meeting tomorrow, July 18. The livestock grazing management discussion will be Agenda Item 4.

According to an email from SWRCB staff, the informational hearing is responsive to a request received from “interested parties” at the Board’s November 15, 2022 meeting. At the informational hearing, Water Board “Staff will provide an overview of permit development activities by the Regional Boards, efforts by State Water Board staff to update the 1995 Rangeland Water Quality Management Plan, and an overview of a study prepared by US EPA contractors that characterizes the general regulatory approach of the Water Boards on grazing and compares the actions taken by the nine Regional Boards on grazing. No action will be taken by the Board at the meeting.”

CCA will participate in tomorrow’s hearing to emphasize ranchers’ good stewardship of the state’s water resources. CCA members are highly encouraged to participate in the hearing to highlight their on-ranch efforts to safeguard and improve water quality, including in collaboration with the Regional Boards and UCCE advisors.

The hearing will begin at 9:30am in the Sierra Room of the CalEPA Building at 1001 I Street in Sacramento; according to an email from the SWRCB, this agenda item “is expected to occur at or around 9:45.” For those unable to appear in-person, the SWRCB will accommodate virtual participation via Zoom. Virtual participation instructions are available here, and those wishing to speak remotely must fill out a Virtual Speaker Card in advance of the hearing.

CCA Seeking Applications for a Membership and Events Coordinator
CCA is hiring a Membership and Events Coordinator to be responsible for managing the organization’s membership programs and coordinating events. This role involves promoting membership benefits, recruiting new members, organizing events and activities, and providing excellent customer service to members. See the full job description and details on applying at https://calcattlemen.org/careers.

Another CCA-Opposed Bill Shelved for the Year
Last Monday, Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) withdrew her Assembly Bill 1337 ahead of a scheduled hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. CCA strongly opposes AB 1337, which would provide the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) with statutory authority to curtail pre-1914 and riparian rights even in years in which there is no declared drought emergency, a proposal which would significantly undermine the status of senior water rights.

The move means that AB 1337 will not advance in the Legislature this year, though it is eligible to be heard next year during the second year of the 2023-24 Legislative Session as a “two-year bill.”

The withdrawal of AB 1337 follows closely on the heels of other CCA victories on water rights legislation. As reported in last week’s Legislative Bulletin, Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer Kahan (D-Orinda) last month shelved her AB 460, a bill which would allow any “interested party” to seek an interim relief order from the SWRCB in response to virtually any alleged violation of water rights, water quality or curtailment provisions of the Water Code.

A third water rights bill, SB 389 (Allen), was recently amended to remove two of CCA’s greatest concerns with the bill (for additional details, see last week’s Legislative Bulletin story). SB 389 is currently pending before the Assembly Appropriations Committee after passing out of the Assembly’s Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee on a 9-3 vote last Tuesday.

CCA has been incredibly successful in achieving its legislative priorities thus far in the Legislative Session. The water rights bills detailed above were among the four priority bills lobbied by CCA members at this year’s Lobby Day. A final priority, AB 554 (Gabriel), which would have increased litigation against ranchers by radical animal rights advocates, was also shelved earlier this year.

The Legislature is currently on Summer Recess until August 14. CCA will keep members apprised of legislative developments after Session resumes.

CDFA Solicits Applications for Beef Cattle Producer Representative on Livestock Identification Advisory Board
Last week, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) announced that there is an opening for one Beef Cattle Producer member on the agency’s Livestock Identification Advisory Board. According to the announcement, the Board’s purpose is to make “recommendations to the Secretary [of Agriculture] on hide and brand laws, the curbing of livestock theft, procedures followed by the Bureau [of Livestock Identification], and the program’s annual budget.”

Beef cattle producers interested in filling the vacancy are encouraged to “send a brief resume by August 31, 2023, to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Bureau of Livestock Identification, Attention: John Suther, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, California 95814.”

The term of office for members of the Livestock Advisory Board is four years; members receive no compensation but are entitled to mileage reimbursement. For additional information, see the Bureau of Livestock Identification’s website, here, or view the announcement linked above.

SWRCB to Host Virtual Listening Session on SB 88 Water Measurement and Reporting Requirements
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) announced last week that it will host a virtual listening session on August 3 regarding “water measurement and reporting regulation adopted pursuant to 2015 Senate Bill 88.”

According to the announcement, the listening session is intended to assist SWRCB staff in “evaluating ways to increase compliance and data quality” relating to the regulations given that “compliance with the requirements remains low, and the quality of diversion data submitted pursuant to the regulation is highly variable.” As a result of the listening session, SWRCB may develop guidance documents, templates or even consider revising its measurement and reporting regulations.

The listening session will be held from noon to 4:00pm on August 3; those wishing to participate in the virtual session must register no later than noon on July 31 by filling out a registration form. CCA staff is registered and will provide feedback on the regulations to the SWRCB at the virtual hearing.

UPDATE: Curtailment Statuses Updated for Scott & Shasta Watersheds 
As reported in last week’s Legislative Bulletin, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has extended suspensions of curtailment orders within the Scott River watershed through tomorrow, July 18 so long as minimum flows of 50 cubic feet per second (cfs) are sustained at the US Geological Survey’s Fort Jones gage. As of press time, the SWRCB had not announced whether curtailment suspensions would be further extended, though CCA notes that water levels at the Fort Jones gage remain well above the minimum flow requirements. Diverters within the Scott River watershed are encouraged to monitor the SWRCB’s Scott River and Shasta River Watersheds Drought Response webpage for potential updates later this week.

The SWRCB has also announced the reimposition of curtailments within the Shasta River watershed for water rights with priority dates of January 1, 1958 and later. For additional information on those curtailments, see last week’s Legislative Bulletin.

Prior curtailments for the Russian River, Sacramento-San Joaquin and Mill and Deer Creek watersheds have been fully rescinded.

New Episode of Stories from California Cattle Country 
Stories from California Cattle Country, “Belling Cows & Bullet Holes w/ the Brennan’s in La Grange” is out now. To listen to the episode click hereStories from California Cattle Country is produced by The California Cattlemen’s Foundation with support from the California Cattle Council. If you want a glimpse into our travels, follow the podcast’s Instagram account @calcattlecountry.

Upcoming CCA Events

CCA Cattle-PAC Auction + Dinner 
Sept. 16, Paso Robles, CA

107th CCA + CCW Annual Convention and Industry Tradeshow
Nov. 29 – Dec. 1, The Nugget Casino Resort, Sparks, Nev.

Upcoming Industry Events

Post-Fire Fuels Treatments in a Coastal Demonstration Forest: the Recent Pas and Future of Cal Poly’s wanton Pacific Ranch Webinar
July, 20, 2023, 10am – noon, Virtual
Join Dr. Grey Hayes, Program Director of Cal Poly’s Fuels and Vegetation Education program, Research and Education Manager at Swanton Pacific ranch and Restoration ecologist will go over ecological and fire history at Swanton Pacific Ranch and share about the treatments conducted post wildfire. To register for the webinar, click here.

2023 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting
July 24-26, 2023, Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego, CA
Registration for the 2023 Cattle Industry Supper Business Meeting is now open. To register, click here. To view the agenda, click here.

Fuels Treatments in the Wildland Urban Interface: WUI: Lessons learned post wildfire at Swanton Pacific Ranch Field Day
July 27, 2023, 9:00am – 4:30pm, 125 Swanton Road, Davenport, CA, In Person
Learn about forest health treatments, hazard tree removal, and much more at the lessons learned post wildfire at Swanton Pacific Ranch July 27, from 9:00am – 4:30pm. Attendees will learn from staff members of Swanton Pacific Ranch on vegetation treatments and funding opportunities. To register for the event, click here

2023 Public Lands Council Annual Meeting 
Sept. 5 – Sept. 8, 2023, Pendleton, OR
Join the Public Lands Council in Pendleton, OR for their annual meeting. To register for the meeting, click here. To view the agenda, click here.

Industry News

Cattle Producers Praise Congressional Resolution Supporting Beef Checkoff National Cattlemen’s Beef Association “Today, cattle industry leaders praised the introduction of a bipartisan congressional resolution recognizing the importance of commodity checkoff programs, including the Beef Checkoff.” To continue reading, click here.

Drones, satellites and AI: How California fights its unpredictable wildfires with analytics CAL MATTERS “Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jon Heggie wasn’t expecting much to worry about when a late summer fire erupted north of Santa Cruz, home to California’s moist and cool “asbestos forests.” This place doesn’t burn, he thought, with just three notable fires there in 70 years.” To continue reading, click here.

Another major insurance company limits new homeowners insurance in California The Mercury News “Farmers Insurance has limited new homeowners insurance policies in California, joining other major national insurance providers.” To continue reading, click here.

A new episode of Sorting Pen: The California Cattleman Podcast is out now! Tune into this episode to hear from Jennifer Norris, Deputy Secretary for Biodiversity and Habitat at the California Natural Resources Agency. To listen to the episode click here.

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