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The following descriptions of management measures to address polluted runoff are adapted from the "California Nonpoint Source Encyclopedia.”

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Follow the links below to find the subcategory of interest.

Agriculture Management Measures:

Erosion and Sediment Control

Facility Wastewater and Runoff from Confined Animal Facilities (That Are Not CAFOs)

Nutrient Management

Pesticide Management

Grazing Management

Irrigation Water Management

Education/Outreach

The NPS pollutants typically associated with agriculture are nutrients, animal waste, sediments, and pesticides. Agricultural NPS pollution enters receiving waters by direct runoff to surface waters or seepage to ground water. Runoff of nutrients can result from excessive application of fertilizers and animal waste to land, and from improper storage of animal waste. Farming activities can cause excessive erosion, which results in sediment entering receiving waters. Improper use and overapplication of pesticides causes pesticide pollution. Improper grazing management can cause erosion, soil compaction, and excessive nutrients, all of which impair sensitive areas. Overapplication of irrigation water can cause runoff of sediments and pesticides to enter surface water or seep into ground water. Sediment, pesticides, and excess nutrients all affect aquatic habitats by causing eutrophication, turbidity, temperature increases, toxicity, and decreased oxygen.

Please see the California Nonpoint Source Encyclopedia for a fact sheet on each of the management measures, containing a description of related state and federal programs, a list of specific management practices, additional information resources, example case studies in California, and references.

Link to SWRCB NPS Encyclopedia Agriculture Section

Erosion and Sediment Control

1A Addresses NPS problems associated with soil erosion and sedimentation. Where erosion and sedimentation from agricultural lands affects coastal water bodies listed as impaired by sediment, landowners must design and install or apply a combination of practices to reduce solids and associated pollutants in runoff during all but the larger storms.

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Facility Wastewater and Runoff from Confined Animal Facilities That Are Not CAFOs

1B Wastewater and contaminated runoff from confined animal facilities that are not CAFOs (Contained Animal Feeding Operations, which are large livestock production facilities) must be contained at all times. Storage facilities should be of adequate capacity to allow for proper wastewater use and should be constructed so they prevent seepage to ground water. Stored runoff and accumulated solids from the facility should be managed through a waste use system, or else be removed from the site.

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Nutrient Management

1C Addresses the development and implementation of comprehensive nutrient management plans for areas where nutrient runoff affects coastal waterbodies listed as impaired by nutrients. When manure from confined animal facilities that are not CAFOs is to be disposed of on land, the plan should ensure that subsequent irrigation does not leach excess nutrients to surface or ground water.

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Pesticide Management

1D Intended to reduce contamination of surface water and ground water from pesticides. Includes development and adoption of reduced-risk pest management strategies (including reductions in pesticide use); evaluation of pest, crop, and field factors; use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM); consideration of environmental impacts in choice of pesticides; calibration of equipment; and use of anti-backflow devices.

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Grazing Management

1E Intended to protect sensitive areas (including stream banks, lakes, wetlands, estuaries, and riparian zones) by reducing direct loadings of animal wastes and sediment. May include restricting or rotationally grazing livestock in sensitive areas by providing fencing and livestock stream crossings, and by locating salt, shade, and alternative drinking sources away from sensitive areas. Upland erosion can be reduced by methods that may include prescribed grazing, seeding, gully erosion control such as grade stabilization structures and ponds, and other critical area treatment.

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Irrigation Water Management

1F Promotes effective irrigation while reducing pollutant delivery to surface and ground waters. Irrigation water would be applied uniformly based on an accurate measurement of crop water needs and the volume of irrigation water applied, considering limitations raised by such issues as water rights, pollutant concentrations, water delivery restrictions, salt control, wetland, water supply, and frost/freeze temperature management. Additional precautions would apply when chemicals are applied through irrigation.

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Education/Outreach

1G Goals are to implement pollution prevention and education programs to reduce NPS pollutants generated by the following activities, where applicable:

  • Activities that cause erosion and loss of sediment on agricultural land, and land that is converted from other land uses to agricultural land;
  • Activities that cause discharge from confined animal facilities (excluding CAFOs) to surface waters;
  • Activities that cause excess delivery of nutrients and/or leaching of nutrients;
  • Activities that cause contamination of surface water and ground water from pesticides;
  • Grazing activities that cause physical disturbance to sensitive areas and the discharge of sediment, animal waste, nutrients, and chemicals to surface and ground waters; and
  • Irrigation activities that cause NPS pollution of surface waters.

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