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March 2016 Update on Groundwater Sustainability Agency Formation in Sonoma County

You are receiving this email because you either attended a recent Groundwater Workshop or signed up to receive periodic updates on the new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Staff are continuing to discuss governance proposals to create one groundwater sustainability agency and one groundwater sustainability plan in each basin (with coordination between the basins, to be as efficient as possible), including an active role for advisory bodies and exploring ideas for representation and voting on GSA governing boards.
The Gold Ridge and Sonoma Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) and Sonoma County Winegrape Commission reached out and met with staff of the GSA-eligible entities to discuss GSA eligibility.
Staff anticipate conducting additional public outreach later this spring and holding public workshops in each basin in June. Staff will keep you posted through these periodic emails and the web site at .

GSP Draft Regulations

The heart of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is development of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). These plans are required in all critical-, high- and medium-priority basins. The GSPs must identify problems and provide a plan to achieve quantifiable sustainability within 20 years. The GSPs for Santa Rosa Plain, Sonoma Valley and Petaluma Valley basins must be complete by 2022, and the basins much reach sustainability by 2042.
SGMA requires DWR to adopt regulations for the GSPs by June 2016. Extensive draft regulations were released in February. DWR also released this helpful primer, which includes meeting and webinar dates for discussion of the draft regulations.
GSA-eligible agency staff will review and provide comments on the draft regulations for Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) that the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) issued. Comments on the draft regulations are due by April 1.

GSA Governance

Staff continue discussing the governance structure (governing board, advisory group, voting options) and the legal structure (memorandum of understanding or joint powers authority or some other cooperative agreement) for each GSA. The goal is to vet some proposals later this spring or early summer with the governing boards, councils, the basin advisory panels, and the public.

Public Outreach Activities This Spring

Should staff schedule board and council briefings on GSA activities, we will announce those meetings through this email list, as stakeholders requested during last fall’s public workshops. Staff anticipate meeting with existing basin advisory panels in the Santa Rosa Plain and Sonoma Valley and anticipate holding public workshops in June in the basins to gather community input on the governance and legal structure options.
Thank you for your continued interest in groundwater planning in Sonoma County. For more information or questions, please contact Ann DuBay at the Sonoma County Water Agency,, or 707-524-8378.
Copyright © 2016 Sonoma County Sustainable Groundwater Management, All rights reserved.

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