Vineyard properties in the Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds with five or more acres planted to winegrapes are required to comply with a new water quality control permit adopted in July 2017.
Compliance means filing paperwork with the Regional Water Board and paying fees annually; developing a Farm Plan for your vineyard property that evaluates erosion and water quality risks and recommends appropriate actions to address those risks; and working through implementing recommendations in your Farm Plan. Learn more about the requirements here.
Recently, SF Bay Regional Water Board approved Third-Party Programs to assist growers in complying with the new permit.
Approved Third-Party Programs include:
- Napa County Resource Conservation District LandSmart Program*
- Sonoma County Resource Conservation District LandSmart Program*
- California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) program
- California Land Stewardship Institute’s Fish Friendly Farming program.
*Includes option for Sustainability In Practice (SIP) Certified vineyards
All Third-Party Programs will work with growers to help them meet the permit requirements to develop and verify a Farm Plan. Working with Third-Party Programs can reduce the fees growers pay to the Regional Board, lower the amount of monitoring and paperwork required, and provide helpful guidance through the compliance process. Growers already involved in any of these programs will be able to more easily comply with the permit requirements.
Below is a brief summary of key deadlines:
By July 31, 2018: Submit a ‘Notice of Intent to Comply’ (NOI) to the Regional Board (form available here on or before April 30). Growers who wish to have their Farm Plan verified by a Third-Party Program should identify the program on the NOI.
By December 15, 2018: Submit first Annual Report to Regional Board
By July 2020: Develop and verify Farm Plan and implement actions to address vineyard erosion, pesticide and nutrient risks.
By July 2023: Address bed and bank erosion issues identified in Farm Plan (where applicable).
By July 2027: Address unpaved road erosion issues identified in Farm Plan (where applicable).
*Note: All deadlines have been extended by one year for properties within the burn perimeter of October 2017 fires. View this letter and this map to see if a property qualifies.