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New coordinator overseeing Glenn County water
A new person is handling Glenn County's water coordinating activities.
Lisa Hunter took over in January for Lester Messina, who retired.
However, the two continue to work together as Messina was re-hired part-time to carry on his duties with the Northern Sacramento Valley Integrated Water Management program and to train his replacement.
He sits as vice president of its Technical Advisory Committee that provides support to the Board of Supervisors and other members of the six-county regional body.
Hunter said she started out a while ago helping Messina on water issues and went to it full time after his retirement in December.
She also worked for the Glenn County Agriculture Department as a biologist before venturing into the water area.
"Once you start with water, it draws you in," she said.
It is so dynamic, with some many facets, you never stop learning, Hunter added.
Besides that, water is important to everyone — particularly a county such as Glenn which is agriculturally based.
"Without water, you don't have agriculture," she said.
Hunter recognizes, though, it is very difficult for the state to balance the needs of agricultural, municipal and environmental interests, she said.
As for goals in the new job, Hunter said she does not have any specific ones at this point. Instead, her focus is on continuing the programs the county already has established such as its revised groundwater protection ordinance and working with the new Water Advisory Committee that now has 13 members instead of 22.
The Water Advisory Committee also has changed focus from developing groundwater management guidelines to strategically planning future water usage. It has had two meetings so far this year, Hunter said.
Declining groundwater levels in the west side of the county is another concern, she said, that may need additional study to see if bringing in surface water is necessary.
Changing land usage may be a factor in the water levels because properties are being converted to orchards and other crops not previously there.
The Bay-Delta water needs are another part of North State water management, she said.
"Money is big too," Hunter said, as there is not a lot available for studies of water levels and so on.
Hunter grew up in Glenn County and earned her degree in biological sciences from California State University, Chico, with a minor in business administration, she said.
She has been with the Glenn Agriculture Department since 2005.
Hunter said Glenn County's Water Advisory Committee is separate from the Northern Sacramento Valley Integrated Water Management body.
She said the later group should be done by September but may go longer if necessary.
"Everybody has their own board to answer," she said. "It also does a lot of public outreach, which is good, but it moves slowly."
Overall, Glenn County's water supply is stable, Hunter said, with most areas re-charging quickly in wet years — particularly around the Stony Creek fan and Sacramento River. As a result, its does not have a lot of water loss issues where there is not enough water.
But keeping an eye on the supply is still an important part of the county's water activities.
She also enjoys working for the agriculture department.
"It is a great place to be," Hunter said. "It is very diverse and has a lot of different programs."
Staff sees a lot of people, she said. "Hopefully, they find us a nice place to come."
As for hobbies, Hunter indicated she does not have many.
"I have three kids. That keeps me plenty busy," she said, "between their homework, school and activities."
However, she lives in Willows and does not have far to commute. "I can even go home for lunch."