The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with the Colusa Groundwater Authority, is now accepting applications for an on-farm Multi-Benefit Groundwater Recharge Incentive Program scheduled to take place this fall. 

According to a release issued by the Nature Conservancy, the program provides an opportunity for growers to receive financial compensation for recharging groundwater during the course of normal farming operations on a variety of crops while also providing critical wetland habitat for waterbirds migrating along the Pacific Flyway. 

“The program requires short-term commitments from growers to irrigate and maintain shallow depths on enrolled fields and pays for field preparation, irrigation and water costs,” read the release. 

Sites with soil conducive to groundwater recharge will be chosen for the project, as well as fields suitable for open ponded or flooded conditions that will provide suitable habitat in early fall when water is normally scarce in the area, often leaving shorebirds nowhere to stop during their long migrations.

Field verification, contracting with selected participants and field set up are anticipated to take place through Sept., with somewhat flexible set up and implementation dates. 

Water spreading will take place between Aug. 15 through Oct. 15 and timing will vary depending on water availability and crop schedule, read the release. 

Contract fees will be paid after the completion of program requirements, which is anticipated Oct. through Dec. 

According to the release, a portion of the funding for this project is provided through the California Department of Water Resouces’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program.

The application is available at https://birdreturns.org/home-page/how-to-participate/multibenefitrecharge/.

Application will be accepted until August 15 but early submissions are encouraged. 

For more information, contact Mary Fahey at 458-0719, email mfahey@countyofcolusa.com or visit https://colusagroundwater.org/projects/.

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