The Colusa Groundwater Authority, the California Department of Water Resources and The Nature Conservancy have partnered to conduct an on-farm, multi-benefit demonstration program for growers in two select project locations around Colusa County. 

According to Mary Fahey, Colusa County Water Resource manager, this project will provide local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies with valuable information about potential benefits to the groundwater system that can be achieved through field flooding practices. 

“During this pilot project, the team will evaluate the infiltration rate of applied water, as well as direction of flow to help us understand where water is moving through the aquifers,” said Fahey. “The project also provides a habitat benefit to shorebirds.”

Local growers will have the opportunity to receive financial compensation for recharging groundwater in the course of normal farming operations while also providing critical shallow wetland habitat for migratory birds.

According to a release issued by the partnership, the program seeks a commitments from growers to irrigate selected fields in the early fall and late winter 2020-2021 season and will compensate growers for field preparation, irrigation and water costs.

“This is a pilot project, and if successful, will provide a road map for landowners and the GSA to implement more of these projects in the future,” said Fahey. 

A workshop to further explain the program will be held at Colusa Industrial Properties, located at 100 Sunrise Blvd. in Colusa, on Wednesday, Feb. 26 starting at 10 a.m.

A presentation about the program will be held until 10:30 a.m. followed by an informal question and answer session until 11:30 a.m.

According to the release, funding for the program is provided in part through DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program.

For more information about the program, contact Julia Barfield, project manager for sustainable water management for The Nature Conservancy, at 916-449-2852 or email

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