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County proposes to head up groundwater monitoring program
By Heather Dodds, Siskiyou Daily New November 4, 2010
Senate Bill 6, which passed in November of 2009, requires Department of Water Resouces (DWR)-identified groundwater basins to be provided with groundwater monitoring plans by Jan. 1, 2012.

The bill’s text states that if the county does not name an entity to manage the monitoring by Jan. 1, 2011, the state will attempt to identify an entity to assume responsibility. If an entity is not identified, the state will perform the monitoring functions, but the county will no longer be eligible for state-administered water grants or loans. The DWR will, by Jan. 1, 2012, determine whether the local effort is sufficient.

According to Siskiyou County Director of Public Health & Community Development Terry Barber, the program is completely voluntary. Once the entity is in place, it must have consent from property owners to conduct the monitoring. She added that the information to be collected pertains to groundwater elevation only, not quantity.

County Counsel Tom Guarino told the board that while the county can structure a program wherein other agencies and groups are put in charge of collecting the data, it will ultimately be “the county’s” program.

The supervisors agreed that because funding for the program falls upon the county, they do not want to create a complicated program.

“I’m in favor of county control with a minimal amount of effort,” said District 2 Supervisor Ed Valenzuela. “I don’t want to make it a big deal.”

District 1 Supervisor Jim Cook stated that he supports the county being named as the entity in charge and that its goal should be “to meet the minimum state requirements.”

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