Agriculture and Rural Lands
The Agriculture and Rural Lands Action Plan was developed in 1999 to address agricultural water quality issues related to the Sanctuary such as erosion control, nutrient runoff, and persistent pesticides. The plan was created over a period of three years, stemming from several public workshops, a series of meetings with the six-county Coalition of Central Coast County Farm Bureaus, and with ongoing review and assistance from the 26 members of the Water Quality Protection Program Committee consisting of federal, state and local agencies, public and private groups.
At the heart of the plan are 24 strategies, intended to protect and enhance the quality of water that drains into the Sanctuary while sustaining the economic viability of agriculture. This approach is unique in that the Coalition of Central Coast County Farm Bureaus is taking a leadership role in establishing industry-led networks of landowners and operators to address water quality issues. These voluntary projects, in cooperation with the California Regional Water Quality Control Boards, will represent an innovative effort on the part of agricultural organizations to establish improved management practices, building on the many positive practices already underway in the industry. In addition, there are strategies focused on improving technical assistance and education, funding and economic incentives for conservation measures, coordination and streamlining of the existing regulatory system in order to reduce barriers to implementing erosion control practices, and improving maintenance practices for rural roadways and public lands.