Office Hours: Repurposing farmland that will be fallowed as part of SGMA

With the implementation of SGMA, estimates are that as much as 750,000 acres of farmland may need to come out of production to bring groundwater basins into balance. However, this doesn’t need to mean unproductive, dusty fields of weeds that worsen air quality. There are options! Potential new uses of agricultural lands include restored habitat corridors, community recreational spaces, low-impact solar and groundwater recharge basins, all of which can help improve air quality and soil health.

On March 29, our guests were Anna Schiller, Project Manager with the Environmental Defense Fund, and Vicky Espinoza, UC Merced PhD Candidate and YouTube channel CaliWaterAg. They provided an overview of a new program from the Department of Conservation that provides funding to help land repurposing projects be implemented, and discussed the new guidance document, Community and Grower Engagement in Multibenefit Land Repurposing.

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