Building Tools and Technical Capacity to Improve Irrigation and Nutrient Management on California's Central Coast

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2013: $39,564.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2015
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Pamela Krone-Davis
Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: fertigation, irrigation, application rate management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, networking


    “Building Tools and Technical Capacity to Improve Irrigation and Nutrient Management (INM) on California’s Central Coast” grant work was completed and has achieved the objectives and outcomes of the grant. In Year 1 of the grant, the Expert Advisory Panel met twice to develop and review tools and resources for Irrigation and Nutrient Management and determine the best structure for placing them on the AWQA website. The materials were then uploaded to the AWQA website under the heading of Toolkits ( ). A gap analysis was performed to determine what additional practice tools would be helpful to growers and professionals on the Central Coast. In Year 2 of the grant, two cross trainings provided education and information exchange on nutrient and irrigation management practices that grant partners have found helpful in field settings. Three months subsequent to the training, all respondents reported they could personally provide technical services in irrigation distribution uniformity evaluations, irrigation scheduling and nutrient management or could provide a competent local technical referral for these services.

    Project objectives:

    We have achieved the stated objectives for the two-year project:

    1. Improve access to INM tools by developing an online clearinghouse of INM tools and resources.
    2. Improve consistency of INM services available to growers across the region by developing a standardized set of metrics, measurement tools and operating procedures.
    3. Increase INM Professional technical capacity to serve growers through in-field cross-trainings and distribution of materials.

    In Year 1 of the grant, we accomplished the first of these three objectives and made progress in regard to the second objective.   We developed an online clearing house of INM tools on three different topics: irrigation assessment, irrigation scheduling and nutrient management. We compiled guidance documents, brochures, operating procedures, trainings & classes, example reports, tracking & calculation spreadsheets and references for each of these topics. Three webpages were developed for the three topics, with the organization of the information on the page and number of links/documents for each section shown. The bottom of each webpage credits the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

    Irrigation Assessments:


    I.   Why Do an Assessment? (9 documents/links)

    II. Irrigation Assessment

    A.  ITRC Approach (2 documents/links)

    B.   SOP Approach (11 documents/links)

    III.  Reports for Growers  (7 documents/links)

    IV.   Follow Up Consultation (1 documents/links)

    V.    Implementation (4 documents/links)

    VI.   Verification

    VII. References (5 documents/links
    VIII. Calculators/Data Sheets (5 documents/links)

    Irrigation Scheduling:


    I.    Overview of Methods (14 documents/links)
    II.   All-In-One Systems (12 documents/links)
    III.  Determining the Size of your Soil Reservoir

            A. Identify Root Zone Depth (3 documents/links)

            B. Available Water Holding Capacity (4 documents/links)

    IV. Determining Manageable Allowable Depletion (1 documents/links)
    V.  Soil Moisture Measurement – Determining Actual Depletion

                  A.  Soil Moisture Storage (4 documents/links)

                  B.   Sensors and Instruments (16 documents/links)

    VI.  Evapotranspiration Based Irrigation Management (6 documents/links)
    VII. Salt Leaching Requirement (1 documents/links)
    VIII. Factoring in Irrigation Efficiency (1 documents/links)
    IX.    References (1 documents/links)

    Nutrient Management:


    I.  Guides to Resources  (10 documents/links)
    II. On-line Fertilizer Application Calculations & Guidance (3 documents/links)
    III. Tracking, Budgeting, Calculating (6 documents/links)
    IV. Procedures (Nutrient Guides, Plant Nitrate, Soil Nitrate, Quick Tests)

                A.   Nutrient Management Procedures (3 documents/links)

                B.   Plant Tissue Procedures (2 documents/links)

                C.   Soil Nitrate (7 documents/links)

    V. Information (3 documents/links)

    In Year 2 of the grant, we conducted two cross training events that allowed for sharing of knowledge and INM practices and technology. Materials compiled in Year 1 were shared with participants. Links to the toolkits on the AWQA website were shared and guidance provided in regard to how to use this site for self-education. Additionally information was shared on numerous topics: nitrogen budgeting, irrigation system design, irrigation scheduling and management, soil web survey basic, soil sampling and nitrate quick strip testing, tissue and soil nutrient analysis, and conservation planning.

    Our long-term goal is to support sustainable agriculture and healthy Central Coast waters and watersheds through regionally consistent deployment of irrigation and nutrient management tools and technical assistance that meet grower needs. Accomplishing the grant objectives has taken us a step further on this path.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.