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

2014 Annual Report for EW13-025

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

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

Summary

The work on the grant, “Building Tools and Technical Capacity to Improve Irrigation and Nutrient Management (INM) on California’s Central Coast,” is on-track and has achieved the desired objectives and outcomes for Year 1 of the grant. Despite personnel changes with some of our partners, we accomplished all Year 1 objectives, outcomes, and activities. The Expert Advisory Panel was formed and met twice. Tools and resources for irrigation and nutrient management were collected and posted online. A gap analysis was performed, and the technical experts are on-track to lead the two field cross-trainings next year. We anticipate being able to accomplish the Year 2 objectives and to deliver the Final Report on or before August 31, 2015. Although there will be no substantive changes in the scope of work, there will need to be some changes in the organizations assigned to various tasks in Year 2. Further information on staffing changes and budget will be provided with our next invoice.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Three objectives for this grant were included in the original proposal:

By the end of the two-year project we will meet the following short-term objectives:

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

In Year One 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.

Webpages were developed for the three topics. They are listed below as organized online with the number of links and documents for each section. The bottom of each webpage credits the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

Because these reference documents are available to INM Professionals in the region and they have been notified of the website links, there has likely been some sharing and perhaps standardization, although this has not been measured or tracked. The Year 2 cross-trainings will increase consistency across the region and will increase professional technical capacity to serve growers.

Irrigation Assessments:

Link: http://www.awqa.org/toolkits/irrigation-assessment/

I.  Why Do an Assessment? (9 Documents/Links)
II. Irrigation Assesments
      A) ITRC Approach  (2 Documents/Links)
      B) SOP Approach  (11 Documents/Links)
III. Report (7 Documents/Links)
IV.  Follow-Up Consultation (1 Documents/Link)
V.   Implementation (4 Documents/Links)
VI. Verification  
VII. References (5 Documents/Links)
VIII. Calculators/ Data Sheets (4 Documents/Links) 

 

Irrigation Scheduling:

Link: http://www.awqa.org/toolkits/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. Avialable Water Holding Capacity (4 Documents/Links)
IV.  Determining Manageable Allowable Depletion (1 Documents/Links)
V.    Soil Moisture Measurement
         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.    Reference

Nutrient Management:

Link: http://www.awqa.org/toolkits/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
      A. Nutrient Management Procedures (3 Documents/Links)
      B. Plant Tissue Procedures (2 Documents/Links)
      C. Soil Nitrate Testing Procedures (7 Documents/Links)
V.  Information (3 Documents/Links)

Accomplishments/Milestones

1. An Expert Advisory Panel was formed and held two meetings. Participants and meeting minutes from both meetings will be uploaded to the National Online Reporting System.

2.  An online Clearinghouse of INM tools and resources was created. The Expert Advisory Panel provided guidance on the best way to organize the tools on the website so that it followed a rationale and relevant pathway to each section so INM professionals could locate the tools more easily. They also reviewed and recommended which tools to include.

3.  Developed a peer reviewed suite of SOPs for INM services and posted these online in the Clearinghouse. Reviewed and agreed on the following SOPs related to irrigation and nutrient management:

 

  • Distribution Uniformity Evaluation for Surface Drip in Vineyards
  • Fertigation Uniformity Evaluation for Surface Drip
  • Distribution Uniformity Evaluation for Solid Set Sprinklers
  • Evaluation of Design and Operation of a Surface Drip System
  • Distribution Uniformity Evaluation for Surface Drip
  • Distribution Uniformity Evaluation for Subsurface Drip
  • Evaluation of Design and Operation of Overhead Sprinklers
  • Distribution uniformity evaluation for micro-sprinklers SOP
  • Distribution uniformity evaluation for greenhouse pot micro-irrigation system SOP
  • Evaluation of design and operation of a micro-sprinkler system SOP
  • Evaluation of design and operation of a micro –irrigation system for potted plants SOP
  • Nutrient assessment of cool season vegetable production

4. Conducted a gap analysis to assess which tools and instructional materials are missing, additional professional training needs and preferred delivery mechanisms. The gap analysis will be uploaded to the National Online Reporting System.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Central Coast INM Professionals have access to INM tools and standard operating procedures posted on the AWQA website. The format for these pages was carefully designed by Expert Advisory Panelists to help organize and explain the process involved in the use of the tools related to each topic: irrigation evaluation, irrigation scheduling and nutrient management. The Expert Advisory Panel (EAP) reviewed the suite of standard operating procedures (SOP) for irrigation and nutrient management services developed by the UC Cooperative Extension and discussed differences between this SOP approach and the Cal Poly Irrigation and Training Research Center approach.   Each approach was seen as valid under different circumstances.

We have tracked the number of hits to the AWQA website, where the online Clearinghouse is hosted. Website statistics for visits and hits are shown below. Although these do not track each page on the website individually, roughly 20% of these hits were related to the INM Clearinghouse tools and information:

 

Month

Unique visitors

Number of visits

Pages

Hits

Aug-14

2367

3990

15815

24763

Sep-14

1417

2332

16074

21495

Oct-14

1306

2085

6359

9424

Nov-14

1037

1823

6332

8842

Dec-14

1096

1669

6126

9300

Collaborators:

Erin McCarthy

erin.agwater@gmail.com
Senior Program Manager
Central Coast Agricultural Water Quality Coalition
PO Box 175
Gilroy, CA 95062
Office Phone: 8314755159
Website: http://www.agwaterquality.org/
Julie Fallon

jfallon@rcdsantabarbara.org
Soil and Water Conservation Program Director
Cachuma Resource Conservation District
920 East Stowell Road
Santa Maria, CA 93454
Office Phone: 8059289269
Website: http://www.sbsda.org/local/crcd/
Anne Coates

acoates@rcdsantabarbara.org
Executive Director
Cachuma Resource Conservation District
920 East Stowell Road
Santa Maria, CA 93454
Office Phone: 8054552820
Website: http://www.rcdsantabarbara.org/
Kellyx Nelson

kellyx@sanmateorcd.org
Executive Director
San Mateo RCD
625 Miramontes Street, Suite 103,
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Office Phone: 6507127765
Website: http://www.sanmateorcd.org
GW Bates

gbates@coastalrcd.org
District Engineer
Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District
645 Main St, Suite F
Morro Bay, CA 93442
Office Phone: 8057724391
Website: www.coastalrcd.org
Sooni Gillett

sgillett@rcdsantacruz.org
Program Specialist
Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County
820 Bay Ave. Suite 128
Capitola, CA 95010
Office Phone: 8314642950
Website: www.rcdsantacruz.org
Paul Robins

paul.robins@rcdmonterey.org
Executive Director
Resource Conservation District of Monterey County
744 La Guardia St, Building A
Salinas, CA 93905
Office Phone: 8314241036
Dr. Michael Cahn

mdcahn@ucdavis.edu
Farm Advisor
Cooperative Extension Monterey County
1432 Abbott St
Salinas, CA 93901
Office Phone: 8317597350
Website: http://cemonterey.ucanr.edu/
Susan Meyer

susanm@lomaprietarcd.org
Executive Director
Loma Prieta Resource Conservation District
8010 Wayland Lane, 1D
Gilroy, CA 95020
Office Phone: 4088474171
Website: http://www.lomaprietarcd.org
Vic Akundzadeh

vicakund@gmail.com
Irrigation Specialist
Ventura County Resource Conservation District
PO Box 147
Somis, CA 93066
Office Phone: 8057645130
Website: http://www.vcrcd.org
Jillian Cole

jillian@us-ltrcd.org
Project Engineer
65 S Main St, Suite 107
Templeton, CA 84322-4865
Office Phone: 8054340396
Website: http://us-ltrcd.org/
Kevin Peterson

kpeterson@rcdsantabarbara.org
Mobile Irrigation Lab Specialist
Cachuma Resource Conservation District
920 East Stowell Road
Santa Maria, CA 93454
Office Phone: 8059289269
Website: http://www.sbsda.org/local/crcd/
Ben Burgoa

ben.burgoa@rcdmonterey.org
Resource Conservation District of Monterey County
744 La Guardia St, Building A
Salinas, CA 93905
Office Phone: 8314241036
Website: http://www.rcdmonterey.org