Seven years ago, in June of 2012 to be exact, the Water Quality Control Commission adopted Regulation 85. Prior to the rulemaking hearing, a number of ag groups in Colorado came together to form the Colorado Ag Producers Alliance for the purpose of being part of the stakeholder process and in the interest of being “at the table” as the regulation was being drafted.
The regulation was adopted in order to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus loading to the state surface waters.
Regulation 85 became effective in September of 2012 and since then CLA has been very active, not just with CAPA but with other organizations that have a vested interest in how Regulation 85 is ultimately enforced.
One such group is the Colorado Monitoring Framework, a nonprofit organization formed with the objective of creating a collaborative process to comply with water quality regulations adopted by the WQCC. Initially, CMF was primarily made up of municipal dischargers and water treatment entities. CAPA members recognized an opportunity to collaborate with the CMF because the one thing we have in common is that we all are part of the nutrient criteria issue.
Representing agriculture’s voice within the CMF framework is the Agricultural Task Force. The Task Force has been working to educate and inform the agricultural community about the potential for upcoming nutrient regulations. Although agricultural nonpoint sources of nutrients are currently exempt from regulation, this exemption is up for review.
An evaluation of our progress will be made in 2020, with a final decision on the need to regulate nonpoint sources scheduled for 2022.
As we prepare for the informational hearing set for the fall of 2020, input from the agricultural community is necessary and will be highly valuable to the WQCC’s decision-making process.
Information such as best management practices applied, percent of operations in a region that employ nutrient management plans, water quality data regarding BMP impacts, and monitoring and sampling data will support our efforts.
If you are interested in participating or would like to get more information about this issue, please contact Bill Hammerich at the CLA office (970) 378-0500.