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McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency September 2, 2020

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Ger Bennett BannerThe McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency’s board of directors met remotely by Zoom on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. The meeting began in closed session to discuss a couple of items. The first was an existing lawsuit involving James Irrigation District and MAGSA. The second was a conference with legal counsel regarding a case of anticipated litigation. Since was closed session I wasn’t listening in but I’m guessing Janelle Krattiger was the attorney.Conterra

The open session began shortly after 2:00pm and General Manager Matt Hurley had nothing to report from closed session. The board approved the financial report and paying the bills. Auditors are a big deal in public agencies and the firm of Cuttone & Mastro CPAs will continue in that role for MAGSA.

Next Hurley gave his report saying Fresno County’s requirements have been met for forwarding tax bills. So MAGSA will be funded.

MAGSA and the Raisin City Water District have aligned some of their projects of mutual interest to leverage funding from grants. They even were able to use one grant as the matching funds for another grant. Good for them. The projects are aimed at improved recharge such as the Terra Nova Project which is a good example of projects benefiting the Groundwater Sustainability Plan. Hurley said the attorneys are drafting a MOU in preparation for entering into a JPA. If I heard correctly. If I didn’t hear correctly I expect someone from MAGSA will let kindly let me know. There is the possibility of water banking, again, good for them.

Amer Hussain, an engineer with Geosyntec gave the water marketing update. He said several scenarios are being developed and some modeling to show how they can benefit from the marketing. There was a water marketing Workshop I that was successful and there will be on October 21st from 4-6:00pm a Workshop II.

Hurley reported on grant opportunities and awards saying a US Bureau of Reclamation WaterSMART grant for metering groundwater pumping is up for grabs. There was a resolution required to apply so MAGSA Resolution 2020-05 was unanimously approved.

Another grant from the California Department of Conservation is offering a SGMA watershed coordinator. No matching funds are required and the position would be funded for three years at a total of $300,000. The other local agencies interested in this include the Tranquillity Resource Conservation District and the Mendota Wildlife Refuge. Hurley mentioned a name I didn’t recognize as being a good candidate for the position. The coordinator would focus on GSAs and any other agencies and sub basins that would impact MAGSA. The coordination activities could easily extend to the neighbors in other sub basins such as Madera and Kaweah. The position won’t cost MAGSA any money or staff time. Director Jerry Rai pointed out this position doesn’t come with any taxing authority and will focus on gathering missing data. He also said the application prohibits anyone from personally profiting from this. The board also approved Resolution 2020-06 unanimously.

Next the draft policy for groundwater export and groundwater data. The export policy was tabled. Hurley said after the review of legal counsel he recommended adopting the groundwater data policy and the board did so. He said the groundwater export policy draft is ready for public comment as is the water banking policy. The board approved releasing the drafts for comment. They should be on the MAGSA website tomorrow.

Item Six dealt with the implementation of the MAGSA Groundwater Sustainability Plan. Hurley said the groundwater banking idea is still viable. A location near Jensen Avenue is under consideration. A large canal will have to be installed across some private property and those landowners are being contacted. He also said the Kings Sub Basin GSAs will be meeting this week.

Directors reports were next and only Chairman Jeevan Singh had anything to say about anything and that was the Mid Valley WD is looking at bringing in the white area within MAGSA so it will have representation under a water district. .

Cristel Tufenkjian of Kings River Conservation District gave an outreach activities report saying there were articles and videos and new twitter viewers. She said there are opportunities for sharing costs with other GSAs contracting with KRCD for outreach services.

There were no other items to be discussed and since it is harvest time the meeting was happily adjourned after about 45 minutes of open session. And that was that.

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SGMA The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 calls for the formation of Groundwater Sustainability Areas within Basins and Sub-basins to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans.

McMullin Area GSA – The McMullin Area GSA member agencies are Fresno County, Raisin City Water District and the Mid Valley Water District. Located in Western Fresno County MMAGSA is one of seven GSAs in the Kings River Sub Basin.

DWR Listing: Basin San Joaquin, Sub Basin Kings 5-022.08

Directors – Brian Pacheco, Jerry Rai, Gagan Batth, Jeevan Singh & Matt Abercrombie.

Staff – Matt Hurley, General Manager. Janelle Krattiger, District Counsel. Randy Hopkins, Engineer.