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North Fork Kings GSA June 28, 2023

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By Don A. Wright

The North Fork Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency met on Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at the North Gym at Riverdale High. We sat on the bleachers while the board sat at a table in the free throw area facing a screen. There was also an impressive list of championships by the Riverdale Cowboys painted on the wall. The acoustics were everything you’d expect in a cavernous room with hardwood floors. It made it a bit difficult to hear clearly but it was surrealistic in a kind of fun way – having a GSA meeting at the sock hop after the basketball game. The meeting was called to order at 5:30pm by President Mark McKean, not Director Buddy Mendes, as earlier stated.

The Meeting

General Manager Justin Mendes* spoke about a project documentation form that is under consideration. He said most of the projects are initiated by growers, more so than the GSA itself. The board was asked to look at a draft of the project application form and OK its disbursement.

The technical committee has interviewed EKI Engineering for some hydrogeology consulting services. Kevin Johansson of Provost & Pritchard is working on a calculation methodology to present to the Subbasin coordination meeting.

The Grower Advisory Committee report was next and Mendes said this is the last year for the Land IQ contract and decisions are coming up.

Mendes said he attended an agricultural education event to speak with teachers about water. Self Help Enterprises (not be confused with the other NGOs – these guys will work with you) held a gathering for community and agency leaders to communicate. Sue Ruiz of Self Help said the takeaway was the amount of information exchanged. She said the emphasis is on exchanging knowledge and she said Self Help intends to do more of this. Mendes, who participated, suggested more GSA representation in the future as one size does not fit all and the interaction would be good for better understanding.


Mendes said there is a need to update service agreements. Provost & Pritchard will be retained for consulting, good for them. Also avoiding the chopping block is the accounting firm M. Green & Company. In the old days Mendes was using his cell phone’s personal hotspot to gain internet access. The board kindly agreed to enter into a contract with PC Solutions for IT assistance and Comcast for internet connections.


Mendes said the Tulare Lake Subbasin is the first of the subbasins to undergo review by the State Board and this is one six GSPs to go through this process. The State Board is expected to make a determination of the exact date in December.

Savannah Tjaden, MLJ Environmental said she spoke with attorney Aubrey Mauritson about the registration of wells and landowner involvement. There is a computerized enrollment ready. She said landowners will receive a unique identification/verification code to add parcels to the system and register the wells. P&P and the County of Fresno will play a role in this effort. Tjaden said this system should allow the landowners to register their wells as land is purchased, sold and new wells are installed. This is not a SGMA requirement per se but is a part of the NFKGSA GSP. Not all landowners will be contacted at once.Conterra

Grower Frank Coelho asked why not get everyone on board sooner than later. Tjaden said the process needs to be thought through so Mendes doesn’t get thousands of phone calls all at once when the program is introduced. She said they are looking at perhaps contacting the first 50-largest landowners and going from there. There is also the consideration of small parcels that could be part of a larger parcel being farmed and not really a candidate for the domestic well diminutive use exemption. In other words it could complicated before it gets easy. This program is unique to the North Fork Kings GSA although the North Kings GSA is also working on a well registration plan.

Mendes and Director Frank Zonneveld said P&P is working on a canal capacity study to allow the GSA to get as much surface water and recharge into the area as possible.


            Brian Trevarrow said he didn’t have a regular financial statement prepared for this meeting but he did have a budget and the GSA has more than $4 million in the bank, if I understood correctly. There isn’t an assessment proposed for this year but there should be enough money to keep things floating. Mendes said MLJ has been contacted to develop a water accounting software and that was included in the budget. The board accepted the financial report.

Trevarrow next spoke about using the Kings River Conservation District’s investment policy as a guide for the NFKGSA policy. He said investing idle funds in a safe and secure manner with a year or less maturity is the ticket. He suggested opening an account with the JP Morgan Security outfit as it has a better yield than Fresno County or the Local Agency Investment Fund. Old JP’s getting over 5.5 percent on some of its T-Bills and corporate investment grade opportunities like Toyota USA, I think he said. Trevarrow said he can work with the GSA’s attorney to set this all up.

Closed Session

At 6:16pm the meeting was ushered into closed session. We left the North Gym and wandered around the campus trying to find how to get past the locked gates of Riverdale High. That’ll teach me to park at the South Gym for a North Gym meeting.

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*Never thought about it before but I wonder if Justin and Buddy are related. Also, I often wonder if anyone ever reads these footnotes.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Copyright 2020 by Don A. Wright

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.

North Fork Kings GSA: Directors, Division 1 Buddy Mendes County of Fresno, Div.2 Frank Zonneveld Laguna ID, Div. 3 Carol Hall Laton Community Services Dist., Div. 4 Mark McKean Crescent Canal Company, Div. 5 Leonard Acquistapace Riverdale Irrigation Company, Div. 6 Stephen Maddox Liberty Mill Race Company & Div. 7 Tony Campos Liberty WD

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