Westlands Water District Encourages Growers to Apply for Phase 2 of LandFlex Grant Funding. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) grower application enrollment period for Phase 2 of the LandFlex Program (LandFlex) is officially reopened. Westlands Water District Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) Westside Subbasin is one of four GSAs eligible for the second phase of funding. Growers will have access to approximately $10 million in grant funding and be incentivized to limit agricultural groundwater use near domestic wells.
“As the San Joaquin Valley continues to battle the impacts of the recent prolonged drought, we are grateful to provide farmers in Westlands access to grant funding through the LandFlex program,” said Allison Febbo, General Manager, Westlands Water District. “The District will continue to prioritize identifying resources like the LandFlex program so that our farmers can transition their land in the face of an uncertain water future.”
Block grant funding through LandFlex will be made available to growers with a three-year average Adjusted Gross Income of $2.5 million or less, for each enrolled acre up to 40 acres or 25-percent of their total acreage, whichever is greater. LandFlex funding must be used for the following actions:
- Provide immediate drought relief by fallowing land for a 12-month period (note: recharge activities are allowed on fallowed land in lieu of cover crops)
- Permanently retire any current and future groundwater overdraft on enrolled acreage
- Land use transition of enrolled acreage (e.g., orchard or row crop removal and planting of cover crops)
- To be considered for block grant funding through LandFlex, willing and eligible growers must apply through the Grower Application Portal at landflex.org/apply by the deadline: June 28, 2023 at 5:00 pm.
A priority for scoring applications will be based on land proximity to domestic wells that have gone dry or are in jeopardy of going dry, within the Subsidence Prone Area or approved recharge projects. Overall process for growers submitting applications in Phase 2 and receiving grant awards:
All grower applications will be submitted through landflex.org/apply DWR, Technical Assistance Providers and the GSAs will score applications and determine distribution of awards.
You can learn more about LandFlex by visiting: California Department of Water Resources or LandFlex Website.
Westlands Awarded Grant for Multi-benefit Land Repurposing Program
The California Department of Conservation (Department of Conservation) announced Westlands Water District Groundwater Sustainability Agency (Westlands GSA) was awarded a grant through the Multi-benefit Land Repurposing Program (MLRP). The Westlands GSA serves as a Groundwater Sustainability Agency for the Westside Subbasin (Subbasin), a critically over-drafted basin in Fresno and Kings Counties. As part of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act’s goals to mitigate and improve groundwater overdraft, the MLRP program aims to repurpose agricultural land to reduce reliance on groundwater while ensuring the voices and needs of marginalized communities are included in the process.
Recognizing the importance of finding ways to repurpose agricultural land that maximizes community benefits and minimizes the impacts of a reduction in economic activity, Westlands GSA partnered with Sequoia Riverlands Trust, Linguistica Interpreting and Translation, CivicWell, the Leap Institute, and Vista Consulting. These organizations are well-versed and experienced in community empowerment, job training, outreach and education, habitat restoration, and project organization for this effort and will help to support the program’s goals of achieving equitable groundwater sustainability.
“Choosing to partner with local Community Benefit Organizations and agencies who have directly served the community throughout the years speaks volumes about the intent to prioritize meaningful community participation and input.” Reyna Rodriguez, Owner, Linguistica Interpreting and Translation.
Alongside these trusted community partners, over the next 3.5 years, Westlands GSA will bring together broad community voices to develop and commence implementation of a multi-benefit land repurposing plan while simultaneously mitigating the effects of agricultural job loss through job training.
“Investing in priority populations on the west side of the Valley is critical in the advancement of climate resiliency and equity. The opportunity to train and certify local farmworkers, under-employed and unemployed residents will create jobs, save homeowners money, reduce greenhouse gasses, sequester carbon, and empower the local economy,” said Mayor Rey Leon, City of Huron, and Chief Executive Officer, The Leap Institute.
The program will assist the Westlands GSA to identify and put into practice long-term opportunities to repurpose agricultural lands, cut groundwater use, reduce subsidence, improve groundwater supply, avoid undesirable results as defined by the Westside Groundwater Sustainability Plan, and provide benefits to disadvantaged communities.
“Westlands has a long history of repurposing land through our solar developments to ambitious groundwater recharge programs and this grant gives us the opportunity to build upon those efforts and develop and implement a Subbasin-wide land repurposing program while helping improve the quality of life for those who live in the impacted communities,” said Febbo, GM, WWD. “We look forward to rolling up our sleeves with our partners to develop a comprehensive resident-informed plan to improve communities, economic wellbeing, water supply, habitat, and climate benefits.”
About Westlands Water District
Westlands Water District is recognized as a world leader in agricultural water conservation and has served the farmers and rural communities on the west side of Fresno and Kings counties for more than seven decades. As stewards of one of California’s most precious natural resources, Westlands continually invests in conservation and champions farmers deploying innovative irrigation methods based on the best available technology. For more information contact: Elizabeth Jonasson 559/241-6233.
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