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Supervisors oppose federal water amendments

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Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 10:00 pm

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors unanimously took a position opposing amendments to the federal Clean Water Act, which could lead to federal regulations for water on private property.

The board voted 4-0 on Tuesday, with Supervisor Victor Mow absent, to oppose House Resolution 2421 and Senate Bill 1870. The bills would remove the term "navigable waters" and replace it with "Waters of the United States." That would add federal control to wetlands, irrigation, roadside ditches, interconnected groundwater and non-navigable waterways, according to county Public Works Director Tom Flinn.

"… The proposed changes would substantially impact the county's $1.75 billion agricultural industry," Flinn wrote in a report to the Board of Supervisors.

"Many routine farming practices would fall under federal jurisdiction and be subjected to permitting," Flinn said. "Many route but vital maintenance operations in roadside ditches, small stream channels, dry washes and man-made water conveyances could have real effect on water quality."

Joe Petersen, chairman of the county's Agricultural Advisory Board, also opposes the pending legislation.

"The Army Corps of Engineers already plans a strong role in any attempt to improve marginal range land to irrigated agriculture in San Joaquin County," Petersen said. "Historically, they have been a hindrance to agricultural improvements, even when done on lands zoned (for) agriculture."

  • The board approved spending $150,000 over a two-year period to carry out the county's breastfeeding policies and programs in local hospitals. The county's Children and Families Commission's goal is to increase the number of hospitals in the county being trained to be more baby-friendly and breastfeeding focused. Funding is provided through a state tobacco tax approved by voters statewide in 1998, called the California Children and Families Act of 1998.
  • The board voted to abandon portions of two public utility easements to allow construction of a retail car wash and relocation of a water main by 15 feet in Flag City.
  • The board adopted its spending plan for the state Citizens' Options for Public Safety Program. For the 2008-09 fiscal year, supervisors added almost $60,000 to replace worn-out vehicles for investigators in the District Attorney's office and finance two deputy DAs to prosecute misdemeanors. The plan also calls for slight reductions to the sheriff's department's patrol and custody units.
  • Supervisors authorized District Attorney Jim Willett to complete an agreement with the Governor's Office of Emergency Services for an $82,000 grant to provide 50 percent of the funding for a deputy district attorney to prosecute juvenile gun and gang cases as part of the state Project Safe Neighborhoods Program. The grant also covers a technical training conference for district attorney staff.
  • Supervisors authorized the closure of parts of Kennefick, Collier, Underwood, Bruella, South Orchard, Dustin and Woodbridge roads from 8 a.m. to noon on May 18 for the annual Avenue of the Vines Half Marathon at Woodbridge Winery.

    - News-Sentinel staff

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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