AWQA is a collaborative, non-regulatory partnership working to protect the health of Sanctuary waters and the productivity of Central Coast agricultural lands.
The Central Coast of California abounds in natural resources. The region is home to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), which protects one of the world's most diverse marine ecosystems. The watersheds that flow to the MBNMS, spanning 7,000 square miles and 6 counties, are also an important resource that support a diverse $5.6 Billion agricultural industry.
Farmers are up against a number of challenges to stay viable, comply with regulations, and protect natural resources. In response to these challenges, farmers and agencies on the Central Coast have formed the Agriculture Water Quality Alliance (AWQA).
AWQA is a unique regional partnership that brings together farmers, ranchers, technical service providers, researchers and resource conservation agencies to protect water quality in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary while maintaining the productivity of Central Coast farmlands through a voluntary stewardship approach. The AWQA collaborative approach is outlined in the “Agriculture and Rural Lands Action Plan” which was developed with broad stakeholder involvement and released in 1999. Central Coast Farm Bureaus played a strong leadership role in the development of this action plan, and continue to provide leadership in implementing the plan through the Central Coast Agricultural Water Quality Coalition.
Since 1999, AWQA partners have worked together to reduce the runoff of sediments, nutrients, and pesticides from agricultural and rural lands through education and outreach, technical and financial assistance, research and monitoring, permit streamlining, and watershed coordination.
The leadership and participation of Central Coast farmers and ranchers is key to achieving our vision: “Together we will protect and enhance water in the MBNMS and the adjacent watersheds while sustaining a world class production agriculture region through voluntary collaboration with managers of agricultural and rural lands.”
Learn about AWQA accomplishments by clicking here.
Access AWQA plans and annual priorities by clicking here.
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