New Groundwater Agencies Plan First Meetings, Public Hearings


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 17, 2017

    Contact: Ann DuBay - 707.524.8378 (office), 707.322.8185 (cell),

    Santa Rosa, CA – Public hearings are scheduled to consider designating three local agencies to be responsible for ensuring groundwater is available now and into the future. The hearings will be held on June 1, for the Santa Rosa Plain basin; June 8 for the Sonoma Valley basin; and June 22 for Petaluma Valley basin. (Details below.)

    The hearings are one item on the agendas of the first meetings of the Santa Rosa Plain, Sonoma Valley and Petaluma Valley groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs). These agencies were formed to meet the requirements of California’s historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which went into effect in 2015. The public hearings will include an opportunity for members of the public to speak.

    The three GSAs were formed as joint powers authorities by local public entities that have responsibility for water supply, water management and land use. (See chart for entities and the individuals appointed to represent each entity on the Board of Directors of each new groundwater sustainability agency.) In Santa Rosa Plain, the small community water companies (also known as mutual water companies) and PUC-regulated water companies will also participate in that GSA and appoint one representative to serve on the board.

    SGMA requires that these new entities hold a public hearing prior to formally deciding to be the GSA for SGMA purposes. The deadline for forming GSAs is June 30, 2017. If local agencies fail to serve as GSAs, the state will step in to manage groundwater in the three basins.

    The meetings will also include the election of the GSA officers, administration of the GSAs, and the advisory committee process. (Meeting agendas can be found at

    Each GSA board will create an advisory committee to provide input and feedback on policies, programs and projects, including groundwater sustainability plans.






    City of Cotati

    Mayor Susan Harvey

    Councilmember Mark Landman (alt)

    City of Petaluma

    Councilmember Mike Healy

    Public Works Director Dan St. John (alt)

    City of Sonoma

    Councilmember David Cook

    Councilmember Madolyn Agrimonti (alt)

    City of Rohnert Park

    Vice-Mayor Pam Stafford

    Councilmember Gina Belforte (alt)

    North Bay Water District

    Director Carolyn Wassem

    Director Mike Sangiacomo (alt)

    North Bay Water District

    Director Mike Sangiacomo

    Director Carolyn Wassem (alt)

    City of Santa Rosa

    Councilmember Tom Schwedhelm

    Alternate to be determined

    Sonoma County

    Supervisor David Rabbitt

    Supervisor James Gore (alt)

    Valley of the Moon Water District

    Chairman Mark Heneveld

    Board member Bruce Adams

    Town of Windsor

    Councilmember Mark Millan

    Mayor Debora Fudge (alt)

    Sonoma County Water Agency

    Director Susan Gorin

    Director James Gore (alt)

    Sonoma County

    Supervisor Susan Gorin

    Supervisor James Gore (alt)

    Sonoma County

    Chairwoman Shirlee Zane

    Supervisor Susan Gorin (alt)

    Sonoma Resource Conservation District

    Director Bruce Abelli-Amen

    Executive Director Kara Heckert (alt)

    Sonoma County Water Agency

    Director David Rabbitt

    Director James Gore (alt)

    Sonoma County Water Agency

    Director Lynda Hopkins

    Director James Gore (alt)


    Sonoma Resource Conservation District

    Vice-Chairwoman Vickie Mulas

    Director Bruce Abelli-Amen (alt)

    Sonoma Resource Conservation District

    Chairman Walter Ryan

    Associate Director John Nagle (alt)


    Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District

    Director Joe Dutton

    Director Mel Sanchietti (alt)





    Santa Rosa Plain Basin

    Thursday, June 1, 5:30 p.m.

    Santa Rosa Utilities Field Office

    35 Stony Point Road, Santa Rosa


    Sonoma Valley Basin

    Thursday, June 8, 5:30 p.m.

    Vintage House Senior Center

    264 1st St E, Sonoma


    Petaluma Valley Basin

    Thursday, June 22, 5:30 p.m.

    Petaluma Community Center

    320 North McDowell Blvd., Petaluma



    SGMA was passed into California law in fall 2014. SGMA requires that State-designated medium- and high-priority basins form a GSA(s) and develop a groundwater sustainability plan(s). Sonoma County has three medium priority basins: Petaluma Valley, Santa Rosa Plain and Sonoma Valley; these basins have to comply with SGMA.

    The Sonoma Valley has a voluntary groundwater management plan and Basin Advisory Panel and is in its 10th year of plan implementation. The Santa Rosa Plain adopted a voluntary groundwater management plan in 2014, has a Basin Advisory Panel, and is in the initial stages of implementing that plan. These existing groundwater management plans will remain in effect until new groundwater sustainability plans are developed. The Petaluma Valley has embarked on a study with the U.S. Geological Service to understand its basin. These programs will be incorporated as much as possible when developing the Groundwater Sustainability Plan.

    The GSA-eligible entities have been meeting since 2015 to understand SGMA requirements and explore options for GSA formation. Basin Advisory Panels (in Sonoma Valley and Santa Rosa Plain) have provided input on reaching out to stakeholders and shared ideas on how eligible entities can work together.  Public workshops were held in the fall of 2015, summer of 2016 and spring of 2017.

    A website, includes up-to-date information on SGMA and a place to sign up for more information.




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