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Investment by CA dairies improves water quality


August 3, 2011
By Dairy Cares

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dairycows02August 2, 2011 – In coming
weeks, California dairy families will step forward with a new, pioneering
initiative to further protect and improve water quality across the great
Central Valley.
August 2, 2011 – In coming
weeks, California dairy families will step forward with a new, pioneering
initiative to further protect and improve water quality across the great
Central Valley.

This multi-million-dollar
effort will begin with the installation of a special network of monitoring
wells in Merced and Stanislaus counties. This network is designed to provide
some of the most precise measurements to date of the effectiveness of various dairy
management techniques in protecting and preserving groundwater quality. This
network will expand over the next one to two years, with wells installed on
dozens of dairies in at least nine counties where dairies are especially
active.

dairycows02  
   

This monitoring effort is
by far the most ambitious in the history of California’s dairy industry, and in
fact is the first such program of this scale in the United States. While the
science behind groundwater monitoring is complex, the goal of the program is
simple: To ensure that California dairies have the information they need to
protect groundwater resources.

The new monitoring
initiative, led by the non-profit Central Valley Dairy Representative
Monitoring Program (CVDRMP)
, is the product of more than two years of intensive
planning and organizing. The program is envisioned to collect data for at least
the next several years, while preparing technical reports and recommendations
on groundwater protection efforts.

To do their part in
protecting California’s valuable water supplies above and below ground, Central
Valley dairy families already operate under the strictest water quality
protection measures in the nation. Dairies must manage manure through a careful
budgeting process that assures the proper amounts of this valuable plant
nutrient are applied to crops. Efforts must also be made to store manure
properly and safely until it is needed, and to prevent flooding during rainy
seasons. These efforts include ongoing testing of wells and other types of
testing to track trends in water quality.

The new monitoring
initiative will provide something like a report card on the comprehensive
efforts of dairies across the Central Valley to improve water quality. It is
expected to provide valuable data to quantify improvements in water quality
that have resulted from improved management at dairies, as well as potentially
identifying opportunities for further improvement.

Over the past decade,
California dairy families have repeatedly established themselves as leaders in
environmental stewardship, by reducing their carbon footprint, adopting
measures to help improve valley air quality, and cooperating with efforts to
protect water quality. As the CVDRMP’s first wells are installed this August,
consumers of California dairy products can rest assured that California dairy
families will continue to provide nutritious, delicious and affordable dairy
products to the tables of millions of American families, even as they continue
to diligently pursue efforts to protect the environmental resources upon which
all Californians depend.


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