Humboldt County Public Works is coordinating the local response to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). SGMA was signed into law in September 2014 and applies to designated medium- and high-priority basins within the state. Currently there is one medium-priority basin, the Eel River Valley groundwater basin, within Humboldt County. SGMA is administered at the state level by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the State Water Resources Control Board.
- YouTube Video YouTube Video Watch this short video to learn more about groundwater.
- Groundwater: Understanding and Managing this Vital Resource video – Interactive Story Map to help expand public awareness.
Eel River Valley Groundwater Sustainability Plan Updates
February 14, 2022: The Eel River Valley Groundwater Sustainability Plan with all its attachments was finalized on January 29, 2022, and submitted to the California Department of Water Resources on January 31, 2022. Today, DWR opened a 75-day public comment period, which ends on April 30, 2022. The full plan is available on DWR's SGMA Portal for the Eel River Valley GSP . (Please note that the document is large: 422 Megabytes.) This web page has a button that can be used for submitting comments to DWR. A Frequently Asked Questions document regarding public commenting on GSPs is available here: FAQ. Following the public comment period, DWR will review the GSP to determine whether it complies with the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
The separate elements of the plan can be found on the County's Eel River Valley Groundwater Basin Resources webpage.
Humboldt County extends its thanks to all the water users, agencies, tribes, non-governmental organizations, well drillers, and community partners who participated in the development of the GSP and to DWR for financial assistance. Humboldt County also thanks the consultant team of GHD Inc., SHN Consulting Engineers and Geologists, Stillwater Sciences, Thomas Gast and Associates, and Western Resources Strategies, along with the Humboldt County Resource Conservation District.
If you or your organization would like to schedule a meeting to discuss the GSP before you submit comments to DWR, please contact Hank Seemann email@example.com
January 2022: On Tuesday, January 25, 2022 the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors adopted the Eel River Valley Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP). A video of the meeting can be viewed through Access Humboldt-Board of Supervisors 1/25/2022 meeting. Meeting Item began at 11:30 am.
A video of the informational update to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors/GSA regarding the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) on January 4, 2022 can be viewed through Access Humboldt-Board of Supervisors 1/4/2022 meeting.
December 2021: Public comment letters regarding the Draft Eel River GSP are posted on the Eel River Valley Groundwater Basin Resources page.
There will be an informational update to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors/GSA regarding the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) on January 4, 2022.
The GSP will be revised and updated based on consideration of the comments received during the public review period, and the Board of Supervisors will consider approving the final GSP on January 25, 2022, prior to the January 31, 2022 deadline.
Humboldt County Board of Supervisor meetings and agendas can be viewed on the County legistar calendar website
November 22, 2021: The public review period for the Administrative Draft GSP is November 22, 2021, through December 24, 2021 and can be found on the County’s Groundwater-Eel River Resources webpage.
October 15, 2021: In accordance with California Water Code Section 10728.4, the Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency hereby provides notice of intent to adopt a Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Eel River Valley groundwater basin (Basin No. 1-010) for compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
- November 22, 2021- Draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan will be released for a 30-day review period. If release of the draft plan is delayed, the 30-day review period will be adjusted accordingly.
- December 2021- An informational report will be provided to the Board of Supervisors at one of the Board’s regularly scheduled meetings.
- January 2022- The Board of Supervisors will consider adoption of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan at a public hearing no earlier than 90 days from the date of Notice of Intent.
- January 31, 2022- Deadline for submitting the adopted Groundwater Sustainability Plan to the California Department of Water Resources.
The draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan will be posted on the County’s Groundwater-Eel River Resources webpage.
August 2021: Twenty-three (23) new monitoring wells were installed this in April-June 2021 by Fisch Drilling and Clear Heart Drilling to expand the monitoring network. Groundwater level monitoring, surface water flow monitoring, water use monitoring, water quality sampling, and aquifer characterization are ongoing. A hydrologic model using the GSFLOW software has been calibrated and analysis of the groundwater basin is currently in progress, in coordination with the U.S. Geological Survey. The model will be used to support the development of sustainable management criteria.
A set of memos (brief reports) summarizing the technical studies and data collection will be completed in early September. A message will be sent out when the full set of memos has been posted to the website.
Humboldt County plans to conduct a series of stakeholder meetings in late September in coordination with the Humboldt County Resource Conservation District and Western Resource Strategies. The County will be reaching out to organizations and individuals in early September to schedule those meetings.
Draft chapters of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan will be released in October for review and public comment. The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors is expected to consider approving the plan in December 2021 or January 2022. Unless the deadline is extended by the State, the deadline to submit the plan to the Department of Water Resources is January 31, 2022. The Groundwater Sustainability Plan will identify future monitoring activities and potential management actions or projects based on the sustainable management criteria. No management actions or projects will be implemented before the plan is approved.
Documents related to the Groundwater Sustainability Plan and materials from past meetings are available on the Eel River Resources webpage
Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency Formation (May 2020)
Navigate to the Humboldt County GSA Home page for information and documents related to the GSA administration.
Eel River Valley Groundwater Basin
Mad River Valley-Mad River Lowland Groundwater Basin
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is a combination of three bills signed by California Governor Jerry Brown in 2014: Assembly Bill (AB) 1739, Senate Bill (SB) 1168, and SB 1319. SGMA provides local agencies with the framework to manage groundwater basins in a sustainable manner. The legislation recognizes that groundwater is most effectively managed at the local level, and local agencies will need to achieve groundwater sustainability within 20 years of submitting a groundwater sustainability plan.
In SGMA, sustainable groundwater management is defined as management of groundwater supplies in a manner that can be maintained in planning and implementation phases without causing undesirable results. Undesirable results include significant and unreasonable chronic lowering of groundwater levels, reduction of groundwater storage, seawater intrusion, degraded water quality, land subsidence, and interconnected surface waters.
SGMA requires that California groundwater basins identified as high or medium priority establish a Groundwater Sustainability Agency and develop a plan for sustainable management by January 31, 2022. If the local GSAs fail to follow the timeline, then the State Water Resources Control Board will step in and intervene in local groundwater management.