Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency

The Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency is developing a comprehensive groundwater sustainability plan for the Eel River Valley groundwater basin as required by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The plan will be adopted and submitted to the California Department of Water Resources by January 31, 2022. The agency will work with water users and stakeholders to guide and coordinate the sustainable management of groundwater resources in the Eel River Valley. 

Meetings

Due to the State’s orders regarding COVID-19, Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board meetings may be held via a web-based platform until otherwise noticed. The Board operates and provides notice for these meetings consistent with the Brown Act (California Government Code 54950 et seq.). All meeting materials are available to the public on the County Calendar website. Public comments are accepted at each meeting.

Basin Governance

The Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency is governed by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. The agency was formed under authority established by California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 and Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Resolution 20-39 (pdf) (May 5, 2020). The Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency’s decision-making process is broken down by the roles of the Board of Supervisors, staff, Eel River Valley Groundwater Working Group, and Groundwater Resources Advisory Committee (if formed).

GSA Organizational Chart

GSA Organization Chart

Diagram above shows organization of Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency authority and supporting partners including Jurisdictional partners, Working Group, and Advisory Committee. The Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency is responsible for making final policy decisions related to the County Groundwater Sustainability Agency and adopting and implementing the Eel River Valley Groundwater Sustainability Plan. 

  1. Groundwater Sustainability Agency
  2. Eel River Valley Groundwater Working Group
  3. Groundwater Resources Advisory Committee

The Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency is governed by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and is responsible for making final policy decisions relative to the Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency and adopting and implementing the Eel River Valley Groundwater Sustainability Plan.

The Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency will be staffed through the Humboldt County Department of Public Works. Public Works staff will perform the day-to-day administrative duties and technical work and makes recommendations for policy decisions. During Groundwater Sustainability Plan development, staff will provide presentations and hold open forums on various aspects of Groundwater Sustainability Plan development. 

Information presented at Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board Meetings will also be presented and expanded upon at working group meetings.

GSA Formation Process

California Legislature adopted, and the Governor signed into law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA). The legislative intent of SGMA includes providing for sustainable management of groundwater basins, enhancing local management of groundwater consistent with rights to use or store groundwater, establishing minimum standards for sustainable groundwater management and providing local groundwater agencies with the authority and technical and financial assistance necessary to sustainably manage groundwater.

In order to exercise the authority granted in SGMA, a local agency, or a combination of local agencies, overlying a groundwater basin may decide to form a Groundwater Sustainability Agency for the local management of groundwater.

The Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency is a public agency formed to sustainably manage groundwater in the Eel River Valley groundwater basin.

  • On May 5, 2020, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors adopted a Resolution 20-39 (PDF 309 KB) forming the Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency for the Eel River Valley groundwater basin. Formation of a Groundwater Sustainability Agency had become mandatory for compliance with SGMA. This resolution directs Humboldt County Department of Public Works to return to the Board of Supervisors at a future meeting with proposed bylaws for the Groundwater Sustainability Agency including the structure for a Groundwater Resources Advisory Committee.
  • On April 16, 2020, Humboldt County advertised the HCGSA Notice of Public Hearing (PDF 578 KB) to be held on May 5, 2020.
  • In Pursuant to Government Code section 6066 and Water Code section 10723, on May 5, 2020, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing for the purpose of receiving public comment and testimony regarding the proposal for Humboldt County to form a Groundwater Sustainability Agency under Water Code sections 10723.8 and 10724 for the Eel River Valley groundwater basin.
  • On May 21, 2020, Humboldt County Groundwater Sustainability Agency's formation notice was posted on California Department of Water Resources' SGMA Portal website. Because the Eel River Valley groundwater basin was unmanaged, the decision to become the Groundwater Sustainability Agency took effect immediately without a 90-day waiting period, pursuant to Water Code Section 10724. Therefore, Humboldt County was recognized by California Department of Water Resources as the Groundwater Sustainability Agency for the Eel River Valley groundwater basin starting May 21, 2020. Humboldt County will consider the interests of all beneficial uses and users of groundwater as described in the Humboldt Co GSA consideration of interests memo (PDF 91KB).