The McMullin Area GSA met on Wednesday, September 5, 2018 at the Kerman Community Center. Only it didn’t. Elizabeth Heng is running for congress and she’s having a fund raiser at the Community Center. It looked great and poised for success. This moved the MAGSA meeting down the street to the Kerman Senior Center. Chairman Don Cameron called the meeting to order at 2:00pm. There was no public comment, the minutes were approved without comment and the big financial news reported by Kings River Conservation District’s Randy Schilling reported the GSA spent more than $400 for a booth at the Kerman Ag Exposition. The board agreed paying its bills and also at Schilling’s recommendation hired Cuttone & Mastro CPA for an upcoming audit.

Things got rolling when the agenda rolled around to policies and bylaws of the MAGSA. Dr. Paul Toste stated a problem. Right now Fresno County Supervisor Brian Pacheco represents the county and appointed Matt Abercrombie white area of MAGSA. Toste’s point was under the current JPA a county supervisor must represent the white area but it could be a supervisor from an urban portion of the county. Furthermore this director appoints another director to represent the white area. The concern is in the future an anti-ag supervisor could represent the white area and appoint some NGO member from the Sierra Club or NRDC. In addition to this Toste felt since the white area is the largest portion of the GSA it should have dedicated representation. This caused a bit of stir with someone from Raisin City Water District who felt it would put an additional elections expense on the GSA. Not too sure the matter was completely understood and the discussion started to get circular. Cameron directed attorney Janelle Krattiger to write up a proposal and bring it back.

The ethics policy was next and Krattiger said the agency needs to adopt a policy. Same with a conflict of interest code. This is basic formation steps and I’m kind of surprised it hasn’t already been completed this late in the game. But, they did get it done. The board agreed to approve the policies. Also under policies the board reviewed a proposed well ordinance. Krattiger explained at a previous meeting she was asked to prepare a draft. Currently just how many wells or the shape they are in within MAGSA is unknown. Since this isn’t metering therefore not covered by SGMA in the detail necessary an ordinance would have to be adopted to go forward. Krattiger said domestic, agricultural and industrial wells would have to register with the MAGSA. This would include the conditions and uses. Pacheco asked if any other GSA is doing this. Staff said this isn’t happening anywhere else at this time and it may be premature. Pacheco said he doesn’t want MAGSA to take the lead in this. It is the first step for the state to identify the wells and shut them off. This information may be necessary in the future but there wasn’t one person in the room who spoke up in support.

MAGSA has been trying to join the Kings River Water Association. Cameron said currently MAGSA is the only entity in the area not a member. The board instructed staff to send a letter to the KRWA expressing its interest to become a member. There was a little bit of confusion between the KRWA and the Kings River Conservation District. I’ve never been to a KRWA meeting but I’ve been told the way to tell the two organizations apart is; the KRCD are a bunch of friendly folks without water rights. That’s why they can be full time friendly. The KRWA are rumored to gnaw off a limb of an opponent’s infant offspring at the slightest sign of displeasure.

Consulting engineer Randy Hopkins of Provost & Pritchard gave the board a timeline on the Groundwater Sustainability Plan. There will be a technical advisory committee meeting before the regular board meets. It will also meet as a sole Tech Committee in between the board meetings.

Next Cameron reported on coordination agreement matters saying they are meeting as the seven member GSAs. The ad hoc committees were next and P&P engineer Lynn Groundwater said the tech committee will have a workshop to go over tasks. It sounded like all the objectives are either completed or underway save one. There really isn’t enough data to implement a plan yet. But it’s getting close. She also gave us a presentation of the technical committee’s progress: GSP schedule, well canvass update, water level sustainable minimum criteria, storage change SMC and water level SMC.

Crystal Tufenkjian gave an update of the outreach committee’s progress and she said there are speakers available to talk to various clubs and events. There will be a booth at the Kerman Ag Expo. She said KRCD is producing videos that will be available to help explain SGMA and the process. There is also many schools within MAGSA that will be impacted by SGMA. Outreach to schools will be the first step in gathering more and more stakeholder input.

Hopkins reported three candidates are going to be interviewed for the manager position. It was also suggested an ad hoc committee be formed for the white areas. Steve Stadler, GM James ID GSA said his GSA would like to work closer and welcomed them to the advisory and board meetings. Abercrombie said he sat through a JIDGSA advisory committee and there was good detail on water amounts not yet ready in MAGSA. Cameron said there is a pending agreement between James and McMullin to share data. Stadler said it will take cooperation between the two GSAs for monitoring underground flows.

The next scheduled board meeting is October 3rd. The meeting then went into closed session for one case of potential exposure to litigation and one case of existing litigation.

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SGMA The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 calls for the formation of Groundwater Sustainability Areas within Basins and Sub-basins to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans.

McMullin Area GSA – The McMullin Area GSA member agencies are Fresno County, Raisin City Water District and the Mid Valley Water District. Located in Western Fresno County MAGSA is one of seven GSAs in the Kings River Sub Basin.