Protecting Water Quality in Vineyards (319h)

In 2001, CCVT received a grant from the Regional Water Quality Control Board to develop demonstration sites that minimize non-point source pollution and protect water quality. 

What is Non-Point Source (NPS) Pollution?

NPS pollution occurs when water that carries pollutants moves over the soil surface or percolates downward through the soil profile. These pollutants can be natural or "man-made" and may eventually be deposited into streams, rivers, lakes, the ocean, coastal estuaries and groundwater. NPS pollutants commonly associated with agriculture include sediment, fertilizers, and pesticides. Water containing any of these constituents reduces the potential of this water being beneficially used for drinking, irrigation, recreation, and the environment.

What are Best Management Practices (BMPs)?

  • BMPs are strategies that reduce NPS pollution involving reducing the potential pollutant (i.e., nitrogen) and/or reducing the pollutant carrier (i.e., fast moving water).
  • BMPs for this project are practices that reduce off-site movement of soil, water, fertilizers and pesticides.
  • BMPs being implemented in this project include: grassed roads and water ways, cover crops between and under the vines, and fertilizer management through soil and petiole sampling.

Project Components

  • Twelve demonstration vineyards were selected from existing Central Coast vineyards that are within the Salinas, Santa Maria, and Santa Ynez watersheds. Many of these vineyards are current CCVT members. However, several non-member vineyards were chosen to encourage broader participation.
  • Demonstration sites were selected primarily based on their areas of sensitivity and proximity to water bodies. Specific project areas include dirt roads, barren areas with no cover, and areas where minimizing fertilizer applications were of interest to the vineyard managers.
  • Project monitoring includes annual PPS evaluations, photo documentation, stream monitoring, and soil sampling.

Grower Participation

  • Once demonstration areas were selected, BMPs were developed utilizing technical assistance from Cooperative Extension, Natural Resource Conservation District, and erosion control specialist.
  • The NPS team worked closely with vineyard managers to ensure that the BMPs were consistent with their management objectives for these areas.
  • Full cooperation and "buy-in" is necessary for this project's success because successful implementation of these practices requires substantial work from the growers.
  • Demonstration growers are matching this project with vineyard equipment, staffing, seed establishment, irrigation, and monitoring during the establishment of vegetation.

Learn More about the Clean Water Project

Special Thanks to the Following:

Funding Agency

Regional Water Quality Control Board 319(h)

Learn More about Sustainable Vineyard Practices