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Report Looks at Link Between Cover Crops and SGMA

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Industry, Water

A recent report highlights the impact that cover crops have on water management in the Central Valley in relation to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Key findings of the “Cover Cropping in the SGMA Era” report indicate that cover cropping can significantly improve soil health, water infiltration, and reduce runoff. However, its water impacts are variable and context-dependent. The report highlights that cover crops’ evapotranspiration is minimal in winter months compared to bare ground, supporting their water efficiency.

Cover Crops

The analysis reveals that current Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) may unintentionally discourage cover cropping due to a lack of recognition of its water-related benefits. GSAs often base their approaches on assumptions not aligned with the best science, potentially leading to negative environmental impacts. The report also details several recommendations focused on better information and support to address barriers to cover crop implementation.

The report suggests enhancing research on cover crops’ water impacts, improving GSA guidance and methodologies, and securing funding for effective SGMA implementation. The report emphasizes adaptive management and providing GSAs with better data and support to integrate cover cropping into sustainable water practices.

Listen to the report below.

Brian German
Ag News Director / AgNet West