Frequently Asked Questions
1. How did this planning process come about and who is responsible for it?
In April 2009, the Yuba IRWMP, a group of 26 stakeholders in the region, applied through the State’s IRWMP Region Acceptance Process (RAP) to have the Yuba IRWM region established. Once accepted, the Yuba region became eligible to apply to the IRWMP Grant Program. The Yuba County Water Agency (YCWA) agreed to serve as the Applicant for a Planning Grant to provide funds for developing an IRWMP. The planning proposal was accepted, and YCWA holds the signed contract and is responsible for making sure the project is in compliance with the contract. A governing body made up of a diverse mix of local stakeholders makes decisions about content of the plan. See #6, Regional Water Management Group (RWMG), below.
2. In a nutshell, what is the Plan process from here on out?
All IRWMPs in California must conform to the 2016 IRWMP Guidelines established by the state.
The process that will be used to develop updated sections required by the state is anticipated to take place from October 2017 through spring 2018. YCWA is working with Burdick & Company of Auburn, CA, to develop the document.
Basically the update process will follow the steps identified below:
- A project team interviews regional stakeholders to identify process preferences following new or emerging issues and an updated status of IRWMP Projects.
- Initial RWMG meeting to kick-off the update process (November 8, 2017).
- Project team “circuit rides” the region to contact stakeholders.
- The process of review, comment, and revision will continue through March 2018, at which point it is anticipated that the majority of the document will be ready for finalization.
- Project identification development and integration will be conducted for the duration of the planning process. Throughout the duration of plan update, RWMG and/or consulting team members will make presentations to organizations, boards, agencies, and the general public as required to ensure transparency of process and full participation by all interested parties.
- Targeted outreach to disadvantaged communities and area Tribes across the region began in November 2017 and will continue for the duration of the project.
- The RWMG may identify subcommittees to assist in updating various plan chapters.
3. How long will Plan development take?
The project team expects Plan guideline-compliance update will take about six months, anticipated to be done by April/May 2018.
4. How long is the plan good for?
The planning horizon is 20 years. The final adopted plan will inform water management discussions and project development activities until such time as DWR updates its plan guidelines. Once DWR publishes revised guidelines, the plan will be updated to reflect the new mandates.
5. What authority does the IRWMP have regarding water rights, or existing plans or policies that have been developed by elected representatives or by agency staff (such as General Plans, land use policies or zoning, water management plans, forest management plans)?
The Plan has no authority to influence any water rights, and has no regulatory or statutory standing to impact or change local or agency decision-making.
6. What is the RWMG, the Regional Water Management Group?
The state IRWMP process calls for a local governing body called a Regional Water Management Group (RWMG) to oversee plan development processes and content, including projects.
Initially, the RWMG is made up of local stakeholders who participated in preparation of the initial IRWMP. The group decided in 2015 that ongoing recruitment for participation in the RWMG by tribal and DAC interests would continue throughout the life of the plan, that all decisions would be made first by consensus and second by a super majority vote if no consensus would be reached, and that the capacity to vote on decisions required consistent attendance at ongoing RWMG meetings.
7. How will decisions be made and by whom?
The RWMG will be the decision-making body for the IRWMP. As stated above (number 6), the group will make decisions in the following manner: group discussions at RWMG meetings following review of supporting materials and information, and use of 75% super majority vote in situation where consensus cannot be reached along with the opportunity to visit decisions at any point and time in the future based on a request by individual RWMG members.
8. How do Projects get identified and selected?
Potential projects can be suggested by local stakeholders, by project team members, or evolve from the planning process. A variety of water-resources-related projects can be considered. Most appropriate will be those that respond to identified issues. The RWMG and the project team provide direct and personal outreach to organizations and agencies across the region to assist in developing projects or configuring existing projects to address identified issues.
Projects can be at various stages of readiness – conceptual, partially developed, and ready to go. Only projects that are “ready to go – often called “shovel ready” – can be included in a funding proposal to the state for implementation funds. However, the DWR guidelines make it clear that all projects that address identified issues regardless of their status may be included in the plan.
The project team will work to integrate projects to make them more competitive for funding. The RWMG will prioritize the projects and determine which should be included in the plan, and/or any future funding applications.
9. How can I participate?
Interested citizens are strongly encouraged to participate in the IRWM Plan Development Process. Here are a few ways to get involved:
- Attend RWMG meetings
- Volunteer to serve on a Work Group
- Submit a Project idea
10. How can I stay abreast of developments?
- Attend RWMG meetings
- Local libraries: As part of the IRWMP process, libraries in the region will receive hard copies and CDs of key documents will be available for check-out as they become available.