SONOMA (KCBS) – Bay Area water quality control regulators are prepared to impose new standards for hundreds of vineyard operators in Napa and Sonoma County.

A seminar was held in Sonoma on Tuesday, with one of the main concerns being runoff from vineyards into local waterways.

Valerie Minton with the Sonoma Resource Conservation District said the new standards will affect water quality and drainage.

“Most vineyards in Napa River and Sonoma Creek watersheds will need to enroll in this general permit and they will have to do certain things, including potentially having to improve roads on their property, or maybe make some changes to their vineyard drainage,” she said. “And they’ll also have to complete what’s called a farm water quality plan.”

The plan is designed to ensure that the vineyards have the right tools in place to prevent runoff of sediment or chemicals.

The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board said it’s also about protecting and enhancing beneficial uses of the waterways, including the protection of anadromous fish habitat. The proposed water discharge requirements [WDRs] would result in increases in the use of best management practices [BMPs] and construction of structural controls to meet water quality requirements

Minton said the standards are also critical because vineyard acreage in the area is constantly expanding.

Water Board staff are still taking public comment for the proposed standards.

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