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Agriculture

Land IQ has extensive experience working at the agrictural-urban interface. Our clients include landowners, growers, agencies, commodity organizations, and industrial clients. Our experience includes traditional agronomic advising, such as managing nutrients and estimating crop water use, as well as responding to increasingly complex agricultural problems that involve regulatory, environmental, and policy issues. We address these challenges by pairing scientific knowledge with advanced analytical, modeling technologies and remote sensing.

Petroglyph Sodic Soil Reclamation

sodic soil nutrients reclamation crop yield agriculture salinity soil analysis plant tissue sampling Agriculture Water Resources Salinity & Nutrients

Land IQ worked with Petroglyph Energy, Inc. to reclaim sodic soil on a dairy farm site near La Veta, CO. Petroglyph discharged water from coal bed methane dewatering operations in the Cucharas River under permit from the State of Colorado. The discharge water was high in sodium, and resulted in high loading rates of sodium applied to corn fields irrigated with Cucharas River water. Land IQ, in collaboration with Petroglyph, farm ownership, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and soil experts from the National Resources Conservation Service, designed and implemented a site evaluation, an intensive reclamation plan, and a monitoring plan to restore productivity on sodic farm soils. Land IQ’s expertise in salinity-related soil and crop management resulted in improvement in soil conditions and corn yields within one year.

City of Los Angeles Biosolids Beneficial Reuse Nutrient Management

nutrients biosolids reclaimed water beneficial reuse market assessment Agriculture Salinity & Nutrients

The City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation needed to complete a nutrient management and monitoring plan for their 4,688-acre biosolids and reclaimed water beneficial reuse site, Green Acres, in Kern County, CA. Land IQ staff developed a plan that included soil and plant tissue monitoring, assessing nutrient and soil chemical properties, determining local markets for farm crops, evaluating plant-available nitrogen status and loading rates, developing a biosolids loading rate tool that stores and manages farm data, interpreting groundwater monitoring data, and associated reporting and public relations efforts. The farm grows wheat, corn, alfalfa, sorghum and sudan grass. The information and tools in this plan assisted the City of Los Angeles in improving the quality of biosolids management and encouraging public communication about biosolids use through efforts with the National Biosolids Partnership.

City of Davis Manganese Study

soil analysis waste discharge permit wastewater Agriculture Water Resources Salinity & Nutrients

Land IQ conducted a study to determine the relationship between site-specific manganese levels in irrigation water and agricultural soils. The investigation included sampling a range of soil types, and interpreting results from soil analysis to determine the relationship between manganese and soil characteristics such as pH, texture, and other nutrient interactions. This information was used to fulfill the requirements of the discharge permit under which the City of Davis discharges treated wastewater into Willow Slough and the Yolo bypass. The wastewater treatment plant operated by the City of Davis in Davis, CA, collects wastewater from residents of Davis, California and two unincorporated areas in Yolo County.

Coldwater Mitigation with the California Department of Water Resources and Rice Growers

crop yield geospatial analysis Agriculture Remote Sensing Water Resources

Beginning in 2006, Land IQ personnel were instrumental in developing, negotiating, and implementing a settlement agreement between three rice-growing irrigation districts and the California Department of Water Resources (collectively the Parties). The Parties sought an agreeable means to determine fair compensation for rice crop yield loss (valued between $1M and $3M/year) due to lower water temperatures caused by operation of the State’s Oroville Reservoir. District diversions pre-dated the reservoir’s construction. The agreed technical methods had to be specific enough to provide the Parties certainty, defensible and credible enough to gain stakeholders’ financial support, and sufficiently flexible to allow future innovations to improve efficiency and/or accuracy. The agreement was signed in April 2008.

Land IQ has provided diverse technical support to the Parties during implementation by overseeing water temperature and yield monitoring, developing monitoring methods and databases, coordinating with growers, and conducting sophisticated geospatial analyses to identify and quantify fields, irrigation system features, and rice crop extent and yield. We developed a unique and accurate method of estimating rice yield loss from cold water damage using geospatial analytical techniques. Our success on this project is the result of a highly integrated team of scientists working together to create innovative and meaningful solutions for our client.

Southern California Water Company Crop Water Use

groundwater irrigation Agriculture Water Resources

Land IQ staff prepared testimony for Santa Clara County Superior Court on behalf of Southern California Water Company for a groundwater adjudication case in the Santa Maria Valley. This work  involved expert witness testimony, both in deposition and in trial settings.

Land IQ undertook a year-long effort to assess crop water use for an historical 58-year period over a 164,000-acre basin. The work focused on pumped water and return flows to groundwater under irrigated and non-irrigated areas. Crop and native vegetation evapotranspiration and soil storage were modeled. Water was assessed to ensure adequate quality for sensitive crops.

Tehama Colusa Canal Authority Deficit Irrigation Impact Assessment

irrigation crop yield Agriculture

Land IQ staff prepared expert witness testimony for United States District Court – Eastern District of California (Judge Oliver W. Wanger) on behalf of the Tehama Colusa Canal Authority. Land IQ prepared a detailed evaluation of the influence of regulated deficit irrigation on a variety of crops including almonds, grapes, walnuts, rice, olives, alfalfa, tomatoes and other permanent and annual field and row crops.

The preparation of this testimony was conducted to determine the deficit of irrigation water at pre-determined periods correlating to the growth cycles of the crops mentioned above, especially perennial crops (e.g., almonds). The results of this work indicate the extreme detrimental effects of insufficient irrigation during key growth stages of the crop. Land IQ continues to work extensively with growers, industry representatives, and local and state resources as a multi-stakeholder entity.

Santa Clara River Watershed Agricultural Irrigation Thresholds/TMDL

chloride agriculture salinity wastewater water management Agriculture Water Resources Salinity & Nutrients

Land IQ personnel worked with Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts to serve as the lead technical consultant for the Santa Clara River Watershed TMDL Collaborative Process. Land IQ specifically focused on the agricultural irrigation thresholds for chloride and salinity for the production of avocados, strawberries and nursery crops. This work involved collaboration in stakeholder meetings with representatives from:

  • California Avocado Commission
  • California Strawberry Commission
  • Nursery Crop Organizations
  • Individual Growers
  • Ventura County Farm Bureau
  • California Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Newhall Land and Ranch Company
  • United Water Conservation District
  • Elected Public Officials
  • Various Environmental Groups

Over a 2.5-year period, a detailed literature review and evaluation was developed to help determine the potential threshold of irrigation water quality constituents of concern, specifically chloride and salinity, on sensitive crops as a basis of the TMDL process. Local grower input was gathered through interviews and field surveys. To establish acceptable irrigation water quality, NewFields conducted a detailed assessment of water quality, irrigation practices, cultural practices and drainage management. The work also included comprehensive public notification efforts with stakeholder groups, public officials, researchers, and farm managers. A six-person academic technical panel comprised of experts in this field reviewed all work produced by NewFields. This work has been highly influential in establishing a chloride TMDL for irrigation of sensitive species in the Santa Clara River Basin. Despite the controversial subject matter, the literature review and findings were commended by industry professionals, agencies, environmentalists, and academics on both sides for scientific merit and objectivity.

Imperial Irrigation District Crop Mapping and Sea Floor Exposure Analysis

dust control air quality crop identification Remote Sensing Agriculture

Land IQ is working with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) on water operations and technologies for dust mitigation on expanding exposed Salton Sea floor. Land IQ conducted multiple remote sensing analyses to support IID's water delivery operations and Air Quality Mitigation Program. Our agricultural scientists and remote sensing specialists used advanced, object-based methods to identify crops and cropping patterns for over 20,000 acres of this diverse agricultural district. In addition, we have prepared an analysis of sea floor exposure rates and extent to support development of air quality monitoring networks, inform air quality monitoring data interpretation, and help in locating air quality pilot mitigation study areas.

Our specialized analysis and ground verification methods allow for greater detail and accuracy in crop identification/surface mapping than other traditional or remote methods and provide cost-effective solutions for assessment of large land areas.

Bureau of Indian Affairs Land Classification

land classification water rights salinity soil mapping Agriculture Water Resources

The Blackfeet Indian Reservation comprises approximately 1.5 million acres and is located in northwestern Montana on the east side of the Continental Divide. The dominant land use is grazing, followed by about 400,000 acres of dryland agriculture and 150,000 acres of upland game and timber management areas. Approximately 100,000 acres of land is currently in use as irrigated agriculture. For over a decade, Land IQ staff participated in land classification efforts for the entire reservation.

This classification effort was focused on detailed assessments of arability and irrigability with broad reaching drainage investigations for the purpose of avoiding salinization of lands, existing and proposed wetland delineations, stock water pond determinations, historic irrigation evaluations, water demand estimates for both agricultural and urban uses, and continuous ownership updates among other land development and evaluation activities. This comprehensive work effort was conducted under the direction of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs on behalf of the Blackfeet Nation.

The work was completed to prepare for litigation or negotiation of the proposed overall water rights claim and resulted in significant documentation. Also, multiple mapping products were developed and updated over the decade-long activities. Work completed on the reservation contributed to establishing a final water rights claim that was presented to the State of Montana, Blackfeet Nation and the United States Department of the Interior. Efforts involved overall task management for approximately $1.8 million in labor, subconsultants, and expenses.