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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.

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.

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.