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Dairy committee ‘very optimistic' about attraction efforts

February 21, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors received an update Tuesday on efforts by the dairy attraction committee.

Lauren Grizzle, executive director of the Imperial County Farm Bureau and the Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association, thanked the board for its support of the committee's efforts.

"I'm very optimistic we're going to see a new dairy down here within the next 12 months," she said. "The indications that we have are that we should attain that."

Grizzle said the county's single largest commodity is hay, which could be used to feed dairy cows. In 1999 it was grown on 172,771 acres, with a value of $118.6 million. Some of the committee's efforts include the development of promotional materials, "quite extensive" discussions with five dairy owners targeted for relocation or start-up, the hosting of a luncheon in Ontario with 35 dairymen, attending a farm show in Tulare and working on obtaining a regional general dairy waste discharge permit from the state Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board.

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In other actions, the board approved a partnership that should result in two new series of wetlands to help clean water flowing from Wiest Lake and Sunbeam Lake into the Salton Sea. The partnership is between the county and Desert Wildlife Unlimited Inc. The board also approved seeking a $636,267.50 state Water Resources Control Board nonpoint source implementation grant request for the projects. The county would have to provide $112,282.50 in matching funds that would come from a federal grant the county has. The total would be $748,550.

The wetlands will be similar to those being built on a 68-acre site near Imperial next to the so-called Rice 3 Drain. The drain is one of the Imperial Valley's larger agricultural drains and eventually empties into the New River. The Imperial site project is intended to treat agricultural drain water and improve its quality so it can meet RWQCB objectives and beneficial uses. A second 7-acre site is near Brawley and will test the effectiveness of vegetative cells in removing organic compounds and nutrients.

The board also:

l approved a revised job description for the position of clerk of the Board of Supervisors. The position will remain a management-type, but not a department head. In addition, the education requirements and pay level were increased;

l was urged to act as lead agency to convene a meeting with all responsible parties to further the repairs of washes in the Salton Sea area damaged by storms last August.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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