Ensuring High Quality Water from Ridgetop to River Mouth in Partnership with the Regional Board

Friday, Mar 18th, 2022

At the Northern California Water Association (NCWA) Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors and the leadership of the Sacramento Valley Water Quality Coalition (Coalition) was pleased and honored to recognize the distinguished career of Dr. Karl Longley with the Crystal-Clear Award. The award honored nearly thirty (30) years of active public service on the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board in advancing solutions to improving water quality throughout the Central Valley. His leadership and vision guiding the Regional Board through the complex array of water quality regulations, such as the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program and adoption of the Basin Plan Amendment to Control Salt and Nitrate Discharges to Surface and Groundwater helped effectuate the changes that will be necessary to achieve the vision of high-quality water for all.

The Crystal Clear Award recognizes extraordinary people for their exemplary efforts in improving water quality in the Sacramento Valley and ensuring high quality water for our communities, aquatic ecosystems and farms. The Regional Water Board has grown to be as relevant in the lives of farmers and ranchers in the past twenty years, as protecting our water supplies.

Some of the highlights of Dr. Longley’s sixty (60) years of research and perseverance include finding innovative solutions for decreasing salt loads that impact crop health; service on Governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown’s Drinking Water Stakeholder Group; work as research director (2015-2017) for the development of the CSUID dynamic model (an adaption of the Hoffman Model) to predict salinity transport in the soil profile; and his amazing tenure as a leading Research Engineer and Project Manager for the California Water Institute in Fresno.

The award was presented by Pam Giacomini, Graduate fellow of California Ag Leadership Class 21, former California Farm Bureau Federation director of natural resources and commodities, and fourth generation Shasta County rancher who raises cattle and stewards the Hat Creek and Fall River watersheds. In presenting the award to Dr. Longley, she stated that “rarely does one step forward to lend his professional expertise to serve on a Board. It was not just Dr. Longley’s 60 years of experience as a water resource engineer directly supervising or conducting studies of water quality, environmental assessment, and policy development, it was his commitment to physically walk the irrigated lands and understand the complexities of all whom he regulated that made his knowledge and leadership so valuable to developing practical solutions that advance clean water policy and solutions for the Central Valley Region.“

All involved appreciated his commitment of time in meeting with farmers, ranchers, local water providers and elected officials from the ridgetop to the river mouth of the Sacramento Valley, whether on a snowy February day in Alturas; in the amazing landscape along Hat Creek and Fall River; or flying over the fields of the Sacramento Valley to get a bird’s eye view from the cockpit of his beloved Mooney.  Whether in the field or in the board room, his dedication to gain a better understanding of the region and to encourage stewardship of our precious water supplies has made our region a better place and showcases the exemplary efforts that earned him this honor.

It has been NCWA and the Sacramento Valley Water Quality Coalition’s distinct honor to have worked in partnership with Dr. Longley on the mutual goal of ensuring greater water and climate resilience throughout the Central Valley for our communities, the economy, and the environment, including water quality for the rich mosaic of farmlands, cities and rural communities, refuges and managed wetlands, and meandering rivers that support fisheries and wildlife in the Sacramento Valley.

To watch the presentation of the award, click here. A copy of the letter presented to Dr. Longley is shown below.


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