Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact EPA Pacific Southwest Water Division

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Nonpoint Source Pollution

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

California - Archived Program Information

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more about PDF, and for a link to the free Adobe Reader.

Nonpoint source pollution – pollution caused by a wide range of activities including urban development, agriculture and forestry – is a major cause of water quality impairment nationally and in California. To address these problems, the State of California, along with many landowners, private non-profit groups and various federal and local agencies, is involved in many efforts to reduce and prevent nonpoint source pollution.

Two primary federal statutes establish a framework in California for addressing nonpoint source water pollution (NPS): Section 319 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1987 and Section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990 (CZARA). Together these statutes encourage the state to assess water quality problems associated with nonpoint source pollution and to develop programs to address these challenging problems. U.S. EPA oversees these nonpoint source programs and provides funding to the State of California for program implementation.

California submitted an "upgraded" nonpoint source pollution control program to EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on February 4, 2000. The Plan for California's Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program (Program Plan) was jointly submitted by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the California Coastal Commission (CCC) to satisfy the requirements of the CWA Section 319 and CZARA Section 6217.

NOAA and EPA find that California has satisfied all conditions of program approval pursuant to CZARA Section 6217, set forth in the Findings on the California Coastal Nonpoint Program, transmitted to the State on July 17, 2000. Furthermore, EPA finds that the Program Plan successfully incorporates the nine key elements pursuant to CWA Section 319, which characterize an effective and dynamic state nonpoint source program. Consequently, the California Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program is now fully approved pursuant to CZARA Section 6217 and CWA Section 319. As a result, California will receive $10.6 million this year to implement the nonpoint source program. This includes $5.2 million of "new" funds that the Clean Water Action Plan (February 1998) has earmarked for those States that have upgraded their nonpoint source programs.

The Program Plan identifies nonpoint source management measures to be implemented by 2013. It is a comprehensive statewide program that represents a significant commitment by the State to expand its efforts over the next 13 years to reduce and prevent nonpoint source pollution. The Program Plan includes the following key elements:

  • Adoption of 61 nonpoint source management measures (MMs).
  • A commitment to implement all of the MMs by 2013.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the California Coastal Commission and the State Water Resources Control Board regarding their commitment to serve as lead agencies for implementation of the Program Plan.
  • A schedule to implement targeted MMs to be developed in three consecutive five-year plans.
  • Tracking and evaluating program effectiveness through biennial and five-year evaluations. Biennial evaluations will focus on assessing continuing implementation of MMs and activities identified in the five-year plans. At the end of each five-year period, the State will conduct and evaluation of how well performance measures and implementation goals identified in the five-year plans have been met, and assess mechanisms, including rulemaking, to improve program implementation.
  • A description of the authority of the Coastal Commission, via the Coastal Act, and the State and Regional Boards, via the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act (Porter-Cologne), to implement the program throughout the State.
  • Incorporation of additional State authorities into the Program Plan through MOUs and Management Agency Agreements (MAAs).

For copies of the Program Plan and for more information, please refer to the following Web sites: State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Exiting EPA (disclaimer)and California Coastal Commission (CCC) Exiting EPA (disclaimer)

Past Actions

  • EPA/NOAA Approval Letter
    Letter dated July 17, 2000, from Felicia Marcus, EPA, and Jeffrey Benoit, NOAA, to Edward Anton, SWRCB, and Peter Douglas, CCC, fully approving the Plan for California's Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program, pursuant to Section 6217 of the CZARA and Section 319 of the CWA.
  • EPA Review of the California Upgraded NPS Management Program (CWA Section 319)
    California's upgraded nonpoint source successfully incorporates the nine key elements that are necessary for EPA approval as identified in the Nonpoint Source Program and Grants Guidance for Fiscal Year 1997 and Future Years (EPA, May 1996). These nine key elements characterize an effective and dynamic State nonpoint source program, pursuant to the CWA Section 319. This document is a summary of EPA's review of the Program Plan, identifying some of the strengths of the program and how it specifically addresses the nine key elements pursuant to CWA Section 319.
  • NOAA/EPA Decisions on Conditions of Approval (CZARA) (PDF) (26 pp, 223K)
    This document provides the specific findings used by EPA and NOAA as the basis for the decision to fully approve the California nonpoint source program, pursuant to CZARA Section 6217. It discusses how California has met the conditions necessary for full program approval.
  • NOAA/EPA Response to Comments on Proposed Conditions of Approval (CZARA) (PDF) (9pp, 190K)
    This document contains EPA/NOAA's responses to comments received on the Proposed California Coastal Nonpoint Program NOAA/EPA Decisions on Conditions of Approval (Decision Document) that was available for public review in May 2000.
  • Notice of Intent to Approve the California Coastal Nonpoint Program (May 1, 2000)*
    A notice of intent to fully approve the California Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program, pursuant to CZARA Section 6217, and of the availability of the EPA/NOAA draft decision document was published in the Federal Register on May 1, 2000. All comments on the draft decision document must be submitted no later than May 31, 2000 as per the instructions contained in the Federal Register notice.
  • EPA/NOAA Draft Decision on Approval of the California Program (April 26, 2000) (PDF) (26pp, 57K)
    This draft document proposes final approval of the California program, pursuant to CZARA and discusses how California has met the conditions. It is largely organized in the same fashion as the Findings for California's coastal nonpoint program (July 1998). However, it contains a section entitled Overall Program Structure that addresses several approval issues in light of the Final Administrative Changes to the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program Guidance for CZARA Section 6217 (NOAA and EPA, October 1998).
  • Final California Coastal Nonpoint Program Findings and Conditions (June 1998)
    This document provides the specific findings used by EPA and NOAA as the basis for the decision to approve, with conditions, the coastal nonpoint source program submitted by California. Related documents: Letter of Transmittal and Response to Comments.
  • California CZARA "Action Plan" (August 1997) This "action plan" outlines activities that EPA, SWRCB and CCC have agreed on to improve California's Nonpoint Source Program, while more fully conforming with CZARA Section 6217.

Top of page

Pacific Southwest NewsroomPacific Southwest Programs Grants & FundingUS-Mexico Border Media CenterCareers About EPA Pacific SouthwestA-Z Index

Jump to main content.