Santa Ynez River Groundwater Basin Stakeholder Outreach and Engagement Well Data Collection and 3D Geologic Model
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Project Objective

The Santa Ynez River Groundwater Basin (SYRGB or Basin) is comprised of three distinct Management Areas, the Western Management Area (WMA), Central Management Area (CMA), and Eastern Management Area (EMA). Each Management Area is governed by a Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA), all of which are working collaboratively to develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) for the Basin. The three GSPs will be managed under a coordination agreement, in accordance with the California Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) regulations.

Geosyntec’s Scope of Services

Geosyntec provided GSP technical support services to the CMA and WMA GSAs within the Basin, including stakeholder outreach and engagement and various technical studies to support preparation of their respective GSPs.

Stakeholder outreach and engagement included preparation of an Outreach and Engagement Plan (Plan). The Plan outlines a framework for public interaction and comment throughout the process of developing their respective GSPs for submittal to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) per SGMA. Geosyntec staff provided technical updates to the GSA during public meetings and supported Citizen Advisory Group (CAG) meetings [the CAG is comprised of agricultural farmers, ranchers and vintners, and local citizens] which informed the public on various technical studies and overall GSP progress. Public feedback was taken into consideration for incorporation into subsequent technical studies.

Geosyntec built a subsurface three-dimensional (3D) geologic model (model) to support development of a Hydrogeologic Conceptual Model (HCM) for the CMA and WMA portions of the Basin. Geosyntec utilized historical well logs and data from various publicly available databases [DWR’s CA Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring (CASGEM), United States Geologic Survey (USGS), US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), Santa Barbara County Department of Environmental Health, the Cities of Lompoc and Buellton and various local water agencies and mutual water companies] to build the model. Incorporated data included drilling methods and boring depths, well completion details, measured groundwater elevations and lithology. Geosyntec stored the data in a secure cloud-based relational database to create the model and an associated webmap. The model is used as a communication tool to convey the regional and local hydrogeologic conditions and how they affect the local groundwater environment to the GSA committee, the CAG and the public. Additionally, the model outputs (geologic units and principal aquifers) are directly imported to MODFLOW to support numerical groundwater modeling for the Basin.

Geosyntec is preparing the Monitoring Network chapters of the CMA and WMA GSPs, which discusses the recommended monitoring networks to evaluate changing groundwater conditions and detection of potential undesirable results and to achieve sustainability goals.

Notable Accomplishments

Geosyntec was instrumental in presenting technical information to the GSA, CAG and public stakeholders throughout GSP preparation for the CMA and WMA. Early preparation and use of the model as a visual communication tool established trust and understanding among stakeholders, which promoted successful communication of subsequent technical study results and preparation of SGMA compliant GSP documents.

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Project Summary

  • Location: Santa Barbara, California
  • Client: Central and Western Management Areas GSA Committees, Santa Ynez River Groundwater Basin
  • Project Practice Areas: Environmental Management, Water and Natural Resources
  • Type of Facility: Park
  • Services Provided: GSA formation support, Stakeholder Outreach and Engagement, Hydrogeologic technical studies to support GSP preparation, Basin-wide 3D Hydrogeologic Conceptual Model, GSP Preparation
  • Type of Work: Modeling
  • Governing Regulation: State and Local