Voluntary Clean Water Guidance for Agriculture

We are working with an advisory group to research and write Voluntary Clean Water Guidance for Agriculture. This guidance document will be a technical resource for agricultural producers that recommends best management practices (BMPs) to protect water quality. It is intended to support healthy farms while helping producers meet clean water standards.

As we work on the guidance, we are issuing collections of chapters for public review. In 2022, after taking public comment, we submitted the first set of chapters to EPA for approval. These chapters are a part of our 2022 statewide nonpoint plan. 

We plan to complete the next set of chapters, listed below, by 2025. We will provide opportunities for public review once the chapters are reviewed by our advisory group. Once all chapters are completed, agricultural producers will have a comprehensive set of BMPs for protecting water quality.

Please read our Voluntary Clean Water Guidance for Agriculture focus sheet to learn more.

Chapters of the guidance 

Submitted to EPA for approval as part of the 2022 nonpoint plan

Read the following chapters online:

  • Cropping Methods: Tillage & Residue Management
  • Livestock Management — Pasture & Rangeland Grazing
  • Sediment Control: Soil Stabilization & Sediment Capture (Structural)
  • Riparian Areas & Surface Water Protection

Read the 2022 nonpoint plan.

Submitted chapters:

  • Livestock Management — Animal Confinement, Manure Handling, & Storage (submitted to EPA July 2023)

Future chapters:

  • Cropping Methods: Crop System 
  • Nutrient Management
  • Pesticide Management
  • Sediment Control: Soil Stabilization & Sediment Capture (Vegetative)
  • Water Management: Irrigation Systems & Management
  • Water Management: Field Drainage & Drain Tile Management
  • Water Management-Stormwater Control & Diversion 
  • Suite of Recommended Practices

All chapters will be completed by 2025.

Previous chapters public review

We received public comment on the first set of chapters from Dec. 1 to Dec. 23, 2022. At the same time, we took comment on updates to the statewide nonpoint plan. View comments we received online. We held an information webinar and answered questions on the materials. We then prepared a response to comments and submitted the updated documents to EPA for approval.

We held a comment period and informational webinar on the Livestock Management — Animal Confinement, Manure Handling & Storage in June 2023. You can find the comments we recieved and the response in our response to comments document. 

Advisory group

We established the Voluntary Clean Water Guidance for Agriculture advisory group to advise us on the identification and implementation of practices that support healthy farms and help farmers to meet clean water standards. We reached out to a wide range of stakeholders to find qualified candidates to be a part of the advisory group. Advisory group members assist in the development of the guidance, provide review and feedback, and contribute to the guidance document’s ultimate success.

More information on how we approach developing the guidance can be found in the Process design document.