In 2021, California established the Multibenefit Land Repurposing Program (MLRP) with an initial $50 million investment to reduce reliance on overdrafted groundwater basins. The multibenefit land repurposing concept supports the strategic transition of least productive, most flood-prone irrigated land to new, lower water uses that will help reestablish sustainable groundwater supplies – while also providing benefits to landowners, adjacent communities and freshwater ecosystems.
The Greater Monterey County Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Group has been awarded a $10 million grant by the California Department of Conservation through MLRP to strategically and voluntarily acquire and repurpose the least viable, most flood-prone portions of irrigated agricultural lands in the lower Salinas Valley.
IRWM is partnering with SVBGSA, along with the Central Coast Wetlands Group and the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation, to develop and implement this program. The Salinas Valley MLRP will support acquisition of portions of agricultural ranches where interested landowners wish to transition farmlands to projects that increase groundwater recharge and storage, reduce flooding, and enhance water quality and base flow. Additional benefits can include habitat enhancement and public recreation opportunities. The program will focus efforts in the 180/400 Foot Aquifer, Eastside and Langley subbasins.