November 21, 2023
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USDA grant will establish water market on Oxnard Plain


The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded $1.9 million to a pilot project establishing a centralized water market on the Oxnard Plain, it was announced June 13.

The Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency approved the plan in November, created through a partnership between California Lutheran University faculty members Matthew Fienup and Edgar Terry. Terry is president of Terry Farms and Fienup works as executive director for the campus’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting.

Together, the two recruited around 50 stakeholders, including farmers, environmental advocates and city employees to participate in the first water market in the state, under which they can transfer unused water allocations.

“The grant not only means that there will be an expansion of the pilot in the county but it’s also wonderful validation of the work that Ventura County water users have been doing for years,” Fienup said. “It’s really a strong signal that this is cutting edge and innovative work.”

The project uses water-monitoring infrastructure through Bay Area company Ranch Systems LLC. Farmers will benefit from water conservation investments and others will have access to additional water for high value crops grown in the region, Fienup said.

• Contact Marissa Nall at