How to turn data into YOUR friend!

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About the Hitch

What is the Clear Lake Hitch? It is a species of large minnow found only in Clear Lake and tributary streams. This fish can grow up to 14” in length, although with populations seeming to decline during drought conditions, they have been observed to reach an average of 6” in recent years. Because the Hitch travels upstream to spawn for about 2-3 weeks, the repopulation slows during drought years when stream levels fall often trapping the fish and hindering their return trip to the lake where they grow to full maturity during their 6-year life span. 

Tribal Perspective

The tribal community highlights the importance of every being in the ecosystem and the Tribal Elders have watched the decline of the Chi/Hitch for decades. This was once a primary food source for those who had to live off the land and could only afford beans, rice, and flour with government subsidies. This minnow is an important species culturally to the tribes, to the ecosystem and food supply chain. Their goal is to ensure that there is enough water for all; fish, farmers, everyone. Concerned citizens started rescue attempts in 2014 and took to the low-level streams to relocate the minnow back to safety. 


When the concern was elevated in 2014, the species was listed as “threatened”. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) began to record observed populations in 2017. In 2022 only six hitch were found and none were juveniles. The State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) began requesting groundwater reporting on a voluntary basis and the Governor enacted an emergency order in March of 2023.

There is a great deal we don’t know about the relation between groundwater and surface water. At specific times of the year, water resources are needed in greater demand. Specialists who study this relation suspect that groundwater pumping during frost adds to the reduction in streamflow.


SWRCB has been tasked with enforcing regulations that will help identify the issues leading to the reduction in hitch population. Toxins, predation in addition to water scarcity are all factors being observed by this and partnering agencies. 

There is a great deal of uncertainty around where the wells in Lake County are located, how deep they are, how much water is being pumped out and for what use. This information is needed to gain a better understanding of groundwater trends and mapping as well as the relation between surface water and the aquifer. 

A request was made for well owners to report monthly groundwater and meter data. The request, however, was not satisfied due to incomplete and inaccurate information provided. Now the request has evolved into an information order which is to take effect in January 2024. Groundwater users will be obligated to report groundwater data with a penalty of $500/day for non-compliance. Alternative measures are available for those who may endure hardship by this mandate, but qualifications and specifics have not been clearly defined. 

Impact on Farmers

The farming community feels that they are being discriminated against for their use of groundwater during the time the hitch spawn. Overhead sprinklers are used for frost protection and curtailing groundwater pumping would result in significant hardship from crop damage. 

There is shared concern about what will be done with the data once it is revealed. State officials say that once the data is submitted, it is publicly available. Some feel that the government cannot be trusted to manage this information and could result in limiting water usage. Growers suggest that government resources should be put towards drilling wells for monitoring purposes. This is being done in two locations in the most heavily impacted areas of Lake County (along with other neighboring counties). 

Illegal cannabis operations in Lake County also pull from the resources available. Observations of pumping into a truck and relocating the water have been reported. It’s hard to know what happens underground and if your neighbors’ activities affect your groundwater. The only way to have a better understanding is in the collection and review of data. 

How HotSpot AG can help

HotSpot AG is committed to delivering accurate data in real time while protecting the confidentiality of your information. We make information accessible on any of your devices and reports that are easy to produce with just the click of a mouse. Download your desired data into an excel document for fast and pain-free compliance. You can rely on a secure connection and software safety to keep the data you want private, while staying well informed. 

No longer will you have to use a well sounder or capture flow meter data to later record manually into a spreadsheet. With a daily fine of $500, the software will pay for itself in no time, not to mention the time you’ll save testing each well for static water levels. 

You’ll not only obtain static water but also pumping water levels to visualize groundwater drawdown on your property’s wells. HotSpot AG allows you to connect to a pump for remote control or simply monitor when the pump is running to know how it correlates to groundwater levels. Additionally, growers are able to view trends in the groundwater aquifer.

About HotSpot AG

HotSpot AG is an irrigation automation company that helps growers with not only groundwater monitoring, but also with simplifying irrigation and fertigation practices on the farm. In addition to irrigation, HotSpot AG helps growers with frost protection. From scheduling wind machines to remotely controlling frost valves, you can rest assured that you’re getting efficient help to protect your investments. Check out everything we have to offer at here and take the first step towards efficient farm management!

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