For 50 years, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) has contributed to dairy water quality policy in California and helped, with partner organizations, to implement it in the dairy industry. When conditional waivers for waste discharge requirements expired in 2003, UC ANR shared research and best professional practices as regional water quality control boards developed new orders. UC ANR academics then worked with water quality control boards' staff and dairy industry representatives to develop feasible, staged implementation plans. Collaboratively, more than 50 hours of workshop curriculum were developed and disseminated, helping dairy producers to accept scientifically sound management practices that are more protective of groundwater. Research by UC ANR to better understand system dynamics, nitrogen management and practices to minimize the impact of manure application on groundwater quality continues, as does a program in environmental stewardship.