Watershed Planning for Irrigation Modernization Projects

Latest project news

East Fork Irrigation District Public Scoping Period Open

On October 3, 2018 the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced a public scoping period to consider improvements to aging irrigation infrastructure in the East Fork Irrigation District, located in Hood River County. Improvements under consideration would address water conservation, enhancement of aquatic species habitat, and public safety risks while supporting existing agricultural land use. The project is a collaborative effort between NRCS, East Fork Irrigation District, and Farmers Conservation Alliance.

 

Scoping comments will be accepted through November 16, 2018. Scoping comments will be used to develop a Draft Watershed Plan-EA for the project. A public scoping meeting was held October 18, 2018 at the Pine Grove Grange in Hood River.


More information and how to submit a comment is available on the East Fork project page

Lone Pine Irrigation District Public Scoping Period Open

On October 2, 2018 the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced a public scoping period to consider improvements to aging irrigation infrastructure in Lone Pine Irrigation District, located primarily in northwest Crook County, as well as northern Deschutes County and southern Jefferson County. Improvements under consideration would address water conservation, enhancement of aquatic species habitat, and public safety risks while supporting existing agricultural land use. The project is a collaborative effort between NRCS, Lone Pine Irrigation District, the Deschutes Basin Board of Control, and Farmers Conservation Alliance.


Scoping comments will be accepted through November 15, 2018. Scoping comments will be used to develop a Draft Watershed Plan-EA for the project. A public scoping meeting was held October 17, 2018 at the Wind River Conference Center in Terrebonne. 


More information and how to submit a comment is available on the Lone Pine project page

Swalley Irrigation District Comment Period Closed

Comments on the Draft Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessment (Plan-EA) for the Swalley Irrigation District Irrigation Modernization Project were accepted from September 21, 2018 to October 24, 2018. Comments will be used to develop a Final Plan-EA and a response to each comment will be provided in Appendix A.


A public meeting was held October 10, 2018 at Cascades Academy in Bend to discuss the Draft Plan-EA and accept public comments. 


The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) released the Draft Plan-EA on September 21, 2018. The proposed project will pipe 16.6 miles of canals and laterals over seven years to improve water conservation, water delivery reliability, and public safety. The Draft Plan-EA was developed in partnership with Swalley Irrigation District, the Deschutes Basin Board of Control, and Farmers Conservation Alliance.  


The Draft Plan-EA and more information is available on the Swalley project page

Tumalo Irrigation District Modernization Project Moving Forward

On September 21, 2018, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) authorized federal assistance for the Final Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessment for the Tumalo Irrigation District Irrigation Modernization Project in Deschutes County, Oregon. The project can now proceed to the first phase of construction.


On August 20, 2018, NRCS released a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the project. After several years of planning and considering public input, NRCS and project sponsors determined the project will not cause significant local, regional or national impacts to the environment. 


View the Notice of Availability and News Release from NRCS.


The FONSI, Final Plan-EA, and other supporting documents are available on the Tumalo project page.

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Overview of Oregon Irrigation Modernization Projects

Several irrigation districts in the Oregon are working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Deschutes Basin Board of Control, Farmers Conservation Alliance (FCA), and other stakeholders to develop Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessments that support irrigation modernization and provide local environmental benefits.


The proposed projects would convert open irrigation canals to piped and pressurized systems. The proposed projects would:

  1. Support existing agriculture through improved water delivery reliability,
  2. Improve water conservation in district conveyance systems,
  3. Reduce operation and maintenance costs for farmers and the districts,
  4. Enhance habitat for fish and aquatic species in the Deschutes Basin by permanently conserving water instream,
  5. Improve public safety by eliminating risks from open canals.

Public participation is essential to the watershed planning and environmental review process. It helps irrigation districts and agencies make informed decisions that consider the full range of environmental effects and alternative solutions. Learn more about the proposed projects on the Project Information pages.

  

The Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program

The U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) manages the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program, authorized by Congress in 1954. The purpose of this program is to provide technical and financial assistance to public entities for planning and implementing authorized projects that:

  • Protect watersheds,
  • Mitigate floods,
  • Improve water quality,
  • Reduce soil erosion,
  • Enhance fish and wildlife habitat, 
  • Create opportunities for hydroelectric power production.

In order to qualify for funding from the program, irrigation districts must have:


  1. An Authorized Final Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessment (Plan-EA); and
  2. Match funding (non-federal).

The purpose of this website is to provide the public information about the development of Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessments in Oregon and how to get involved in the planning process.