Latest project news

North Unit Irrigation District Public Scoping Period Open until November 21

October 2, 2019 - The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced a public scoping meeting and public scoping period to consider improvements to aging irrigation infrastructure in North Unit Irrigation District, located in Jefferson County south of Madras, Oregon.


A public scoping meeting was held October 21, 2019 6:30 p.m. at the Jefferson County Library Rodriguez Annex Building in Madras.  Scoping comments can be submitted until November 21, 2019.


By converting open-ditch irrigation canals into underground, closed-pipe systems, the proposed North Unit Irrigation District Modernization Project can reduce conveyance and operational losses over the entire irrigation season and improve the District’s ability to efficiently provide water to its patrons. 


More information is available on the North Unit project page.

Ochoco Irrigation District Draft Environmental Assessment Under Development

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), with assistance from Farmers Conservation Alliance (FCA), has compiled and reviewed the comments that were submitted during the scoping period for the Ochoco Irrigation District Infrastructure Modernization Project. The comments will inform the development of a Draft Watershed Plan – Environmental Assessment (Draft Watershed Plan/EA). 


The Draft Watershed Plan/EA will identify alternatives to meet the  project’s purpose and need, identify the resources potentially affected by the project, and evaluate the effects of the project on those resources. Once the Draft Watershed Plan has been completed, it will be released for public review. At that time, a second public meeting and comment period will be advertised and held to solicit questions and comments on the Draft Watershed Plan/EA.  


More information is available on the Ochoco project page.

Arnold Irrigation District Draft Environmental Assessment Under Development

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), with assistance from Farmers Conservation Alliance (FCA), has compiled and reviewed the comments that were submitted during the scoping period for the Arnold Irrigation District Infrastructure Modernization Project. The comments will inform the development of a Draft Watershed Plan – Environmental Assessment (Draft Watershed Plan/EA).
 

The Draft Watershed Plan/EA will identify alternatives to meet the  project’s purpose and need, identify the resources potentially affected by the project, and evaluate the effects of the project on those resources. Once the Draft Watershed Plan has been completed, it will be released for public review. At that time, a second public meeting and comment period will be advertised and held to solicit questions and comments on the Draft Watershed Plan/EA.
 

More information is available on the Arnold project page.

East Fork Irrigation District Draft Environmental Assessment Under Development

Public scoping comments were accepted October 3 through November 16, 2018 related to proposed irrigation improvements in East Fork Irrigation District. Scoping comments will be used to develop a Draft Environmental Assessment for the project.  


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.

 

More information is available on the East Fork project page

Lone Pine Irrigation District Draft Environmental Assessment Under Development

Public scoping comments were accepted October 2 through November 15, 2018 related to proposed irrigation improvements in Lone Pine Irrigation District. 


A public scoping meeting was held October 17, 2018 in Terrebonne. Scoping comments will be used to develop a Draft Environmental Assessment for the project. 


The project is a collaborative effort between NRCS, Lone Pine Irrigation District, the Deschutes Basin Board of Control, and Farmers Conservation Alliance.


More information is available on the Lone Pine project page

Swalley Irrigation District Modernization Project Authorized to Move Forward

The Final Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessment for the Swalley project was officially authorized on March 12, 2019 by the Chief of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The plan was developed in partnership with the Swalley Irrigation District, the Deschutes Basin Board of Control (DBBC), and the Farmers Conservation Alliance.


Swalley Irrigation District has been awarded $11.2 million in federal funds through the NRCS Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program. Swalley will use the funds to modernize and pipe 16.6 miles of their remaining open canals to improve water conservation, water delivery reliability, and public safety, as well as contribute to increases in streamflow in the middle Deschutes River. The project will occur in phases over seven years.


More information is available on the Swalley project page.

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Overview of Irrigation Modernization Projects in Oregon

Several irrigation districts in 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. Generally, the proposed projects would:


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


Public participation is essential to the  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 (PL 83-566)

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. Non-federal match funding


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.