(July 8, 2021) – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is extending the public comment period for the Arnold Irrigation District Infrastructure Modernization Project Draft Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessment (Draft Plan-EA), which was made available for public comment beginning June 8, 2021. The public comment period for the Draft Plan-EA was to complete on July 8, 2021 and has now been extended to close on July 23, 2021. This extension is being made in response to a public request for additional review time.
View the document at the bottom of this page under "Project Documents."
System modifications to improve irrigation efficiencies and promote water savings in Arnold Irrigation District are under review through a federal environmental planning process that began in March 2018.
Arnold Irrigation District proposes to pipe 13.2 miles of the District-owned Main Canal from the diversion on the Deschutes River to Horse Butte Road (12.2 miles of open canal and 1 mile of open flume). The proposed project would improve water conservation in District-owned infrastructure, improve water supply management and delivery reliability to District patrons, improve public safety, and enhance streamflow in the Deschutes River.
By converting the open-ditch irrigation canal into a buried, closed-pipe system, the proposed Arnold Irrigation District Infrastructure Modernization Project would reduce water loss from seepage, saving an estimated 32.5 cubic feet per second of water or 10,526 acre-feet annually. Water saved from the proposed project would be passed to North Unit Irrigation District during the irrigation season for agriculture. In return, North Unit Irrigation District would release an equal volume of water into the Deschutes River from Wickiup Reservoir during the winter for instream flows. The project would help meet the needs of farmers in Jefferson County while also increasing critical streamflow during the winter months in the upper Deschutes River.
The Deschutes Basin Board of Control is the lead project sponsor with Arnold Irrigation District as a co-sponsor. Funding and technical support is provided from NRCS, the Energy Trust of Oregon, and Farmers Conservation Alliance.
Public comments on the Draft Plan-EA may be submitted from June 8, 2021 through July 23, 2021. Comments may be submitted the following ways:
1) Email firstname.lastname@example.org
2) At this online form
3) By phone at (541) 716-6085
4) Mail to: Farmers Conservation Alliance, 102 State Street, Hood River, OR 97031
Virtual Public Meeting June 23, 2021 - Watch a recording of the meeting
NRCS, Arnold Irrigation District, and Farmers Conservation Alliance held a virtual public meeting June 23, 2021 at 6 p.m. to discuss the Draft Plan-EA and answer questions about the project. Due to COVID-19 public event restrictions, the meeting was held virtually using Zoom. The presentation slides from the meeting are at the bottom of this page under "Project Documents."
A printed copy of the Draft Plan-EA is also available at the Deschutes Public Library (601 N.W. Wall St, Bend, OR 97703).
After the public comment period, NRCS will evaluate the comments and incorporate them into a Final Plan-EA. If NRCS issues a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the project and authorizes the Final Plan-EA, the project can move into final design and construction.
The project may be partially funded through the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention program, administered by NRCS and authorized by Public Law 83-566. Through this program, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to local organizations (project sponsors) for planning and carrying out watershed projects that help solve natural resource and related economic problems in a specific watershed. These issues can include watershed protection, flood prevention, erosion and sediment control, water supply, water quality, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, and wetlands creation. The authorized purpose for the proposed project is Agricultural Water Management.
On April 3, 2019, NRCS announced a public scoping meeting to consider improvements to aging irrigation infrastructure in Arnold Irrigation District, located in Deschutes County on the south side of Bend, Oregon.
A public scoping meeting was held April 17, 2019 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Elk Meadow Elementary Gymnasium, located at 60880 Brookswood Blvd in Bend, Oregon. Several project documents are located below, including the presentation from the meeting.
Public scoping comments were accepted from April 3, 2019 through May 15, 2019 related to the proposed project.
For more information about Arnold Irrigation District, please visit their website.
For further information please contact:
Farmers Conservation Alliance
Farmers Conservation Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which, as a federal contractor, is assisting NRCS and the sponsors in the Watershed Plan - Environmental Assessment process.
Please note: Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
Further information on the public involvement process can be found at the Council of Environmental Quality's Citizens Guide to NEPA.