Hood River, OR (July 22, 2020) - Plans to modernize East Fork Irrigation District’s irrigation infrastructure have been approved to move forward into construction.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has released a Final Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessment (Plan-EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact for the East Fork Irrigation District Infrastructure Modernization Project. NRCS has determined that the project will not cause significant local, regional or national impacts to the environment.
The project is a joint effort among NRCS, East Fork Irrigation District, Bonneville Power Administration, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Hood River Watershed Group, Energy Trust of Oregon, Farmers Conservation Alliance and in coordination with other agencies, stakeholders, and the public.
With a completed Plan-EA in place, the project is now eligible for federal funding and may move forward into construction.
The Plan-EA and other supporting documents for this project are available below under Project Documents.
The project will pipe 56 miles of District-owned canals and laterals and will conserve water, reduce energy use, improve operational efficiencies, improve water delivery reliability, increase public safety, enhance fish and wildlife habitat in the Hood River watershed, and reduce sediment in irrigation water.
By converting open-ditch irrigation canals into underground, closed-piped systems, the project will eliminate water losses from end spills, saving an estimated 16.6 cubic feet per second, or 5,287 acre-feet annually. The District will allocate 75 percent of the saved water, or up to 12.45 cubic feet per second, to instream use during the irrigation season.
The project may be partially funded through the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program, administered by NRCS and authorized by Public Law 83-566. Through this program, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to local organizations for planning and carrying out 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.
For more information about this project and other irrigation modernization efforts, visit the NRCS Oregon public notice webpage.
On October 3, 2018 NRCS announced a public scoping meeting and scoping period to consider improvements to aging irrigation infrastructure in East Fork Irrigation District. A public scoping meeting was held October 18, 2018 at the Pine Grove Grange in Hood River. Public scoping comments were accepted October 3 through November 16, 2018.
A Draft Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessment was released January 8, 2020 for public review. NRCS and project partners held a public meeting Wednesday, January 29, 2020 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. to discuss the Draft Plan-EA, answer questions about the project, and collect public comments during a breakout session. The meeting was at the Pine Grove Grange, 2835 Van Horn Drive, Hood River, Oregon.
Public comments on the Draft Plan-EA were accepted from January 8, 2020 through February 13, 2020 via the following methods:
1) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2) On this website
3) Mail to:
Farmers Conservation Alliance
East Fork Watershed Plan
102 State St
Hood River, OR 97031
For more information about East Fork 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.
Documents from earlier in the planning and public process.