Tumalo Irrigation District

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.

The Tumalo Irrigation District Modernization Project will modernize up to 1.9 miles of Tumalo Irrigation District’s canals and 66.9 miles of laterals to improve water conservation, water delivery reliability, and public safety. The project will occur in phases over 11 years.

By converting open irrigation ditches into a closed piped system, the project will reduce water loss from canals by up to 48 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 4.9 billion gallons per season. Water saved from the project will be permanently protected in the Deschutes River and Tumalo Creek, benefiting fish and wildlife habitat. The project also will deliver water to irrigators in a safer, more efficient manner and reduce energy consumption from pumping. 

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. 

The FONSI, Final Plan-EA, and other supporting planning documents are available below. Appendix A to the Final Plan-EA provides responses to all public comments that were received throughout the planning process for this project.  

View the Notice of Availability and News Release from NRCS.

History and Vision

Originally known as the Tumalo Project, Tumalo Irrigation District (TID) has been supporting agriculture in Central Oregon since the 1880s and formally became an irrigation district in 1900. 

TID’s mission is to manage water resources to meet present and future needs of its patrons in ways that are economically and environmentally responsible. The District’s priorities are water conservation, improving water delivery efficiencies, and preserving and restoring native habitat in the Deschutes River Basin.

Today, TID has two points of diversion, Tumalo Creek below Shevlin Park and the Deschutes River near Pioneer Park, as well as storage in Crescent Lake. The District serves 667 patrons and manages more than 80 miles of piped and open canals that irrigates 7,417 acres of hay, alfalfa, garlic, lavender, and pasture for livestock. To date, the District has piped over 7 miles of canals and protected water instream through Oregon’s Allocation of Conserved Water Program.

The goal of the Tumalo Irrigation District Irrigation Modernization Project is to improve water conservation, water delivery reliability, and public safety on 68.8 miles of TID-owned canals and laterals. The project would improve water quality and stream habitat in the upper Deschutes Basin while improving the economic sustainability of agriculture in the Deschutes Basin.  

Learn more about Tumalo Irrigation District at www.tumalo.org

Past Public Meetings

Public Meeting on Draft Plan-EA

The comment period for the Draft Plan-EA was from April 16, 2018 to May 22, 2018. A public meeting was held on: 

May 8, 2018

6:00 – 7:30 PM

Cascades Academy

19860 Tumalo Reservoir Road

Bend, OR 97703 

Scoping Meeting

Scoping comments were accepted from July 6, 2017 to July 24, 2017. A scoping meeting was held on:

July 6, 2017

5:30 - 6:30 PM

Tumalo Community Church

64671 Bruce Avenue

Bend, OR 97701

For further information please contact:

Farmers Conservation Alliance


102 State St

Hood River, OR 97031


Local Government

  • Bend Park and Recreation District
  • City of Bend
  • Deschutes County


  • Burns Paiute Tribe
  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs


  • Farmers and ranchers who receive their irrigation water through the sponsoring irrigation districts 
  • Private landowners surrounding the open canals and irrigation infrastructure operated by those districts

Federal and State Agencies

  • Business Oregon
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Oregon Department of Agriculture 
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Oregon Department of State Lands
  • Oregon Governor's Office
  • Oregon State Historic Preservation Office
  • Oregon Water Resources Department
  • Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management
  • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Forest Service, Deschutes National Forest

Other Organizations

  • Central Oregon Land Watch
  • Coalition for the Deschutes
  • Deschutes River Conservancy
  • Trout Unlimited
  • Upper Deschutes Watershed Council
  • Water Watch of Oregon