Pamplin Media Group – Ochoco Irrigation District in Crook County Receives Federal Funding for Project


Designated federal funds will pay for the installation of 16.8 miles of buried pipes

American senses Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden of Oregon recently announced that the Ochoco Irrigation District, Tumalo, Owyhee and East Fork projects will receive federal funding to help drought-stricken communities make the most of water supplies. limited.

The senators pointed out that the projects – funded by the bipartisan Infrastructure Act (BIL) and the Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations Bill, both backed by Merkley and Wyden – will combine strategies supporting efficient irrigation methods with better resource management to ensure a steady flow of water to support agriculture, protect and restore wildlife habitat, and improve water quantity and quality.

The Ochoco Irrigation District project will install a total of 16.8 miles of buried pipeline, which will replace the open, unlined channels and Grimes Flat Laterals and IronHorse section of the Crooked River Distribution Channel.

The local project will also install a new pipeline to supply irrigation water to upper McKay Creek lands associated with the McKay Creek water rights switch. Related improvements include replacing aging pump stations and raising canal banks to deepen the channels. The project will improve the management and distribution of irrigation water, reduce district operation and maintenance costs, improve public safety along the pipe sections, and increase the flow of McKay Creek and the River Crooked.

“In rural Oregon, everyone is feeling the stress of dwindling water supplies caused by drought, which is why we need smart solutions to make sure we’re using water as efficiently as possible. “said Merkley. “These important projects will help conserve water, improve irrigation conditions for rural Oregon farmers, and ensure critical trout and salmon habitats are protected.”

Wyden added that he’s heard from rural communities around Oregon about “their desperate need for resources to respond to high levels of drought that are hurting agriculture and conservation efforts.” “I am pleased to see these significant investments in water conservation works for the districts of Owyhee, Tumalo East Fork and Ochoco helping to increase efficiency, improve biodiversity and help farmers and herders to better plan and prepare for droughts,” he said.

These upcoming modernization projects are expected to establish climate-resilient solutions to offset the impact of drought in areas of the Deschutes River, Tumalo Creek, Snake River, and Hood River watersheds. Existing open irrigation canals will be converted to conduits, which will help conserve and preserve water where it is needed to restore habitats for specific species of trout and salmon. Implementing piped transport is expected to reduce evaporation and seepage losses, divert less water from rivers, and increase downstream flow.

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