Pamplin Media Group – Ochoco Irrigation District Project Removes NRCS Barrier



The project includes canal piping and other improvements to the irrigation system

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) released a final Watershed Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) and a finding of no significant impact for the Irrigation District Infrastructure Modernization Project. Ochoco.

The NRCS has determined that the project will not result in significant local, regional or national impacts on the environment. Once the environmental assessment is complete, the project is now eligible for federal funding and may proceed to construction.

Federal funding provides up to $ 25 million and pays for 75% of a project. The OID should provide a 25% match. The project under study would cost around $ 30 million.

“This is a huge opportunity for the district to access larger scale grants,” said Bruce Scanlon, district director.

The project will install a total of 16.8 miles of buried pipeline, which will replace the open and unpaved canals and diversions of Grimes Flat and the IronHorse section of the Crooked River distribution canal.

“What we hope to achieve is reduce our security risks of having open channels,” Scanlon said. “We want to improve our ability to deliver water reliably and conserve water.”

He added that the piping will contribute to the city’s plans to develop the IronHorse area and extend Combs Flat Road and connect it to Peters Road.

The project will also install a new pipeline to deliver irrigation water to the upper McKay Creek lands associated with the change in McKay Creek water rights. Related upgrades include replacing aging pump stations and raising the canal banks to deepen the canals. The project will improve the management and distribution of irrigation water, reduce the operating and maintenance costs of the district, improve public safety along sections of pipe, and increase the flow of McKay Creek and the river. Crooked.

The installation of a new pipeline in the upper part of McKay Creek will improve the reliability of the water supply for farmers and ranchers in this region while restoring a seasonal flow of up to 11.2 cubic feet per second of flow. in part of the stream. Converting open-pit irrigation canals to underground closed-pipe systems will reduce seepage water loss to approximately 5.9 cubic feet per second, of which approximately 4.82 cubic feet per second will be allocated in the course. water from the Crooked River, and any remaining water savings will improve the water supply to existing irrigated lands in the district.

The project is a joint effort between the NRCS, the Ochoco Irrigation District, the Deschutes Basin Control Board, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Deschutes River Conservancy, the Energy Trust of Oregon, Farmers Conservation Alliance, and in coordination with other organizations, stakeholders and the public.

Scanlon expects the NRCS to formally authorize the project within the next 30 days or so.

“Then we can start looking at engineering and design development,” he said.

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