Smith Rock Irrigation Modernization and Conservation
Primary Resource Concern: Aquatic habitat - Aquatic habitat for fish and other organisms
The Smith Rock Irrigation Modernization & Conservation RCPP project area is located North-East of Redmond, Oregon. It is developed within the Western Waters Critical Conservation Area, and addresses insufficient water/drought, surface water depletion, and inefficient irrigation water use. Addressing these resource concerns facilitates a broader objective of improving inadequate habitat for species such as the federally threatened Oregon spotted frog and state-sensitive native redband trout. Collaborative efforts in the Deschutes Basin, such as the Upper Deschutes River Basin Study, have yielded much-needed data and information on current and future water supply and demand, shortages that commensurate with meeting these demands, and strategies to address them. This RCPP conservation strategy employs all the approaches developed as part of the Basin Study which include Irrigation District canal piping, private lateral piping, and on-farm irrigation improvements. The long-term goal is to create a fully piped and pressurized system that is operable on-demand, thereby maximizing water conservation opportunities. Another benefit of this RCPP is increased streamflow in the Upper Deschutes, which will facilitate addressing inadequate habitat for fish, and wildlife in the Western Waters Critical Conservation Area. Open-earth lateral piping and on-farm efficiency upgrades will conserve water in COID, increase access to water for NUID, and allow NUID to use stored water to increase critical winter flows in the Upper Deschutes. Economic benefits of increased access to water will also accrue to NUID farmers and the broader agricultural economy. The social benefits of this RCPP are numerous; projects contribute to meeting critical instream flow needs for threatened species in a way that supports agriculture in Central Oregon. The irrigation districts are working together through the unique movement of water, where conservation opportunities in one district reduce the need for stored water in another, enabling winter flow restoration in the upper river. While these benefits are difficult to quantify, participation in the Deschutes Basin Water Collaborative, a place-based forum with 51 members working on accelerating water projects and solutions, demonstrates the level of engagement and support for the strategies in the Smith Rock RCPP.
Conservation Practices Offered
- Critical Area Planting (342)
- Sediment Basin (350)
- Irrigation Pipeline (430)
- Irrigation Reservoir (436)
- Irrigation System, Microirrigation (441)
- Sprinkler System (442)
- Irrigation System, Surface and Subsurface (443)
- Irrigation and Drainage Tailwater Recovery (447)
- Irrigation Water Management (449)
- Soil Testing (216)
- Obstruction Removal (500)
- Pond Sealing or Lining, Geomembrane or Geosynthetic Clay Liner (521)
- Pumping Plant (533)
- Heavy Use Area Protection (561)
- Structure for Water Control (587)
- Water and Sediment Control Basin (638)
- Central Oregon Irrigation District
- Deschutes County Soil and Water Conservation District
- Deschutes River Conservancy
- Deschutes County
- NRCS Oregon
- Private landowners
NRCS uses prioritization questions to evaluate applications for this initiative. See the list of workload prioritization questions on the Oregon EQIP page. Ranking questions below will also apply.
1. Select one of the following:
a. Irrigation efficiency estimates improved by 40 ac.in/ac or more.
b. Irrigation efficiency estimates improved by 35-39 ac.in/ac.
c. Irrigation efficiency estimates improved by 31-34 ac.in/ac.
d. Irrigation efficiency estimates improved by 28-30 ac.in/ac.
e. Irrigation efficiency estimates improved by 25-27 ac.in/ac.
f. Irrigation efficiency estimates improved by 20-24 ac.in/ac.
g. Irrigation efficiency estimates improved by 1-19 ac.in/ac.
2. Water seepage conveyance loss is reduced by transitioning from open ditch to pipeline.
3. Select one of the following:
a. The irrigation system, ditch, or lateral is shared with multiple users and there is a draft operation plan that demonstrates shared user commitment for improvement and maintenance.
b. The irrigation system, ditch, or lateral is shared with multiple users and there an established document that shows agreed user consensus and commitment for the improvement project.
c. The irrigation system, ditch, or lateral has one user (ie: not shared with multiple users) and there is a draft operation plan that demonstrates user commitment for improvement and maintenance.
How to Apply
If you're interested in applying for this Program, please contact:
USDA-NRCS District Conservationist for Deschutes and Jefferson Counties
Deschutes Soil and Water Conservation District
Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID)
For general information about the project:
Lisa Seals, Deschutes River Conservancy