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News Release

Final Plans Approved for Central Oregon Irrigation District Smith Rock-King Way Infrastructure Modernization Project

News Release #: 2020-07-036

Contact: Margi Hoffmann, Farmers Conservation Alliance
Community Relations Director
Email: margi.hoffmann@fcasolutions.org
Phone: 541-716-6085

Final Plans Approved for Central Oregon Irrigation District Smith Rock-King Way Infrastructure Modernization Project

Redmond, OR – (July 9, 2020) –  Plans to modernize a portion of Central Oregon 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 (EA) and a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Central Oregon Irrigation District Smith Rock-King Way 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, Central Oregon Irrigation District, the Deschutes Basin Board of Control, Farmers Conservation Alliance, Energy Trust of Oregon and in coordination with other agencies, stakeholders, and the public.

With a completed environmental assessment in place, the project is now eligible for federal funding and may move forward into construction.

The EA and other supporting documents for this project are available at www.oregonwatershedplans.org/central-oregon-id.

The purpose of this project is to improve water conservation in 7.9 miles of District-owned infrastructure, improve water delivery reliability to District patrons within the project area, and improve public safety on up to approximately 7.9 miles of District-owned canal and laterals.

By converting open-ditch canals into underground, closed-piped systems, the project will reduce water loss from seepage by an estimated 29.4 cubic feet per second, or 9,392 acre-feet annually. Water saved from the project will pass to North Unit Irrigation District during the irrigation season for agricultural use. In return, North Unit Irrigation District will release an equal volume of water into the Deschutes River from Wickiup Reservoir, protecting the water through instream leases in perpetuity during the winter for instream flows when it is needed most for fish and aquatic species.

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 (project sponsors) 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 and other irrigation modernization efforts, visit www.oregonwatershedplans.org or visit the NRCS Oregon public notice webpage.

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