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News Release

Invite to public scoping meeting for Westland Irrigation District and Umatilla Co.

Release No.: 2021-10-003

Contact: Marla Keethler, Farmers Conservation Alliance
marla.keethler@fcasolutions.org
541-716-6085

Lauren Bennett, NRCS Oregon
lauren.bennett2@usda.gov
 

Westland Irrigation District and Umatilla County to Modernize Agricultural and Water-Related Infrastructure
Virtual Public Scoping Meeting November 2, 2021

Umatilla County, Ore., October 19, 2021 - Westland Irrigation District (the District), Umatilla County (the County), and project partners propose to modernize existing District irrigation infrastructure and build new infrastructure, including pressurized pipelines, pump stations, and aquifer recharge basins, to improve water delivery and supply reliability to District water users, improve water conservation, and support groundwater recharge.

The proposed project would enable the County and District to access Columbia River water and improve management of Umatilla River and stored water. The project would allow the District to supply Columbia River water to their water users during mid to late irrigation season when the District has a limited supply of water stored in McKay Reservoir. Access to Columbia River water would improve water supply reliability for patrons across the District. During the winter and early irrigation season, the County would use Columbia River water to supply municipal and industrial users and to recharge the Ordnance alluvial aquifer to support critical groundwater supplies.

The project is co-sponsored by Westland Irrigation District and Umatilla County, with funding and technical support from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Farmers Conservation Alliance is assisting the NRCS with the planning process.

Members of the public are invited to provide input to help guide planning efforts during a virtual scoping meeting on November 2, 2021 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the meeting will be held virtually using Zoom. A call-in number will also be available. Register for the meeting at oregonwatershedplans.org. Participants will have an opportunity to learn more about the proposed infrastructure improvements and submit their comments, ideas, and concerns. A recording of the meeting will be available afterwards at the same website.

Public comments may be submitted from October 19, 2021 through December 2, 2021. Comments may be emailed to westland.id.comments@gmail.com, submitted online at oregonwatershedplans.org, submitted via phone at (541) 716-6085, or mailed to: Farmers Conservation Alliance, 102 State Street, Hood River, OR 97031.

Following the public scoping period, project partners will develop a Draft Watershed Plan - Environmental Assessment. The public will have an opportunity to review the draft plan and provide additional input.

Once complete, the watershed plan will enable NRCS to apply for funding to construct infrastructure improvements through its Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention program, 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 watershed 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.

Additional information is available online at oregonwatershedplans.org or the NRCS Oregon public notice webpage.

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