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Upper John Day River Flow and Protection Project

Year Awarded: FY 18
Proposed USDA Funding: $4.9 million
RCPP Funding Pool: Critical Conservation Area - Columbia River Basin
Project Timeline: 5 years (2018 – 2022)
Location: Grant County, Oregon
Lead Partner: Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon

Collaborating Partners

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Grant Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • The Freshwater Trust
  • Blue Mountain Land Trust
  • Northwest Rangeland Trust
  • Trout Unlimited
  • Private landowners

Project Summary

The John Day River Flow and Protection Project seeks to improve irrigation efficiency to conserve water and increase flow while enhancing and improving overall watershed health. Additionally, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon and its partners seek to address inadequate habitat for fish and wildlife. Planned project components include irrigation efficiency improvements, irrigation ditch piping, diversion and culvert replacements, instream leases, fish screens installations, water measuring devices, channel reconnections to the mainstem John Day River, riparian fencing and planting, and instream restoration work. Working lands conservation easements are in development to protect critical habitat for fish and wildlife along with keeping agricultural production in operation.

Within the selected project area, the primary resource concern is insufficient water/drought, water quality degradation, inadequate habitat for fish and wildlife, and the future protection of these lands to enhance and improve overall watershed health and maintain agricultural practices throughout the landscape.  The Upper mainstem and nearby tributaries are the premier source of cold water in the Upper John Day. Increasing instream flows via irrigation efficiency projects and other water conservation actions will increase available cold-water habitat both locally and in downstream reaches of the mainstem.

NRCS Financial Assistance Programs Used

Conservation Practices Offered

  • Irrigation Pipeline (430)
  • Sprinkler System (442)
  • Surface and sub surface irrigation (443)
  • Irrigation System, Microirrigation (441)
  • Irrigation Water Management (449)
  • Structure for Water Control (587)
  • Pumping Plant (533)
  • Livestock Pipeline (516)
  • Spring Development (574)
  • Watering Facility (614)
  • Water Well (642)

Screening Questions

1. Is the project located within the designated RCPP Boundary? (Yes-Eligible; No-Ineligible)
2. Is the applicant current on all active FB contracts? (No- Low priority)
3. Is this application for surface water irrigation improvements?  (Yes- Eligible; No- Ineligible)
4. Does the POD, conveyance system, and POU reside on the applicants land or is there a recorded easement?  Yes- High priority No- Low priority
5. Is the applicant willing to work with partners as needed to implement the project (ODFW, FWT, CTWSRO, GSWCD, OWRD, etc)?  Yes- eligible, No - ineligible
6. Is the applicant working with NRCS and the CTWSRO on an engineeering design to address the identifed resource concerns? Yes - High priority No - Low priority)

Ranking Questions

Ranking Criteria
1. Is the water source within the Reynolds Creek subwatershed?
2. SOURSE WATER DEPLETION – Inefficient use of irrigation water and AQUATIC HABITAT – Aquatic habitat for fish and other organisms will be addressed through this project?
3. Is the water right reliable for >75% of the irrigation season? Answer 3, 4, or 5 only
4. Is the water right reliable for 50-74% of the irrigation season? Answer 3, 4, or 5 only
5. Is the water right reliable for 25-49% of the irrigation season? Answer 3, 4, or 5 only
6. Is there currently ODFW approved fish screening and fish passage?
7. Is the POD on a stream identified in the CTWSR strategy as having altered hydrologic process?
8. Does regulation occur < 50% of years on source stream? If not, is the landowner willing to go through the allocation of conserved water process?


Points of Contact

Amy Charette, Watershed Restoration Coordinator, CTWSRO
Phone: 541-777-2843 or 541-575-1868

Local Service Center Contact: Grant County