KTVZ.COM April 2
BEND, Ore. – The Arnold Irrigation District and project partners are holding a public meeting later this month to gather public input on a canal piping project to modernize aging infrastructure to conserve water, reduce energy use, improve operational efficiencies and enhance fish and wildlife habitat in the Deschutes River.
By converting open-ditch irrigation canals into underground, closed-pipe systems, the proposed Arnold Irrigation District Modernization Project could reduce seepage water losses by up to 14,607 acre-feet, a rate of up to 45.1 cubic feet per second, over the entire irrigation season, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service said in a news release Wednesday.
The project is sponsored by the Deschutes Basin Board of Control and the Arnold Irrigation District, with funding and technical support from the Energy Trust of Oregon, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farmers Conservation Alliance.
The proposed project is located primarily in central Deschutes County on the south side of the city of Bend.
Members of the public are invited to provide input to help guide planning efforts during a scoping meeting on Wednesday, April. 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Elk Meadow Elementary Gymnasium, located at 60880 Brookswood Blvd. in Bend.
Participants will have an opportunity to learn more about the proposed irrigation improvements at the meeting and submit their comments, ideas and concerns.
The meeting location is accessible to persons with disabilities. A request for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or for other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours before the meeting to Raija Bushnell (541) 249-3495 or Raija.Bushnell@fcasolutions.org
Public comments may be submitted through May 15, 2019. Comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or submitted online at www.oregonwatershedplans.org or mailed to: Farmers Conservation Alliance, 102 State Street, Hood River, OR 97031.
Following the public comment 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 irrigation improvements through its Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention program, also referred to as PL-566.
Through this program, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to states, local governments and Tribes (project sponsors) to plan and implement authorized watershed project plans for the purpose of watershed protection, flood mitigation, water quality improvements, soil erosion reduction, rural, municipal and industrial water supply, irrigation, water management, sediment control, fish and wildlife enhancement, and hydropower.