Stimulus Money To Pipe Canals, Put Water In Deschutes

The Deschutes River Conservancy will receive $3.66 million over the next two years to help fund large-scale water conservation projects and put more water back into the Deschutes River, the agency said Wednesday.

Here is the text of its announcement:

Over the course of the past 13 years, the Deschutes River Conservancy (DRC) has played a pivotal role in partnering with local irrigation districts to fundraise and finance large scale water conservation projects. 

The DRC has a proven track record of working with local partners to achieve outcomes that benefit multiple stakeholders, including irrigators, municipalities and fish and wildlife.

In the past 10 years, the DRC has invested over $20 million to restore 160 cfs to streams and rivers in the upper Deschutes Basin.

As a result of new federal funding, the DRC has the opportunity to implement a series of projects that will increase streamflow in the Deschutes River and its tributaries and stimulate local economies through job creation in the construction and manufacturing sectors. 

In fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011 the DRC will receive funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to advance its mission of restoring streamflow and improving water quality throughout the Deschutes Basin. 

The Bureau of Reclamation will provide funding to the DRC, according to the terms of the DRC's Congressional authorization and the requirements of the ARRA legislation. 

According to Tod Heisler, Executive Director of the DRC, "These federal stimulus dollars come at a critical time, when restored flows are urgently needed to improve habitat for reintroduced steelhead and salmon."

"Beyond benefits for fish, the ARRA-funded projects will create jobs, produce green energy, and sustain agriculture. These multi-benefit projects are precisely the correct way for Reclamation to invest its scarce resources, and we are extremely grateful to Reclamation for their participation in this important work."

In total, the DRC will receive $3,662,250 over a period of approximately 24 months, of which 90 percent must be directed towards program-related activities that support the DRC's mission.

Over the term of the agreement, the DRC must match the federal funding it receives on a one-to-one basis.

The primary role of the DRC is to serve as an allocator of the funds that are earmarked for a variety of basin-wide project activities.

ARRA-funded projects include: piping 3.7 miles of the Three Sisters Irrigation District Main Canal, piping 2.25 miles of an open canal managed by the Central Oregon Irrigation District just north of Cooley Road, financing water acquisitions for the Deschutes Water Alliance Bank, and piping a portion of canal that compromises Crook County Improvement District's water delivery system. 

In addition to job creation, the water saved by these piping projects will allow the DRC to restore flows by more than 26 cfs in Whychus Creek and the Deschutes River. 

The DRC is a non-profit organization with a mission to restore streamflow and improve water quality in the Deschutes River Basin.

Founded in 1996 as a collaborative, multi-stakeholder organization, the Board of Directors makes decisions by consensus and is comprised of key public and private interests including farming, ranching, timber, development, hydropower, recreation, tribes, and environment.  For more information about the Deschutes River Conservancy: visit

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