REDMOND, Ore. - Plans to modernize aging irrigation infrastructure in the Tumalo Irrigation District through piping of canals and laterals have been approved to move forward into construction, following Tuesday’s release of a Finding of No Significant Impact by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in partnership with the irrigation district, the Deschutes Basin Board of Control and the Farmers Conservation Alliance.
The Tumalo Irrigation District Modernization Project will pipe up to 1.9 miles of Tumalo Irrigation District’s canals and 66.9 miles of laterals to improve water conservation, water delivery reliability and public safety. The $30 million project will occur in seven phases over 11 years.
By converting open irrigation ditches into a closed piped system, the project will reduce water loss from canals by up to 48 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 4.9 billion gallons per season.
"Water saved from the project will be permanently protected in the Deschutes River and Tumalo Creek, benefiting fish and wildlife habitat," the NRCS said.
"The project also will deliver water to irrigators in a safer, more efficient manner and reduce energy consumption from pumping," the agency added.
After several years of planning and considering public input through the development of an environmental assessment, NRCS and project sponsors have determined the project will not cause significant local, regional or national impacts to the environment.
The FONSI and other supporting planning documents for this project are available for public view at www.oregonwatershedplans.org.
For further information, contact Tom Makowski, Assistant State Conservationist for Watershed Resources and Planning, Natural Resources Conservation Service at 503-414-3202.
This project is a team effort between the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Deschutes Basin Board of Control, the Tumalo Irrigation District and the Farmers Conservation Alliance to help Oregon irrigators conserve water, reduce energy consumption, increase irrigation delivery efficiency, improve public safety, and benefit in-stream habitat for threatened and endangered fish species.
Project funding is being provided through the NRCS Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act.
Similar planning efforts are also underway in neighboring irrigation districts. For more information about this and other Central Oregon irrigation modernization efforts, visit www.oregonwatershedplans.org or visit the NRCS Oregon public notice webpage.