The North Unit Irrigation District and project partners will hold a public meeting later this month on their canal-piping proposal to modernize aging infrastructure to conserve water, reduce energy use, improve operational efficiencies, improve water quality and enhance fish and wildlife habitat in the Deschutes and Crooked rivers, federal regulators said Wednesday.
By converting open-ditch irrigation canals into underground, closed-pipe systems, the proposed North Unit Irrigation District Modernization Project can reduce conveyance and operational losses over the entire irrigation season and improve the district’s ability to efficiently provide water to its patrons, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service said.
The project is sponsored by the Deschutes Basin Board of Control and the North Unit Irrigation District, with funding and technical support from the Energy Trust of Oregon, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Farmers Conservation Alliance.
The proposed project is located in Jefferson County, south of the city of Madras.
Members of the public are invited to provide input to help guide planning efforts during a scoping meeting on Monday, Oct. 21 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Jefferson County Library Rodriguez Annex Building, located at 134 SE E Street in Madras.
Participants will have an opportunity to learn more about the proposed 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 Amanda Schroeder (541) 288-3103 or email@example.com.
Public comments may be submitted through Thursday, Nov. 21. 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 system 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 and fish and wildlife enhancement.