North Unit Irrigation District to get $10M to fix or replace fish screens at main canal

April 6, 2023
North Unit Irrigation District to get $10M to fix or replace fish screens at main canal

Funding for fish screens part of $585M awarded for 83 water projects in 11 Western states

The North Unit Irrigation District will receive $10 million to fix or replace fish screens at the headworks of its main canal in Bend, the Biden administration announced Wednesday.

Replacing the screens to reduce harm to endangered species is among 83 water projects totaling $585 million in 11 Western states that officials announced during a visit to Imperial Dam in the Colorado River Valley, about 20 miles north of Yuma, Arizona.

North Unit’s funding was the largest amount out of four Oregon water projects. The others are:

• $703,000 for the Hermiston Irrigation District to remove and replace a footbridge that provides access to the upstream-most outlet works gatehouse at Cold Springs Dam.

• $60,000 for the West Extension Irrigation District in Umatilla to provide concrete panels and Geo-Foam lining for its main canal.

The Klamath Project straddling the Southern Oregon and Northern California border will get $8.75 million for work on the A and C canals.

Part of the funding will help the Klamath Irrigation District study piping 9 miles of the A Canal to better conserve water. The A Canal is the main artery that delivers water from Upper Klamath Lake to the project, spanning roughly 200,000 acres of irrigated farmland.

• $2.2 million to build a surge tank at the Mill Creek Water Treatment Plant in The Dalles.Funding comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021.

Camille Touton, commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, said the projects were identified “through a rigorous process.”

“As we manage through changing climate, we must look to the safety of our projects to ensure that we can continue to provide clean, reliable water to communities, irrigators and ecosystems across the West,” Touton said.

Tommy Beaudreau, deputy secretary for the Department of the Interior, said the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is “making a historic investment to provide clean, reliable water to families, farmers and tribes.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated $8.3 billion for water infrastructure projects over five years, such as modernizing irrigation systems, improving dam safety, expanding hydropower generation, and protecting aquatic ecosystems.The $585 million follows $240 million that was allocated through the law in fiscal year 2022.

The next application period will be in October.

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An aerial view of a body of water.