NRCS greenlights Ochoco Irrigation District piping plan

Dec 15, 2020

Bend Bulletin

NRCS greenlights Ochoco Irrigation District piping plan A multi-million dollar project to modernize the Ochoco Irrigation District water delivery system has received final approval from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The conservation service released a Final Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessment and a finding of No Significant Impact, according to a release from the service.

Regulators have determined the project will not cause significant local, regional or national impacts on the environment, the service said. With a completed environmental assessment now in place, the project is eligible for federal funding and is permitted to advance into the construction phase.

The project is designed to improve irrigation water management and delivery, reduce operations and maintenance costs, improve public safety and boost streamflow in McKay Creek and Crooked River.

To fund the project, the irrigation district can apply for federal funds through the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program, authorized by Public Law 83-566.

Planned improvements include converting 16.8 miles of open and unlined canals and laterals into buried pipelines. Improvements also call for replacing aging pump stations and raising canal banks to deepen channels.

Converting open ditch irrigation canals into underground, closed-system pipe will reduce water loss from seepage by up to an estimated 5.9 cubic feet per second.

From the saved water, an estimated 4.82 cubic feet per second will be allocated instream in the Crooked River. Seasonal flow of up to 11.2 cubic feet per second will be restored in a portion of McKay Creek.

Reporter: 541-617-7818, mkohn@bendbulletin.com

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