Deschutes River Basin HCP

On December 31, 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced the completion of the Deschutes River Basin Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP).  Habitat Conservation Plans are voluntary agreements between the Service and landowners, private companies, or other non-federal entities that ensure harmful effects to threatened and endangered species are avoided, minimized, or offset. This HCP is a collaborative strategy to share water resources in the Deschutes Basin, covering irrigation and related water management operations while enhancing fish and wildlife habitat.

 

The Deschutes River Basin HCP delivers predictability to water managers by providing certainty on a water storage, release, diversion, and return paradigm for the next 30 years in the Deschutes Basin. It accomplishes this goal through a combination of adjusted water management practices, increased funding for conservation projects and in-stream leasing programs, more gradual ramping up and down of the irrigation season releases, support for on-farm water conservation, maintenance of fish screens, and related items — all to better align the water management operations with the life-history needs of covered species.

 

“When the HCP was first proposed we were warned it would be difficult and time consuming. In hindsight it was all of that and more. Speaking for myself this was a big commitment and the outcome was never certain. We were fortunate to have very good people to assist and advise through the entire process. We also learned an important lesson early on that our best chance for success was to listen to and work with all parties in the basin. With the help of our partners, US Fish and Wildlife, The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, environmental groups, and all the irrigation districts I believe the HCP is the best way forward for the Deschutes Basin.” Martin Richards North Unit Irrigation District Board Chairman

DBHCP Adaptive Management flyer

Habitat Conservation Plan flyer

Energy Trust of Oregon Funding

Did you know that on average 50% of the irrigation systems installed throughout this region are in need of repair? Yes, you can see them spraying water, but inefficient and ineffective irrigation systems will eat up your water allotment and lower your potential crop yield.

For example, did you know your sprinklers and pressure regulators alone need to be replaced every 5-7 years? Maybe that’s a simple place to start in order to improve your yield/drop of water ordered.

So if you are looking to make the most of the water available, this is the year to fine-tune your irrigation system. And there are many different options in place to help fund the types of repairs.

Through Energy Trust of Oregon’s Energy Efficiency Program, they offer sizable rebates to help fund your upgrade and transform your irrigation system to one resilient of high energy and water costs.

 

Pivot and Linear Upgrade to MESA/LESA/LEPA/PMDI

Premium Irrigation

Where and how to fund your water savings

There are multiple avenues to fund irrigation upgrades in Jefferson County.  Some apply to all and others depend on the location of your property within the region and who provides you power. The presence of funding opportunities have been around for a while, but keeping track of them has always seemed like a fulltime job in itself.

Robert Wallace at Wy’East has heard your call. He has collected all the avenues currently on deck into one roadmap. Click Here!

Currently, there are multiple efforts focused on improving water quality and water quantity within Jefferson County. For local farmers and ranchers, that means an excess of resources and funding focused on improving how on-farm operations. The funding focuses on reducing soil erosion, silty run-off, inefficient irrigation, high energy costs, and more. Groups such as the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District (JCSWCD), the Middle Deschutes Watershed Council (MDWC), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Energy Trust of Oregon, Pacific Power, Central Electric Coop, and partner Wy’East have all been seeking to find and fund projects that reach these goals.

 

It may not always seem like it, but each complete project contributes to a great tomorrow for all. Follow the links provided in Robert’s handout, or call Lisa at the main North Unit Office to find if there are projects and potential funding for you!

 

Piping Projects Proceed Throughout Basin

This year finalizes our 58-11 lateral piping project – marking one of North Unit Irrigation District’s largest lateral piping project to date. The project spans 5 miles and is estimated to conserve over 2000 AF of water per irrigation season.

North Unit is not the only ones making great strides in massive piping projects. We share the vigor with Tumalo and Central Oregon Irrigation District, fellow irrigation districts within the Deschutes Basin who’s water savings benefit us all.

Showcased in this video, North Unit and our fellow Irrigation District’s are proud to share the massive feats of water savings found in these projects and grateful for the many hands who bring these victories to fruition.

Precious Resource: Balancing Agriculture, Conservation & Recreation

Did you know 55 percent of the carrot seeds in the U.S. are grown in Jefferson County and another 10 percent is grown in Crook and Deschutes Counties? That’s just one of the sectors that drives the agricultural economy in Central Oregon. In tonight’s cover story, Brian Jennings looks at the growing concerns over the key resource needed to keep that economic engine alive: Water.