Bend, OR (August 9, 2022) - The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Oregon has released a Final Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessment (EA) and a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Arnold Irrigation District Infrastructure Modernization Project.
NRCS Oregon has determined that the project will not cause significant local, regional, or national impacts to the environment. With a completed environmental assessment in place, the project is now eligible for federal funding and may move forward into final design and construction.
The project will pipe 11.9 miles of the District’s Main Canal in four phases. Piping will begin at the eastern end of the Main Canal and stop about 1.5 miles from the District’s diversion on the Deschutes River. The project will not modify or affect the District’s existing flume. The project will improve water conservation in District-owned infrastructure; improve water supply management and delivery reliability to District patrons; increase drought resiliency; improve public safety on up to 11.9 miles of the Main Canal; and enhance streamflow in the Deschutes River.
By converting the open-ditch irrigation canal into a buried, closed-pipe system, the Arnold Irrigation District Infrastructure Modernization Project will reduce water loss from seepage, saving an estimated 32.5 cubic feet per second of water or 11,083 acre-feet annually. Water saved from the project will pass to North Unit Irrigation District during the irrigation season for agricultural use. In return, North Unit Irrigation District will release an equal volume of water into the Deschutes River from Wickiup Reservoir during the non-irrigation season.
The project is a joint effort among NRCS Oregon, Arnold Irrigation District, Deschutes Basin Board of Control, Energy Trust of Oregon, and Farmers Conservation Alliance, in coordination with other agencies, stakeholders, and the public.
The Finding of No Significant Impact and Final Plan-EA can be found below under Final Documents. No administrative action on implementation of the proposal will be taken for 30 days from the publication date of the Notice of Availability.
The project may be partially funded through the Watershed and Flood Prevention Program, administered by NRCS and authorized by Public Law 83-566. Through this program, NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to local organizations (project sponsors) for planning and carrying out projects that help solve natural resource and related economic problems in a specific watershed. These issues can include watershed protection, flood prevention, erosion and sediment control, water supply, water quality, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, and wetlands creation.
On April 3, 2019, NRCS announced a public scoping meeting to consider improvements to aging irrigation infrastructure in Arnold Irrigation District, located in Deschutes County on the south side of Bend, Oregon. A public scoping meeting was held April 17, 2019 at the Elk Meadow Elementary Gymnasium, located at 60880 Brookswood Blvd in Bend, Oregon. Public scoping comments were accepted from April 3, 2019 through May 15, 2019 related to the proposed project. Several project documents are located below, including the presentation from the meeting.
On June 8, 2021, NRCS released a Draft Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessment (Draft Plan-EA) for the proposed project. NRCS, the District, and FCA hosted a virtual public meeting June 23, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. A recording of the meeting is available here. The meeting discussed the Draft Plan-EA and answered questions about the project. A printed copy of the Draft Plan-EA was made available at the Deschutes Public Library Redmond Branch (827 SW Deschutes Ave, Redmond, OR 97756). The Draft Plan-EA and related documents can be found below under Draft Documents.
Public comments on the Draft Plan-EA were accepted from June 8, 2021 through July 23, 2021.
Comments could be submitted the following ways:
1) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Online form on this website
3) By phone at 541-716-6085
4) Mail to:
Farmers Conservation Alliance
102 State St
Hood River, OR 97031
For further information please contact:
Farmers Conservation Alliance
Farmers Conservation Alliance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which, as a federal contractor, is assisting NRCS and the sponsors in the Watershed Plan - Environmental Assessment process.
Please note: Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
Further information on the public involvement process can be found at the Council of Environmental Quality's Citizens Guide to NEPA.