“We accomplished what we set out to do by converting canals to pipes,” said Craig Horrell, Central Oregon Irrigation District Manager and a member of the Family Farm Alliance Advisory Committee. “Our goal has always been to help our neighboring farmers, increase winter flows in the Deschutes, and enhance Oregon spotted frog habitat.”
Farmers were able to access much of their live flow and stored water supplies that were available even with the drought while simultaneously supporting fish and wildlife habitat and remaining in compliance with the Endangered Species Act.
“COID’s conserved water project didn’t deliver as much water in the first year as we hoped due to the drought, but our farmers did benefit,” said NUID executive manager Mike Britton, who also serves on the Alliance Advisory Committee. “Every little bit of water helps.”
Mr. Horrell said due to the drought, an early season canal breach, and working through kinks with the new system, the district delivered 21 cfs rather than 30 cfs as expected.
“This is just the beginning of our conservation plan to boost releases by 200 cfs over the next seven years to meet the requirements of the Deschutes Basin Habitat Conservation Plan,” he said.
CLICK HERE to read – “Saving One of Central Oregon’s Jewels” – today’s opinion piece written by the Bend Bulletin editorial board in support of the HCP.