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Newsletter Fall 2004

CURRENT WATER SUPPLY

Water deliveries were shutoff to all project canals on October 13, 2004. This ended what appears to be a very good season. The McDonald System was shutoff completely on August 12th. (Since 1959 the average water shutoff date for the McDonald System has been July 31st.) The District ended the season with the following carryover for next irrigation season:
Howard Prairie 37,400 acre-feet = 62% of capacity
Hyatt Lake 11,100 acre-feet = 69% of capacity
Emigrant Lake 9,920 acre-feet = 25% of capacity

RESIGNATION OF DIRECTOR BRIAN STRINGER

On August 23, 2004 Director Brian Stringer submitted his letter of resignation from the Board of Directors of the Talent Irrigation District. The letter of resignation was considered at the September 7, 2004 Board Meeting, at which time President Meyer commended Vice-President Stringer on the dedicated service that he committed to the District from 2000 through 2004. Director Morris acknowledged that Director Stringer will be irreplaceable and his knowledge and dedication will be sorely missed. It was with great reluctance that the Board accepted Director Stringer’s resignation.

APPOINTMENT OF NEW DIRECTOR

The Board of Directors were charged with appointing someone to serve out the remaining four months of Director Stringer’s term of office that expires on December 31, 2004. Several candidates were considered and the final decision was made to appoint Keith Corp to serve out the remaining term. The Board acknowledged that Mr. Corp has participated on the District’s Budget Committee for the past three years, he attends the board meetings regularly and he is very familiar with the water issues in the Rogue Valley. Mr. Corp accepted the appointment, recited his Oath of Office and will serve out the remainder of the term.

Mr. Corp and his family are lifelong ranchers in the Rogue Valley. His family has farmed land on Highway 66 in Ashland since 1947. Mr. Corp actively participates in the WISE Project, Bear Creek Watershed Council, Senate Bill 1010 Advisory Committee and the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation Service.

UPDATE ON THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT (ESA) SECTION 7 CONSULTATION

In follow-up to our Spring Newsletter, we can report that the ESA Section 7 Consultation process is still moving forward. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service completed their Biological Opinion and released it by April 1, 2004, as required under the settlement agreement between the Department of Justice on behalf of the Department of Interior and the Oregon Natural Resources Council and the Northcoast Environmental Center.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is still working on their Draft Biological Opinion (Bi-Op). Meetings have been held throughout the summer between the irrigation districts, their attorneys and consultants and NOAA and USF&W. As of the writing of this newsletter, NOAA still has not assembled a Draft Bi-Op. The next meeting is scheduled for October 27, 2004, and NOAA representatives are fairly positive that they will have a Draft Bi-Op compiled for the irrigation districts’ review and comments.

For updates on the Consultation process throughout the winter, you may want to check the District’s website at www.talentid.org.

2004-2005 BUDGET

The Board of Directors appointed a Budget Committee to review the District’s Budget for 2004-2005. This is the fourth year for the budgeting process to include a Budget Committee. The Board of Directors found that the information they gain from the use of Budget Committees is very valuable when determining the needs and concerns of the District as a whole. This year’s Budget Committee was made up of the District’s three Board Members: Ron Meyer, Brian Stringer and Bob Morris and three water users: Willard Chapman, Lowell Fowler and Keith Corp. The Budget Committee met in two special meetings on the afternoons of August 17th and 24th at the District office.

At the regular board meeting of the Board of Directors held on Tuesday, September 7, 2004 the Board of Directors approved the new budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2004 and ending September 30, 2005. The Budget was accepted with no per acre rate increase in charges. The only fee increases that were made were for some administrative procedures such as planning actions, pond applications, crossing applications, etc., none of which will affect the water users’ annual billing. The current year’s charges are as follows:

Account Charge $70.00 per tax lot
Old Land $45.00 per acre
New Land $47.00 per acre
McDonald Land $37.00 per acre
ESA Consultation Process $ 2.00 per acre
Lien Search Fee $50.00 per tax lot
Lien and Satisfaction of Lien Fee $152.00 per tax lot
Basic Water Right Transfer Fee $500.00 per transfer
Crossing Application Fee $200.00 per crossing
Planning Action Letters $25.00 per letter for no concern
Planning Action Letters $50.00 per letter for concerns
Planning Action Letters $100.00 per letter for concerns that require on-site inspections
Returned Check Charge $25.00 per check
Pond Application Fee $50.00 per pond
Research/Compile Records $26.24 per hour
Copies $ .25 first page of each document and $.10 for each additional page of the same document

MAINTAINING WATER RIGHTS

All land in the District that currently has a water right must maintain that water right by putting the water to a beneficial use at least once in every five-year period commencing with the 2002 water year. An example of this would be if you chose not to irrigate your land in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, you must irrigate your land for beneficial purposes in 2006, or your water right could be forfeited under Oregon State law. The District Ditch Riders started tracking idle land (land not being irrigated) starting with the 2002 irrigation season. After four years of non-use the District will notify you that you need to use the water or make arrangements for transfer, or you will lose the right to water. However, maintenance of the water right is the patron’s responsibility. The water right is a benefit to your land. If you choose not to use the water right, it will be forfeited and the District will transfer it to another property to be used beneficially. It is very important to the District that all landowners maintain their water rights because the land base of water rights are the financial foundation of the District, and for the District to remain financially secure, it is important that the water rights remain valid.

MOSS CONTROL WITH NEW MOSS CUTTER MACHINE

As reported in the Spring Newsletter, the District, in cooperation with funding from the Bureau of Reclamation, Headwaters and District funds, built a Moss Cutter Machine. The original plans for the Moss Cutter were developed by Dave Castleberry of the Warm Springs Irrigation District in Vale, Oregon. The Moss Cutter Machine uses a high-pressure water system with nozzles to cut the moss loose from the canal prism. The District is still making minor modifications and improvements to the machine to increase its effectiveness and so far has experienced good success. On August 24, 2004, the District did a demonstration of the Moss Cutter Machine for the three local television stations, Headwaters representatives and other irrigation district representatives. Those who viewed the demonstration were quite impressed and optimistic that the Moss Cutter will be a viable alternative to the loss of chemicals for moss control for the immediate future. The Moss Cutter is by no means the “perfect” system to use, however, it is the most efficient system the District has used since the loss of chemical applications.

The District has to work out a way to remove the moss that is cut loose by the Moss Cutter and moss rakes that have been used for the last several years, from the canal. Up to now the District has worked in cooperation with the Job Council who has supplied the District with free labor, and the District on its own, has hired teenagers to stand at portable moss racks placed downstream of the Moss Cutter, or moss rake, and manually pull the moss by hand with trash forks. This requires standing by the portable moss racks for up to eight hours pulling the moss from the rack. This is extremely hard work and is usually done when the summer temperatures are at their hottest, which is when the moss is at its’ peak growth. The District strives to keep our patrons informed of the mossing operations on the canals by posting it on our website and by word of mouth from the Ditch Riders to the water users. The District has over 3,000 water users, so it is impossible for us to notify everyone individually. Because of the rapid growth rate of the moss, there are times when the District does not know until the day the operation is done that the canal needs to be demossed on that specific day.

In conjunction with continuing improvements and modifications to the Moss Cutter, the District is currently researching a type of automated screen that will work in conjunction with the Moss Cutter. The screen will remove the moss from the canal as it is cut loose and deposit the material on the ditch bank. This research is in the early stages and will continue throughout the winter. It was decided during the budgeting process that there were too many questions and not enough facts. The District would budget $20,000 towards automated screens and look into other options, such as a screen-like attachment that can be used with an excavator. The District will keep you updated on our ongoing progress for moss control in upcoming newsletters and on the website.

DISTRICT ELECTION INFORMATION

Keith Corp’s term of office as a Board of Director expires on December 31, 2004. Nominating Petitions to fill Mr. Corp’s expiring term were available in the District office from September 1, 2004 until October 4, 2004. A legal notice was published in the Mail Tribune on Thursday, September 9, 2004 announcing that the petitions were available. The deadline for filing the Nomination Petitions was 4:30 p.m. on October 4, 2004. The only Nominating Petition that was filed by the deadline was from Keith Corp. Since only one Nominating Petition was received, the District will not be holding an election on the second Tuesday in November. Keith Corp will be reappointed as Director of the Board for a three-year term commencing on the first Tuesday in January 2005.

POLICY FOR COLLECTION OF DELINQUENT WATER USER ACCOUNTS

An outline of the District’s procedure for the collection of delinquent water user accounts is as follows:

    1) February 5, 2004 – the District mailed out the annual charges.

 

    2) April 1, 2004 – the annual charges were due. Any charges remaining unpaid after April 1, 2004 are deemed delinquent. Interest is charged to delinquent accounts from the date the invoice was originally mailed. The interest rate, as set by State Statute, is 16% per annum.

 

    3) October 5, 2004 – the Board of Directors reviewed the list of delinquent accounts.

 

    4) October 7, 2004 – all delinquent accounts which owe twenty dollars ($20.00) or more were mailed a letter “Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested” that a lien will be filed against their property at 8:00 a.m. on November 16, 2004 if their account is not paid in full by 4:30 p.m. on November 15, 2004. The additional charge added to each account that has a lien filed on it is $152.00 per tax lot.

 

    5) November 16, 2004 – the “Notice of Lien Claim” is filed in the Official Records of Jackson County Oregon.

 

    6) April 1, 2005 – any properties who were billed on February 5, 2004 and have not paid their accounts in full by April 1, 2005, will not be allowed to have water delivered to their property in 2005 until their delinquent 2004 and any prior year’s charges (if applicable) are paid in full.

 

    7) January 15, 2005 – after the District has filed three (3) “Notice of Lien Claims” against the property of any delinquent account, the District will initiate foreclosure proceedings.

The District office is constantly receiving requests from people to accept debit and credit cards for payment on their accounts. The District only accepts cash, checks, and money orders for payments.

LOCKING OF CANAL HEADGATES

You may have noticed that headgates on the canals now have padlocks on them where they did not have them before. This is not a regulatory move on the District’s part. In the past the District has received several phone calls or complaints of water moving through an unregulated headgate during winter and summer months, causing problems for downstream landowners. The padlocks will simply make it easier for the District to control releases of water where it is not supposed to be as well as offer a level of protection from liability issues.

MONTHLY DISTRICT BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETINGS

The regular board meetings of the Board of Directors of Talent Irrigation District are held at 1:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the District office at 104 Valley View Avenue, Talent, Oregon 97540, unless there is a time conflict and the board meeting needs to be changed. These meetings are open to the public. If you would like to be on the agenda to address the Board of Directors please submit your request in writing, and include the topic you wish to discuss with the Board at least one week prior to the meeting date so that you can be placed on the agenda.

TID’S WEB PAGE – www.talentid.org

Talent Irrigation District has a web page where people with access to the Internet can update themselves on current issues at Talent Irrigation District. The following is a list of items that can be found on the TID web page:

    1) History of the District
    2) Listing of Board Members and Staff
    3) Rules and Regulations,
    4) Current and Previous Newsletters
    5) Weekly Demossing Schedules During the Summer Months
    6) A link to The Bureau of Reclamation’s Teacup Reservoir Elevations
    7) A link to Jackson County’s Smart-map
    8) District Bylaws
    9) Updates on the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and other issues

You may also email the District directly from this website.

EMAIL ADDRESS

If you have a computer and would like to contact Talent Irrigation District by e-mail, the District’s e-mail address is tid@talentid.org

CONCLUSION

We would like to thank you for taking the time to read this Newsletter. As always, the Board welcomes your comments and suggestions.

Sincerely,

Board of Directors of Talent Irrigation District

Ronald Meyer, President
Bob Morris, Vice-President
Keith Corp, Director