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Newsletter Fall 2006

CURRENT WATER SUPPLY

Water deliveries were shutoff to all project canals on October 12, 2006. This ended a very good water season. The McDonald System was shutoff completely on August 3rd. (The average water shutoff date for the McDonald System, since 1959, has been July 31st.) The District ended the season with the following carryover for next irrigation season:
Howard Prairie 46,081 acre-feet = 76% of capacity
Hyatt Lake 12,864 acre-feet = 80% of capacity
Emigrant Lake 12,633 acre-feet = 32% of capacity

DISTRICT ELECTION INFORMATION

Ron Meyer’s term of office as a Board of Director expires on December 31, 2006. Nominating Petitions to fill Mr. Meyer’s expiring term were available in the District office from September 1, 2006 until October 2, 2006. A legal notice was published in the Mail Tribune on Saturday, September 9, 2006 announcing that the petitions were available. The deadline for filing the Nomination Petitions was 4:30 p.m. on October 2, 2006. The only Nominating Petition that was filed by the deadline was from Richard Fujas. Ron Meyer decided not to petition for re-election. (See following article from Ron Meyer.) Since only one Nominating Petition was received, the District will not be holding an election on the second Tuesday in November. Richard Fujas will be appointed as Director of the Board for a three-year term commencing on the first Tuesday in January 2007.

TIME FOR CHANGE BY BOARD PRESIDENT RON MEYER

After eight years of serving on the Talent Irrigation District (TID) Board, I have decided not to petition for re-election. I believe that a new face and new ideas are healthy for TID. My feeling was supported when Richard Fujas expressed interest in serving on the Board. Richard has served on the TID budget committee and operates Rising Sun Farms, a very successful agriculture based business. He has filed a petition for election to take my place on the TID Board. No election will be held since Richard filed the only nomination petition. He will be appointed to the Board in January 2007.

Looking back on my term of service, the settlement of the WELC Lawsuit was the major event. The loss of chemicals for aquatic weed control, as a result of the WELC litigation has been a major problem for the District and its’ patrons. Satisfactory moss control still remains unsolved.

A balance between environmental concerns and adequate irrigation must be found in the Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultations. Past drought conditions have demonstrated that the irrigation districts in the Rogue River Valley do not have a surplus water supply. We, the patrons of TID have a board and staff that have the ability to deal with these difficult issues. However they need the full support of all TID members to be successful. I leave my position on the TID Board with confidence that the District is strong financially and will be managed well.

RICHARD FUJAS BIOGRAPHY

I was born at Anacortes, Washington because my father was in the Coast Guard engaged in the hopeless task of preventing the import of liquor from Canada into the United States. His ship was stationed at Friday Harbor where my grandfather had settled to farm after the civil war. Several of my uncles had fast boats and fast automobiles and so survived the rigors of the Great Depression.

When I was a few months old my father’s ship was transferred to Astoria, Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia River to help keep ships and people safe on the difficult passage of the bar. I consider myself a fortunate person to have spent the first fourteen years of my growing-up in Astoria. The freedom of a small town, a river teeming with fish and the surrounding virgin forest made for a Tom Sawyer life.

WW2 came disrupting that idyllic life. My father’s ship went on convoy duty and we moved to southern California where my mother worked in the defense industry. I graduated from La Jolla High School in the year 1945. California was wonderful when all of the towns were separated and there were few people. After graduation I attended a maritime school and began following the sea for a grand total of thirty five years spending twelve years on merchant ships, a stint as a skipper of a tuna clipper, and finally twenty years in sailing yachts. During those maritime years the war in Korea happened and I did two years in the army.

Then at the age of fifty the most wonderful event of my life occurred. While on a beach at St. Martin in the Dutch West Indies I looked in a woman’s eyes and fell madly in love at first sight. We immediately resolved to have children and bring them up on a farm completely oblivious to the fact that our people have been trying to get off of the farm for two hundred years. We thought at the time, and we still do, that a farm is a good place to bring up children. They came out great, no problems and are both out on their own with their own homes.

So now I get to state in my bio that I have twenty five years as a farmer under my belt. We have grown many tons of basil, all kinds of herbs, and now grow wine grapes. At one point we were named the most progressive farm in Oregon because early on we began to do value added. We manufacture a number of products at Rising Sun Farms beginning with pesto sauces that are distributed nationally and internationally.

I am very happy to be allowed to serve on the Board of Talent Irrigation District and sincerely hope that I will do a good job. I know the importance of water to our farms and community, especially with the increase of a growing population and the resulting pressures that entails. Many people of vision have created a wonderful irrigation system that we enjoy. I hope that we can preserve it and make it more efficient.

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

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are still working on their Draft Biological Opinion (Bi-Op). No meetings have been held with the Districts, NOAA and the Bureau of Reclamation since our last report in the Spring Newsletter. However through the nonprofit organization Rogue Basin Water Users Council Inc. (RBWUCI) a 501(c)(3) Corporation, the Districts’ continue to incur fees for consultants and attorneys as we work to compile practical data to support irrigation district operations in the Rogue Basin.

If you would like to contribute to this cause, you can make tax deductible contributions to the RBWUC Inc., P.O. Box 467, Talent, OR 97540.

Any updates on the Consultation process that become available will be posted throughout the winter, at the District’s website at www.talentid.org.

2006-2007 BUDGET

The Board of Directors again appointed a Budget Committee to review the District’s Budget for 2006-2007. This is the sixth year for the budgeting process to include a Budget Committee. The Board of Directors has found that the information and input that they receive from the Budget Committee is very worth while. It gives the Board of Directors an insight into what the water users of the District are facing in their day-to-day operations and how the District operations affect them as well as offering a wider perspective of the District patrons. This year’s Budget Committee was made up of the District’s three Board Members: Ron Meyer, Bob Morris and Keith Corp and three water users: Willard Chapman, Lowell Fowler and Bob Nelson. The Budget Committee met in three special meetings on the afternoons of August 15th, 24th and 29th at the District office.

Through the combined efforts of the Budget Committee, Board of Directors and staff, the District was able to arrive at a balanced budget without increasing any District fees. This required that some proposed items be cut from the budget but the Board of Directors felt that maintaining the District’s current fee structure was important.

At the regular board meeting of the Board of Directors held on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 the Board of Directors approved the new budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2006 and ending September 30, 2007. The budget was accepted with no fee increases in any District charges or services. The annual irrigation bills will be mailed out in early February 2007 and are due by April 1, 2007. The current year’s charges are as follows:

Account Charge $ 70.00 per tax lot
Old Land $ 46.00 per acre
New Land $ 48.00 per acre
McDonald Land $ 38.00 per acre
ESA Consultation Process $ 2.00 per acre
(All per acre charges are based on a one acre minimum.)
Lien Search Fee $ 50.00 per tax lot
Lien/Satisfaction of Lien $152.00 per tax lot
Water Right Transfer $500.00 per transfer
Retransfer Water Right, $200.00 per transfer
different owner same tax lot, before water is applied
Retransfer Water Right, $100.00 per transfer
same owner same tax lot, before water is applied
Capital Improvement Transfer $500.00 for the first 5 acres and $25.00 for each additional acre
Quit Claim of water rights $100.00 each
Instream Leases:
0-5 acres $ 40.00
5.1 to 10 acres $ 80.00
10.1 to 20 acres $120.00
20.1 to 30 acres $160.00
30.1 to 40 acres $200.00
40.1 to 50 acres $240.00
50.1 to 60 acres $280.00
Over 60.1 acres $300.00
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 $30.00 per hour with a one-quarter hour min. charge
Copies $ .25 first page of each document and $.10 for each additional page of the same document

WATER METER REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL WATER RIGHT TRANSFERS

Since 2002 when it became possible to transfer water rights from one piece of property to another, it has been the District’s requirement that the land receiving the water through the transfer process must install a water meter so that the amount of water used can be measured.

The ditch riders spent considerable time this summer contacting people who have transferred water rights to make sure that they have installed a water meter. Most of the water user responses have been that they did not know that they needed to install a water meter. This is just a reminder that all petitions and orders for inclusion of lands by transfer that are signed by the landowners at the time the transfer is finalized, state that the landowner agrees to install a water meter.

The District has received several inquiries about the type of meter that is required. The only requirements that the District has is that the meter read out in gallons per minute and that the meter totalizes the gallons for the season. With this information, the District can convert the amount of water used to acre-feet to make sure that no one is exceeding their water allotment. The ditch riders will be taking these meter readings once a month and they will be turned into the District office.

As far as the purchase of a water meter, the District does not recommend any specific type of meter, nor can we recommend where to purchase the meter. As stated above, all the District requires is that the meter read out in gallons per minute and the meter totalizes the gallons for the season. To purchase a water meter, the District recommends that you consult the yellow pages of the phone book under Irrigation Systems and Equipment.

We encourage those transfers that do not have meters installed to plan ahead and get them installed prior to applying water next irrigation season. The ditch riders will be contacting each of you early next season to find out where you have placed the water meter so they can begin their monthly readings.

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 one year in every five-year period. This requirement is mandated by Oregon Revised Statue 540.610. If the water right is not used for a beneficial use, it could be forfeited. 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 could be forfeited and the District will transfer it to another property to be used beneficially. It is very important to the landowners and the District that all landowners maintain their water rights because the land base of water rights are the financial foundation of the District. For the District to remain financially secure, it is important that the water rights remain valid.

AUTOMATED TRAVELING SCREENS

As reported in previous newsletters, the automated traveling screen that the District installed on the Talent Canal at Coleman Creek continues to work very well. The screen removes moss and debris from the canal on a continual basis throughout the season. The debris moves up the screen and is deposited onto a conveyor belt that piles the material up on the side of the ditch bank. District personnel then go in with machinery and clean up the pile of debris once or twice during the irrigation season and haul it off.

This screen has worked so well that the District applied to the Bureau of Reclamation for additional cost share funds to install two more screens. The District received cost share funds from the Bureau and has included in the new budget the installation of two more screens. The two new screens will be placed on the Talent Canal. The water in this canal has a tendency to be warmer and more nutrient rich than the other canals and the moss grows faster. As a rule, the District has to demoss the Talent Canal twice as often as the other canals in the system.

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, 2006 – the District mailed out the annual charges.
2) April 1, 2006 – the annual charges were due. Any charges remaining unpaid after April 1, 2006 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 3, 2006 – the Board of Directors reviewed the list of delinquent accounts.
4) October 4, 2006 – 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, 2006 if their account is not paid in full by 4:30 p.m. on November 15, 2006. The additional charge added to each account that has a lien filed on it is $152.00 per tax lot.
5) November 16, 2006 – the “Notice of Lien Claim” is filed in the Official Records of Jackson County Oregon.
6) January 15, 2007 – after the District has filed three (3) “Notice of Lien Claims” against the property of any delinquent account, the District will initiate foreclosure proceedings.
7) April 1, 2007 – any properties who were billed on February 5, 2006 and have not paid their accounts in full by April 1, 2007, will not be allowed to have water delivered to their property in 2007 until their delinquent 2006 and any prior year’s charges (if applicable) are paid in full. The District office is constantly receiving requests from people to accept debit and credit cards for payment on their accounts. The District is not setup to accept debit and credit cards. The District can only accept cash, checks or money orders for payments.

LOCKING OF CANAL HEADGATES

As explained in the past, the headgates on the canals now have padlocks on them where they did not have them before. 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 simply make it easier for the District to control releases of water as well as offer a level of protection from liability issues.

CANAL AND CANAL ROAD MAINTENANCE AND RIGHT-OF-WAYS

Those of you who own property along the main canal are well aware of the maintenance that has to take place on a regular basis. The District’s easements and right-of-ways are for District access, operation and maintenance only and must remain clear of all obstacles.

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. 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 website address is www.talentid.org. You may also e-mail 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 or visit our website at talentid.org. There is a direct email link from our website.

NO SPRAY AGREEMENTS

If you are a landowner that wants to request that no chemicals are used to control plant growth on the District’s right-of-way located on your property, you need to annually fill out a No Spray Agreement and file it in the District office by January 1st of each year. The forms are available in the office. You may either pick one up or request that one be mailed to you for your completion.

WISE PROJECT UPDATE

The WISE Project (Water for Irrigation, Streams and Economy) is still moving forward. At this time there is no federal authority for the project, but legislation has passed the House and is working its’ way through the Senate. Once it is approved by the Senate, it will be presented to the President for his signature. There is no estimate of a timeframe as to when this will happen. Please visit the website at www.wiseproject.org for more information.

GENERAL DISTRICT INFORMATION

General information about the District can be found in the updated Rules and Regulations books that were mailed out to every water user in the District in May of 2006. If you are not able to find the answer to your question in the Rules and Regulations book, feel free to contact the District at 535-1529.

Board of Directors of Talent Irrigation District

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