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Newsletter Fall 2009

2009-2010 BUDGET APPROVED WITH NO FEE INCREASES

Since 2001, the Board of Directors has annually appointed a Budget Committee to work with the Board of Directors in developing a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The Budget Committee was made up of the District’s three Board Members: Bob Morris, Keith W. Corp, Jr. and Richard Fujas and three District patrons: Willard Chapman, Bob Nelson and Lowell Fowler.

The process of developing the new budget was not an easy task in today’s economic climate, however the process went relatively well. Having experienced members on the Committee allows for quicker in-depth discussions.

The input of the District patrons who served on the Committee is extremely valuable to the Board. They are able to convey to the Board an idea of the general thoughts of the patrons on how the District operations are going.

At the conclusion of the budget committee meetings the consensus of the Committee was to make adjustments to proposed asset purchases and keep all District fees as they are with no rate increases.

The following is a list of the District’s current fees:

Irrigation Fees
Account Charge $75.00
Old Land $48.00
New Land $50.00
McDonald Land $40.00
ESA $2.00

Administrative Fees
Lien Search $55.00
Lien/Satisfaction $170.00
Capital Improvement Transfer Fee
Up to 5 ac. $220.00
Addt’l acres $ 30.00
Water Right Transfer $550.00
Temporary Instream Leases:
0-5 acres $ 45.00
5.1 to 10 acres $ 90.00
10.1 to 20 acres $135.00
20.1 to 30 acres $175.00
30.1 to 40 acres $220.00
40.1 to 50 acres $265.00
50.1 to 60 acres $310.00
Over 60.1 acres $330.00
Crossing Applications $220.00
Returned Check $30.00
Pond Application $55.00
Research Records $35.00
Copies (first page) $ 0.25
additional pages of same document $ 0.10

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

Several months passed this year with very little communication between Reclamation, NOAA and the irrigation districts on the draft Supplemental Biological Assessment.

In September the Bureau began forwarding chapters of the draft Supplemental Biological Assessment to the irrigation districts and our consultants for review. The turn around time for comments was very short and the districts had to scramble to review the information and get our comments back to Reclamation. It is Reclamation’s intent to have the final Supplemental Biological Assessment submitted to NOAA by mid October. Once submitted to NOAA, they have an authorized time limit to review and comment on the content and completeness and issue a Biological Opinion.

BOARD OF DIRECTOR ELECTION INFORMATION

Richard Fujas’ term of office as a Board of Director expires on December 31, 2009. Nominating Petitions for Director Fujas’ expiring term were available in the District office from September 1, 2009 until October 5, 2009. A legal notice was published in the Mail Tribune on Saturday, September 5, 2009 announcing that the petitions were available. The deadline for filing the Nomination Petitions was 4:30 p.m. on Monday, October 5, 2009. The only Nominating Petition that was filed by the deadline was from Richard Fujas. Since only one Nominating Petition was received, the District will not be holding an election this year.

RECLAMATION REFORM ACT (RRA) FORMS AUDIT

Any landowner who owns and/or leases irrigated land totaling 40.1 acres or more must annually file RRA forms with the District office prior to receiving irrigation water.

Every five to six years the Bureau of Reclamation staff out of Boise, Idaho comes to the District to audit the forms on file. They were in the District office on July 28th and reviewed almost every landowner’s form on file from 2004 through 2009.

Overall, the audit came out very well. However, there are some landowners who had problems with their forms and unfortunately will be billed administrative fees by the Bureau for form violations.

The most common form violation occurs when a landowner puts their property into a trust and does not file new RRA forms with the District prior to receiving irrigation water. We have been told by Bureau employees that often attorneys tell their clients that putting their property into a trust does not change their landholdings at all. However, for RRA purposes, it constitutes a change in ownership and new RRA forms must be filed prior to the property receiving irrigation water. In one instance, the Bureau found that a landowner put their property into a trust in 2002 and never filed an RRA trust form. The landowner did file individual forms for each year from 2004-2009, but not the trust form. This landowner is now facing administrative fees from the Bureau of $290 for each year that the Bureau audited their forms from 2004 through 2009, which will total $1,740. These fees are being assessed because the landowner did not have the correct forms on file.

The other most common form violations are when a property is sold and the new owners fail to file RRA forms prior to receiving water; or when a person dies and the property changes ownership (with the exception of husband and wife ownerships) and new forms are not filed prior to receiving irrigation water. These changes are especially important when they take place during the irrigation season.

The District makes every effort to help landowners comply with the RRA regulations, but it is ultimately the landowner’s responsibility to understand the law and make sure that the correct forms are filled out and on file. Please remember when you make any changes in your landholdings that put you at 40.1 acres owned and/or leased, to contact the District office for the necessary RRA forms. The District only updates our ownership records twice a year with Jackson County’s records, so your diligence in communicating any changes you make to your landholdings is of the utmost importance.

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 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. There are no fees for filing this form.

LOCKING OF CANAL HEADGATES

This will be the fifth winter in a row that the headgates on the canals will be padlocked. The reason for padlocking the headgates during the winter months is to keep water from entering the lines. In the past, the District has received several complaints of water moving through an opened headgate 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.

NEW EMPLOYEES

Over the summer the District hired two new employees to work on our maintenance staff. They are Bill Richey and Tracy Glenn. Both men have experience in working in construction type settings and are doing a great job. Please join us in welcoming them to the District’s workforce.

WISE PROJECT UPDATE

The WISE Project has reached a critical milestone with the completion of the Pre-Feasibility Report (PFR). This document includes the analysis of all the potential scenarios for meeting the goals of the WISE Project (improve water reliability and availability for irrigation; improve instream conditions) as well as determining planning level costs for each alternative. The results of the study show that the WISE Project is feasible, meeting both the instream and irrigation goals. The basic components are piping of irrigation canals, including laterals, and increasing storage at Agate reservoir, as well as other conservation measures. Further analysis of the piping scenarios needs to be completed to determine the cost effectiveness of maintaining the mainstem diversions. The final project (preferred alternative) will include a combination of these components.

The modeled results in the PFR show that even during a series of dry years, the WISE Project will improve irrigation reliability and availability due to the piped canal system which will result in significant water conservation (elimination of leakage), improved water management, while at the same time returning the mainstem and tributaries to more natural flow patterns. The planning level costs range from approximately $200m to $800m for a turn-key system. These costs can be mitigated by local contributions.

Work on the Feasibility Study/Environmental Impact Statement will continue upon receipt of federal funds in the new budget. Immediate upcoming tasks include completion of the economic evaluation and scoping of the environmental tasks.

PRIVATE IRRIGATION LINES

Once again the District would like to remind all water users of the need to drain all of your private irrigation pipelines before the freezing weather arrives to avoid breaks in the pipes. The next irrigation season always gets off to a better start when there are not a lot of repairs that need to be made.

There is one other issue regarding private irrigation pipelines that we would like to address. It is the property owners’ responsibility to install signs where their private irrigation lines are located. When the District receives a notice that construction is going to be done within our boundary, our employees locate our lines so that the contractors know where they are located. TID does not locate private irrigation lines. We do not know where they are located or how they were installed and we can not be responsible for their protection.

2009 END OF SEASON WATER SUPPLIES

The 2009 irrigation season ended when water deliveries were shut off to the project canals on October 16th. This ended a warm but successful irrigation season.

The McDonald System, which does not use storage water, was shutdown completely on Saturday, July 24, 2009. The McDonald System ran out of water almost four weeks earlier than it did in 2008, which is a result of the smaller snow pack and the extended periods of 100 plus degree heat.

The District ended the irrigation season with the following carryover for the 2010 season:

HOWARD PRAIRIE
45,461 acre feet or 75% of capacity

HYATT LAKE
11,573 acre feet or 71% of capacity

EMIGRANT LAKE
8,432 acre feet or 22% of capacity

These are good amounts to carry over to next year. If we experience an average winter, we will be in good shape for the 2010 season.

TID AND WATERSHED HEALTH

As previously reported, irrigation districts are required to have a plan under the Federal Clean Water Act, under the direction of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), to help the local creeks meet state water quality standards in relation to bacteria, temperature, excessive aquatic weeds, excess sediments, etc. After coordinating with DEQ and the Rogue Valley Council of Governments, the Board of Directors of the District adopted the Bear Creek TMDL Implementation Plan at the August 4, 2009 regular board meeting. The plan lays out specific criteria the District must perform and document on an annual basis what we are doing to address our impact on water quality in the Rogue Basin.