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Newsletter Spring 2004

WATER USER MEETING

The Talent, Medford and Rogue River Valley Irrigation Districts are all facing similar issues including the Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation and other issues. Therefore it has been decided by all three districts that they will join together and hold one joint water user meeting for the patrons of all three districts. The meeting is scheduled for FRIDAY, MAY 7, 2004 AT 6:00 P.M. AT THE SOUTHERN OREGON RESEARCH AND EXTENSION CENTER AUDITORIUM LOCATED AT 569 HANLEY ROAD, CENTRAL POINT, OR 97502. This is a public meeting that will include discussion on the current issues facing all three districts. Please plan on attending to become current on the issues affecting your irrigation district and ultimately affecting you, the owners of the District.

CURRENT WATER SUPPLY AND COMPARISON TO PRIOR YEARS

The following is a snow pack and precipitation comparison taken from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) reports dated April 1st, 2002, 2003 and 2004. The percentages are accumulated from the beginning of each respective water year.
Snow Pack
Year 2002 116% of average
Year 2003 65% of average
Year 2004 106% of average
Precipitation
Year 2002 93% of average
Year 2003 97% of average
Year 2004 97% of average

The following is a reservoir elevation comparison as of April 1st of 2002, 2003 and 2004:
Howard Prairie
Year 2002 23,461 af = 39% capacity
Year 2003 28,492 af = 47% capacity
Year 2004 38,943 af = 64% capacity
Hyatt Lake
Year 2002 5,820 af = 36% capacity
Year 2003 9,565 af = 59% capacity
Year 2004 14,456 af = 89 % capacity
Emigrant Lake
Year 2002 29,670 af = 76% capacity
Year 2003 37,640 af = 97% capacity
Year 2004 36,722 af = 94 % capacity

The District will continue to allow 3” irrigations per rotation. This amount is used to calculate the time required to irrigate an acre of ground based on the flow delivered. If you are curious about the flow of water you are receiving and there is no measuring device on your system, give the office a call and we will set up a time to measure the actual flows.

The District staff will continue to enforce the no run-off policy again this year. If you observe waste, call the District office so the Ditch Riders can investigate and rectify the situation.

Water users should call and order water at least 24 hours in advance and call in shut-offs at least 12 hours in advance of the time you will be done with the water. This notice allows the Ditch Rider time to get the next person set-up to use the water or, if there is no demand at that time, put the water back in the system to reduce outflows from the reservoirs. Calls into the office are not necessary if you are on an established rotation schedule that the Ditch Rider monitors unless you are canceling your rotation. Water users should stay in contact with their Ditch Rider and others on their rotation schedules. Good communication is key to the efficient operation of the District.

All private head ditches and laterals are to be kept clean and free of debris so there is no restriction in water flow. The District will not allow the over flooding of certain portions of land to unreasonable depths to irrigate other portions of land. Please keep all sprinkler nozzles in good working order.

DITCH RIDER ASSIGNMENTS

The Ditch Rider assignments will be the same as last year. They are as follows:
Ashland Canal – Roger Godard
East Canal (Upper Portion) – Robert Derry
East Canal (Lower Portion) – Sam Camp
Talent Canal – Gordon Pendleton
West Canal & McDonald Canal – Kevan Kerby

During the irrigation season the District office is open to receive water orders from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. On the weekends, there is an answering machine, on the office telephone number 535-1529 where water orders can be left. The answering machine is checked regularly on Saturday and Sunday by the Ditch Riders who are on-call. The Ditch Riders usually rotate on-call weekends. If you call the 535-1529 number and the line continues to ring and the answering machine does not pickup, it means that the answering machine is busy and you should hang up and call back in a few minutes. For after-hour’s emergencies the phone number to call is 770-0315. The emergency answering service will contact the District’s emergency response person if your situation constitutes an emergency. An emergency is a situation where property damage is happening or is imminent, not a lack of water or a water order. The emergency answering service will not contact the emergency response person for a water order or for lack of water.

MOSS CONTROL AND NPDES PERMITS

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued a stop order on issuing any new National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permits (NPDES) that would allow the use of chemicals to control the moss. The subject that forced DEQ to issue the stop order is what is called the Alternate Mixing Zone Rule, which was overturned by the court in a lawsuit over Oregon’s Water Quality Standards. The NPDES Permit states that the application of the aquatic chemical cannot exceed the acute toxicity for the water zone that the chemical is being applied to. In issuing the original NPDES Permits, DEQ used the whole canal system for this calculation and they have now been challenged on it. It is certain that no new NPDES Permits will be issued this year.

MOSS CONTROL WITH NEWLY BUILT MOSS MUNCHER

In the District’s quest for an effective moss control solution, we have obtained plans for what is called a Moss Muncher from the Warm Springs Irrigation District in Vale, Oregon. The Moss Muncher Machine was designed and built by and for the Warm Springs Irrigation District. In watching a demonstration of the machine at work, TID thought that the Moss Muncher would give us another moss control option with the implementation of a few adjustments. In cooperation and with funding from the Bureau of Reclamation, Headwaters and TID, our crewmembers have built a Moss Muncher Machine for the District to use in helping to try to control the moss this irrigation season. The Moss Muncher uses a high-pressure water system to release the moss from the canal prism. The high water pressure also breaks down the loosened moss into smaller pieces that will be removed from the canal by trash racks that will be placed downstream of the Moss Muncher. Since it is not known how much of the moss will be removed from the canal, people with irrigation systems (other than flood) will probably continue to experience problems with the moss residue for a period of time after the demossing operation passes through their canal.

The District will continue to post our planned demossing operations on our website at www.talentid.org. Please feel free to check the website weekly for the most up to date information.

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

In follow-up to our Fall Newsletter we can report that the ESA Section 7 Consultation process has been moving forward. Meetings with the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Managers from the three irrigation districts, their attorneys and biologists were held in Portland on January 14th, February 12th and March 15th. The next meeting is scheduled for April 30th, 2004, in Portland.

USF&WS prepared their Draft Biological Opinion and the Districts and their representatives were allowed to review the document before the release of the Final Draft Bi-Op. The following is a summary of some (not all) of the Draft Bi-Op’s non-binding recommendations:

    · Reclamation, in partnership with MID and RRVID, should develop fact sheets on vernal pool habitat for developers and landowners. This fact sheet would also be distributed to potential buyers of real estate in the vicinity of vernal pool habitat.
    · Reclamation should assist in the creation of annual landowner workshops to help disseminate information on water conservation, maintenance, and funding opportunities.
    · Reclamation should investigate the impacts, if any, of the Jenny Creek inter-basin diversion, taking into account impacts on both the Rogue and Klamath basins, and the feasibility (and impact on both basins) of any changes suggested by the analysis of those impacts.
    · Reclamation should conduct surveys of Reclamation’s properties at various elevations and habitat regions for the presence of various species of concern. Such species include the Spotted frog, Cascade frog, Red-legged frog, Yellow-legged frog, Pacific lamprey, Western pond turtle (all of which are federal species of concern and state sensitive species).
    · Surveys should also be conducted on Reclamation’s properties for plant species associated with the vernal pools, such as Cook’s lomatium, large-flowered Wooly meadowfoam, Coral seeded allocarya, White meconella, and Detling’s microseris.
    · Finally Reclamation should survey its properties for certain plants that are federal species of concern and state sensitive species, but which are not associated with vernal pool habitat. These include the Wayside aster, Dwarf wooly meadowfoam, Greene’s mariposa-lily, Clustered lady’s slipper, and Crenulate grape-fern.

USF&WS was under the April 1, 2004 deadline to complete the Biological Opinion as a result of the settlement agreement that was reached in 2003 between the Department of Justice on behalf of the Department of Interior and the Oregon Natural Resources Council and the Northcoast Environmental Center. However, NOAA is not under the jurisdiction of the Department of Interior, they are under the Department of Commerce and therefore they were not subject to the April 1, 2004 deadline. NOAA attended most of the Consultation Meetings and made every effort to complete their Bi-Op, by April 1st, however they now believe it will be late April or May before it will be complete.

Talent Irrigation Districts’ costs associated with the Consultation Process as of April 1, 2004 are $101,663.99 Medford Irrigation District and Rogue River Valley Irrigation District have each paid similar amounts. This makes the total spent to-date by all three districts on the Consultation Process approximately $305,000.

To give you an idea of where we are in funding the Consultation Process; Talent Irrigation District added a special assessment to its’ current year bills, which were mailed out in February, in the amount of $2.00 per acre to help pay for the ESA Consultation Process. The $2.00 per acre collected on the Districts’ acreage base of 18,171.2 acres means the District collected $36,342.40 towards funding the Consultation Process which has so far cost the District $101,663.99, as of April 1, 2004.

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. The board meeting notices are published in the “Public Meeting Notice” section of the Medford Mail Tribune each month.

The board meetings are open public meetings that anyone may attend. 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. Your written request must be submitted at least one week prior to the board meeting date so that it can be placed on the agenda.

WISE PROJECT UPDATE (WATER FOR IRRIGATION STREAMS & ECONOMY) – SUBMITTED FOR THE NEWSLETTER BY STEVE MASON, PROJECT COORDINATOR

The WISE Project continues to move forward.

The last update of the WISE Project in the Talent Irrigation District newsletter was back in September of 2003. Since that time the WISE Project has continued to move forward with two major accomplishments.

Jones & Stokes, the outreach team hired in August of 2003, completed their initial phase of work by developing a comprehensive outreach plan. The goal of the plan is to educate each project stakeholder on all of the project issues. This work has been designed to coincide with the timing of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) so that stakeholders can make informed decisions and comments throughout the EIS process.

The outreach that will be done during 2004 includes developing outreach materials, making presentations to as many stakeholder groups as possible, guiding a tour of the Rogue River Basin Project facilities and the launching of the WISE Project website. The first phase of the website will come online April 8, 2004. The site will continue to grow as more information is added throughout the year. The website can be found at www.wiseproject.org. Please visit and let us know your thoughts.

The second major accomplishment has been the initiation of the Feasibility Study/Environmental Impact Statement (FS/EIS). The preliminary phase of the FS/EIS was completed in February 2004. The main phase will begin in mid-2004 upon availability of funds from the Environmental Protection Agency. The FS/EIS will include all of the work required by the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) such as assessment of potential environmental, cultural, social and historical impacts. The FS/EIS will also review the feasibility of the project and the cost-effectiveness of implementing the proposed work. The FS/EIS process included numerous opportunities for public input. The WISE Project outreach team will be working with the FS/EIS consultants to make sure that the public is well informed as to when and how public input can be made.

If you have any questions regarding the WISE Project, please contact the irrigation district office at 535-1529 or Steve Mason, the WISE Project Coordinator at 951-0854.

City of Medford · Medford Water Commission · Talent Irrigation District · Medford Irrigation District · Rogue River Valley Irrigation District · Jackson County Farm Bureau ·Jackson Soil & Water Conservation District · Bear Creek Watershed Council · Little Butte Creek Watershed Council ·Bear Creek Corporation · Oregon Water Trust ·Waterwatch · Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board · Water Resources Department ·Rogue Basin Coordinating Council · Rogue Valley Council of Governments · Bureau of Reclamation

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. Each spring before water is in the canal, we clean the silt and vegetation from within the prism of the canal. We typically remove these materials and place them on the edge of the roadway to dry. At a later date, we then grade these materials back across the canal road or use them to level the road from damage caused by human and animal traffic during wet weather conditions. The District’s easements and right-of-ways are for District access, operation and maintenance only. They are not public right-of-ways. Entrance onto these easements may constitute trespassing on the underlying landowner’s property.

The District has been mowing the canal banks at least once during the season to keep District access open and to prevent fire danger. We have also incorporated flail mowers mounted on our excavator to mow blackberries and brush along our right-of-ways.

STRUCTURAL CROSSING PERMITS

In the late 1950’s during the Talent Project development, all of the District’s canals, laterals and easements, (exclusive of the McDonald System) were quit claimed to the United States Bureau of Reclamation. This among other things gave the federal government an easement interest in the District’s facilities. In the event you need or want to cross the District’s canals, laterals, easements, etc., with a fence, bridge, pipe, or construct anything around the District’s facilities you will need to acquire a crossing permit from the United States Bureau of Reclamation. Please contact the District office well in advance of the proposed project so that the paperwork can be completed and sent to the United States Bureau of Reclamation in Bend, Oregon along with the required fees.

RECLAMATION REFORM ACT (rra)

Federal funds of the Bureau of Reclamation were used to finance the reconstruction of the Talent Irrigation District in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Because of this, the Reclamation Reform Act (RRA) applies to the users of water within the Talent Irrigation District. If you own and/or lease property or properties which irrigate 40.1 acres or more [this side of the Mississippi River] you must comply with the requirements of RRA. If you own, operate or lease 40.1 acres or more and have not filed an RRA form, please contact our office immediately at P.O. Box 467 or 104 Valley View Avenue, Talent, Oregon 97540. Phone: (541) 535-1529. The Bureau of Reclamation requires that the RRA forms be on file in the District office before water can be delivered to the property.

TALENT IRRIGATION DISTRICT WATER RIGHT TRANSFERS

Now that the “Proof Survey” has been completed, it is possible for individual landowners to transfer water rights within the Talent Irrigation District. The purchasing and selling of water rights and the amount of money being paid for the water rights is a private matter between the water right seller and buyer. All water rights being transferred must be inside the boundary of the District and must be able to be served from the District’s existing facilities. Once an agreement has been reached between the seller and the buyer, they each need to file the proper paperwork with the District and pay the applicable fee, which is currently $500 and is non-refundable. The transfer is then submitted to the Board of Directors of the District for preliminary review. If the transfer meets the criteria set by the Board of Directors, the Board will give preliminary approval of the transfer. The transfer is then submitted to the Jackson County Watermaster who reviews the transfer to determine if the transfer will cause injury to any existing water rights. If the Watermaster determines there is no injury, he notifies the District as such. The transfer is then submitted to the Oregon Water Resources Department in Salem and to the Bureau of Reclamation in Boise, Idaho. If for any reason either the Oregon Water Resources Department or the Bureau of Reclamation denies the transfer request, then the District has no choice but to also deny the transfer.

When considering a transfer the Board has many factors to keep in mind. The following are just a few:

    1) Is the water right valid?
    2) Does the District have any requests to receive transferred water rights from this source?
    3) Is the property located within the boundaries of the District?
    4) Has the property been classified as irrigable by the United States Bureau of Reclamation?
    5) Is the property considered eligible for water according to the State of Oregon Water Right Certificate?
    6) Is the transfer in the best interest of the District as a whole?
    7) Is there capacity in the canal/lateral to serve the property?
    8) Where will the point of delivery be?

The transfer process for water rights is very involved. If you are interested in obtaining additional information about the process please contact the District office for a Transfer Packet. Please keep in mind that the District does not get involved in the actual selling/purchasing of the water right. The District is only involved in the actual transfer process.

GENERAL WATER CONSERVATION TIPS FOR STRETCHING IRRIGATION WATER FROM THE USDA SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE

Soil can absorb irrigation water only at a given rate, which varies for each soil type. Water requirements vary for different crops. Make sure you apply water to your crop only when needed. Check soil moisture by space, probe, or soil moisture meter, and make careful visual checks of your crops.

If you have a conservation plan on your farm, or if the soil in your area has been mapped, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) can crosscheck soil type and irrigation data and provide you with the water holding capacity of your soil for a given crop. If you don’t know if your soil has been mapped, check with the local NRCS office. Even if the soil has not been mapped, the NRCS can supply you with general information.

Water stretching measures are important to most farmers in the West. To use your available water in the most productive way possible, here is a checklist to help you analyze your irrigation system.

IRRIGATION SYSTEMS
Inspect your system before water starts to flow. Make sure ditches are clean and free from weeds, sediment, or other debris, which can slow water velocity, affect delivery rate and increase evaporation. Consider lining ditches with concrete or plastic. This could avoid the 10-90 percent loss, which often occurs in ditches. Make sure ditch structures like headgates, drop structures, and pipe inlets are strong and functional. A washed-out ditch structure could mean a lot of water lost. Make sure ditch banks are firm and not burrowed into by rodents. Rodent holes could cause leakage or failures. Make sure your pump is operating at peak efficiency. Adequate maintenance will improve efficiency, guard against water loss, and avoid shutdowns.

SPRINKLER SYSTEMS
Make sure nozzles are not worn and leaky. Check pipe connections and valves to prevent leaks. Operate sprinklers at the recommended pressure. Use application rate, efficiency factor and time of application to figure how much to apply. Consider trickle systems for orchards, vineyards, etc. Operate at recommended design values and maintain the filter system.

IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT
Measure the amount of water applied to the field. This can indicate when and how much to irrigate. Consider alternate row irrigation for crops planted in furrows. But remember to alternate an “alternate” row in later irrigations. Consider shorter runs if you furrow irrigate. Match stream size and velocity to soil intake rate and capacity. Consider catching and re-using tail water by pumping it back to the head of the system or re-using elsewhere. Irrigate most crops when soil moisture reaches about 50 percent of capacity.

OTHER PLACES FOR INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE 
Consult commercial nursery or garden suppliers for plant watering requirements and recommendation. Check with your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office, Conservation District officials, or Cooperative Extension Service office for details concerning your water conservation questions.

CANAL SAFETY

The District is concerned with the safety of the general public and wants to remind everyone of the dangers posed by open irrigation canals. The following are some safety tips to keep in mind:
Stay away from siphons and checks
Say “NO” to playing in or around canals and ditches
Learn to swim and swim only with an adult in a safe place like a swimming pool
If someone falls in a canal, don’t try to rescue them, get help fast

Some of the reasons to stay out of canals and ditches are:
They contain slippery moss, sharp rocks and glass
Sometimes there are chemicals that can burn your skin, eyes, nose and throat
There are a lot of hidden underwater dangers such as turbulence or suction, strong enough to rip off a lifejacket!
All canals and roads are on private property so you are trespassing by being on or in them
Animals use the canals to drink, eat and go to the bathroom in

Tell your friends and family how dangerous ditches and canals can be. Call the District office immediately if you see someone swimming or bathing in the canal.

DISTRICT ELECTION INFORMATION

An election is held on the second Tuesday of each November to elect a board member whose term is expiring. The person receiving the highest number of votes at said election shall be elected, and hold office for three years from the first Tuesday in January next following the election, and until a successor is elected and qualified. In order to qualify as a candidate to run for a board member position, the person must be a resident of Oregon and an owner, or shareholder of a corporate owner, of land within the District. Nominations for a board member position may be made by petition signed by at least 10 electors in the District who are qualified to vote for the director nominated by them. Nomination petitions may be picked up in the District office anytime after September 1st. The District will only accept original nomination petitions, which were handed out by the District. No photocopies of nomination petitions will be accepted. Original nomination petitions must be signed by the person filing the petition and must be notarized. The completed petitions must be returned to the District office and filed with the Secretary of the Board of Directors at least 30 days before the date of the election. Irrigation district elections do not allow any write-in candidates to be elected because a nomination petition must be filed 30 days before the date of the election. No more than one of the electors of a multiple ownership may sign a nominating petition. (This includes husband and wife ownerships.) Where land is owned in multiple ownerships, by an entity, or in a representative capacity, only one person may vote on behalf of such ownership. Voting by proxy is not allowed in irrigation district elections.

An elector or voter in an irrigation district election must have the following qualifications:

    1) Be 18 years of age or older
    2) Must own, or be purchasing under contract, land situated within the District and subject to the charges or assessments of the District.
    3) The person need not reside in the District or in the State.

Any person wishing to run in a board member election should contact the District office after September 1st to obtain a nomination petition.

TID’S NEW WEBSITE ADDRESS IS www.talentid.org

Talent Irrigation District has a new website address and a new format for our web page. If you have access to the Internet you can update yourself on current issues at the District. If you have not visited our web page recently, we encourage you to take a look at it. The site is being updated on a regular basis with new information. 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 past newsletters

    5) Bylaws
    6) Demossing schedules

If you have any ideas on information that could be added to the site to improve it please let us know. The address of the Web Page is www.talentid.org.

E-MAIL ADDRESS

If you have a computer and would like to contact Talent Irrigation District by e-mail, the District’s address is talentid@qwest.net. You can also e-mail the District directly from our website.

EXPLANATION OF THE IRRIGATION SEASON

The season of use listed on Talent Irrigation District’s water right certificates with the State of Oregon Water Resources Department is from April 1st through October 31st. This is the reason why the District is not allowed to run any water prior to April 1st of each year. TID’s live stream flow rights are not adequate to last the entire season for the entire District. When the stream flow recedes or prior rights regulate TID off, we must go to our storage supply to finish the season.

The Board of Directors makes the final decision on when the water will be shut off at the end of the season. The Board takes into consideration the current reservoir elevations and the type of water situation we are in, whether it be a drought or good water year. If the District is facing a drought or short water year, then the later the season runs in the current year will affect the water supply available for the next year. The less the reservoirs are drawn down in any one year, the more water that is able to be carried over to help the supply for the upcoming year. Therefore, as a rule, the earlier the District can shut down in any given year, the better the water supply will be for the next irrigation season. The District makes water deliveries to all water users on an equal basis. Everyone in the District is allowed 2.65 acre-feet of water per season, if the water is available.

The District has installed several ramps, ramp flumes, meters and assorted measuring devices, etc., to help track the District’s water supply and usage. The District is doing everything it can to regulate the water as efficiently as possible and to stretch the water supply as far as possible.

DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ON THE SAFE USE OF HERBICIDES AND PESTICIDES?

Do you know how to prepare your home or yard for pesticide treatment? Do you have questions about the safe use of pesticides to control disease-carrying pests, such as mosquitoes and ticks? How long should you keep pets off a treated lawn?

If you are interested in the answers to these questions or have other questions regarding the use of pesticides, You can contact the National Pesticide Information Center toll free at 1-800-858-7378 for real answers to questions from real people during the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time, 7 days a week (except holidays) or visit their website anytime at www.npic.orst.edu for pesticide information. The National Pesticide Information Center is a resource for the general public, local, state, and federal agencies, including school districts, health care providers, veterinarians, etc. who want to make informed decisions about pesticides in order to keep everyone safe.

The National Pesticide Information Center is a cooperative effort between Oregon State University and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

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

President, Ronald V. Meyer
Vice-President, Brian D. Stringer
Director, Bob Morris

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