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TALENT IRRIGATION DISTRICT NEWSLETTER – FALL 2002

TALENT IRRIGATION DISTRICT NEWSLETTER – FALL 2002

104 Valley View Ave.
P.O. Box 467, Talent, OR 97540
Phone: (541) 535-1529
Fax: (541) 535-4108

CURRENT WATER SUPPLY
The District shutoff water deliveries to the project canals on October 4, 2002. This ended what appears to be a very good season, except for the moss problems that everyone experienced. The McDonald System shutoff completely on August 8th. (Since 1959 the average 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 22,519 acre-feet = 37%
Hyatt Lake 5,555 acre-feet = 34%
Emigrant Lake 9,042 acre-feet = 23%
Overall the District water users and staff did an excellent job on water use and deliveries this year.

MOSS CONTROL
This year the District again used mechanical cleaning methods to try to control the moss in the canals. With mechanical cleaning, the moss growth seems to get progressively worse each year in the canals. Since the moss reproduces by fragmentation, when it is broken free, it goes down the canal and replants itself somewhere else. Total mechanical moss control is not the answer. It is hard on the canals themselves by widening and deepening the canal prism, which promotes more moss growth. It also damages areas of the canal system that are already lined and makes it nearly impossible to maintain water efficient systems such as sprinklers, drip, etc.

The District has received more calls and people coming into the office with complaints about the moss than we have ever received in the past. There were also more complaints made directly to the Board of Directors. The moss conditions this year required the maintenance crew to spend the months of July, August and part of September doing mechanical demossing. The rest of September was spent with a tractor pulling a disc to disc the materials that were pulled out of the canals when we demossed. The cat is following the disc to try to grade the material back into the canal roads. The roads need to be made travelable for the fall and winter maintenance that needs to be done. Some of the canal roads have become completely impassable due to the huge amounts of moss removed from the canals during the demossing operations.

QUESTIONNAIRE ON MOSS CONDITIONS
Included in this Newsletter is a yellow one-page Questionnaire that the District would like you to fill out and return to the office. The purpose of the Questionnaire is to gather information on your experiences with the moss in the canals. It in no way implies that the District will be allowed to use aquatic chemical in the future. Please fill out the Questionnaire and return it to the District office by November 15, 2002.

UPDATE ON THE PERMIT PROCESS TO USE AQUATIC CHEMICALS
Under the terms of the Settlement with Headwaters, Inc. and the Oregon Natural Resources Council (ONRC) the District cannot apply pesticides to its’ canal system until such time as it receives a valid National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit (NPDES), pursuant to the Clean Water Act.

The Klamath Irrigation District (KID) was the first irrigation district in the State to apply for an NPDES Permit. KID applied for the permit after Headwaters, Inc. and ONRC filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue KID if they applied acrolein without the permit.

On July 18, 2002 the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued an NPDES permit to KID that allowed them to use acrolein in their canals.

On August 15, 2002 Headwaters, Inc. and ONRC filed another 60-day notice of intent to sue against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DEQ. This intent to sue notice was filed because the environmental groups contend that DEQ violated federal law by failing to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service before issuing the permit, something it must do when endangered species are involved. ONRC chose to target both the State DEQ and EPA because the State agency is acting “as an agent” of the federal government in issuing the permits. DEQ contends they are not required under federal law to consult formally with the Fish and Wildlife Service before granting the permit, but nevertheless, talked with the agency.

With all of this in mind, TID is continuing to monitor the permit situation and will endeavor to obtain a permit at such time when the District can do so without facing any future litigation.

DISTRICT ELECTION INFORMATION
Board President James C. Miller’s term of office as a Board of Director expires on December 31, 2002. After twenty years of dedicated service to the District, Mr. Miller has decided not to seek reelection to the Board of Directors.

Nominating Petitions to fill Mr. Miller’s expiring term were available in the District office from August 6, 2002 until October 8, 2002. A legal notice was published in the Mail Tribune on Thursday, September 12, 2002 announcing that the petitions were available. The deadline for filing the Nomination Petitions was 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 8, 2002. Two valid Nominating Petitions were filed. On October 8, 2002, one of the petition filers chose, in writing, to withdraw his petition for personal reasons. This left only one valid petition on file with the District, it being the one submitted by Bob Morris. The following personal statement was submitted along with Mr. Morris’ Nominating Petition and is included in the Newsletter to introduce Mr. Morris to the water users of the District.

BOB MORRIS
My name is Bob Morris. I am married with three children and three grandchildren. I have been a water user in Talent Irrigation District for 33 years. Together with my wife and son Brian we own and operate a ranch on West Valley View Road. We raise cattle, horses, and hay.

I graduated from Oregon State University in 1966 with a degree in Forest Engineering. I am a Licensed Professional Engineer and Professional Land Surveyor.

I have worked for a local wood products company for 35 years. I am an engineer with responsibilities for plant and machinery design, budgeting, scheduling and tracking project costs. My work has also included working as environmental manager with responsibility for permitting and maintaining environmental compliance in several facilities in Southern Oregon.

I am running for the board because I believe my business and environmental experience will be of value when dealing with the budget and environmental problems this district is facing. I believe in having an open board and encourage all water users to become involved in issues affecting their district.

2002-2003 BUDGET
The Board of Directors appointed a Budget Committee to review the District’s Budget for 2002-2003. This is the second year for the budgeting process to include a Budget Committee. Last year, the Board of Directors found that the information they gained from the Committee was invaluable 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: Jim Miller, Ron Meyer and Brian Stringer and three water users: Willard Chapman, Lowell Fowler and Bob Morris. The Budget Committee met in two special meetings at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 15th and August 22nd at the District office.

The Committee’s primary goal was to maintain the current rate for irrigation charges, and at the same time maintain the quality and integrity of the District’s water delivery system. This task proved to be difficult, but not impossible. It was the recommendation of the Budget Committee not to increase irrigation charges for the third consecutive year. The Committee also noted that the proposed Budget, as presented by the staff, was as lean as possible.

At the regular board meeting of the Board of Directors held on Tuesday, September 10, 2002 the Board of Directors approved the new budget for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2002 and ending September 30, 2003. The Budget was accepted with no rate increases or wage increases. The current charges, which are the same as the past two years, are as follows:

    • Old Land $45.00 per acre

 

    • New Land $47.00 per acre

 

    • McDonald Land $37.00 per acre

 

    Account Charge $65.00 per tax lot

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS
Utilizing, where possible, cost-share money from the United States Bureau of Reclamation, the District has tentatively planned the following Capital Improvement Projects for this winter. It is important to note that the list is subject to change as priorities present themselves.

PIPELINES:
T-7 Colver Road – 480 feet of 12 inch pipe T-13 Extension – 2,500 feet of 12 inch pipe E-1 Saunders, Baylog, Whitmore 3,250 feet of a combination of 8 inch and 12 inch pipe Talent Main Canal below Dark Hollow Road – 2,100 feet of 30 inch pipe

CANAL LININGS:
West Main Canal – 182 cubic yards of gunite
East Main Canal at Valley View Orchard – 183 cubic yards of gunite
Talent Main Canal Above Camp Baker Road – 33 cubic yards of gunite

BRIDGES:
Talent Canal at Anderson Creek
West Canal at Anderson Creek

CANAL MEASURING DEVICES/TELEMETRY
Ramp Flume at Mud Creek on the East Canal at Barnett
Telemetry at Mud Creek and Crooked Creek

FLOW METERS ON DISTRICT PRESSURE LINES:
Install six Flow Meters
AUTOMATED TRASH RACKS:
Install two Automated Trash Racks

POLICY FOR COLLECTION OF DELINQUENT WATER USER ACCOUNTS
An outline of the Districts’ procedure for the collection of delinquent water user accounts is as follows:

1) February 5, 2002 – the District mailed out the annual charges.

2) April 1, 2002 – the annual charges were due. Any charges remaining unpaid after April 1, 2002 are deemed delinquent.

3) October 1, 2002 – the Board of Directors reviewed the list of delinquent accounts.

4) October 7, 2002 – 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 on November 15, 2002 if their account is not paid in full by November 14, 2002.

5) November 15, 2002 – the “Notice of Lien Claim” is filed in the Official Records of Jackson County Oregon.

6) April 1, 2003 – any properties who were billed on February 2, 2002 and have not paid their accounts in full by April 1, 2003, will not be allowed to have water delivered to their property in 2003 until their delinquent 2002 and prior years charges (if applicable) are paid in full.

7) January 15, 2003 – 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 only change in this policy, from what the District has been doing, over the last few years is the date that water deliveries will cease (See Item #6). This date was changed from June 1, 2003 to April 1, 2003.

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.

NEW PROJECT HELPS BOTH AGRICULTURE AND FISH – (SUBMITTED FOR THE NEWSLETTER BY STEVE MASON, LB/BC-WMP PROJECT MANAGER)
Three years ago, an effort was begun to accomplish a task of both great importance and immense proportions: to strengthen the Rogue Valley agricultural community while at the same time greatly improving our local streams. The Little Butte/Bear Creek Water Management Project (LB/BC-WMP) represents the potential of guaranteeing irrigation water supply to the three major Rogue Valley irrigation districts (Medford Irrigation District (MID) Talent Irrigation District (TID) and Rogue River Valley Irrigation District (RRVID) while at the same time, increasing stream flows and water quality in the Bear Creek and Little Butte Creek basins. The LB/BC-WMP Steering Committee was formed to help make this project a reality, and has worked for almost three years to develop a project outline as well as generate stakeholder involvement and support.

The LB/BC-WMP has four basic goals (see insert right). If these goals are met, the irrigation districts in the Rogue Valley will have a much more secure source of water, even in extended drought conditions. Additionally, the streams in the Little Butte and Bear Creek basins will have more water that is of much higher quality. This will be a boon to both our native salmon populations as well as the local communities that live next to and use these streams. To make these goals a reality, the Steering Committee has developed a set of alternatives that include a combination of water conservation through piping existing canals, increased reservoir storage, and a new source of water for agricultural use.

The LB/BC-WMP has grown both geographically and functionally since its inception. Initially, the project, known at that time as the IPOD Project, was being developed to improve water quality in the mainstem of Little Butte Creek. The basic concept was to leave instream much of the irrigation water that is normally diverted by MID and RRVID at their North and South Fork Little Butte diversions. This water would then flow the length of the mainstem of Little Butte Creek and into the Rogue River. The water, which is much cleaner and colder than the water normally found in Little Butte Creek, would flow past the Medford Water Commission (MWC) intake, greatly improving the quality of water collected at this point of diversion. Just downstream of the MWC intake was to be a set of pumps that would pump the water that had been left instream back up to the canal systems of MID and RRVID. However, a feasibility study was conducted for this plan and it was determined that the pumping costs would not be manageable.

It was at this time that the Steering Committee became aware of the appraisal work that the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) was undertaking in the Rogue Valley. The goals of the BOR project very closely matched those of the IPOD Project. This, along with the fact that the three irrigation districts all have working relationships with the BOR, although to varying degrees, helped lead to the formation of the LB/BC-WMP.

The LB/BC-WMP Steering Committee began to look at alternatives that would conserve irrigation water. The most obvious location for doing this was in the over 200 miles of main canals that deliver water to the three irrigation districts (see insert right). These canals lose water through evaporation and seepage to varying degrees, but for almost all of them the losses range from 10% – 33% of the water diverted. Piping of the canals would eliminate these losses as well as addressing other important issues such as preventing moss and algae growth.

Increasing water storage capacity has also been selected as a means to help meet the project goals. The two locations that appear to be the most viable are Agate Lake and the western arm of Howard Prairie Reservoir. These locations can be expanded to hold an additional 10,000 acre-feet of water combined, thus greatly improving the irrigation districts’ ability to deal with long-term drought conditions.

The use of reclaimed effluent from the Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility (RWRF) is the third major component to the LB/BC-WMP. The RWRF produces almost 12,000 acre-feet of water during the irrigation season. Due to state and federal regulations, the RWRF must either cool its effluent before releasing it into the Rogue River or pump it somewhere for re-use. This water will be treated to level four, which allows for unlimited use on all food crops. The RWRF has the funding for the costs of pumping the water into the irrigation districts’ delivery system, thus eliminating any expense to the districts and their patrons. Additionally, by having a pump station at the RWRF on the Rogue River, there is potential for the irrigation districts to access water from Lost Creek Reservoir that has been allocated for agricultural use.

The LB/BC-WMP, using the three components detailed above can meet all of the goals that have been set out for the project. This includes a much more secure water delivery throughout the irrigation districts as well as greatly improving the quality of our local streams. This project has an extended timeline to allow for the necessary Feasibility Study and Environmental Impact Statement that the BOR will conduct. The current timeline has ground breaking for the first phase of the project in 2006. Due to the large size and scope of the project, it will have to be funded through public funds. For this reason the Steering Committee is continuing to meet with local stakeholders and concerned citizens to gather input regarding the project. To this end, there will be a Water Forum on November 12th at the Smullin Center in Medford to discuss the LB/BC-WMP in detail. If you have any questions regarding this project please contact your Irrigation District Office or Steve Mason, the LB/BC-WMP Project Manager at (541) 951-0854 or lbbc-wmp@jeffnet.org or at 1340 Myers Lane Medford, OR.

TID WEB PAGE
The Talent Irrigation District has joined forces with the Medford and Rogue River Valley Irrigation Districts’ to maintain a web page where people with access to the Internet can update themselves on current issues at Talent Irrigation District or the other Districts. The following is a list of items that can be found on the TID web page:

    • 1) Brief history of the District

 

    • 2) Listing of Board Members and Staff

 

    • 3) Rules and Regulations

 

    • 4) Newsletters

 

    • 5) A link to check the weather in your area

 

    6) A link to Jackson County’s Smart-map

This site is still under construction. 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.rogueriverprojectirrigation.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 talirrig@teleport.com

FAREWELL LETTER FROM BOARD PRESIDENT JIM MILLER
After 20 years on the TID Board, I have decided it is time to let someone else have the opportunity to help with decisions in managing the District. I have appreciated the chance to be on the Board and thank all of those who have supported me in the past. I am the last Board Member that was on the Board when Walt Hoffbuhr was Manager and have survived three managers since. There is only one employee still working at TID that was working there before I began my service on the Board. When I first arrived on the scene, the problems were very different than what the District is facing today. We essentially dealt with adding new acreage to irrigate; canal delivery problems and weather concerns. Today the District is besieged with environmental lawsuits, urban encroachment, i.e.: operating a rural farm irrigation system in a growing urban setting; endangered species act influences; other watersheds considering use of our water; Indian water rights and new chemical restrictions, to name a few of the problems.

Your Board of Directors’ and Manager spend most of their time dealing with non-irrigation items just trying to save the water from being taken completely from the District. We are the goose with the golden egg and others now want that egg.

We have had some criticism about administration increases. Our new Manager has reduced administrative costs while the demands on the District to fight all the battles to save the water have greatly increased the workload. Our Assistant Manager is dealing with a lot of the things in operating the District that the Manager formally handled 20 years ago. When the District was improved in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s with Emigrant Dam enlarged; Howard Prairie Reservoir built and enlarged delivery canals, we ended up with around 1,200 water users. There are now approximately 3,500 water users, and growing, on the same amount of land. Land divisions have greatly increased maintenance and operation costs for the District. As the larger farms disappear and smaller part-time farms and subdivision dwellings occupy the land, the values that were once true for an all-agricultural setting are changing in almost every way concerning irrigation water usage.

I have been privileged to work on the Board of Directors with Bill Bagley, Gerry Stephens, Don Minear and present members, Ron Meyer and Brian Stringer. We are very fortunate and well served to have men of the caliber and foresight that Ron Meyer and Brian Stringer exemplify.

TID has one of the best water attorneys in the State of Oregon in Greg Hornecker. He has saved the membership thousands of dollars and kept us out of lots of trouble with his sound judgment over 40 years of dedicated service.

I believe TID’s crew, in its’ present makeup, are the finest and most qualified people that there have been in my tenure. The District must remember that top qualified people deserve good pay for their efforts. The District is only as good as the people we have to run it.

I encourage the District members to exercise good judgment and elect as my replacement someone who does not promote an agenda of their own, but is dedicated to treating everyone fairly, who keeps abreast of the issues at hand and is willing and able to dedicate extra time to benefit the District above and beyond the board meetings.

The membership should also be aware that costs of operation in the District continue to increase as the problems increase. The biggest problem I see for the District is finding ways to keep the water we are entitled to and how to fund the District as the urban setting continues to crowd out the rural farm setting and all of the problems that entails. New funding is particularly difficult to those trying to farm when the agricultural picture is bleak. There are no easy answers.

Thank you again for the privilege to have served as a board member of the Talent Irrigation District.

Sincerely,

Jim Miller

CONCLUSION
We would like to thank you for taking the time to read this Newsletter. It is you, the landowner that makes TID a community organization and not just another bureaucracy. As always, the Board welcomes your comments and suggestions.

Sincerely,

Board of Directors of Talent Irrigation District
President, James C. Miller
Vice-President, Ronald V. Meyer
Director, Brian D. Stringer