Farmer’s Irrigation receives stewardship honor

June 8, 2005

Farmers Irrigation District of Hood River received an Oregon Water Resources Department Stewardship and Conservation Award for 2005 in a recent ceremony on the State Capitol steps.

The district was honored for implementing more efficient irrigation and making more water available for fish and farms.

The May 18 award was part of an event called by Gov. Ted Kulongoski and legislative leaders to celebrate the achievements of more than 30 citizens, public servants, landowners, industry leaders, conservation organizations, tribes and local governments committed to restoring watersheds and recovering salmon.

Farmers Irrigation District provides water to 6,000 acres of land and 1,600 users. The original mode of delivery to orchards and power plants via open canals and ditches was generally unreliable, and operation and maintenance assessments were insufficient to enhance the irrigation water delivery system.

The District implemented a project to give irrigators low-flow sprinkler heads, allowing for more efficient irrigation and more water available for fish and farms.

Working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Water Resources Department and federal fish agencies, the District proposed a project that would optimize hydropower production and also address in-stream needs for fish.

In 1990, the District was granted hydropower water rights and agreed to install fish screens on all diversions to improve fish passage. As more pipes were installed and pressurized water became available without pumping, the District not only produced electricity but also reduced electric consumption.

Two of the District’s growers installed one of the first horizontal fish screens, which worked well, required little cleaning and allowed fish passage upstream. In 2001, the District constructed the first full-scale version of this screen on their Hood River diversion.

The inventors of the fish screen patented the technology and signed it over to the Farmers Irrigation District. The District has established the Farmers Conservation Alliance and dedicated screen proceeds to projects of a sustainable nature.

The Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds is the state’s effort to restore healthy watersheds, clean water and salmon to productive and sustainable levels in a manner that provides substantial environmental, cultural and economic benefits.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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