8 January. 2013
This report finds 2013 weather extremely cold but with above average snow pack in the Cascades. The reservoirs are almost entirely filled and above average reservoir releases coupled with Mother Nature’s contribution are having Deschutes River flows about twice the average winter flow around 1,000 cfs. It is anticipated that spring flows will be higher than 1,000 cfs and the risk of high water to low lying areas along the river will be present.
The Siphon Power Project power generation for 2013 came in officially at 38,646,583 kilowatt hours and was just a few thousand kilowatt hours short of the record which was set in 1997. Juniper Ridge generated 13,654,026 kilowatt hours which was 1.4% higher than in its first year of 2011. So overall, hydroelectric generation had its best year ever for the District and provided enough renewable energy for over 4,300 homes in the Central Oregon area.
The Crooked River legislation will need to be reintroduced in the new Congress in 2013 as the bill did not get voted on in the Senate by the end of the year. The Congressional Delegation offices are all working on reintroduction in both the House and Senate.
NOAA’s issuance of the final 10(j) rule did not occur before January 1, 2013 as anticipated but communication from the offices of Senators Wyden & Merkley and Congressman Walden indicate it will happen in January. Fingers are still crossed on this happening soon as the 10j will provide protection from unwarranted litigation over the steelhead reintroduction for the entire Deschutes Basin and the focus can remain on restoration efforts by all stakeholders.
COID board members and staff have continued to evaluate a potential merger with Lone Pine ID. The COID board determined in its December 2012 meeting that additional evaluation and discussion with Lone Pine ID would be necessary in 2013 in order to warrant moving forward towards a merger.
Design work has been completed for the fish ladder at the North Canal Dam with close collaboration among Swalley, NUID and COID along with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW). The final plans were approved by ODFW and were submitted to OWEB (grant funder for design). Cost estimates are under review and will be discussed and solidified in 2013.
Construction has begun on two 100% grant funded capital projects – I Lateral piping and a tailwater retention structure in Powell Butte.
- I Lateral – all 4,800’ total 54” HDPE pipe has been welded and placed in the ditch. Construction of the inlet and outlet structures along with a few turnouts and covering the pipe is remaining.
- Powell Butte tailwater retention structure – excavation and shaping of earthen berm has commenced. Facility will be completed before irrigation season and allow for pumping onto fields for crop irrigation.
The Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is about to enter its 6th year in 2013 with another grant from the US Fish & Wildlife Service. On December 1oth a Working Group and a Stakeholders Group meeting was held at the Redmond Firehall Training Center. Updates on the HCP effort and remaining tasks were discussed. An application for the next grant to continue this effort was submitted to ODFW the first week of January.
- The Basin Scale Opportunity Assessment project for the Deschutes Basin funded by the US Dept of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation is scheduled to have a working group meeting on February 1. The purpose of the meeting is to demonstrate the initial modeling effort of the Basin’s hydrology and receive stakeholders’ responses. Factors included in the modeling effort involve daily surface water flows, interaction with groundwater and climate change variability. Final report and model structure is anticipated by end of summer 2013. The Deschutes Basin is the only basin in the US selected for this effort.
- Evaluation of district infrastructure to reach potentially “new” lands is underway with preliminary indications of some possibilities and interest in the Terrebonne area. Expansion would take place with transferring existing water rights or potentially from conserved water projects. Initial study of the K Lateral is showing potential for possible delivery of up to 150 acres and further refinement will identify costs and landowner perspective for expansion.
- The TMDL development process for the Deschutes River continues with DEQ. A technical advisory committee consisting of many basin stakeholders including the irrigation districts has met several times to date with additional meetings being scheduled. The schedule for implementation of the TMDLs was originally expected to occur in 2013 but a recent court decision affecting how temperature standards are established may delay implementation.
- COID is continuing discussions with PacifiCorp regarding the Cline Falls facility on the Deschutes River west of Redmond. Next steps are on clarifying the conditions for the lease termination on that site for March 2013. A formal meeting was held with legal counsels in attendance on December 6th and a follow up meeting is to be held before the March COID Board meeting.
- COID is involved with other small hydroelectric and other renewable energy producers in the Northwest monitoring and engaging in several important issues at the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) level. There are several dockets involving potential negative impact to the stability and future consideration of establishing beneficial independent renewable projects apart from the utilities. COID is active in this coalition and is closely monitoring these various PUC issues.
- Due to Congress focusing nearly exclusively on the “Fiscal Cliff” during the lame duck session in December, none of the recently introduced legislation on dramatically streamlining and possibly eliminating any federal conditions on future hydro conduit projects similar to Juniper Ridge were passed. It is anticipated that all of these individual bills or in a combined form will be reintroduced in the House and Senate in 2013.
- The appraisal of the old COID Headquarter parcel in north Redmond is completed. The Board decided to list the property at its appraised value of $1,063,000 with Benchmark Real Estate Services of Redmond. The principal broker is Ken Streater.
Status – Active
- The City of Redmond, COID, Redmond School District, and Deschutes County have been meeting to plan and initiate actions to rezone the east Redmond acreage owned by the entities under the structure laid out in the successfully passed SB 1544 sponsored by Sen. Chris Telfer. While not all provisions of the bill have been clarified for process, all the parties are engaged and will be working with ODOT on perfecting and implementing the new zoning before the end of 2012.
Status – Active. Industrial zoning with some limited commercial has been approved by the Redmond Planning Commission and was passed by the Redmond City Council the evening of August 14th.
- COID, Arnold, Swalley, NUID and Tumalo are in active discussions with the City of Bend to implement the recently executed MOU and pursue an Inter-Governmental Agreement by the end of 2012.
Status – Ongoing.
ON THE RADAR SCREEN
- New federal regulation from the Clean Water Act with non-point source pollution
- New Army Corps of Engineers regulations pertaining to levees may potentially involve irrigation canals.
- US Bureau of Reclamation WaterSmart grant applications due January 15th.
- US Congress and Oregon legislative sessions begin in January