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SAVING WATER THROUGH REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE

Added 06/08/2020

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA):

Increasing soil organic matter increases the ability of soil to hold droplets of water.  This process is called soil water holding capacity.

As the organic matter in soil increases:

  • Surface structure becomes more stable and less prone to crusting and erosion. (“improved tilth”)
  • Water infiltration increases and runoff decreases when soil structure improves.
  • Soil organic matter holds 10 to 1,000 times more water and nutrients.
  • Beneficial soil organisms become more numerous and active with diverse crop rotations and higher organic matter levels. In other words, increasing soil organic matter increases soil resistance to drought conditions.  As a result, it provides an opportunity to reduce irrigation water use.
  • Increasing soil organic matter by 1% increases soil moisture by 20,000 gallons/ac.

Here is a reference on this topic by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) …

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detailfull/soils/health/mgnt/?cid=nrcs142p2_053859

 

Role of Soil Organic Matter | NRCS Soils

Role of Soil Organic Matter. Once a land manager begins working towards enhancing soil organic matter, a series of soil changes and environmental benefits follow. The rate and degree of these changes and the best suite of practices needed to achieve results vary with soil and climate.

www.nrcs.usda.gov

Where does organic matter come from and how can farms of all sizes increase soil organic matter? Adding organic matter to soil begins through development of regenerative agricultural practices.

Regenerative agriculture depends upon doing the following:

  • keeping living (green) material in the soil around the year as much as practicable. For most farmers this can initially be achieved by initially introducing straw, manure, leaf mulch etc., and/or longer-term growing cover crops (green manure) then lightly tilling the cover crops in to a shallow soil surface.
  • keeping a cover residue of living/dead plant material on the soil surface at all times
  • reducing (preferably eliminating) plowing and tillage practices (minimize soil disturbances)
  • withholding use of synthetic chemical pesticides as much as practicable
  • optionally introducing livestock to increase economic and biological diversity (sheep, poultry, goats, beef, etc).

https://agfundernews.com/regenerative-agriculture-is-getting-more-mainstream-but-how-scalable-is-it.html

The overall documented suggestions are to use some/all of the practices of regenerative agriculture to increase soil organic matter (SOM).  The SOM improves soil ecosystem health that has a much stronger water holding capacity.  Growers then can keep an eye on their crops and/or use probes to measure soil moisture. There are many places where soil moisture probes can be obtained through the internet for less than $100.  Growers with soil containing increased SOM will be able to reduce irrigation frequency and amounts.

Neighbors could share one probe.

To get started this year on increasing SOM, a normally slow process, growers can add straw to their topsoil.  Purchase the cheapest straw available, generally free from contaminating seeds, and apply as much as is practicable to the topsoil. https://www.nrdc.org/experts/lara-bryant/organic-matter-can-improve-your-soils-water-holding-capacity

Obviously growing cover crops and leaving plant residues will be less expensive but this takes time to significantly increase SOM.  In the Fall, leaves are generally a free source of plant organic matter to add to topsoil. This plant source might be mainly applicable to smaller farms and backyard gardens.

Letter from the District Manager, 04/20/2020

As we all know, conditions are abnormally dry for this time of year.  The United States Drought Monitor released on April 7, 2020 has Jackson County in a “Severe Drought Condition.”

With that being said, RRVID Staff will start water in the canals on Friday, May 1st.  There will be a time lag in getting the water through the system but we will begin making deliveries as soon as possible.

RRVID Water Users should plan on a shortened season due to the severe drought conditions. Our shut off date has not yet been set.  RRVID will do its best to run full and completed deliveries for as long as we can.

RRVID Ditch Riders and Field Staff will be focused on run off, lack of attention and letting sprinkler lines stay stationary for extended periods of time. Please help us by doing everything you can to be as efficient as you can with your water.

RRVID Staff hopes you have a good water season even under these extreme drought conditions.

Thank you all,

Brian Hampson, District Manager, Rogue River Valley Irrigation District

 

Water Season Update: April 13, 2020

We will be starting water Friday May 1st and then water will begin running the week of Monday, May 4th.  If you have questions about your rotation schedule or need to order your water – Please call our office so that we can create a ticket for your order. Our office building is closed to the public because of the Covid 19 guidelines –  so please either call us or email.

Update: March 24, 2020

Until further notice and effective immediately: Our office is closed to the public due to the COVID-19 mandates.  We will be staffed during normal business hours.  If you need to speak to us please call: 541-773-6127 or email pam@rrvid.org or laurie@rrvid.org.

Documents and Payments by check: Please use our mail slot.  We will email or mail you a receipt.

Payments in cash: Cash payments, through our mail slot,  are only accepted during staffed hours, when you see a staff member available in the office.  Please DO NOT use the mail slot for cash payments after business hours.  RRVID is not responsible for any payments made in cash,  after business hours or when you do not see a staff member available to acknowledge receipt of the cash.  All cash will be removed from the office and deposited nightly. We will email or mail you a receipt.

Thank you for your patience during this time.  We hope that you and your families and friends stay well and are not affected by this pandemic.

Water Season Update:  Water deliveries will be starting late this season.  We are looking at May for a start time.  Please keep checking the website for a firm date as it gets closer to that time or you can always call our office.

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Courtesy Reminder! Please remember to pay your 2020 Assessment by February 28th.  Interest is added to all accounts on March 1st and is retroactive to January 1st.

If you would like to make payments – you will need to complete a Payment Agreement.

Happy New Year!

We hope that 2020 is a good year for all of our Water Patrons.  We are busy preparing your 2020 Assessments and they should be in your mailbox during the 2nd week of January.  If you have not received a 2020 Assessment by January 20th, please call our office or email Pam and pam@rrvid.org

October 4, 2019 

Please click on this link to view a very informative Story Map Presentation of: The Bradshaw Drop Piping Project!

https://rvcog.maps.arcgidf9e4s.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=96b28bc544a94055bc0fc366cdb

February 7, 2019

Letter from the Manager

Update on the piping project:  RRVID has been working on installing 3.2 miles of 48″ HDPE fusion welded pipe on part of our system between HWY 140 and Antelope Creek.  This will put approximately 40 to 42 pounds of pressure to the farm with hopes of eliminating pumping cost.  This is the first of what we hope to be, the beginning of modernizing RRVID.  So far RRVID has been able to do all of this work through Grant dollars and State funds that we acquired before starting the project.

In closing, let’s continue to hope that we start seeing more snow in our mountains so that our reservoirs continue to fill before Spring and the beginning of water season.  Please continue to check back on our website to see the date that water season will begin for 2019 and other important information.

Sincerely,

Brian Hampson   District Manager/Secretary

Reminder: When water season begins, please call our office at 541-773-6127 to order your water or to find out your rotation schedule.  Because this is a drought year, please remember to call and tell us if you do not plan to use your water so that we can conserve as much water as possible.

April 29, 2018 - Letter to the Editor - Mail Tribune

Thanks for Pipeline Funding

The Rogue River Valley Irrigation District is pleased to report that we have received the needed additional funding from the Oregon Legislature to install the Bradshaw Drop Piping Project. We plan on starting to lay pipe later this year and should be finished in 2019.

We want to especially recognize Rep. Pam Marsh for all the assistance she provided in getting the funding restored after our project’s funding was initially approved but then canceled last year. Rep. Marsh worked tirelessly to help communicate the benefits of the project to the leadership of the Legislature as well as the governor’s office in addition to working across the aisle to reach broad bipartisan support for our project.

We also want to thank the environmental groups, local municipalities and agricultural producer organizations among other various local entities whose support was integral to showing that this project had wide-ranging benefits for Southern Oregon.

Brian Hampson, RRVID District Manager

Bryan Baumgartner, Board President

Larry Martin, Board Member

Gerald May, Board Member

CURRENT UPDATE 10/02/2018: Bradshaw Drop Piping Project
RRVID has started the process of installing the 48" fusion weld pipe. The first step is to install the two siphons. These photos show the welding of the pipe and the installation of one of two siphons.

RRVID was successful in obtaining $1,895,000.00 from the Oregon General Fund to put toward the Bradshaw Drop Piping Project.  We now believe we  have all of the funding in place to put 3.3 miles of open canal  into pressure rated pipe.  RRVID will be making two stream crossings within the in-stream work period between June 15th and September 15th of 2018.  We will then start putting the rest of the canal in pipe after the 2018 irrigation season has ended which will be around the 1st of October.

Click here for information regarding the Bradshaw Drop Project.

Water Conservation Grant

The Board of Directors and Management of the Rogue River Irrigation District are pleased to announce that we have entered into a grant agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation to pipe an approximately 1.2 mile section of the Hopkins Canal from Spring Creek to Antelope Creek. RRVID is also looking to obtain additional grant funding for a connected canal piping project that would allow us to provide pressurized water to our patrons along piped sections of the current Hopkins Canal to Bradshaw Drop. We are also partnering with the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District (JSWD) to look at opportunities for our patrons to receive assistance in converting from flood to sprinkle irrigation systems. We are excited about the benefits this project will have for our District and its patrons.

For more information click here

View current reservoir levels at the US Bureau of Reclamation Website

Reclamation Reform Act

Any water user who owns and/or leases irrigated land totaling 40.1 or more acres west of the Mississippi River must annually (or more often) file RRA forms with the District office prior to receiving irrigation water.

If your landholdings change in any way during the irrigation season, which includes, but not limited to: moving your property into a trust or the passing of one or more of the property owners, then it is imperative that you contact the District office to update your RRA forms.

Board Meeting Information - Updated Monthly

The August Board Meeting will be held at the District office at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 12, 2020.

The meetings are open to the public. Please contact the office at least one week in advance if you have something to present to the Board so that we can place you on the agenda. Agenda click here  https://www.rrvid.org/board-meeting-agenda/