WASHINGTON, DC — Oregon Senator’s Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBOR)will award $1 million to jumpstart a major water infrastructure investment for Southern Oregon. Merkley, a newly-appointed member of the Senate Appropriations Water and Energy Subcommittee, and Wyden had previously pressed the Bureau of Reclamation for this funding.
“Investing in water infrastructure creates jobs now while laying the foundation for future growth,” said Merkley. “It’s great news that the Bureau of Reclamation will dedicate substantial funding to help this vital project get off the ground.”
“A big-league economy needs a big-league infrastructure, and this essential project achieves that objective in southern Oregon,” Wyden said. “And just as importantly, this project also provides environmental benefits for fish habitat.”
This funding will be used to pipe one mile of irrigation canal in the Talent Irrigation District and remove the Ashland Creek diversion facility. This project will benefit the Rogue Basin fisheries and help the area comply with USBOR’s Rogue Basin’s biological opinion protecting fish habitat. This is a Southern Oregon Water for Irrigation, Streams and the Economy (WISE) demonstration project.
The WISE project, which began through a collaborative effort between local stakeholders representing agricultural, environmental, watershed, irrigation, state, municipal and federal interests, is located in Jackson County. The goal is to improve the basin’s operations to ensure a more reliable and sustainable water supply for the region.