Senator Merkley Tours Sustainable Irrigation Project and Talks with Oregonians Put to Work by the Recovery Act

Hood River, OR –
Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley toured a sustainable irrigation project in Hood River that was funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. Senator Merkley met with the individuals behind the innovative project and the Oregon company who has put people to work using ARRA funding.  

“It was great to get out here on the ground in Hood River and talk with the people being put to work through the Recovery Act and see this amazing and innovative project,” said Merkley. “We are creating jobs while building a sustainable irrigation system for our farmers and preserving the environment.”

The irrigation project was developed by the Farmers Irrigation District to respond to the need for a dependable water supply for farmers, reduce cost and maintenance and protect fish. An innovative horizontal fish screen design was developed by the irrigation district that allows fish and debris to flow over the fish screens. In addition to creating jobs, this project conserves water and energy while protecting fish species and riparian areas and improves farm production.  

“I am so excited by the remarkable technology that has been created here in Oregon and the way that stakeholders came together to create a positive solution,” said Merkley. “This is home grown innovation and technology at work.”

In 2009, the Farmers Irrigation District received $4 million in ARRA funding to complete the Indian Creek Corridor section that replaces irrigation canals in the upper-west side of Hood River. When completed, underground, pressurized pipelines will take the place of old, open irrigation canals that serviced farmers and landowners throughout the Hood River area. Crestline Construction, based in The Dalles, is performing the construction on the Indian Creek Corridor project and is expected to put over 20 Oregonians to work throughout the winter season.

“This project helped keep me employed throughout the winter season and it was exciting to get a chance to talk to a lawmaker who helped make this possible,” said Rocky Pence, a foreman of Crestline Construction.