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Oregon Legislators Introduce Bill to Conserve Water, Better Serve Farmers and Ranchers

Location: Washington, DC

Oregon Legislators Introduce Bill to Conserve Water, Better Serve Farmers and Ranchers

April 4, 2006 -
Washington, D.C. -
U.S. Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) have introduced legislation to allow the North Unit Irrigation District located in Jefferson County to participate in conservation projects funded by the State of Oregon. Some of the conserved water will be returned to instream flows on the Deschutes River to support fish and wildlife. The district will also have the option of distributing a portion of the conserved water to farmers and ranchers currently served by the Crooked River, reducing irrigation water taken from that river.

"Farmers, ranchers, and the environment all stand to benefit," Smith said.
"A dependable source of water will be made available to grow crops and support livestock while conservation efforts will help return water to the Deschutes and Crooked Rivers, increasing flows for fish and wildlife."

"Water is the backbone of Oregon's economy and quality of life, and efforts like these help us to better conserve and protect this critical resource," said Wyden. "Boosting local agriculture while protecting the valuable fish and wildlife native to the area would be a huge win for Jefferson County."

"This is a real win-win effort. It's good for the environment and good for 900 family farms and ranches in the area too. In addition to helping the North Unit Irrigation District more efficiently manage water delivery while balancing the needs of fish and wildlife, this legislation would remove barriers that prevent the district from accessing additional resources to help with conservation efforts throughout the region. I'm hopeful that the Senators and I can get this legislation moved through Congress and to the President's desk quickly," said Congressman Walden.

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