Grant helps local producers prevent soil loss

For Payette area farmers looking to reduce the loss of top soil, now is the time to make your dollar go further while helping your soil stay put.

The Payette Soil and Water Conservation District and the Lower Payette Ditch Company have received a §319 grant to help local landowners reduce sediment delivery into the Lower Payette Ditch. Reducing erosion into the ditch means keeping more of that top soil on your land.

Funds from the Middle Snake-Payette Clean Water Project are available to help cover the cost of design, labor and materials for installing sediment basins, converting from surface irrigation to sprinkler system, or implementing other best management practices, or BMPs.

The project area includes irrigated land north and east of the LPDC canal that uses water from and returns it to the canal.

“Cost-share funds can pay up to sixty percent of the cost of conservation measures, with the landowner responsible for the remaining forty percent of his project cost,” explained Jo Anne Smith, chair of the PSWCD. “We encourage producers to take advantage of this cost-share opportunity while funds are available.”

The landowner’s contribution can take the form of cash or in-kind match for labor and equipment.

The goal of the two-year project is to significantly reduce sediment delivery to the Lower Payette Ditch. More than $200,000 was awarded for this effort from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.

“The LPDC’s goal is to deliver high quality water to our stockholders,” explained Darlene Maxwell, member of the LPDC grant committee. “At the same time, cleaning up all the water that returns to the Lower Payette Ditch will reduce sediment in the Lower Payette, Weiser and Snake rivers.”

The project has the potential to reduce sediment delivery to the canal by as much as one thousand tons per year.

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A sediment basin like this can remove 65% or more of the sediment from irrigation return water from a field, returning much cleaner water to the canal and keeping your top soil on your land.

 

Implementation of BMPs will not only improve water quality in the canal and the rivers, but those conservation practices can also increase your agricultural efficiency, production and profitability.

A project application form is at the LPDC office, 102 North Main in Payette, and at the PSWCD office, 501 North 16th Street, Suite 102, weekdays from 10:00 to noon.          

The application asks a few basic questions, including landowner name and contact information, the location of the property and number of acres, topography of the field, scope of the project you may have in mind, and other conservation practices you already have in place. Technical assistance is available to help you determine the best BMPs for your property.

Completed applications should be returned to the PSWCD office. They will be reviewed by the LPDC grant committee and ranked according to how well they meet the project goals for the dollars invested.

Once the committee approves a project, an engineer from the Natural Resources Conservation Service will work with you to design the project and estimate the cost. If the specifications and costs meet your approval, you’ll be asked to sign an agreement with the PSWCD before beginning the work in order to receive reimbursement for up to sixty percent of the cost.

If you have questions, please contact one of the members of the LPDC grant committee:

Darlene Maxwell                     250-8852 

Bill Ford                                  642-2721

Dyke Nagasaka                       405-9338

Ken Mineard                           739-2104

Casey Odette                          866-7332

Ron Shurtleff                          642-4465