Major Milestone: OGWRP approved and funded for Watershed Planning through NRCS
Dear OGWRP Partners & Producers,
We are excited to announce the Odessa Groundwater Replacement Program (OGWRP) has been approved for watershed planning through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (PL-566).
The Odessa Groundwater Replacement Project will build on the State of Washington’s investments totaling more than $126 million and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s investments totaling more than $45 million since 2004 through development and early implementation of the OGWRP. The East Columbia Basin Irrigation District (ECBID) has also sold $16.8 million of landowner-funded municipal bonds to fund the construction of OGWRP delivery facilities.
The Odessa Groundwater Replacement Project, sponsored by the ECBID, will bring more than $775,000 in federal funding through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). This funding will help develop a watershed plan that will assist in the design and construction of the OGWRP’s remaining large infrastructure projects.
“This NRCS funding illustrates beautifully how we can partner to achieve sustainable water resource solutions for farmers, industries, communities, and the natural environment,” said Melissa Downes, Washington State Department of Ecology financial and projects section manager for the Office of Columbia River.
“The OGWRP represents a great opportunity to rescue an aquifer from decline by finding an alternative CBP water supply for existing withdrawals. This will secure more water for our local communities and ensure sustainable agricultural production that many of those same communities rely upon for their economic prosperity. It is fantastic to see our State Conservationist, Roylene Comes At Night, support this endeavor and to have USDA and NRCS agree with its value by including it in the IIJA investments. The boost that a watershed plan will bring to achieving our Program’s goals can’t be overstated” explained Craig Simpson, Secretary-Manager of the East Columbia Basin Irrigation District.
The next steps will be organizational and informational meetings with agencies and producers to develop the watershed planning process and to provide information on organization and producer participation. The meetings will be announced via the Odessa Watershed Program website and newsletter (subscribe here).
“Close coordination will continue to be key,” said Harold Crose, Grant County Conservation District. “We fully intend to keep you informed on the watershed project every step of the way.”
Congratulations and thank you to all of the producers, partners, and elected officials who have worked diligently to reach this important milestone for the OGWRP and greater Columbia Basin.
Craig Simpson, Secretary-Manager
East Columbia Basin Conservation District
Harold Crose, Resource Conservationist Grant County Conservation District
The above announcement has been developed in coordination with NRCS, USBR, Dept. of Ecology, ECBID, and GCCD.