Funds now in place to begin canal restoration project

Full irrigation service, halted nearly three years ago by a breach in a canal in Logan, is still more than two years away but Cache County and the Northern Resource Conservation Services are moving forward with plans to restore that service to Logan and Northern Irrigation Company Shareholders. Cache County Water Manager Bob Fotheringham said funds for the restoration project will include community participation. “The NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) is supplying 75 percent of the funding through their emergency watershed protection program. The other 25 percent of the cost will come from a local match which is going to be paid for through a partnership by the canal companies and the communities that use the water.” Fotheringham said since the July 2009 breach, an open public process was pursued in accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for canal restoration was recently approved which cleared the way for the implementation to begin. “We went through that process, a fairly extensive process, to select a preferred alternative to restore the water to the shareholders of the Logan and Northern Canal. Then a record of decision was issued, we got that at the end of last summer. Since then we’ve been moving with the communities and the canal companies to come up with that cost participation agreement for the 25 percent local match.” A project manager (JUB Engineering) was hired to assist the county in the process of restoring the water. Designation of a design engineer is next to begin the design process and put the project together in phases. Target date for completion is 2014. “We would like to see it done sooner than that and if all of the processes follow a timely schedule it may be finished sooner. On the outside it will be toward the end of 2014.” In the meantime, for nearly three years now, how has water gotten to shareholders in the affected areas? “The preferred alternative does follow how the community responded to the emergency. At the start it was important that the upper canal, or the Logan-Hyde Park-Smithfield Canal, and Logan City and those who were involved figure out a way to move water from the upper canal to the middle canal (Logan, Northern Canal) through Lundstrom Park. “The ingenuity of the community is an indicator of what was the final alternative, or the preferred alternative.” Fotheringham said public involvement would continue to be important as the project progresses. “The project team welcomes public input and will keep the community and affected stakeholders in the loop as the project moves forward through the design and implementation.” The project website is www.cachewater.com.

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