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History of the Area and District

Settlement of the area began in 1851 soon after gold was discovered near the community of Jacksonville. Other settlements such as Phoenix, Talent, Ashland, Medford, Willow Springs, plus others, sprang up in the Valley. These settlements were purely agricultural, and had very little to do with the discovery of gold at Jacksonville and Applegate. However many of the gold miners stayed to make their homes in the valley, recognizing agricultural possibilities. Early settlers raised common field crops and livestock adjacent to the streams, using adjacent hills and mountains for range land.

The hot dry summers, coupled with the necessity of keeping livestock close to the settlements, emphasized the need for irrigation. The Earliest filing for water was in 1851 from a tributary of Bear Creek, and the first land was actually irrigated in 1852. Simple stream diversions furnished irrigation for summer pastures and by 1860, there were 3,900 acres irrigated in the valley.

This acreage grew year to year until all tributary streams were appropriated to the extent of summer flow. By 1890, close to 17,000 acres were irrigated. The success of early irrigation created a desire for larger projects. However, early attempts to control the larger streams, notably Bear Creek, proved to be inadequate to handle the needed expansion.

The Fish Lake Water Company was organized in 1897 or 1898 for the purpose of storing and transporting water into the Rogue River for irrigation of some 55,000 acres of land. This development was patterned after the Carey Land Act Companies.

The new company began work on the Fish Lake Road, and in the following year water right filings were made and permits granted by the State of Oregon. In 1902 the road was completed as well as a log dam capable of impounding 4,500 acre feet of water. That same year the Fish lake Company delivered irrigation water through new canals to the Agate Desert, now known as White City.

Fish Lake Company mortgaged its system to Pat Welch, Spokane, WA, in 1909 or 1910. He began a land promotion project, using his own personnel, to plant several hundred acres of orchards which then sold for $200 – $300 per acre. Welch acquired outright ownership of the water company and began operation as the Rogue Valley Canal Company. His private lands were operated as a cattle ranch.

He made no further enlargement of the water system until 1919-1920 when he contracted with the Medford Irrigation District (MID) to construct and furnish water to MID lands, and maintain the system for two years.

Further enlargements were made between 1916 and 1930. Fish Lake Dam was constructed to its present height. Cascade Canal connecting Fish Lake and Fourmile Lake was completed as well as Fourmile Dam and the Medford Irrigation District system.

The main canal from Little Butte Creek to Bradshaw Drop and the Hopkins Canal were enlarged with more permanent structures. However, the Welch interests and the Medford ID were soon involved in litigation over many matters, including incomplete construction work and conflicting water rights. The legal problems continued until 1927 when the parties stipulated that the water supply was insufficient to serve 55,000 acres of land. Consequently the Medford ID was cut to 9,400 acres and the Hopkins Canal system to 4,784 acres.

Rogue River Valley Irrigation District (RRVID), organized by farmers, then bought the present irrigation system from the Welch interests in 1929. Since then additional water has been made available to both Medford and Rogue River Valley Irrigation districts through the Talent Project.

Rogue River Valley Irrigation District has added Agate Reservoir to its system thus providing irrigation water for new lands. Many improvements have been made to the storage and conveyance system over the years, with extensive rehabilitation projects begun in 1957 in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). A three member board of directors, each elected for a three year term, sets policy for the District. Policy is carried out by the District Manager. The board meets monthly, or more often if necessary. The annual budget, prepared by the manager and staff, non-budgeted construction, and other major items must be approved by the board.

The District provides a yearly report to OWRD of total water used. There are 953 accounts, with 810 separate users within the District. Average size user is approximately 11 acres. There are 147 users in the District with irrigated acreage of 0.01 – 1.0 acres in size. These users represent a total of 91.24 acres of irrigated land. Total area in the District is approximately 66 square miles, with 8,813 acres being irrigated. OTHER Many forms of recreation are also facilitated by the three irrigation Districts (TID, MID and RRVID) in the Bear Creek, Little Butte Creek and Klamath River basins. Boating, fishing, and other water based recreation is popular on all reservoirs created by dams constructed by The districts, and are accessible by the public. All of the reservoirs are also widely used by wildlife and waterfowl.


The principal office of the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District (the “District”) in the State of Oregon shall be located at 3139 Merriman Road, Medford, Oregon 97501. The Board of Directors (the “Board” or “Directors”) may change the principal office of the District within the State of Oregon as it may determine from time to time in its sole discretion.


Section 1. Electors:

Electors of the District include every person 18 years of age or older, whether a resident of the District or state or not, who is an owner or a purchaser under a contract of purchase of land situated within the District and subject to the charges or assessments of I the District. ORS 545.002(3).

Section 2. Voting Rights of Electors:

(1) Multiple Ownerships: If ownership is in estates by the entirety, tenants in common, or in other cases of multiple ownership, only one vote shall be allowed on behalf of all the owners under each multiple ownership. The vote may be cast by anyone of the multiple owners. When two or more persons attempt to cast a vote under this paragraph, only the vote of the person who first casts a vote shall be counted.

(2) Corporate ownerships: Any corporation may vote as a single owner of land through any officer or agent when the officer or agent is authorized to vote by the corporation and the written authorization is filed with the secretary of the District.

(3) Representative Ownerships: Any trustee of a trust, guardian, administrator or executor authorized to act as such of a person or estate owning land within the District shall be considered an owner of land for the purposes of the Irrigation District Law, when the owner in fee is not otherwise entitled to vote.

(4) Weighted Voting: An owner of land or elector may vote according to the total amount of acreage within the District owned by the owner or elector that is subject to the charges or assessments of the district on the basis of:

(a) One vote for up to 40 acres; (b) Two votes for 40 acres or more but not more than 160 acres; and (c) Three votes for more than 160 acres.

(5) Total Acreage in District: An elector who is required or permitted under ORS 545.207 to vote in a subdivision of the District may cast the number of votes under subsection (4) of this section that represents the total amount of acreage owned by the elector within the whole District. ORS 545.007.

Section 3. Termination as Elector:

One ceases to be an elector if one is no longer an owner of land within the District subject to the charges or assessments of the District.

Section 4. Annual Meeting of District:

An annual meeting of the District shall be held on the first Wednesday in January, or at such other time as set by the Directors. ORS 545.181 (1)(c).


Voting for Directors shall be by the District at large, rather than by subdivisions.


Section 1. Annual Elections:

An election shall be held on the second Tuesday in November of each year, at which one or more Directors shall be elected. ORS 545.135. Except when conducted by mail ballot, the election shall be conducted as provided in ORS 545.135 to 545.156.

Section 2. Mail Ballot Elections:

Upon resolution adopted by the Directors, any regular or special election may be conducted by mail as provided in ORS 545.163.

Section 3. Special Elections:

A special election may be called by resolution of the Directors at any time an election is required or permitted by law. Such election shall be conducted as required by any law providing for the election, and otherwise, as nearly as practicable, as provided in ORS 545.135 to 545.156.

Section 4. Absentee voting:

Electors of the District shall be entitled to vote by absentee ballot as provided by law. ORS.


Section 1. Board of Directors:

The affairs of the District shall be managed by a Board of Directors. Directors must be residents of the State of Oregon and an owner, or shareholder of a corporate owner, or land within the District. ORS 545.0433.

Section 2. Number and Term of Office:

The number of Directors constituting the Board of Directors will be 3. The number of Directors on the Board of Directors may be increased from three to five or decreased from five to three as provided by law. ORS 545.199 to 545.211.

The term of office of a Director is three years. A Director shall hold office from the first Tuesday in January next following the election and until a successor is elected and qualified. ORS 545.135(1).

Section 3. Annual Meeting:

A regular annual meeting of the Directors will be held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the District of the first Tuesday in January, or at such other time as set by the Directors. ORS 545.181(1)(c).

Section 4. Regular Meetings:

The Directors shall hold regular monthly meetings on the second Wednesday of each month, or at such other time as set by the Directors. Regular monthly meetings shall be held in the office of the District. ORS 545.185.

Section 5. Special Meetings:

Special meetings of the Directors may be held when ordered by a majority of the Directors.

Section 6. Emergency Meetings:

Emergency meetings of the Directors may be called by the Manager or any board member when an actual emergency exists. ORS 192.640(3).

Section 7. Executive Sessions:

The Directors are authorized to meet in executive, or closed session, when authorized under Oregon’s Public Meetings Law, ORS 192.660. Such sessions shall be conducted as required by law.

Section 8. Notice of Board of Directors Meetings:

Written notice of any regular monthly or special meeting of the Board of Directors shall be provided to Directors not less than five days before the date of such meeting. Such notice shall specify the time and place of the meeting and, in the event of a special meeting, the purpose(s) for which the meeting has been called. The notice shall be delivered either by mail or in person. If mailed, such notice shall be deemed to be delivered when deposited in the United States mail addressed to the Director at the Directors address as it appears on the records of the District, with postage prepaid thereon. Any Director may notice of any meeting.

Notices of meetings shall be given to the public as required under ORS 192.640, Oregon’s Public Meetings Law.

Section 9. Quorum:

A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business by the District. However, on all questions requiring a vote there shall be concurrence of a majority of the Director.

Section 10. Public Meetings and Records:

All meetings of the Directors shall be public and all records of the Board of Directors shall be open to public inspection during business hours. ORS 545.185.

Section 11. Vacancies:

Any vacancy in the Board shall be filled for the unexpired portion of the term by a majority vote of the remaining Directors, at any regular monthly meeting or special meeting called for such purpose. A vacancy shall be filled as provided by law. ORS 545.187; 198,320.

Section 12. Election to Fill Vacancy:

If a vacancy in the Board occurs before 25 days before a regular annual director election, the vacancy shall be filled at the next regular annual director election.

Section 13. Recall of Directors:

A Director may be removed from office only by recall as provided in ORS 545.189 and 198.410 to 198.440.

Section 14. Telephonic/Electronic Meeting:

Subject to compliance with Oregon’s Public Meetings Law, any meeting of the Board may be accomplished in whole or in part by telephonic conference call or other electronic communication. ORS 192.670(1).


Section 1. Officers:

The District shall have the following officers: a President; one or more Vice-presidents (as determined by the Board of Directors); a Secretary: and such other officers as may be elected by the Board of Directors in accordance with these Bylaws and law. such officers who are elected or appointed by the Board shall have such authority and perform such duties as are designated from time to time by the Board. The same person may not hold more then one office.

Section 2. Election and Term of Office:

The Board of Directors shall elect a President and Vice-President from their number, and shall appoint a Secretary of the District, on an annual basis at the annual meeting of the Board, or as soon thereafter as practicable. At any annual meeting thereof, the Board may create such new offices and elect new officers as they deem appropriate. Each officer shall hold office until such officer’s successor shall be elected or appointed.

Section 3. Vacancies:

Any office of the District which becomes vacant prior to expiration of the normal term thereof for any reason, including resignation, removal, disqualification or death, may be filled by the Board for the unexpired portion of such normal term.

Section 4. Removal of Officers:

The Board of Directors may remove any officer of the District at any time, provided they determine that such removal is in the best interests of the District.

Section 5. President:

The President of District shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Directors of the District. The President may sign, together with the Secretary-Manager, or any other officer designated by the District, any contract, deed, mortgage, evidence of indebtedness or other document authorized to be executed by the Board of Directors, except where the Board of Directors, these Bylaws or applicable law has authorized execution by other parties. To the extent permitted by applicable law and these Bylaws, the President shall have all powers and perform all duties incident to the Office of President, or as otherwise designated by the Board.

Section 6. Vice-President:

In the absence of the President, the Vice-President shall act in place of the President and possess all the authority, powers and duties of the President during such time. To the extent permitted by applicable law and these Bylaws, the Vice-President shall have all powers and perform all duties incident to the Office of Vice-President, or as otherwise designated by the Board.

Section 7. Secretary:

The Secretary shall keep the minutes of all meetings of the District and the Board and provide appropriate individuals with notice of such meetings; act as custodian of the corporate records and corporate seal; execute documents on behalf of the District as provided by these Bylaws, by authority of the Board or applicable law.

The Secretary shall collect all charges and assessments of the District; shall be responsible for preservation and maintenance of all funds, securities and related items of the District, and shall maintain full and complete books of account with respect thereto. The Secretary shall deposit funds of the District in such banks or other depositories and in such manner as is provided in these Bylaws, as directed by the Board, or as required by law.

The Secretary shall perform all duties and functions of Secretary in the conduct of District Elections as provided by law.

To the extent permitted or required by applicable law and these Bylaws, the Secretary shall have all powers and perform all duties incident to the Office of Secretary, or as otherwise designated by the Board.

Section 8. Bond Requirements:

Before handling or receiving any funds or collecting any charges or assessments, the Secretary of the District shall obtain a good and sufficient surety bond by an authorized surety company, in an amount that the Board may determine. The cost of the bond shall be paid by the District. ORS 545.498. In addition, the Board shall require bond or an irrevocable letter of credit of any Board member or any officer or employee of the District who is charged with possession and control of District funds and properties, as provided in ORS 198.220.


Section 1. Employment of Manager:

The Board shall employ a full time Manager of the District who shall serve at the pleasure of the Board.

Section 2. Duties of Manager:

The Manager shall perform such duties and have such powers and authority as shall be provided in these Bylaws and as shall be prescribed from time to time by the Board. Except as provided in these Bylaws, or by law or otherwise by the Board, the Manager shall supervise the business and affairs of the District and all employees of the District.


Section 1. Contracts:

The Board may authorize any officer or officers, manager agent or agents of the District, in addition to the officers so authorized by these Bylaws, to enter into any contract or execute and deliver any instrument in the name of and on behalf of the District, and such authority may be general or confined to specific instances.

Section 2. Checks, Other Instruments:

All checks, drafts, or orders for the payment of money, notes or other evidences of indebtedness issued in the name of the District, shall be signed by such officer, officers, manager, agent or agents and in such manner as shall be designated by the Board from time to time. In the absence of such designation, such instruments shall be signed by the President or Vice-President and/or the Secretary of the District.

Section 3. Deposits.

All funds of the District shall be deposited from time to time to the credit of the District in such banks, trust companies or other depositories as the Board may select. Where required by law, as with payments for bonded or contractual indebtedness, deposits shall be made to designated accounts.


The District shall keep and maintain books and records of account, minutes of all meetings of the Board, and shall keep at its principal office a record giving they names of the owners of lands subject to the charges and assessments of the District. In addition, the District shall keep and maintain, and make available for inspection, such records as may be required by federal and state law. Any books and records of the District, not subject to exclusion under Oregon’s Public Records Law, shall be open to public inspection during business hours. ORS 545.185;192.410 to 192.505.


The fiscal year of the District shall be the calendar year.


The Board shall provide a District Seal, which seal shall be in the form of a circle, and contain the name of the District and reference to the District as being a District in the State of Oregon.


These Bylaws may be amended, or repealed and new Bylaws adopted, by a majority of the board at any regular annual meeting thereof, or at any duly noticed and constituted meeting thereof.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned hereby certify that these Bylaws of the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District were adopted at a duly constituted meeting of the Board of Directors held on Wednesday, May 1, 1996.

Effective October 2001 Amended July 2023



The following Rules and Regulations were adopted during a regular board meeting of the Board of Directors of the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District (the “District”) by Resolution No. 01-1 under the authority of the Irrigation District Laws of Oregon, ORS 545.221(1)(1999), which states: The Board shall manage and conduct the business and affairs of the District; make and execute all necessary contracts, employ and appoint such agents, officers, and employees as may be required, and to prescribe their duties; establish equitable bylaws, rules and regulations for the administration of the District and for the distribution and use of water among the landowners; and generally to perform all acts necessary to fully carry out the purposes of the Irrigation District Act.” Should these Rules and Regulations be found to conflict with the laws of the State of Oregon, the latter shall be the controlling authority.


The mission of the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District is to deliver water equitably and efficiently with the least amount of cost to its water users, keeping in mind the need for long range planning and environmental impact.


It is the intention of the Board of Directors to carry on the District’s business in a business-like, economical, and equitable manner. Because water requirements and facilities for handling water differ greatly with soil conditions and crops grown, there must be general rules to secure the best service to the water users. To this end, every person in the District has a personal responsibility to carry out the rules so the water is used in the most efficient manner. The adoption of these Rules and Regulations will not essentially change the manner of water distribution from that in practice. The Rules seek to provide every water user with a clear understanding of the duties and intentions of the operating officials and bring to the attention of all water users the great need for conserving the District’s water supply.

The District was organized for the purpose of supplying irrigation water for farm crops. Water quality and district facilities are not suitable for human consumption. Any use other than irrigation will be provided only upon special order of the Board of Directors.

The ROGUE RIVER VALLEY IRRIGATION DISTRICT is a quasi-municipality, and every landowner within the District boundaries is a member of the District. The District makes no profit and is operated for the sole benefit of the lands and people within its boundaries.


The office of the ROGUE RIVER VALLEY IRRIGATION DISTRICT, 3139 Merriman Road, Medford, Oregon 97501, is open between the hours of 8 a.m. to 12:00 Noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday thru Friday or as otherwise determined by the Board of Directors. Ditch riders may be contacted through the District’s office at telephone number (541) 773-6127 during the hours listed above or leave a message with the answering service.


The maintenance and operations of all facilities of the District shall be under the exclusive management and control of the Manager, who is appointed by the Board of Directors. No other person, except District employees, shall have any right to regulate District facilities in any manner, except with express permission of the Manager.

The District Manager is authorized to act in emergencies on matters not covered by these Rules and Regulations; however his actions are subject to the approval of the Board of Directors at the next regularly scheduled meeting, following his actions in such an emergency.


The District Manager shall employ such ditch riders and other personnel as may be necessary for the proper operation and maintenance of the system and the distribution of water. Each ditch rider shall have charge of his respective area and shall be responsible to the Manager for carrying on the routine of water delivery and other related work.

All District employees are instructed to aid the water user in every manner possible and to courteously and respectfully consider all criticism and suggestions. Likewise, all water users are requested to cooperate with District officials in every manner so the District may operate effectively and efficiently.


The normal irrigation season shall be from April 15 to October 1 each year. These dates are subject to change in relation to seasonal weather conditions and water availability. The manager may shorten or lengthen the irrigation season within those parameters as established by the District’s water rights.

Since the District does not usually carry water through its facilities outside the irrigation season, the District shall have no responsibility for delivering water through its system for stock water or spray purposes except during the irrigation season as determined by the Water Resources Department or as evidenced by the District’s water rights. Such water for stock water or spray purposes will be delivered only when the same can be supplied without making special delivery for such purposes.


Water will be apportioned within the District by the Manager. Ditch riders will be held responsible for the efficiency of water distribution, including diversion of water to private ditches, and for the operation of District laterals and structures in their respective areas. All water deliveries from the District’s system shall either be on a rotation basis established by the Manager or on a delivery basis if the Manager determines appropriate efficiency and conservation measures are being carried out by the water user.

Water shall be distributed among the water users in the District according to their needs under a DEMAND SYSTEM. When canals or laterals are loaded to capacity, water will be delivered under a “DEMAND ROTATION SYSTEM” unless the Manager has authorized continuous delivery. The demand for rotation water shall not be made more frequently than every twelve (12) to fourteen (14) days. Rotation schedules will be adapted to this time span. However, the District will make every reasonable effort, to the best of its ability, to have water available to all water users when their crops require irrigation. Land lying closet to the canal, lateral or ditch shall be irrigated first. Adjacent lands lying below shall be served on a rotation basis, in order to conserve water.


The District is committed to efficient water use and water conservation. It partners with the Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District to assist landowners in converting from unregulated flood irrigation to more efficient irrigation methods. When such conversion occurs, the District makes corresponding changes to its water delivery operations. Therefore, if a landowner converts from flood irrigation to a more efficient irrigation method such as drip, sprinkler, or gated pipe, the landowner cannot later revert back to an unregulated flood delivery system. If a landowner reverts back to unregulated flood irrigation, the District may curtail deliveries to the property to an amount that reflects the prior level of more efficient irrigation use.


In the case of water shortage, water shall be distributed equitably for use on the assessed acreage. Any person who takes water out of their turn and without the knowledge and permission of the District will forfeit their right to water on their next regular scheduled irrigation rotation. Water user shall also be subject to the laws of the State of Oregon concerning unauthorized appropriation of water. It is the District’s policy to make no special delivery of water for stock or spray purposes, except for prior contractual obligations.


The unit of measure of water will be cubic feet per second (c.f.s.). One c.f.s. for a period of twelve (12) hours is equal to one acre-foot (a.f.) of water. The ditch rider, when possible, will notify the irrigator when he will deliver the water, and at that time they shall decide the size of water stream the irrigator can efficiently handle without waste.


Water must not be wasted. Careless and wasteful use of water will be sufficient grounds for the ditch rider to reduce the stream size to a level the irrigator can handle efficiently. If, after reduction of the stream, the irrigator is still wasteful, the water will be shut off from such user until he can use the water beneficially without waste to the satisfaction of the ditch rider or Manager. A person may be refused the use of water if they (1) waste water on roads or vacant land either willfully or carelessly; (2) have defective ditches or poorly prepared land; (3) floods certain portions of land to an unreasonable depth to properly irrigate other portions; or (4) uses water on land not authorized for irrigation by the Board of Directors or water rights. Provision of water will not be resumed until such conditions are remedied.


Water users should notify the District office at least forty-eight (48) hours before the time the water is desired and shall notify the office at least twelve (12) hours before completing use. The District will make every effort to deliver water within twenty-four (24) hours of the time requested but some delays will occur. The completion hour should be sufficient to allow the ditch rider to deliver the water to another user in time for the next user to set up their irrigation before dark.

No standing water orders will be permitted. A standing order is a single order for repeated deliveries of water at regular intervals/and or amount. Orders requested more than two days prior to delivery date will not be honored except for orders received on Friday for Monday delivery. In the case of a shortage, water will be delivered to each water user in rotation, based upon the time and date each water order was received by the office. Water orders shall be called to the District’s office at (541) 773-6127, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. to 12 Noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Each tract within the District has at least one original point of delivery. Water delivered to this point is considered a completed delivery. It is from this original point of delivery that the water user accepts the responsibility for the efficient use of the water. This original point of delivery is maintained for each tract even though subdivisions of the original tract subsequently occur.


It shall be the water user’s duty to use delivered water CONTINUOUSLY NIGHT AND DAY, SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAY until that particular irrigation is completed. Water users, who turn the water back into the ditch at night or on Sundays or Holidays, will be charged for use of the water during such period even though the water is passed through and used by others.

If any water user turns water back to the District facilities without first giving notice, the user shall be liable to users below his return point for all damages they may sustain by reason of the increased flow of water upon their lands. Every water user shall be responsible for their return flow, run-off and drainage as well as all damages caused by their intentional, negligent, or careless acts.


The District shall not be liable for any damages resulting directly or indirectly from any unauthorized uses or trespassing on District property or facilities. In addition, the District’s responsibility and liability shall absolutely cease when the water is turned into any private ditch according to these Rules and Regulations or in violation of these Rules and Regulations.

Most of the water furnished by the District flows through many miles of open ditches which may be subject to pollution, shortages, fluctuation in flow, interruption in service, evaporation and seepage. The District can not make any agreement which binds the District to deliver an uninterrupted constant supply of water or water of a certain quality.

All water delivered by the District will be for irrigation purposes unless otherwise agreed to in writing. Any water user putting the water to other uses without written authorization from the Board of Directors does so at their own risk, and will assume all liability for such non-irrigation use, and agrees to hold the District, its officers and employees free and harmless from any liability and damage that may occur as a result of using the water for purposes other than irrigation.

The District assumes no liability for damage to pumps caused by turbulent water, shortage or excess of water, or other causes.

Any person who sells, contracts to sell, leases, purchases, or contracts to purchase any part of an existing tract shall not look to the District to provide right of way, water transmission facilities, or maintenance of said facilities.

The District assumes no responsibility for natural drainage.


All landowners using pumps to lift water from the District’s canals will be subject to these Rules and Regulations in the same manner as if they received gravity deliveries. All pump installations must be approved by the Manager and there must be a valve control gate in the delivery line on the outside of the pump house. This requirement will apply to old as well as new installations. All such installations shall be placed in such a manner that no checking or damming of the canal or lateral will be required to deliver water. The Manager may permit landowners using pumps to pump out of rotation when it is in the District’s best interest and for the conservation of water. No pumping out of rotation shall be permitted which interferes with other irrigators using water from the lateral or canal, or from having a full supply of water on a rotation basis. Pumping of the District water is done at the water users risk and the District assumes no liability for damages to pumping equipment or other damages as a result of turbulent water, fluctuation in flow, or other causes.


Only District employees will be allowed to operate headgates, turnouts, valves, other control devices or to adjust or place flash boards in checks. The District, at its option, may lock any or all headgates, turnouts, spillways, or other control devices. Any person who, in any way, interferes with the setting or adjustment of such headgates, turnouts, valves or checks shall be held strictly liable for any damage resulting there from and may be subject to fines and imprisonment under ORS 540.990 (1999). The ditch rider may grant permission under certain conditions to a water user to shut off, turn on water, or adjust checks in order to facilitate water delivery and conserve water.

The District may require a water user to install and maintain a lockable and controllable Headgate or other water control device at a point of delivery to the user’s property or to install a measuring device at a point of delivery as may be necessary to assist the District in determining the amount of water delivered. When practical, water control and measuring devices will be constructed on property for which the District holds existing easements.

Except when an emergency requires the immediate installation of a water control device to avoid loss of water, the District will provide prior written notice to a water user that the water user is required to install a water control or measuring device. Within 20 days after delivery of the notice, the water user can file a written objection and request a hearing before the District Board. After the hearing, the District shall affirm, amend or rescind its order to the water user for installation of a water control or measuring device.



All landowners and water users have an obligation to prevent runoff of any kind from entering District facilities. No person shall dump or discharge any liquid or other substance, including water runoff from a person’s property, into the District’s system except upon express written agreement with the District and subject to District specifications and payment of any fee required under the District’s fee schedule.

No tree or vine pruning’s, brush, weeds, grass, manure, rubbish, garbage, refuse, dead animal or other material or substance; that will be or may: (1) become offensive to the senses or injurious to health or injuriously affect the quality of water; (2) obstruct the flow of water; or (3) result in the scattering of seeds or noxious weeds, plants or grasses, shall be placed or dumped in any District canal, ditch, conduit, or reservoir, or be placed or left so as to roll, slide, flow or be washed or blown into any such canal, ditch, conduit, or reservoir. Owners of ditches shall keep their rights-of-way along the ditches open and free of all obstructions including but not limited to wild oats, mustard, thistles, or any noxious weeds or grasses. All District employees shall promptly report any violation of this rule, and District landowners are especially urged to cooperate in its enforcement.

No person shall wade, swim, or bathe in the District’s canals, laterals, pipelines or facilities. All District landowners and water users are asked to notify the District office immediately when they observe any person wading, swimming, or bathing in the District facilities.


It shall be the duty of every District landowner and/or water user to use due care to avoid damage to District’s canals, rights-of-way, or other facilities. The water users shall be liable for any damage, intentional or negligent, including damage from livestock under their possession or control. If such damages do occur the District may assess damages against the offending individual or entity.

Any person who, in any way, willfully interferes with the setting or adjustment of headgates, turnouts, valves or checks shall be held strictly liable for any damage resulting there from and may be subject to fines and imprisonment under ORS 540.990 (1999).

No one is allowed to build earthen dams in private laterals. No new bridges, fences, fence crossings, stock gates, pipe or utility crossings, or other facilities either above ground or subterranean, may be constructed crossing or otherwise blocking or impairing the District’s property and rights-of-way, including canal banks, unless:

(1) The same shall have been provided for in written rights-of-way, easement or crossing agreements; or

(2) The party proposing to build such facility has executed a written agreement with the District, subject to

District specifications for construction and maintenance, paid all costs related to the District’s review, negotiation, and approval of such agreement.

All plans to construct any new structure within a District right-of-way or easement must be submitted to the District Manager for approval. Such structures must be built and maintained to the District’s satisfaction.

The District shall have the right to remove all fences and obstructions, or to fill in ditches constructed contrary to these provisions.


District Board members, employees, or their authorized agents: (1) may enter upon the land within the District boundaries for inspection, maintenance, and regulation of ditches, pipelines, gates, pumps or other works without notice; and (2) shall have free access to the private ditches and lands being irrigated for the purpose of determining whether the ditches are in satisfactory condition to deliver water and whether the water is being used beneficially without waste.


All gates on private ditches shall be subject to District access and inspection when used by more than one water user. Nevertheless, the District will not construct, maintain, or control private delivery systems. Privately maintained laterals and other facilities served by the District must be in good condition so as to prevent loss of water and permit regular flow. The Manager shall not permit delivery of water into facilities which are not adequately prepared and maintained. The District is not responsible for defects in privately maintained facilities. When more than one water user is on a private lateral, each water user shall provide their own diversion facilities and provide their own distribution system.

Water users must not build earth dams in the private laterals. It shall be the duty of each user of a private lateral to patrol said lateral from their point of diversion to the main lateral as many times each day as necessary to remove obstructions and stop all leakage while they are irrigating. Water users shall not turn water down a private lateral without first making satisfactory arrangements with the water users next in rotation to receive water. The last one on the private lateral should notify the District’s office when all water users on the private lateral have completed their irrigation so the ditch rider can turn the water back to the main canal.

Where ditches are owned by two or more persons and one or more of such persons fails or neglects to do their proportionate share of the maintenance necessary for the proper operation of the ditch, the owner desiring the maintenance may, after having given 10 days written notice to the other owner who has failed to perform their proportionate share of the work, perform such share and recover from the person in default the reasonable expense of the work as provided in ORS 540.420 (1999).


When privately maintained laterals and other facilities are not maintained in good condition so as to prevent loss of water and permit regular flow, the District may construct, repair or maintain such private laterals and works or may stop delivery to the private lateral. The District is additionally authorized pursuant to ORS 545.287(2) (1999) to levy and collect assessments upon all tracts of land specially benefited by the improvements in order to defray the whole or any portion of the cost and expense incurred in maintaining private laterals or works.


Anyone subdividing a tract or tracts of land currently on the District’s assessment role or making changes to a subdivision which is on a tract or tracts of land currently on the District’s assessment role is responsible for: (1) notifying the District of the proposed changes and obtaining District approval of the design for the delivery system before making any changes to a subdivided tract; (2) delivery of the District’s water to any subdivided portion of the original tract or tracts; (3) providing the necessary easements and delivery system from the original point of delivery for said tract to each of the portions of the subdivided tract and inside the subdivision as needed. If the sub-divider intends to supply water to the subdivision exclusively through a municipal system, the sub-divider shall notify the District of this intention and cooperate with the District to transfer all District water rights off the property to be subdivided before beginning any construction on the property.

Before making any changes to a subdivided tract that may affect District facilities, the developer must submit an application and obtain the authorization of the Board of Directors to alter District facilities. This includes the relocation, construction, or reconstruction of any District facility or of any road or crossing of any ditch, lateral, canal, easement or right-of-way owned or controlled by the District. The application shall include a subdivision plat showing all existing easements or rights-of-way. The application must be submitted with the fee set forth in the District’s fee schedule. In addition to the application fees, the developer shall be solely responsible for all costs related to the relocation, construction, reconstruction, or crossing of any District facility, including necessary attorney fees incurred for the negotiation or review of any documents or agreements.

The developer shall develop the subdivided property in such a manner as not to adversely affect any of the District’s facilities, or downstream users’ rights.

In approving any proposed change in facilities or operations, the District will preserve access to delivery points for all irrigable lands. The design for the delivery system must comply with the District’s specifications and requirements. It is District policy to require relocated facilities to be placed underground and to require the installation of fences along District facilities.

Any person who sells contracts to sell, leases, purchases or contracts to purchase any part of a subdivided tract shall not look to the District to provide rights-of-way, water transmission facilities, or maintenance of said facilities from the original point of delivery of the original undivided tract. All private delivery systems from the original point of delivery are the sole responsibility of either the sub-divider or the individual tract owners. The District’s obligation to deliver water shall cease at the point or points of delivery as shown on the developer’s plat as finally approved by the Board of Directors and filed in the District’s office.


Whenever a parcel of land lying within the District is subdivided into tracts of four acres or less, the owners of those tracts shall be responsible for apportioning water among those tracts. If the owners fail to properly apportion the water to the various tracts in the subdivision, the District may employ a competent person to distribute and apportion such tracts. The reasonable cost of such services shall be apportioned and assessed by the District as a special charge against the subdivided tracts. The special assessments so levied and apportioned shall be a lien upon the subdivided tracts and shall be collected in the same manner as all other assessments that are levied and collected by the District.


Because federal funds of the Bureau of Reclamation were used to finance the construction of reservoirs for Rogue River Valley Irrigation District the Reclamation Reform Act (RRA) applies to the users of water within the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District. If you own, operate and/or lease property(s), which irrigate 40 acres or more, you must comply with the requirements of RRA. If you own, operate or lease 40 acres or more and have not filed an RRA form, please contact the District office immediately. The Bureau of Reclamation requires that the RRA forms be on file in the District office before water can be delivered to said property.


The District may withhold delivery of water from any tract of land until the charges and assessments are paid, whether such charges or assessments are for operation and maintenance, delinquent payment, repairs, construction, or other purposes. Interest shall be charged and collected on the assessment or unpaid charges.

Landowners may present their case to the Board of Directors and the Board may, at its discretion, allow the landowner to pay his or her assessment and interest by installment payments to the District.

On or before the beginning of each irrigation season the Board of Directors will determine the amount of delinquent assessments which shall be paid prior to delivery of water. The Board has set March 1st as the delinquency date for all payments.

The Board of Directors may file a lien against the property for unpaid charges and assessments.


If water charges are not paid when due, the District has the authority to file a lien upon the assessed property of the District landowner and on crops grown with water supplied by the District pursuant to ORS 545.535 (1999) and ORS 545.275 (1999).

A lien on property will be filed any time after a charge or assessment becomes past due in the total amount of the unpaid water charges, interest, penalties, and expenses. Such lien will be filed on lands that received benefit of the water or were entitled to receive the benefit of the water.

Any time after filing of a notice of claim lien and after the delinquency date fixed by the Board of Directors, the Board may, by resolution, direct that all delinquent assessment be foreclosed by the District. The Board of Directors has set the foreclosure date as three years from the first non-payment of assessments or charges to allow the District time to transfer the water rights before they are lost due to non-use.

Liens on crops shall be for the value of the water supplied as of the date when the water was first supplied. A lien on crops shall be filed within 40 days after the water has been furnished or 40 days after the close of irrigation season.


The District may bring a civil action for damages against any person who knowingly and willfully commits the act of unauthorized use of water or tampers with any of the District facilities. Pursuant to ORS 30.184 (1999), the District shall recover from the defendant the amount of actual damages incurred, plus punitive damages. The District shall also recover the cost of the suit, reasonable attorney fees and expert witness fees. The remedies provided for in ORS 30.186 (1999) are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any and all other remedies both civil and criminal, provided by law. Unlawful acts include without limitation the following:

ORS 164.775 (1999) prohibits any person from discarding any glass, cans or other trash, rubbish, debris or litter on land within 100 yards of any of the waters of the state, other than in receptacles provided for the purpose of holding such trash, rubbish, debris or litter.

ORS 164.785 (1999) prohibits any person from discarding any dead animal carcass or part thereof, excrement, putrid, nauseous, noisome, decaying, deleterious or offensive substance into or in any other manner befouling, polluting or impairing the quality of any spring, river, brook, creek, branch, well, irrigation drainage ditch or irrigation ditch, cistern or pond of water.

ORS 164.365 (1999) prohibits any person from intentionally damaging or destroying property of the District directly or indirectly or by intentionally interfering with, obstructing or adulterating in any manner the service of the District; or intentionally using, manipulating, arranging or rearranging the property of the District.

ORS 468B.025 (1999) prohibits any person from causing the pollution of any waters of the state or from placing or causing to be placed any wastes in a location where such wastes are likely to escape or be carried into the waters of the state by any means; or from discharging any wastes into the waters of the state if the discharge reduces the quality of such waters below the water quality standards established by rule for such waters by the Environmental Quality Commission.


A water user who wants to change the place of use of their water right must adhere to the “Water Right Transfer Policies”, and submit a water right transfer application to the District for approval.


A water user who is no longer using his or her water rights must notify the District of such non-use so that the District may petition the Water Resources Commission for a transfer of the water right to other irrigable land under ORS 540.574 (1999).

If a water user has not made beneficial use of the water to which the user is entitled for a period of three (3) successive years, the District shall advise the user and any security interest holder of record that if the user does not use the water for a fourth (4th) successive year, the District may petition the Water Resources Commission for a transfer of the water right under ORS 540.574 (1999).

A water user within the District shall not execute an affidavit of non-use or voluntary cancellation without District approval.


A landowner may submit a written request to the Board of Directors to have that landowner’s property removed from water delivery service. The landowner’s written request to remove land from delivery service within the District boundaries must be submitted no later than October 1st for the year following and must include:

(1) Documentation from the landowner(s) proving that they are the record owner of the lands from which delivery service is to be removed;

(2) A legal description and tax lot identification of the lands sought to be removed from service;

(3) A county assessment map of the lands to be removed from delivery service with cross-hatching showing the water rights located upon the property sought to be removed from delivery service;

(4) An affidavit from the landowner Stating that the water has been used over the past five years according to the terms and conditions of the applicable water rights (ORS 540.520(2)(g)(1999);

(5) Affidavits from the record owner and each lien holder, if any, stating that they have no objection and will assist to remove and transfer the water rights from the lands requested for removal from delivery service to any land for which the District determines a transfer is appropriate;

(6) An affidavit from record owner which acknowledges that removal from the District’s delivery service upon the requested lands does not remove those lands from any indebtedness of those lands to the United States Bureau of Reclamation under any District contract and does not remove the owner’s land from the District’s boundaries;

(7) And any other necessary requirements specified in the District’s “Water Use Transfer Rules”.

The landowner must also include payment for recording fees (for both the State Water Resource Department and the County Recorder), a reasonable administration fee set forth in the District’s fee schedule, and all past due charges and assessments of the District attributable to the landowner and the lands of the landowner, as called out in the District’s “Water Use Transfer Rules”.

If the landowner proposes to change the use of the land upon which the water was appurtenant, the District may require the landowner to provide measures to protect District facilities, including, but not limited to ditches, pipelines, headgates or other waterworks that are on the landowner’s land and may require that appropriate written and recorded easements be provided if there are none of record. Specifically, a land use change will require ditches to be placed underground.

If the removal application is approved, the landowner must pay to the District the full amount of the remaining bonded indebtedness that is determined by the District to be attributable to the lands requested for delivery service removal. This sum will be placed in a separate fund at the District with which the District will repay the bonded indebtedness pursuant to any contractual obligation it has with the United States.


A landowner may apply to the District to:

(1) have water rights transferred to land within the District’s boundaries; or

(2) To obtain a new water delivery. The application must be completed and adhere to the requirements of the District’s Water Right Transfer Policies. The application for water rights must be executed or acknowledged before a notary public.

The District can require the applicant to contract to pay, or become liable to the District for assessments for the payment of their pro rata share of all bonds and/or interest thereon previously issued by the District; this would be for the cost of any additional facilities required to deliver water to the applicants land. ORS 545.075 (1999).

When the landowner requests that the land be either (1) included into the District’s boundaries or (2) that they receive delivery service from the District; certain conditions will be attached if those lands that do not have pre-existing water rights:

(1) the landowner must apply to have water rights transferred to the land or apply to transfer an existing water right located within the District boundaries for use on the land specified in the Water Right Transfer Application; and

(2) the delivered water must be applied to the additional land by sprinkler or drip method. An equivalent method of irrigation may be allowed, if in the opinion of the District Board of Directors, the method proposed is as efficient.

All additions will be evaluated on a case by case basis by the District Board of Directors including an analysis of the system efficiency, the availability of water in the particular canal, lateral or creek, and federal contract provisions applying to the petitioned land.


The District is subject to Oregon’s Public Meeting Law. The District will only respond to a specific written request to inspect records or for copies of records. Subject to any exemption that may apply under the law, anyone may inspect District records at the District office once the written request has been received and the records have been located.

Upon request, the District will provide copies of the requested records. The requestor shall pay for the cost of District personnel to locate, assemble, review, supervise the inspection, and copy the records at the rate outlined in the District’s Schedule of Fees. Copies of the records will be charged at a rate of $.25 per copy.


The District is subject to Oregon’s Public Meeting Law. Subject to some exceptions, the District Board of Directors will allow public testimony or comment on any action item after receiving a specific request in writing submitted to the Manager at least one day prior to the Board meeting.

The District will provide an interpreter for hearing impaired persons at regularly scheduled meetings. A person requesting an interpreter shall give the Manager at least 48 hours notice of the request for the interpreter and shall provide the name of the requestor and language preference. If a Board meeting is held with less than 48 hours notice, other than an emergency meeting, reasonable effort will be made to have an interpreter present upon receipt of a request.

No person may smoke or carry any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or other smoking equipment into a room where a meeting is being held by the Board of Directors.


The Board of Directors of the ROGUE RIVER VALLEY IRRIGATION DISTRICT shall meet the first Tuesday in January following their election. At that meeting, the Board of Directors shall elect officers, and establish the day and time for the regular monthly board meetings.

The Board regularly meets at the District office on the day and time specified at the January Board Meeting; except when required by Oregon State Law to meet on any other specified day. Anyone wishing to have a matter placed on the agenda must submit a request in writing to the Manager at least seven (7) days prior to the next scheduled board meeting.


Notice of all meetings of the Board of Directors shall be provided. Such notice shall include the time, place of the meeting and the subjects to be considered at the meeting. For regular meetings, the notice shall be in the form of an agenda, which shall be sent to all Board members, local media, and to all persons or other media representatives having requested notice of every meeting.


These Rules and Regulations shall be in effect on and after October 8th, 2001. Upon the effective date, all existing District Rules and Regulations, including those adopted in 1995, will be superseded by these Rules and Regulations. These Rules and Regulations are subject to change by the Board of Directors at a regular session at any time to suit any special conditions which may arise.

The foregoing Rules and Regulations were adopted by Resolution of the Board of Directors of the ROGUE RIVER VALLEY IRRIGATION DISTRICT on the 8th day of October 2001, in regular session.

*Amendments were made to these Rules and Regulations by Rogue River Valley Irrigation District Board of Directors on June 14, 2006, by Resolution NO. 2006-06. *
**Amendments were made to these Rules and Regulations by the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District Board of Directors on February 8, 2011, by Resolution NO. 2011-02 **


In the Rogue River Basin Project (Project) the Talent, Medford and Rogue River Valley Irrigation Districts irrigate approximately 35,000 acres. The irrigation water supply is obtained from the natural flows of Bear Creek and the Little Butte Creek watersheds and from storage facilities in the Rogue River Basin and Klamath River Basin.

Non-Federal interests in the 1910’s and 1920’s constructed many of the irrigation facilities of the Project. The list is as follows:

Fish Lake Dam on the North Fork of Little Butte Creek was built in 1908.

Fourmile Lake Dam on Fourmile Creek in the Klamath River Basin was constructed in 1922, and the transbasin Cascade Canal that conveys this stored water to Fish Lake was completed in 1924.

Emigrant Dam was initially built on Emigrant Creek in 1924.

Hyatt Dam on Keene Creek in the Klamath River Basin was also completed in 1924. Stored water was conveyed to Emigrant Reservoir by means of Sampson Creek.

Howard Prairie Reservoir was built in 1959.

Most of the diversion and water delivery systems of the Talent, Medford and Rogue River Valley Irrigation Districts were completed between the early 1900’s and mid 1920’s.

In 1954, Congress authorized the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) to construct the Talent Division of the Rogue River Basin Project for irrigation, flood control, hydroelectric generation, and other beneficial purposes. The construction of fish and wildlife facilities and a minimum of basic recreation facilities were also authorized. Congress also authorized some of the facilities constructed by non-Federal interests to be rehabilitated.

The reconstructed facilities were enlarged to the following approximate active capacity:

Fish Lake Dam 7,900 acre-feet

Fourmile Lake Dam 15,600 acre-feet

Emigrant Lake Dam 39,000 acre-feet

Hyatt Lake Dam 16,200 acre-feet,

Total 78,700 acre-feet

New facilities constructed by Reclamation were Howard Prairie Dam on Beaver Creek in the Klamath River Basin, a collection system in the Rogue River Basin to transport water for storage into Howard Prairie Reservoir, and transbasin facilities to move water from Howard Prairie and Hyatt Reservoirs to the Rogue River Basin. Emigrant Dam and Reservoir were enlarged and the Green Springs Power Plant was constructed by Reclamation for hydroelectric generation.

In 1962, Congress authorized Reclamation to construct, as additions to the Talent Division, Agate Dam on Dry Creek and to divert the flows of Antelope Creek for storage in Agate Reservoir. Facilities for the conservation and development of fish and wildlife and minimum basic recreation facilities were also authorized.

Contracts were entered into between Reclamation and each of the three irrigation districts for construction and rehabilitation of the facilities, operation and maintenance, and repayment. Ownership of Fourmile Lake Dam, Cascade Canal, Fish Lake Dam, and the diversion dams on North and South Forks of Little Butte Creek is vested in Medford and Rogue River Valley Irrigation Districts. These irrigation districts also hold the rights for storage of waters of Fourmile Creek and the North Fork of Little Butte Creek.

Water storage, diversion and delivery facilities are operated and maintained by Talent, Medford and Rogue River Valley Irrigation Districts. Reclamation operates and maintains the Green Springs Power Plant and appurtenant facilities. The Bonneville Power Administration markets the generated energy from the Green Springs Power Plant.

Stored water in Fourmile Lake and Fish Lake is assigned two-thirds to Medford Irrigation District and one-third to the Rogue River Valley Irrigation District. The active storage capacity for both reservoirs is 23,500 acre-feet.

Storage space in Howard Prairie, Hyatt and Emigrant Reservoirs (active storage capacity of 115,000 acre-feet) is assigned among the three irrigation districts as follows:

“Preferred capacity” of 8,500 acre-feet (7.3913 percent) is assigned to Talent Irrigation District with “first fill” entitlements.
“Residual capacity” of 106,500 acre-feet (92.6987 percent) is assigned: 8,000 acre-feet (7.5117 percent) to Medford Irrigation District
4,000 acre-feet (3.7559 percent) to Rogue River Valley Irrigation District
94,500 acre-feet (81.3411 percent) to Talent Irrigation District

Rogue River Valley Irrigation District has full use of Agate Reservoir (active storage capacity of 4,700 acre-feet) and operates it both as a storage and re-regulating reservoir.

Reservoir filling is restricted by flood control “space” reservations at:

Fourmile Lake from November 1 through March 31
Fish Lake from November 1 through February 28
Emigrant Reservoir from October 1 through April 30

The average annual quantity of water collected and conveyed from the upper reaches of the South Fork of Little Butte Creek system into Howard Prairie Reservoir is 17,800 acre-feet.

Estimated average annual Klamath River Basin runoff transferred to the Rogue River Basin is:

6,200 acre-feet from the Fourmile Creek drainage of which an estimated 30 percent (about 2,000 acre-feet) is transportation loss assumed to remain in the Klamath River Basin
24,200 acre-feet through the Green Springs Power Plant from the Jenny Creek drainage

During the 10-year period of 1990 through 1999, average irrigation diversions of the Project were 70,100 acre-feet from Emigrant/Bear Creek and 29,100 acre-feet from North and South Forks of Little Butte Creek. In addition, an estimated 1,400 acre-feet is diverted from Antelope Creek. Water is also intercepted by some of the water delivery systems at tributary crossings. These intercepted flows are not measured.


April 2000– The Talent, Medford and Rogue River Valley Irrigation Districts entered into pre-consultation activities with the United State Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau) under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act to prepare a Biological Assessment (BA) for all three Districts. Shortly thereafter the Bureau began work on the Consultation. At this time the Bureau concurred with the Districts to work cooperatively to complete the BA.

December 2000– The BOR agreed that all works and operations (public and private) would be included in the Consultation.

January 2001 through December 2002– The Bureau and the Districts worked cooperatively together on developing the Biological Assessment, exchanging operational information, water flow data, etc.

January 2003 through Current– William Carpenter, on behalf of Oregon Natural Resource Council (ONRC) and the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC) filed a 60-day Notice of Intent against the Bureau. The purpose of filing the Notice of Intent was, in part, because the Bureau had not completed the Consultation Process in a timely manner. The Notice of Intent also mentioned the Rogue Basin’s annual average diversion of approximately 30,000 acre-feet of water from the Klamath River Drainage to the Rogue Basin.

The 30,000 acre-feet of water being diverted from the Klamath Basin to the Rogue Basin is spring run-off and is not available to increase water flows on the Klamath side when more water is needed there. The loss of 30,000 acre-feet of water would be devastating to the Rogue Basin. Not just to agriculture, but the entire economical well being of the Rogue Basin.

The original proposed date for completion of the BA was to be sometime in late 2003. However, in the settlement agreement between ONRC and the Department of Justice (on behalf of the Bureau) to avoid a lawsuit from ONRC, the Department of Justice agreed to the following timeline for completion of the BA and Biological Opinion (Bi-Op).

1) The Bureau was to deliver, and did deliver, the Biological Assessment to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) by August 31, 2003.
2) NOAA and USFWS will complete a Bi-Op by April 1, 2004.
3) ONRC will be provided with a copy of the BA when it is submitted to NOAA and USFWS. They will also receive a copy of the Bi-Op when NOAA and USFWS complete it.
4) ONRC reserved the right to sue the Bureau at a later date; however, they will need to file another 60-day Notice of Intent to Sue, prior to filing any lawsuit.

The Districts were not allowed to participate, or even made aware of any part of the settlement agreement between the Department of Justice and ONRC. The Districts were told after the settlement agreement was negotiated, that the Bureau was not to divulge any information about the negotiations.

Once the settlement agreement was reached between the Bureau and ONRC, the development of the BA was put on a fast track.

Due to the time constraints placed on the BOR by the settlement agreement, accurate data was not included in the BA. Because of this lack of accurate data in the BA, there is a concern on what type of findings the Services will render regarding endangered species in the BO. The BA states that certain species are likely to be adversely affected by the Bureau’s (Districts) operations. On the basis of the BA and other information, the BO will either find “no jeopardy” for the listed species or plants in the Districts’ area of operation, or it will find that the species or plants have “jeopardy”. If NOAA and/or USFWS find there is “jeopardy”, then the District will enter into negotiations for mitigation of the Districts’ impact upon that particular species or plant. Mitigation could involve several things, including requiring the Districts to leave water instream, change their operations, etc. Once mitigation is agreed to, NOAA will then issue the District an Incidental Take Permit. The Incidental Take Permit protects the Districts from the threat of citizen’s lawsuits for the Districts’ impact upon the species or plants in its day-to-day operations.

November 2003– The first meeting between the Bureau, NOAA, USFWS and the Districts occurred in Portland on November 25th. The second meeting was held in Portland on January 15, 2004 with the third meeting to be held on February 12, 2004.

The Rogue Basin Water Users Council Inc. Is accepting donations to off set expenses associated with the ongoing biological opinion. Please send donations to RBWUC Inc. PO Box 467 Talent Oregon 97540

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