Environmental worries delay canal work | TheUnion.com

Environmental worries delay canal work

Concerns for the environment have prompted the Nevada Irrigation District Board of Directors to halt a proposed replacement of eight old flumes on the D-S Canal near Nevada City.

The postponement Wednesday followed comments made by two residents of the Pinewoods Road and Big Blue Road areas who objected to tree cutting, wildlife and ecosystem impacts, aesthetics, noise, access, traffic and other issues.

NID Chief Engineer Gary King asked for the delay, saying he and his staff would do their best to mitigate concerns the residents claimed were not adquately covered in environmental studies.

The D-S Canal supplies a wide area of western Nevada County, including water treatment plants operated by the cities of Nevada City and Grass Valley.

When NID developed the canal system from 1926 to 1928, it included 31 wood-and-metal flumes. Throughout the years, 23 flumes have been replaced, leaving eight old structures.

NID project engineer Tonia Tabucchi Herrera said the old flumes require continual maintenance and pose fire and safety risks.

Downstream water restrictions have been imposed because of canal limitations, she noted. The district is estimating the flume replacement work would take two years and cost $6 million.

Studies, announcements and other project information are available for public review under project documents in the Planning and Development section of the NID Web site at http://www.nidwater.com.

Board President Scott Miller said the board would likely consider the project again in July, when directors will be asked to approve the project, its environmental studies and a mitigation monitoring program.

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