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Nevada Irrigation District to study changes to Hemphill Canal diversion

Directors of the Nevada Irrigation District on Wednesday authorized engineering studies of two alternatives for modifications to the Hemphill Canal diversion point on Auburn Ravine Creek upstream from Lincoln.

The board’s decision was applauded by local community groups, including Friends of Auburn Ravine and Auburn Ravine Preservation Committee, that are working toward improving fish passage on the creek. Fish movement is currently limited by the 3-foot-tall seasonal dam NID installs on the creek each year to deliver water to customers in the greater Lincoln area, including Turkey Creek and the Del Webb communities.

The two alternatives identified for further study are a streamside sump structure that would receive stream water and pump it into the canal, and a costlier option of a stream bank well system with horizontal water collection arms. Both would eliminate the need for the seasonal diversion dam.



The engineering analyses are expected to become part of NID’s environmental studies and permitting processes, which could take four or more years. Engineering Manager Gary King noted that NID has applied for grant funding of the project but has not received commitments.

The Hemphill project could improve fish passage to an additional six miles of Auburn Ravine. It would be NID’s second significant contribution to fish migration in Auburn Ravine. The district’s $1.2 million fish ladder, completed in 2011 below Highway 65 in Lincoln, earned finalist honors in the statewide environmental awards program of the Association of California Water Agencies.




In other business, NID directors:

• authorized staff to move forward with the acquisition of a small piece of land owned by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The land, located at PG&E’s Rock Creek Reservoir in North Auburn, is needed for NID to complete the current Rock Creek Siphon Project, which is designed to transport water from NID’s Combie Ophir II Canal to the reservoir.

• amended the district’s rules and regulations to increase financing of water system connections from a maximum of $7,000 to $20,000 and the payback period from five to 10 years. Officials said the adjustment might ease the financial burdens of connecting to the public water system.

• hosted a retirement ceremony for Larry Lockwood, who retired June 3 from a 22-year career with the district. Lockwood worked as a Senior Meter Reader.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the NID Board of Directors will be held at 9 a.m. June 22, at the NID Business Center, 1036 West Main St., in Grass Valley. NID board meetings are open to the public.


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