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NID hires firm to help decide fate of Lower Cascade ditch

The Union StaffA section of hiking trail along the Lower Cascade Canal.
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A 5-foot-diameter pipeline will be installed to carry the bulk of the water that now flows through the Lower Cascade Canal, a Banner Mountain irrigation ditch.

Nevada Irrigation District directors decided that in December.



On Wednesday, NID directors took the next step: They hired a consulting firm that will help determine the pipeline’s route across Banner Mountain. The consultant also will do the environmental studies required for the project.




And the consultant will help decide the fate of the current ditch.

NID may get rid of it in the name of efficiency. But an ad hoc group, Save Our Historic Canals, argues that the ditch – which is popular with hikers – should be kept intact with a reduced flow of irrigation water.

The NID board approved with some modifications a $638,800 proposal submitted by Brown and Caldwell Environmental Engineers & Consultants of Ranch Cordova to do the consulting work.

For this phase of the project, a new citizens’ committee will be formed, including one member of Save Our Historic Canals, one Nevada County supervisor, and at least two representatives from neighborhood associations, said NID General Manager Jim Chatigny.

“We’re going to be going through people’s streets” and properties to install the pipeline, Chatigny said, so NID wants the neighborhood groups’ input.

He said the pipeline’s route and the fate of the current canal will be decided no later than October. The entire three-phase Lower Cascade Modernization Project is expected to take four to five years to complete.

The Lower Cascade Canal runs from the Red Dog Road area east of Nevada City across Banner Mountain to the Loma Rica Reservoir near the Nevada County Air Park. The canal is part of a water system that supplies more than 20,000 people in western Nevada County.

In other business, NID directors:

— Voted to purchase nine vehicles from Grass Valley Ford-Lincoln-Mercury-Nissan for $141,200 plus trade-in value. The Grass Valley dealership’s quote was the lowest among five received by the district.

— Adopted a resolution of intent to allow district employees to “buy back” for retirement credit their service in the military, Peace Corps or AmeriCorps (VISTA), giving them more time in the retirement plan. Final approval is anticipated Feb. 13.


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