Newsletter Fall 2015


As we all know, it was an extremely hot and dry summer and one of the harshest droughts on record. In order to make the water supply last as long as possible, the District did not begin making water deliveries until May. At that time the District anticipated shutting the irrigation water off around September 21st. Fortunately we were able to keep the water running until Monday, September 28th when everything was shutdown. This shutdown date is approximately two weeks earlier than when we normally shut off.

We would like to thank our water users for their high level of cooperation in managing the water in this drought year. Had we not had this cooperation, the District would have been forced to shut off much earlier.

You can view the current status of the reservoirs any time at the United States Bureau of Reclamation Website at html. This website is updated on a daily basis.

In an effort to be sure our patrons are kept up-to-date, the Board would like to touch on some of the on-going issues facing the District which are as follows:


As we have previously reported, several years ago the Talent, Medford and Rogue River Valley Irrigation districts joined together to form the Rogue Basin Water Users Council (RBWUCI). The purpose for forming this organization was to present a united front to fight common issues that affect all three districts and do it in the most economical way possible to reduce costs for the patrons of each district.


The completed Biological Opinion (Bi-Op) was issued on April 2, 2012 and the implementation of the Bi-Op requirements are numerous and complicated and still being defined and implemented. To work out details of the implementation process, the RBWUC, Inc. must continue to engage costly legal counsel and biologists. Even though the work performed by legal counsel and biologists is very expensive it is greatly needed to protect as much of our water supply as possible.

One of the projects of the Bi-Op Implementation was a requirement that the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) remove the Ashland Creek Diversion. This project was completed in late August. Another project which was a requirement of Reclamation and began in June of this year, is the rebuild of the Oak Street Diversion to improve fish passage. This project is still underway.

Another requirement of the Bi-Op was for Reclamation to develop a Redd Protection Plan for Emigrant Creek below Emigrant Dam. (Redd’s are the spawning nests built by salmon and steelhead in the gravel of streams.) Reclamation developed a draft plan which the districts and their biologist have been reviewing and recommending changes to. The districts will continue to follow this process to make sure that the final plan is feasible from an operational standpoint.


The Klamath Basin Adjudication is still on-going requiring numerous hours of work on behalf of the RBWUCI legal counsel to find a resolution to contested water right issues. Now that the Adjudication process is in the court system in Klamath County it is anticipated that it is going to be a very long drawn out process considering the numerous parties involved in the resolution process. We anticipate the legal fees involved to get resolution to contested water rights will continue to be very expensive.


The RBWUC, Inc. is pleased to announce that in September of this year, Harry & David donated $10,700 to the organization to help pay expenses for the Bi-Op Implementation and Adjudication. Over the years Harry & David has made other donations to the RBWUC, Inc. which helps offset some of the costs that each irrigation district has to pay. All of the districts would like to take this opportunity to thank Harry & David for their generous donation.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to the RBWUC, Inc., a 501(c)(3) Corporation, to support the districts’ efforts to protect our water rights, please contact Talent Irrigation District at 541-535-1529.


The Board of Directors have implemented a new policy which will be effective with the next annual billing cycle on February 5, 2016 and will apply to all unpaid bills that are delinquent on April 1, 2016 and each year thereafter. The new policy will be to charge a late fee of $25.00 on each delinquent tax lot bill that is not paid by April 1, 2016. The District incurs additional expenses in producing and mailing monthly statements for those accounts not paid in a timely manner and it is unfair to those who pay their bills timely to incur the additional expenses for those who do not. The normal policy of adding interest to each delinquent account will not change. Interest is applied retroactive to the original bill date, not the date the bills are due.


Again this year the Board of Directors utilized the knowledge of our water users by appointing a Budget Committee consisting of TID Board Members, Bob Morris, Richard Fujas and Jeff Bohn and water users Fred Clark, Vera Kirkpatrick and Mike Winters.

The Budget Committee met in two public meetings, on August 11th and 18th. It was the consensus of the Committee to increase the irrigation charge by $2.00 per acre and increase the Lien and Satisfaction of Lien fee by $12 to cover the increased costs of recording documents at the Jackson County Clerks office.

The Board of Directors very much appreciates the valuable input and time commitment of the committee members. It is always the goal of the District to continue current operations as efficiently as possible.

The District’s current fee schedule is as follows:

Irrigation Fees (charged at a 1 acre minimum)

Account Charge (per tax lot)$ 85.00
Annual Irrigation Charge (per acre)$ 48.00
New Land Inclusion Charge (per acre)$ 2.00
McDonald System (per acre) $ 46.00
Annual Supplemental Charge (per acre) $ 24.00
Bureau Indebtedness (per acre) $ 6.00
Endangered Species Act (per acre) $ 2.00

Administrative Fees

Lien Search $ 55.00
Water Right Verification Letter $ 25.00
Lien and Satisfaction of Lien $226.00
Foreclosure administrative fee $150.00
Capital Improvement Transfer
Up to 5 acres $220.00
Each additional acre $ 30.00
Water Right Transfer $550.00
Re-transfer same tax lot different owner $220.00
Re-transfer same tax lot same owner 110.00
Quit Claim of Water Rights $110.00
Temporary Instream Leases:
0-5 acres $ 45.00
5.1 to 10 acres $ 90.00
10.1 to 20 acres $135.00
20.1 to 30 acres $175.00
30.1 to 40 acres $220.00
40.1 to 50 acres $265.00
50.1 to 60 acres $310.00
Over 60.1 acres $330.00

Crossing Applications $220.00
Water Truck Application $110.00
Plus charge for each 1,000 gallons $ 10.00
Pond Application $ 55.00 >br> Right-of-Use Application $220.00
Planning Action Letters
No Concern $ 30.00
Concerns $ 55.00
Requiring on-site review $110.00
Returned Check (each check) $ 30.00
Research/Compile Records $35.00 with a $5.00 minimum charge
Copies (1st page of document) $.25 Each additional. page of same document $ .10
Administrative fee on pay jobs is 10% of the job cost


In May of 2016, the District will officially celebrate 100 years of service to our patrons. Although our roots can be traced back even earlier, we formally became a district in 1916. Since then we have been and continue to be an important economic influence for the Rogue Valley through the water we provide to our patron growers, farmers and individual land owners. We will have more information on our plans to celebrate the anniversary in the Spring 2016 Newsletter.


In 1916 a group of citizens anxious to improve the water supply situation around Ashland and Talent organized the Talent Irrigation District, which was formed on May 22, 1916, and quickly developed plans for an irrigation system. A letter dated September 16, 1916 from Ed Robinson, President of TID, describes the plan as contemplating the “diversion and use of such unappropriated waters as may exist in Emigrant, Neil and Ashland Creeks”. J. C. Dillard, Engineer for TID conducted studies and prepared a report that called for the construction of Hyatt Prairie Reservoir and for the diversion of McDonald Creek through Wagner Gap into the valley. To deliver water to an anticipated 8,500 acres within the District boundaries, canals would need to be built on both sides of the valley to a point parallel with Phoenix. Despite resistance by some District members, on August 21, 1917, the majority of TID members voted in favor of issuing bonds in the amount of $600,000 to cover the cost of the improvements.

On an ambitious construction schedule, TID pursued to deliver water to about 9,100 acres of irrigable lands within the District boundaries. In March 1920, the first unit, known as the McDonald Unit, was completed for the sum of $250,000. It consisted of water delivered from McDonald Creek, a tributary of the Applegate River, via the McDonald Canal into Wagner Creek, a tributary of Bear Creek. From there the Fredericks Lateral was built to deliver water to some of the west side lands.

The completion of the McDonald Unit was followed shortly after with construction of a part of the Talent Lateral, receiving water from Bear Creek. Contracts for construction of the Hyatt Prairie Reservoir with a capacity of 16,000 acre feet of storage and draining approximately 12 square miles, and construction of the East Lateral were awarded on March 14, 1922. Construction of the Ashland Lateral, diverting from Sampson Creek at Songer Gap and extending north up to Ashland along the west side, was started in 1922. The West Lateral, which takes out of the East Lateral and crosses Bear Creek in a siphon , was at least partially completed by 1924. Also by then, 11,500 acres were being assessed for irrigation water.

The next major construction was Emigrant Dam located south of Ashland on Bear Creek. A contract for the project was awarded in April 1924. When completed, the 110-foot high concrete thin-arch dam created a reservoir with a capacity of 8,500 acre feet and flooded a maximum of 230 acres. Emigrant Creek and Hill Creek siphons (on the Ashland Lateral) were started in August 1924 and the steel siphon at Billings Hill, 6,730 feet long, was placed in 1927. The latter siphon conveys water to the West Lateral. To pay for the construction of their facilities, TID sold three issues of bonds between 1919 and 1927 for a total of $1,235,000.

In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s the Bear Creek Valley faced great hardships with the stock market crash and ensuing depression. The twenties had been productive years for orchard growers with more irrigation water available and mature trees producing good crops. The far away markets of Europe were a major importer of famed Rogue River Valley pears. Almost half of the winter pear crop and much of the Bartlett pear crop were sold abroad during the twenties. By 1930, there were 400 pear growers in Jackson County and that year produced the area’s largest pear crop. The Depression era brought an end to the good years as orchard owners struggles to stay in business. Many had no choice but sell their orchards, others simply abandoned them. The weather also conspired against growers; a harsh freeze in 1934 forced some to give up their property. As if all of that wasn’t enough, a severe blight attacked fruit trees and spread damage to many orchards. It was during this bleak time, however, that one of the area’s most successful businesses emerged. Harry and David Holmes began their mail order business of fruit gift packages that still thrives today.

In the early 1930’s TID, like many businesses in the Depression, faced bankruptcy. Farmers could not pay taxes and the District was faced with a water shortage because of a cycle of several years of below normal rainfall. The District was unable to meet its’ principal or interest payments to bondholders. Assistance in 1935 in the form of a loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation helped reduce the District’s debts. (ADDITIONAL HISTORY WILL BE PRESENTED IN THE NEXT NEWSLETTER)


The District just completed our 6th year of the reporting program for the Bear Creek Watershed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Implementation Program. The reporting period ended on June 30, 2015 and our report has been submitted to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in Eugene for review. The purpose of this program is to help improve water quality in the Bear Creek Watershed.

Going into the winter months it seems appropriate to talk a bit about Stormwater runoff. This is the water that is generated from rain or snow that falls on hard non-permeable surfaces that runs off and ends up in local streams, rivers and canals. The reason this is a problem is because the ground no longer acts as a sponge absorbing water or filtering pollutants that may be in the water. The Stormwater can also carry debris, chemicals, oil, etc., from the hard surfaces. This results in there being more water and dirtier water ending up in streams and creeks resulting in flooding, erosion, and poor water quality.

All water that flows into the storm drains is taken directly to Bear Creek, then to the Rogue River and finally ending up in the Pacific Ocean. As stewards of the water we all need to be diligent about keeping all potential pollutants off of areas where Stormwater runoff may carry them directly to our waterways in the Rogue Basin. After all, our water supply is a finite resource that is essential for our existence.

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