15 Dec League’s 57th Annual Meeting – Celebrating Another Year of Accomplishments
The League’s 57th Annual Meeting was held Thursday, November 4 via Zoom with a keynote presentation by U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Columbia-Pacific Northwest Regional Director, Lorri Gray. If you missed the Annual Meeting, here is a short recap. The League recognized three outgoing board members: Bill Wagoner, Joe Gross, and Randy Gubler. We thank them for their years of service and wish them well. The League welcomed Doug Muscott of Lad Irrigation to the Board of Trustees.
Overview of recent and upcoming activities by the League:
- The League has long been called the Voice of the Project because we listen, compile, and present the needs of all stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels through various channels.
- The League joined a coalition of Western states in 2021 to influence the recently passed infrastructure package. We made sure water for agriculture made it into the package.
- $2 million in Reclamation’s budget was secured for the Odessa Ground Water Replacement Program (OGWRP) as well as report language calling out both the need to advance OGWRP as well as address critical upgrades to the automated monitoring and control system—called SCADA—for the Columbia Basin Project (CBP) (pending the outcome of the continuing resolution in effect at the writing of this article).
- The League is strengthening its relationship with partners to support other creative funding avenues
- This summer and fall the League worked with East Columbia Basin Irrigation District to coordinate a series of tours of the completed EL 47.5 Pump Station for federal, state, and local policymakers.
- The League partnered with the Columbia Basin Foundation – a 501 (c) 3 organization – to leverage grant funding for education and outreach activities; grant applications are being submitted and have already yielded $25,000.
League Annual Meeting’s keynote speaker, Director Gray, announced her retirement starting December 31. While the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) searches for a new regional director, Roland Springer and Jennifer Kerrington will play interim roles. Gray gave Washington State a shout out by saying: “I have worked with about 12 different states throughout my career, and the state of Washington is frankly one of the very best partners that I have had the opportunity to work with.”
Director Gray also shared that the USBR continues to be active in the Columbia Basin Project, working with department of Ecology, and irrigation districts. Some accomplishments she highlighted includes:
- Ongoing work on the Potholes Supplemental Feed Route – a project that brings water from the north part of the CBP to support the increased demand in the south portion.
- OGWRP advancement, including canal widening, siphon construction, pumping plants design and construction; congratulations to ECBID on the completion of EL 47.5 pumping plant and delivery system.
- OGWRP receiving USBR funding since 2018.
- Columbia River Treaty negotiations are still in progress.
If you would like to keep up-to-date on League’s
efforts and activities, become a member! You can also sign-up for bi-monthly news drops, and the Voice of the Project newsletter at www.cbdl.org/newsletter-sign-up. Follow us at @ColumbiaBasinDevelopmentLeague if you’re on Facebook, for regular updates on the Project.