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Funding available for lower Gunnison irrigation projects

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The Colorado River District has announced an additional funding opportunity (up to a total of $1.8 million) for the planning and implementation of irrigation efficiency improvement projects in the Lower Gunnison Project area for qualifying applicants.

The LGP project is taking place in four primary focus areas of the Lower Gunnison Basin: North Fork Water Conservancy District, Crawford Water Conservancy District, Bostwick Park Water Conservancy Districts, and Uncompahgre Project (operated by the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association).

LGP Project has already completed two funding cycles and is now announcing a third funding opportunity for producers/landowners within the focus areas who desire an on-farm high efficiency irrigation system, which will close on July 21.

Depending on the landowners water availability and irrigation needs, the proposed irrigation system may take the form of a center pivot, side-roll, drip system, big gun sprinkler, soil moisture monitoring system, or many other options. Landowners are encouraged to visit the LGP website for applications and additional information, http://gunnisonriverbasin.org/projects/lower-gunnison-project/.

Landowners are also encouraged to attend an interest meeting on the LGP project on Wednesday, June 28, in Montrose and Thursday, June 29, in Hotchkiss. The Montrose meeting will be held at DMEA from 6-8 p.m. and the Hotchkiss meeting will be at the Hotchkiss Memorial Hall, 6-8 p.m.

RSVP is necessary to attend either meeting, as a light dinner will be served. To attend the Montrose meeting, RSVP to the Shavano Conservation District at 970-249-8407 x113 or by email to mendy.stewart@co.nacdnet.net. The Delta Conservation District is taking RSVP responses for the Hotchkiss meeting by phone at 970-399-8194 or by email to deltaconservationd@gmail.com.

Applications must be turned in by Friday, July 21. If approved to receive a fully-funded Conservation Activity Plan (CAP), then the landowner's CAP will be assessed to determine if the application will be selected to receive cost-share funds toward installation of their proposed on-farm high efficiency irrigation system.

Lower Gunnison Project (LGP) funding for on-farm improvements is very similar to NRCS (Salinity EQIP) funding for on-farm improvements in that it must comply with all NRCS standards, rules and regulations.

However, the LGP on-farm funding is different in that the program is being managed by the Colorado River District and is set up to meet a different set of objectives. Specifically, the LGP funding is focused on areas where on-farm improvements take advantage of adjacent and/or nearby off-farm improvements occurring within the project area.

Additionally, the LGP utilizes a different cost-share calculation. The LGP provides a fixed 75 percent cost share based upon real project costs and ranks proposed projects benefits within four resource areas: water quantity (e.g. increased efficiency), water quality (e.g. decreased selenium, TDS, nutrient loading), soil health quality, and aquatic wildlife habitat quality. The LGP also gives ranking preference to, and encourages, innovation and projects that enable farmer-to-farmer education and outreach to expand adoption of locally-proven, successful practices.

Lastly, the LGP funds and utilizes Technical Service Providers (TSPs), rather than NRCS personnel, to perform on-farm planning and engineering activities.

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Irrigation, water
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