Two long-time BRID employees have retired since the 2015 newsletter. Elaine Culletto, Bitter Root Irrigation District Office Manager since 1990, retired at the end of 2015 and plans to spend time traveling, relaxing and enjoying time with her grandchildren. Corvallis resident, Stacy Coulter is the new office manager and had the pleasure of training with Elaine from August through December, 2015.  “Woody” Woodburn was hired by BRID in 1994 and will retire at the end of March after 22 years of exemplary work. Greg Snedigar, who has been a ditch rider for the District since 2007, will step into Woody’s place on the maintenance crew and Levi Nentwig will take care of the big ditch and irrigators on ride #3, from Burnt Fork to Eagle Watch.

BRID Board Commissioners for divisions 1, 2, 3 and 4, Bill Posten, Steve Bauman, Dave Golay and Board Chairman John Schmiedeke will retain their positions. Steve and Dave were both up for election, but both ran unopposed. Commissioner of Division 5 for nearly fifteen years, Matt Pendergast, has an opponent this year. May 4 update: Matt Pendergast has retained his seat on the board by a large margin of votes.

Three-Mile Gravity Flow System
For thirty years, property taxes of BRID irrigators in the Three-Mile area have included a payment on this gravity flow system. In February, it was finally paid off! The District office has received a lot of calls from curious and concerned water users inquiring about current litigation in regard to this system. A lawsuit was filed against BRID by a small group in October, 2015; details of which will remain between the attorneys throughout litigation. We want to assure water users in Three Mile that BRID will continue to deliver the water and quality customer service that we always have as this matter gets sorted out.

The District would like to remind water users that, as always, our board meetings take place on the second Tuesday of each month at 10am at the BRID office. Any change to the meeting schedule will be posted in the Ravalli Republic newspaper. These meetings are open to the public and we encourage you to attend any time. Additionally, all of the District’s financial matters (annual audits, expenses, budgets, etc) are public information that any of our water users are free to review.

Siphon One Progress
The District would like to thank our water users for voting overwhelmingly in favor of the District’s Siphon I, Phase III project bond. The early phases of this project are well underway. 900 feet of 105-year-old pipe and the supporting bridge structure spanning the Bitterroot River will be replaced. Phase III also involves replacing pipeline that runs underneath Highway 93 and adjacent railroad tracks. Currently, designs are being finalized and two bid packages are being prepared by Morrison-Maierle Inc, a local engineering firm. One bid package will be for the procurement of materials; the second for installation and construction. Staging will take place over the summer and major construction will begin in early to mid-September of this year, once the water has stopped flowing.

Annual District Meeting
The District annual meeting will be held at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, June 14th. The public meeting will be held at the district office and we encourage water users to attend. Manager John Crowley will show a Power Point presentation, updating the public on projects and conditions up and down the big ditch and welcomes questions from those in attendance. Our website is a great resource for history of the canal, current news, ditch rider information, District policies, announcements and links to other irrigation information.

Reminder to Water Users
As always, it is important to call the District office if you are contemplating a family transfer, subdivision or boundary relocation of your irrigated property. These changes require approval from the BRID Board of Commissioners for legal allocation of water and easements may be required. Once you have a preliminary map of the changes to your property, please contact the Bitter Root Irrigation office. Properly allocating water from the beginning will make the process of dividing and irrigating land much easier for everyone involved now and for years to come.

Water Outlook
As of March 8, 2016 Lake Como is 38% full. Lake elevation is currently 4218.4.
The snow pack is at 96%.

To-do’s as the season begins
It will be helpful for water users in the District to know the name and contact information of your ditch rider in case you need to contact him on evenings and weekends. Names, phone numbers and general area of service for each ditch rider is listed at the end of this newsletter. Please make sure that your ditches are clean and ready for irrigation flow. Sprinkler users: we recommend 5/32” nozzle and one sprinkler head per irrigated acre. Replace nozzle heads as needed for proper irrigation. Make water orders to the BRID office a day in advance.

Irrigation Trivia
The irrigation system of Pakistan is one of the largest integrated irrigation networks in the world, serving 14.4 million hectares (that’s 35,583,175 acres) of contiguous cultivated land. The waters of the Indus River and its tributaries feed the system.

In 2009, at the site of Las Capas outside of Tucson, Arizona, archaeologist James Vint of Desert Archaeology Inc. and his colleagues  excavated an enormous network of canals and fields stretching over as many as 100 acres and dating to 1200 B.C. It is the oldest documented irrigation system in North America.

The Sumerians in southern Mesopotamia built city walls and temples and dug canals that were the world's first engineering works. It is also of interest that these people, from the beginning of recorded history, fought over water rights. Irrigation was extremely vital to Mesopotamia, Greek for "the land between the rivers."

Office Info/2016 Ditch Riders
Irrigation season office hours are Monday through Friday, 8am – 4pm. Please feel free to call the office with any questions, comments or concerns and leave a message if we are not in or busy helping others. We will get back to you. The District phone number is 961-1182.

RIDE 1 – Lake Como to Willow Creek – Rod Sacks – 396-0203
RIDE 2 – Willow Creek to Illinois Bench – Dennis (“Smitty”) Smith – 360-1651
RIDE 3 – Burnt Fork to Eagle Watch – Levi Nentwig – 493-4321
2016 Newsletter