Resolution adopted accepting silt-reduction grant

July 11, 2001|By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors, sitting as the Resource Conservation District Board, adopted a resolution accepting a $125,000 silt-reduction project grant at its Tuesday meeting.

The State Water Resources Control Board grant will partially fund a three-year project to test silt reduction on Imperial Valley farmland using biodegradable fiber mats.

The mats cause water running over them to slow down and therefore allow more silt to fall through the mats and back to the ground instead of running off the field and into waterways, said David Bradshaw, supervisor of IID's irrigation management unit.

Additionally, as water slows down, less soil is disrupted and less sediment gets picked up and washed off the farm, Bradshaw said.


The testing will compare the change in silt runoff from those fields with mats and those without.

Of the $209,000 total project cost, $125,000 will come from the grant with the remaining $84,000 funded by the IID.

The Imperial Valley drains and the New and Alamo rivers have been designated as silt-impaired by the state of California. Several best-management practices have been identified to reduce silt loading, yet little testing has been done.

Additionally, the IID Board of Directors approved giving $25,000 to the Imperial Valley College Desert Museum Society to help complete the Ocotillo museum.

The museum, whose main theme is the human adaptation of arid lands, will be "not only for the tourists but for the people who live here," museum society Director Jay von Werlhof told the board.

The item passed 3-1 with Director Stella Mendoza voting against it. Director Rudy Maldonado was out of town attending a conference and was not at Tuesday's meeting.

Mendoza said while she admires the work of the museum, her first concern is for IID ratepayers.

"When we have ratepayers who can barely afford their power bills in the summer, this is sending out the wrong message," Mendoza said.

In other business, the board discussed a request by the Boys and Girls Club of Coachella Valley for the IID to absorb the $342,463.69 cost of removing existing power transmission and distribution poles from the Club's new building site and reconstructing them nearby.

The board voted to refer the request to the IID's Power Consumers' Advisory Committee for its recommendation. The item will likely reappear on the Board of Directors next agenda.

The board also:

· discussed changing the start time of its regular public meetings back to 1 p.m. and decided to bring the issue back before a full board;

· approved a final negative declaration to the upgrade of the transmission line between the Rockwood and Imperial substations;

· approved construction of the upgraded transmission line between the Rockwood and Imperial substations;

· and heard an update on IID's strategic plan.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for July 24 in El Centro.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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