YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollectionsIid

IID to administer federal wetlands grant

June 14, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

LA QUINTA — Concerns over potential environmental problems were central to the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors' meeting here Thursday.

The board was asked to submit and administer a $1 million federal wetlands grant for the Citizens Congressional Task Force on the New River. The board also was presented alternatives on dealing with new air emissions requirements for district vehicles in Riverside County.

Regarding the wetlands, the board directed staff to seek assurances that any water flowing into artificial wetlands will not eventually be required to meet any water quality standards other than those related to the so-called total maximum daily load.

Division 2 Director Bruce Kuhn said the creation of wetlands is a good project but is concerned that if an endangered species takes up residence in the project area there could be serious long-term consequences.


"It just scares the hell out of me down the road," Kuhn said.

Division 1 Director Andy Horne added he wants assurances there will be no future requirements regarding water quality forced upon local farmers, and that good intentions — creating the wetlands — do not count for much today.

Leon Lesicka, a task force member, said the intention is to clean water, not create wildlife habitat.

Elston Grubaugh, IID manager of resources, planning and management, said the assurances desired by the board will be sought. He said the task force includes members of the environmental community, both public and private.

The board also was told the district will charge up to $50,000, or 5 percent, of the grant to administer it.

The board voted unanimously to approve the requested action.

The other issue dealt with air-quality requirements imposed on government agencies doing business in Riverside County by the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which has passed rules prohibiting the use of heavy-duty trucks that burn diesel. The rule will be fully in place by July 2004, at which time IID would be required to purchase trucks that burn liquid natural gas or compressed natural gas.

The rule does not apply to private companies, a fact that Kuhn said places IID at a competitive disadvantage with other power providers and will limit the ability to sell such vehicles in the future, if they can be sold at all. In addition, the alternative vehicle will cost an estimated $30,000 more each than comparable diesel vehicles.

The issue was for information only, and the board took no action.

In other action, the board approved:

· a major work authorization for the so-called Dixie Spill on the Westside Main Canal. The work is estimated at $215,000. The structure is primarily used for flood control during storm water overflows into the canal from the West Mesa desert plain, according to the staff report. Substantial deterioration of the concrete structure and automated gate system is evident. The structure and automated gate system would be rehabilitated, repaired and receive new standby power.

· a budget amendment process.

>> Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles