Project Phase II - Final Environmental Assessment
The Minnesota Canal and Reservoir Company of Paonia, Colorado is a private, non-profit, mutually funded irrigation company that manages several miles of water conveyance ditches, canals, and reservoirs in Delta County, Colorado. One of the canals managed by the MCRC is the Minnesota Canal. The Canal diverts water from Minnesota Creek east of Paonia to irrigate agricultural lands west and southwest of the point of diversion. The MCRC has received two grants through the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), in association with a Basinwide Salinity Control Program, aimed at reducing the amount of salt and selenium that reaches the Colorado River. The first grant awarded (Phase I) was used to improve the upper 5.2 miles (mi.) (27,479 ft.) of the Minnesota Canal by piping the existing earthen canal. Phase I also included improvements to the diversion structure on Minnesota Creek. An Environmental Assessment for Phase I was prepared by Reclamation and a Finding of No Significant Impact was signed in 2012 (WCAO-GJ-FONSI-12-02).
The Phase II project consists of piping the Extension Ditch for its full length from Lucas Creek to the last dividing box, a total length of 20,186 feet (3.8 miles). The Minnesota Canal becomes the Minnesota Extension Ditch at Lucas Creek. The Extension includes 14 diversion points total. The new pipe will predominantly follow the old canal alignment with minor realignments to reduce the number of fittings and length of pipe thus reducing the project cost. A siphon across Runyon Gulch is being considered which could provide considerable cost savings. It is, however, dependent on agreements from the land owner and the ditch shareholders. Approximately half of the water diverted from Minnesota Creek is delivered to the Minnesota Extension Ditch. The Extension Ditch has 14 turnouts, 4 of which are laterals. There are no storage facilities directly on the Minnesota Canal or the Minnesota Extension Ditch. The existing open canal shown in Figure 1 will be piped with plastic, low pressure pipe. Pipe size will vary from 42 inch down to 30 inch. Water will be returned to atmospheric conditions at each turnout location. Thirteen new cast in place concrete turnout boxes and one divider box will be constructed to replace the old structures. Water will be divided using a steel divider wall similar to the existing structures. In addition 2 spill boxes will replace 2 spill structures on the ditch. The proposed action does not include any new storage or irrigation of new lands.
|Final Environmental Assessment||
|Finding of No Significant Impact||