Volume 14 Issue 9 October MT

A Fish-Protection Success Story

By Kris Polly

Many irrigation districts find themselves in the more about the company’s wide range of products of interest position of needing to mitigate the effects of their infrastructure on aquatic wildlife. In the case of the Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project (LYIP), its Bureau of Reclamation–owned underwater diversion weir proved difficult for endangered pallid sturgeon to traverse. Seeking to mitigate the effects of their structures elsewhere, Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to build a 2‐mile‐long fish bypass around the weir. As LYIP Manager James Brower tells us, the weir has been a smashing success in terms of protecting the sturgeon. However, questions remain about whether LYIP’s farmers will be charged for upkeep on the weir, which LYIP does not own.

Next, my friend Patrick Sigl, a principal managing attorney at the Salt River Project and the volunteer chair
of the National Water Resources Association’s litigation committee, sits down with Damien Schiff, a senior attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, to discuss one of the most significant Supreme Court decisions of the year: Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency.

Then, we speak with Doug Marine and Chase Anderson, the owner and the chief financial officer, respectively, of Agri Services International. The company, which started out installing full‐service agricultural irrigation systems for citrus growers in Florida, now works in eight U.S. states and seven countries across Central America and the Caribbean. In our conversation, we hear about Agri Services’ innovative efforts to save Florida citrus from disease and discuss the differences between irrigated ag in Florida and that in other parts of the country.

Next, we speak with Justin Troudt, the director of sales at Unverferth Manufacturing’s Orthman division, to learn more about the company’s wide range of products of interest for the irrigated ag industry, including pivot track tillers.

The Idaho Water Users Association (IWUA) has recently launched a leadership program called Headgate that covers leadership, water management, communications, and team building. IWUA Executive Director and General Counsel Paul Arrington and Office and Program Manager Kathryn Scott tell us about the origins, evolution, and results of the new program.

Many in the U.S. irrigation industry will know that Australia is another leading country for irrigated ag as well as the home of many advanced agricultural and water management companies. In a conversation with Nigel Warren, the commissioner to the Americas for the government of the State of Victoria, Australia, we hear more about the potential for trade and business expansion between the United States and Victoria.

Finally, we speak to Executive Director Julie Davies O’Shea of the Farmers Conservation Alliance, an Oregon‐based nonprofit that helps facilitate modernization projects at irrigation districts across the country.

From Florida to Montana to Australia, irrigated agriculture is being built up and improved through new technologies, training programs, and trade relationships. I hope you enjoy our interviews with your peers in the industry this month.

Kris Polly is the editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader magazine and the president of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He may be contacted at kris.polly@waterstrategies.com.