The Welcome Back Party 130 Years in the Making

Three Sisters Irrigation District

Manager Marc Thalacker faced a leaky canal system that was so old it was built with mule-and-drag. In many years, farmers received only half of their water and the local creek went dry, stranding fish.

Now, the ticker-tape is about to fly at Three Sisters Irrigation District (TSID) in central Oregon. With 55 of 64 miles of canal piped and nearby dams removed, farmers have reliable water and fish can pass freely. Steelhead and salmon are about to swim through Sisters, Oregon for the first time since 1885.

The heroic efforts of Marc and his many partners mean the creek can receive them with fanfare. Over the last decade, TSID has installed a modern fish screen, built fish-friendly hydropower, and permanently returned 34 cfs to the creek.

Farmers and families now have cause for celebration too. They now have drastically lower pumping costs, high-efficiency sprinklers, reliable, pressurized water and higher crop yields. In turn, TSID can generate 4 million kilowatt hours of green energy to help pay for it all.

And this is just the beginning. TSID is working with FCA’s Irrigation Modernization Program to complete the final 15% of the district and to help other districts throughout western United States replicate its success. With trillions of gallons at stake, the big celebration day is just around the corner.