Please note: We have a list of about a dozen water users who have received a mailed copy of our annual newsletter for the past several years at their request. Feel free to call the office if you would like to be added to (or removed from) that list. Otherwise, the newsletter has always been available to read here online, or we welcome you to pick up a copy at the BRID office in Corvallis.

Newsletter 2017


BRID Board Commissioners Bill Posten (Division 1), Steve Bauman (Division 2), and Matt Pendergast (Division 5) continue to retain their positions. Dave Golay (Division 3) and Board Chairman John Schmiedeke (Division 4) were both up for election, but both ran unopposed, so will also retain their positions on the board.

While we’ve had an unusually high level of snow and rain this winter, the length of our irrigation season depends upon how quickly the snow pack in the mountains melts off. A gradual melt is always better for longevity.

Two of our crew members, Greg Snedigar and Levi Nentwig, have recently become certified at weed spraying which will help the District keep control of the weed problem in various locations along the Big Ditch.

Three-Mile Gravity Flow System Lawsuit

In the 2016 newsletter, it was reported that a lawsuit was filed against BRID over the ownership of the Three Mile Gravity System. Four or five individuals formed a group called “Citizens for Fair Water” for the purpose of filing a lawsuit against the District, which they did in October of 2015. This matter is still under litigation. Unfortunately for all BRID water users, as of March 6, 2017, this legal action has cost just under $100,000.00 of your property tax payments to the District. We hope the matter is resolved before long and that in the future, funds can be spent on infrastructure and improving and maintaining the integrity of the Big Ditch so that we can continue to provide a steady flow of water to our users throughout each irrigation season.

The District would like to remind water users that, as always, our board meetings take place on the second Tuesday of each month at 10am at the BRID office. Any change to the meeting schedule will be posted in the Ravalli Republic newspaper. These meetings are open to the public and we encourage you to attend any time. Additionally, all of the District’s financial matters (annual audits, expenses, budgets, etc) are public information that any of our water users are free to review.

Siphon One Progress

The Siphon I, Phase III project, engineered by Morrison-Maierle Inc, was executed just as planned and finished by February. Frontier West was the contractor and Pro Pipe was the sub-contractor, performing the welding on the project. The District purchased the materials for the project from Northwest Pipe Company. Approximately 1100 feet of the 105-year-old irrigation pipe was replace, including sections that run underneath Highway 93 and railroad tracks that run parallel to the highway. Additionally, the bridge structure that spans the Bitterroot River was removed and replaced.

Annual District Meeting

The District annual meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 13th at the district’s Corvallis office and we encourage water users to attend. We will have a BBQ for everyone in attendance like we did last year. Keep an eye on our website – we will post a specific start time as we get closer to June. Manager John Crowley will show a Power Point presentation, updating the public on projects and conditions up and down the big ditch and welcomes questions from those in attendance. Our website is a great resource for history of the canal, current news, ditch rider information, District policies, announcements and links to other irrigation information.

Reminder to Water Users

As always, it is important to call the District office if you are contemplating a family transfer, subdivision or boundary relocation of your irrigated property. These changes require approval from the BRID Board of Commissioners for legal allocation of water and easements may be required. Once you have a preliminary map of the changes to your property, please contact the Bitter Root Irrigation office. Properly allocating water from the beginning will make the process of dividing and irrigating land much easier for everyone involved now and for years to come.

Water Outlook

As of March 9, 2017, the water elevation at Lake Como is 4227.5 feet which is 9.1 feet higher than this date last year. Snotel site at Twin Lakes shows 112 inches of snow and 32.9 inches of snow-water equivalent. Last year on this date, Snotel had 77 inches of snow (30.8 inches of snow-water equivalent). Lake Como is at 57% of capacity.

To-do’s as the season begins

It will be helpful for water users in the District to know the name and contact information of your ditch rider in case you need to contact him on evenings and weekends. Names, phone numbers and general area of service for each ditch rider is listed at the end of this newsletter. Please make sure that your ditches are clean and ready for irrigation flow. Sprinkler users: we recommend 5/32” nozzle and one sprinkler head per irrigated acre. Replace nozzle heads as needed for proper irrigation. Make water orders to the BRID office a day in advance.

Office Info/2017 Ditchriders

Irrigation season office hours are Monday through Friday, 8am – 4pm. Please feel free to call the office with any questions, comments or concerns and leave a message if we are not in or busy helping others. We will get back to you. The District phone number is 961-1182.

RIDE 1 Lake Como to Willow Creek – Rod Sacks – 396-0203
RIDE 2 Willow Creek to Illinois Bench – Dennis (“Smitty”) Smith – 360-1651
RIDE 3 Burnt Fork to Eagle Watch – Levi Nentwig – 239-5377

Comic Relief

Old ranch owner John farmed a small ranch in Montana.  The Montana Wage and Hour Department claimed he was not paying proper wages to his workers and sent an agent out to interview him.
‘I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them,’ demanded the agent.
‘Well,’ replied old John, ‘There’s my ranch hand who’s been with me for 3 years. I pay him $600 a week plus free room and board. The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her $500 a week plus free room and board. Then there’s the half-wit who works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night.’
‘That’s the guy I want to talk to, the half-wit,’ says the agent.
‘That would be me,’ replied old rancher John.

A farm boy accidentally overturned his tractor one day.
The farmer who lived on the next farm heard the noise and yelled over to the boy, “Hey Joe, don’t worry about it. Come in and have something to eat with us. I’ll help you get the tractor up later.”
“That’s mighty nice of you,” Joe replied, “but I don’t think Pa would like me to.”
“Aw come on boy,” the farmer insisted.
“Well okay,” the boy finally agreed, and added, “but Pa won’t like it.”
After a hearty dinner, Joe thanked the neighbor for his hospitality and said, “I feel much better now, but I know Pa is going to be real upset.”
“Don’t be silly!” the neighbor said with a smile. “By the way, where is he?”
Joe said, “Under the tractor.”