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Flood Irrigation Tailwater in the Little Butte Creek Watershed

In our region, tailwater, or the excess water that runs off a flood-irrigated field, is an important indicator of potential downstream water quality impacts. For seven years, JSWCD worked with partners to complete five studies to see just how much tailwater was reaching important spawing tributaries for Coho and other salmonids and what kind of impacts it was bringing with it. We focused on the level of E. coli bacteria, a nasty bacteria that can impact humans and wildlife alike, and temperature, before and after the water was applied to fields.

Additionally, we wanted to see what kind of a difference we could make in the amount of tailwater run-off by converting historically flood-irrigated fields to sprinkler systems, and the results were astounding (see photos below).

It is important that we continue these important studies and projects with voluntary landowners to keep fish and farms happy, healthy, and thriving in the Rogue Valley.

For the full summary and data, click the link below.

Tailwater Study Summary