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Early shutoff plans for irrigation district

Sep 27, 2017 By Daniel Bendtsen, Staff Writer

Commissioners for the LeClair Irrigation District were originally eying a mid-October shutoff date, but due to cool, wet weather they now plan to end water access for their users Oct. 2.

District President Chuck Hoelzen said that almost no users are still taking water, and the earlier the canal dries up, the sooner work can begin on much-needed repairs.

Work to be done

HDR Engineering has been contracted to replace liners in several sections of the ditch this winter.

There will also be some re-engineering to smooth out the ditch's slope to keep water velocity more even.

Hoelzen said there is also some work that will need to be done on several head gates and the canal's sandtrap.

Some of that work was scheduled to happen last winter but was delayed as a result of heavy snowfall.

Hoelzen said crews will want to wait a few weeks for the ditch to dry out before starting work in mid-October.

Flexible shut-off

If there is a sudden change in the weather over the next few days, Hoelzen said the district could delay the shutoff date.

"We could see an Indian summer," he said. "If it's clear that we have a heat wave and need to stay on a little longer, we can."

Settlement

During LeClair's annual meeting last week, members of the district urged Hoelzen not to do anything that could reopen the now-settled lawsuit between the district and the Northern Arapaho Tribe.

After former LeClair manager John Hubenka used refuse to reroute the Wind River southward in the 1990s, the district was ordered to pay for restoration work, which was finished this spring.

However, Hoelzen has maintained that the restoration was not completed as agreed to. As a result, he believes the work has threatened the district's head gate.

The district is now paying Apex Engineering $2,900 to do its own survey of the restoration.

If, in fact, the restoration work doesn't match the designs that a federal judge ordered, the new survey could be used in case the issue were ever to be re-litigated.

Elections

Also during last week's meeting, Gary Horton won an uncontested election to become the newest commissioner for the district, replacing outgoing commissioner Terry Betts.

The district's two other commissioners are Mike McDonald and Hoelzen.

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2017-10-17