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A plan under development that defines ways to compensate landowners for the impacts of water retention from the Diversion Project’s operation was outlined for members of the Diversion Authority at their February 14 meeting.

The draft Agriculture Impacts Mitigation Plan covers flowage easements and crop insurance.

Flowage Easements

Flowage easements are required as part of the Federal Process.

  • A flowage easement would give the Diversion Authority the legal ability to retain water temporarily on land. The intention is to follow the Federal/Corps of Engineers process and will be determined by appraisal. Factors that will be considered are depth, duration, and frequency of additional flooding; and highest and best use of the property.
  • Corps policy defines a flowage easement as a one-time payment made at the time that the easement is acquired, currently estimated in 2020.
  • Appraiser may consider future impacts including delayed planting, yield loss, debris, and limitations to future land use, resulting from operation of the Project.
  • Values of flowage easement will vary depending on the location of the property, magnitude of impacts, and future risks to the property.
  • Flowage easements will allow for farming to continue on properties, however development will be limited.
  • The Corps’ Feasibility Study estimated Ag flowage easements at 25 percent of land costs, on average. The actual value will be adjusted to reflect current valuation when easements are acquired.

Crop Insurance

  • There is a 90 percent chance that the staging area will not be used in any given year, and for the 10 percent chance that the staging area will operate in any year, additional flooding will exist for a maximum of 5.5 days beyond existing conditions.
  • Federal crop insurance will apply if a crop can be planted before the established late planting dates.
  • The Diversion Authority intends to provide a supplemental risk policy. The draft policy provides equivalent crop insurance coverage as growers have today.
  • The risk policy will cover prevent plant scenarios where Project operation would prohibit planting.
  • The risk policy would also cover damages caused by project operation to planted crops (summer impacts).
  • The Diversion Authority will base its risk policy on federal crop insurance programs administered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA)/USDA.
  • RMA policies and procedures will be used to define insurance coverage for damages caused by the Diversion Project.
  • The Diversion Authority intends to contract with an independent insurance provider to administer the coverage and damage adjustment process.
  • The Diversion Authority will explore self-insurance vs. supplemental insurance through a provider.

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