Thompson's Mill Instream Transfer
Cooperative Agreement Leads to Transfer of Non-consumptive Water Right
In 1994, The Freshwater Trust began discussions with the owners of the Thompson’s Mill near Albany to improve flow in the Calapooia River, which provides habitat for winter steelhead, spring chinook salmon and lamprey. In 2003, The Freshwater Trust and nine other partners signed a “Cooperative Agreement” to attain common goals and objectives related to the mill including improved fish passage and stream flow.
Ten years after discussions began, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department purchased the mill in 2004 and signed a water use agreement with The Freshwater Trust to transfer 12 cubic feet per second of instream water rights dating back to 1858. The Freshwater Tust completed the transfer in 2005 and now a permanent instream water right provides adequate summer flow to maintain healthy riparian habitat for fish and wildlife. The mill, now maintained as a State Park, uses only small amounts of water to demonstrate milling.
"Irrigators received fair consideration in the process. We all came out fairly well." - Peter Jensen, neighboring landowner and president of Calapooia Irrigation District
Monitoring allows for better water management
To ensure the protection of the 12 cfs water right, The Freshwater Trust installed a telemetry site to record flow. The real-time data, available through the Internet, operates throughout the irrigation season, allowing fish biologists, water masters and irrigators to better manage available water.