We asked- you answered. How should DARCA proceed?
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR DITCH COMPANIES?
HOW DO WE GET THERE?
Your Mission: You have been charged with the important task of making sure that ditch companies prosper in the years to come. That is: the water stays in the ditch; that the area the ditch services does not shrink; that the farmers and ranchers in the ditch system prosper; that ditch companies maintain financial viability; that the agricultural/rural way of life continues; that…
Coming from your own backgrounds and experiences, discuss this among yourselves at your table and appoint a spokesman to communicate your recommendations to our entire group. How do you want DARCA to act upon your recommendations?
1) Create a handbook for “How to live on a ditch”
2) A continuation of land use codes and model codes for counties. We want clarification and to avoid confusion about who can do what at the county level.
3) Legal guidance or a “lawyer guide” to help ditch companies with legal advice.
- Host a “lawyer night” for ditch companies
4) Help and/or guidance on permits and maintenance of ditches; help and/or guidance on the rehabilitation of existing systems; and education on the existing regulations including environmental, county and local.
- For example, culverts, bridges, gas lines, electric, crossings, etc.
5) Firm up easements
Group 2: A desire to remove barriers for the efficient use of water, regarding two primary concerns:
1) The cost and capital. The folks who are making the investments are not always receiving the benefits. Those who invest in more efficient systems should receive the benefits of those systems.
2) Partial abandonment.
Group 3: DARCA should be looking forward
1) Help ditches adapt to competition for water and land and use. Increased values for improving capacity
2) Help ditches achieve long-term viability for small ag
3) Diversify small ag
1) Additional recreation- trails, hiking, biking, camping, etc. Use recreation to creat additional revenue
2) Establish a tree fund.
- Create a tax fund to help ditch companies with tree maintenance or removal (which is expensive)
- Ditches should have rights to the trees alongside the ditch. They should be able to add or remove trees alongside the ditch (not to only assume responsibility once a tree has fallen).
3) Let’s get younger generations involved in water!
Group 5: What happened with the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl??
Group 6: Facing the challenges of urbanization
1) Let’s teach urban folk about ditches! Existing ditches that once had 30 members now have 300 members. New members are often confounded by ditches.
2) Collect more volunteers to help with technical information. This is especially crucial for little ditches.
3) We need to help take care of little ditches. We need more education about ditches.
1) Educate farmers on use it or lose it. Let’s talk about abandonment.
2) Resource book
3) Ditch companies should be credited for leakages into the groundwater table. They should receive a credit for recharge.
4) Education of easement laws or “rights” of enforcements
- (How to enforce rights of easements)
- Put the expense on the city (?)
5) Ditch companies should receive a revenue from using trails
6) Legal expertise:
- Model codes
- Clean Water Act
7) Talk with our insurance companies about settlement clauses. “Don’t set bad precedents.”
- DARCA should become involved in events like the PEPO drive
- Education the urban folks
- Alternative Transfer Methods
Group 8: Help out the little ditches
1) Connecting with the planning commission and making sure you are involved
2) Talk about how to deal with invasive species
- Trapping (fishing license)
- Course gravel
3) How smaller ditches can receive more resources.
4) Storm-water issues
- Dealing with increasing flows into a ditch from municipal growth
5) Solving the problem of increased water flows on smaller ditches.
6) Land use codes
7) Notice from county
1) Need to incentivize efficiency
- Must be a grass roots effort
- DARCA can be a “spokesgroup”
2) County, landowner and ditches- education about land use and encroachment
3) Legal guidance
4) Guidance on regulations, etc.