IID board approves moving forward with second phase of managed marsh project



EL CENTRO – Following action taken Tuesday by the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors, between 300 and 320 acres of land south of Calipatria is expected to be developed, starting early next year, into additional managed marsh land to provide habitat for local species.

The board approved a major work authorization that will cause IID and its partners in the IID-San Diego County Water Authority water transfer agreement, under the Joint Powers Authority, to construct the second phase of the three-part managed marsh project.

The managed marsh is designed to mitigate IID’s impacts caused by the ongoing operation and maintenance of the IID drain and delivery system and for impacts from the water transfer project, a key component of the Quantification Settlement Agreement.

The first phase of the managed marsh, located south of Calipatria between Hazard and English roads west of Highway 111, consists of 360 acres of aquatic and riparian habitat for the covered species that normally utilize the vegetation within the IID drain and canal system for foraging, cover, resting and nesting habitat. The first phase was completed in 2009.

Bruce Wilcox, environmental project manager for IID, said the design of the second phase is underway and will be presented for review and comment soon and, once the reviews are completed, construction is anticipated to start in early 2014; phase two is to be completed by the end of 2014. The plan calls for IID construction crews to do much of the work, as they did during the first phase, taking advantage of the district’s construction expertise as well as trimming costs.