Sand Hollow Project Would Expand Leasable, Irrigated Land

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Southeast Region Office is working through the logistics of enabling an unleased trust parcel to generate revenue for the Common School trust for a long period of time.

In 2011, the Quincy-Columbia Basin Irrigation District offered DNR a new water service contract which will enable the department to develop and irrigate a previously undeveloped parcel, called the Sand Hollow property.  The water source would be the Sand Hollow Wasteway which carries run-off water, which is considered non-natural water created from the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project managed by United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBOR). To access the wasteway water, DNR proposes to build a small portion of the project on USBOR lands.

After obtaining the Water Service Contract, DNR has been actively marketing the parcel to find qualified bidders interested in a “development lease,” where permits, permissions, land preparation, and an irrigation infrastructure could be pursued.  In February 2013, DNR signed a lease with MTA Farms, who is currently working through the process of designing and building a system with assistance from the department’s Southeast Region. The system (see concept map) will serve State trust-lands in this area for a long time to come.

After being developed, this parcel, relatively valued at $1,000 per acre, will likely increase in value by six to eight times in the current market. In addition, this previously unused parcel will begin to produce yearly revenues – another trust land success story for K-12 education.

Chad Unland
DNR Southeast Region