The Columbia Basin Project. I'm Greg Martin with today's Line On Agriculture.
Back in August of 1935 the U.S. Congress authorized the Bureau of Reclamation's Columbia Basin Project primarily for irrigation purposes and that began in 1952. In 1964 the Columbia Basin Development League was formed as a private, non-profit corporation to support the project. The project is located in Central Washington which includes an ample growing season of at least 165 days a year and soil well suited for growing crops. But average rainfall for the area is only between 6 and 10 inches so irrigation is what makes the area so rich in agricultural diversity. Lacy Gray has more on the Columbia Basin Project.
GRAY: Not only is the Columbia Basin Project responsible for helping to irrigate crops much of the area has been transformed into a prime recreation area and a habitat for many species of wildlife and fish. Over 400-thousand acres of land are broken up into some 23 designated areas for recreation and wildlife which in turn sees over 3 million annual visitors bringing additional revenue to local towns and businesses. But the main economic impact comes from agriculture in the form of over 90 different crops grown in the region including apples, cherries, wine grapes, potatoes, onions, wheat, corn, hay, beans and carrots to name a few. Income generated from the ag industry is in excess of 1.76 billion dollars and nearly 40-thousand jobs created. Local cities see over 58-million dollars in property and sales taxes. The farm gate value of all this is nearly one and a half billion dollars annually.
The Columbia Basin Project consists of many parts including the Grand Coulee Hydroelectric Dam which generates some 20-trillion kilowatt hours of electricity each year. There are 7 other smaller hydroelectric plants and 3 major reservoirs which include Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, Banks Lake and Potholes Reservoir and many other parts and pieces. It is one of the most efficient projects that the Bureau of Reclamation has ever built and has single handedly created a vibrant economic and agricultural business in an area that only 100 years ago was a barren desert. For more information be sure to visit the website www.cbdleague.com.
That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.