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Ranchers in the Salmon Model Watershed are converting flood irrigation systems to sprinkler irrigation systems in efforts to restore the Lemhi River to its former status as prime salmon habitat. A wheel line sprinkler system like this one gives farmers better control over irrigation water and helps conserve water, which also enhances in-stream flows to assure fish passage. 2001. Photo by Joel McNee, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Source Photo by Joel McNee, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, 2001.

This photo shows the first moving irrigation sprinkler system which was invented by Glee John Melcher in the late 1940's. This system was patented in the early 1950's and moved laterally only. Mr. Melcher received a grant from WSC (now WSU) to come up with a solution for irrigating dry and unusable land by using the water that had recently become available from the newly built Grand Coulee Dam in 1946. The patent was sold to Rainway Irrigation Company in 1955. The system was later improved to a pivoting system which is most commonly seen today.


Public domain This image or file is a work of a United States Department of Agriculture employee, taken or made as part of that person's official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

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