Colorado Ditch Bill

The Act of October 27, 1986, amended Title V of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of October 21, 1976 (FLPMA) (43 U.S.C. 1761) to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to issue permanent easements without charge for water conveyance systems used for agricultural irrigation or livestock watering. The act requires applicants to submit information concerning the location and characteristics of the water conveyance system necessary to ensure proper management of National Forest System lands. Extensions or enlargements constructed after October 21, 1976, do not qualify for an easement and must be covered by other authorities (FSM 2729.16p).

Colorado Ditch Bill Act

Granting easements under the Colorado Ditch Bill Act is not a USDA Forest Service discretionary decision. If an applicant meets the Colorado Ditch Bill Act criteria, he or she is entitled to an easement and the decision to grant the easement does not constitute a Federal action subject to NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) analysis or review. Conditions of the easement, including operations and maintenance activities (FSM 2729.16k), may require environmental (NEPA) analysis and review (FSM 1952.2).