The transfer of ownership of the Oakes Test Area from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to the Dickey-Sargent Irrigation District moved forward Thursday, according to the North Dakota congressional delegation.

The Bureau of Reclamation notified Congress of its intent to make the transfer. This triggers a 90-day congressional review period after which the transfer will be finalized.

“We’ve worked closely with the Dickey-Sargent Irrigation District and Reclamation to negotiate fair terms for transferring the Oakes Test Area to local ownership, and we’ve now reached the last stretch of this process,” said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

The ownership transfer will provide more local control for the project, said David Locken, chairman of the Dickey-Sergeant Irrigation District.

“If the title transfer is authorized, Dickey-Sargent Irrigation District will have the ability to manage our own facilities, and give us the ability to be more nimble and make adjustments for what is needed at the time,” he said. “We are looking forward to completing the title transfer process and would like to thank Senator Hoeven and the Bureau of Reclamation for their help along with the support from Senator (Kevin) Cramer and Representative (Kelly) Armstrong in completing this process.”