Cofferdam At The Durango Pumping Plan Intake To Remain In Place Through Summer 2004

Media Contact: Ken Beck, 970-385-6558

For Release: April 13, 2004

DURANGO,CO - The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that a cofferdam placed in the Animas River in 2003 at the Durango Pumping Plant site will remain in place throughout the summer of 2004. The cofferdam was installed to dewater the areas necessary for construction of the intake structure, a major feature of the Durango Pumping Plant.

Removal of the cofferdam was originally planned to be completed prior to the start of the 2004 spring runoff season. However, installation of the original cofferdam was thwarted with a winter storm, which occurred during initial installation, and streambed characteristics that prevented the cofferdam from being sufficiently water tight. Consequently, an alternative cofferdam was designed and successfully installed. The delay in installing the cofferdam infringed on the scheduled construction work for the intake structure, and necessitated leaving the cofferdam in place.

Reclamation believes this structure is safe to rafters, kayakers, and other river user interests that have been identified. In addition, Reclamation met with members of the Animas River Taskforce (Taskforce) to receive their input on safety issues associated with leaving the cofferdam in place and river recreation usage. Suggestions to improve safety offered by Taskforce members are currently being implemented.

The Animas-La Plata Project achieves the purposes of the 1988 Colorado Ute Indian Water Rights Settlement Act and the Colorado Ute Settlement Act Amendment of 2000. The project will provide the Southern Ute Indian and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes with a reliable water supply for their future needs, without taking scarce water resources away from existing water users in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. Reclamation will provide current information on construction activities at, then click on the Animas-La Plata Project icon. In addition individuals can call Reclamation's info-line at 866-720-0918 to listen to recorded updates about impending construction activities and receive information on whom to call with specific concerns.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.