Weeminuche Construction Authority Reaches Milestone In Construction Of Ridges Basin Dam

Media Contact: Ken Beck, 970-385-6558
Doug Hendrix, 801-524-3837

For Release: August 10, 2004

The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that Weeminuche Construction Authority (WCA) has reached a milestone in its work in constructing Ridges Basin Dam. On July 27, 2004, WCA completed excavation of one million cubic yards of earth at the foot print of Ridges Basin Dam.

"The results of the hard work and tireless efforts by the Tribes on the construction of the Animas-La Plata Project are really starting to become apparent," said Rick Gold, Regional Director of Reclamation's Upper Colorado Regional Office. "Excavating one million yards of material from the foundation of Ridges Basin Dam in less than three months of work is a significant accomplishment."

In mid-May, WCA workers began the process of excavating material from the foundation area of Ridges Basin Dam. Much of the excavated material was hauled to the basin creek area - an area located just down stream of the dam site - to be used as fill material for construction of some of the energy-dissipating drop structures that will control erosion and carry water from the reservoir back to the Animas River. At present, construction activities in support of the Ridges Basin Dam and Reservoir facilities are nearly 18 percent complete. There remains another 1.3 million cubic yards to complete the excavation.

In total, construction of the entire Animas-La Plata Project - including work in support of the Durango Pumping Plant and inlet conduit, the Ridges Basin Dam and Reservoir, the Navajo Nation Municipal Pipeline, and the Cultural and Environmental Mitigation activities - is nearly 14 percent complete.

WCA, based in Towaoc, Colorado, is a minority commercial construction company that is owned and operated by the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe. WCA has extensive experience in all phases of construction and related engineering disciplines, including: oil and gas field construction, residential and commercial buildings, heavy construction, road building, canals and water systems, sand and gravel and municipal improvements. 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, while protecting scarce water resources for existing water users in southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico.

# # #

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 www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.