Great Plains Region Newsroom Channel Reclamation Newsroom Channel Reclamation to Hold Public Meetings for Review of Alternative Parks Plans for Horsetooth, Pinewood, Carter, Flatiron Reservoirs
LOVELAND, Colo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation will hold public meetings to discuss alternative plans for the Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Environmental Assessment (EA) for Horsetooth, Pinewood, Carter, and Flatiron Reservoirs. <P> Through online questionnaires, public meetings and emails, the public has provided important input on relevant issues, opportunities and needs at the four Reservoir Parks in Larimer County. Along with a regional analysis of use trends and site constraints and opportunities, this information was used to identify potential alternatives for future use and development at these facilities. The public is now invited to provide input on the range of alternatives as well as specific elements in terms of facility enhancements and other management recommendations. <P> Public open houses will be held from 5:00 pm- 7:00 pm at the following locations: <ul> <li><strong>Wednesday, November 16, 2016, Chilson Center, Large Meeting Room, 700 E. 4th Street, Loveland, Colo., 80537</strong></li> <li><strong>Thursday, November 17, 2016, Larimer County Courthouse, Hearing Room, 200 W. Oak Street, Fort Collins, Colo., 80524</strong></li> </ul> <P> The development of alternatives is the second phase of a planning process to develop an RMP and EA for the four reservoirs, which are owned by the Bureau of Reclamation and managed by Larimer County. Comments are being sought on the adequacy of the preliminary alternatives based on comments received from the visioning/scoping input, and any future issues that need addressed. The public will be asked to provide input on improvement concepts for various recreational sites at the Reservoir Parks. You can review materials and provide comments on the Reservoir Parks at both events. <P> Written comments will be accepted at the public meetings or can be provided online at <a href=""></a> or by e-mail or regular mail. E-mail should be addressed to the attention of Mr. Patrick McCusker at <a href=""></a>. Regular mail or Fax should be sent to the following address: <P> Patrick McCusker, Natural Resource Specialist<br> Bureau of Reclamation<br> 11056 W. County Road 18 E<br> Loveland, CO 80537<br> Fax: 970-663-3212 <P> Public comments will be accepted through the 30-day comment period, until December 17, 2016. <P> <strong>More about the plans</strong>: <P> Larimer County and the Bureau of Reclamation are conducting a public process for the development of the RMP and EA. This process is required by Federal Law. Public input into the plan is an important component of the process. For more information, and to sign up for project updates, please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> <strong>More about the RMP/EA</strong> <P> Reclamation owns and operates nearly 7,000 acres of land and water across four reservoirs: Horsetooth Reservoir, Carter Lake, Flatiron Reservoir, and Pinewood Reservoir. Under the terms of an agreement with Reclamation, Larimer County Department of Natural Resources manages recreational activities and maintains the recreation facilities at these four reservoirs. These four reservoirs are part of the Colorado-Big Thompson water project; water stored in these reservoirs is distributed by Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District for municipal, agricultural, and other uses. <P> The purpose of the RMP/EA is to balance natural resource protection with recreational opportunities, provide a diversity of recreational experiences, ensure financial stability, and account for future growth and demand. The integrated RMP/EA would replace the 2007 documents and establish a 10-year plan detailing the management framework for the conservation, protection, and enhancement of the four regional reservoirs and surrounding lands. <P> To learn more about the federal RMP and NEPA process, please visit Reclamation's website at <a href=""></a>. The information provided at the Public Scoping Meetings will also be available at this site. <P> Media inquiries or general questions about Reclamation and the RMP/EA should be directed to Sterling Rech at (406) 246-7669 or <a href=""></a>. <P> Reclamation Announces Canyon Ferry Dam Road Closure
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Montana State Highway 284 across Canyon Ferry Dam will be closed to all traffic on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The temporary road closure is due to required maintenance work being conducted to the spillway. <P> Travelers are encouraged to seek alternate routes, north and south of the dam during the closure period. <P> For more information please contact the Canyon Ferry Field Office at 406-475-3310 or visit Reclamation's website at <a href=""></a>. <P> Corps and Reclamation Release Final Environmental Impact Statement for Lower Yellowstone Fish Passage
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and Bureau of Reclamation released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) today for the Lower Yellowstone Intake Diversion Dam Fish Passage Project located 70-miles upstream from the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers near Glendive, Montana. <P> The Corps and Reclamation, serving as Federal co-leads, prepared the Final EIS to evaluate and disclose the impacts of improving fish passage at the Intake Diversion Dam while also maintaining the viable and effective operation of the Lower Yellowstone Project. <P> "The lower Yellowstone River is considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide one of the best opportunities for recovery of Pallid Sturgeon," said Col. John W Henderson, Omaha District commander for the Corps. <P> The Final EIS released today evaluates and discloses the potential effects of a No Action alternative and five action alternatives for improving fish passage at the Intake Diversion Dam. Action alternatives analyzed include; rock ramp, bypass channel, modified side channel, multiple pumps and multiple pumps with conservative measures. Each alternative includes a monitoring and adaptive management plan. <P> The Corps and Reclamation identified the Bypass Channel as the preferred alternative based upon it best fulfilling statutory mission and responsibilities for both agencies along with the consideration of economic, environmental, and technical factors. <P> Both agencies believe the Bypass Channel Alternative could be constructed, operated, and maintained to meet the physical and biological criteria identified by the Fish and Wildlife Service's Biological Review Team, and therefore would provide passage for pallid sturgeon and other native fish. Additionally, the Bypass Channel Alternative is a cost effective means of providing fish passage and is estimated to have the lowest annual cost for long term operations and maintenance of the action alternatives considered. <P> "The Bypass Channel provides a balance of fish and agricultural community needs," said Reclamation's Great Plains Regional Director Mike Ryan. "The alternative provides the pallid sturgeon a chance at recovery and allows for the continued viable and effective operation of the Lower Yellowstone Project." <P> The release of the Final EIS does not constitute a decision. No sooner than 30 days following the Environmental Protection Agency's Federal Register notice of the EIS filing, the Corps and Reclamation may prepare and issue a Record of Decision to select an alternative for implementation and other commitments. <P> To view the Final Environmental Impact Statement and other associated documents, please visit: <a href=""></a>. <P> Reclamation Temporarily Reduces Releases to Beaverhead River
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation and the East Bench Irrigation District will temporarily suspend releases from Clark Canyon Dam, south of Dillon, Mont. on Thursday, October 6, 2016 from approximately 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm. A residual amount of flow will remain in the river from stream bank storage and natural springs. <P> The short term flow reduction to the Beaverhead River is necessary to allow for scheduled inspection of the dam outlet works by Reclamation and East Bench Irrigation District personnel. Immediately following the inspection on October 6, releases will be resumed to provide instream flows for the fall and winter. <P> WYAO Benefits from Pathways
<p>The Pathways Internship Program, formerly Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP), is a summer rotational internship program.</p> <p>The program actively recruits college students from around the country, providing an opportunity to earn income in a summer position with a Reclamation office while gaining experience related to their field of study.</p> <p>In the Great Plains Region, the Pathways Program is sponsored by the Regional Leadership Board (RLB). Students are stationed at a different office in our Region each summer until completion of their degree.</p> <p>WYAO hosted nine Pathways student employees during summer 2016.</p> <p>Wayne Parker, Chief of the Electrical Engineering Branch, supervised three of the new interns who are studying to be electrical engineers.</p> <p>Daniel Craig plans to graduate in May 2017. He began his internship program at Flatiron Power Plant for ECAO last summer.</p> <p>Sam Gulliford, a student at Oregon Institute of Technology, and Michael Gutierrez of Texas A&amp;M, started their internships this summer at WYAO.</p> <p>Wayne is very enthusiastic about his new interns. "The pool of electrical engineers that understand power generation is very small. The few colleges and universities that have a power program tend to teach their students only about transmission and distribution. The Pathways Program provides a mechanism to develop electrical engineers that understand power generation and are familiar with Reclamation operations."</p> <p>Dan, Sam and Michael worked on generator lockout systems for Kortes, Fremont and Guernsey Power Plants.</p> <p>Brock Owen, Chief of the Mechanical Engineering Branch, supervised Kaylen Cheesman (University of Southern Indiana) and Nicholas Frassenei (University of Massachusetts), both first year interns. Kaylen will be helped with maintenance of plant equipment at Seminoe, Kortes and Alcova Power Plants. Nicholas will be assisted with plant equipment maintenance at Fremont and Alcova Power Plants.</p> <p>Swedi Bitendelo, a Civil Engineering major from Kansas State University is in his first year of the program. He worked for Claudia Hill in our Facilities Management Division. Swedi developed specifications for parking lot and access road resurfacing at Boysen and Alcova Power Plants. He also assisted with projects in the Technical Analysis Branch. On top of that, he is enrolled in ROTC at Kansas State and is serving in the U.S. Army Reserves.</p> <p>Jacob Hoffman, a senior majoring in Natural Resources at Montana State University, worked for George Neuberger as a Natural Resource Specialist in the Land Branch this summer. He was busy collecting field data and developing a GIS data base which will be used to manage recreation related signs and public recreation structures and facilities.</p> <p>Morgan Clapshaw is working on her Civil Engineering degree at Montana State University. Last year she served her internship at DKAO in Bismark. This year she assisted WYAO with daily water operations in the Water Management Branch under Art Hill. Her duties included making stream flow measurements, and updating stream gauge safety manuals. In addition, she assisted the Technical Analysis Branch.</p> <p>Mike Bradford, the Safety Manager at WYAO, had the assistance of Sedona Rockwood. She is a junior at University of Wyoming majoring in Chemical Engineering. Sedona conducted an assessment of the Hazardous Communication Program (HAZCOM) at WYAO, updating Safety Data Sheets, and ensuring proper hazardous materials storage requirements are being observed.</p> <p>In addition, one of the Pathways Program graduates started their federal career with a full time engineering position in the Technical Analysis Branch of the Facilities Management Division at WYAO. Nathan Morgan, a graduate of the Civil Engineering Program at Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Washington served as a Pathways intern in DKAO in 2014 and WYAO in 2015. "My Pathways internship exposed me to a great amount of engineering mixed with hands on experience and it provided me with a good job upon graduation."</p> <p>The new crop of interns kept busy assisting with a variety of tasks related to their specialty fields. The interns were paid while they honed their skills and broadened their work experience. And, in some cases, the internships have become a springboard to permanent positions in Reclamation.</p> <p><img src="" alt="Caption" /></p> <p><small>Wyoming interns during the Pathways tour at Buffalo Bill Dam.</small></p> <P> Reclamation Notifies of Permanent Road Closure below Sugar Loaf Dam
LOVELAND, Colo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation announces the permanent closure of 1,200 feet of public road between County Road 48 and Lake Fork Creek below Sugar Loaf Dam, Lake County, Colorado to all types of motorized vehicles. Sugar Loaf Dam is 5-miles west of Leadville, Colorado. After the 30-day public notice concludes on October 30, 2016, Reclamation will install signs at appropriate points to notify vehicles of the closure, per 43 CFR Part 423, Public Conduct on Bureau of Reclamation Facilities, Lands, and Waterbodies. <P> Reclamation administers facilities and associated land for the operation and maintenance of Sugar Loaf Dam, part of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. The road is not required for Project purposes and continues west onto adjacent private land at Lake Fork Creek. The Lake Fork Creek bridge crossing is damaged and is not passable at this time. <P> For additional information please contact Tara Piper at (970) 962-4381 or <a href=""></a>. <P> Reclamation to Host Public Meeting on North Platte Water Operations
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled a North Platte River Water Information Meeting in Torrington, Wyo. <P> The meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m., on Wednesday, October 5, in the Brand Room at the fairgrounds in Torrington. The purpose of the meeting is to present information on the operations and accounting of the North Platte River Reservoirs in Water Year 2016, which covers the period October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016. Scenarios of operations for Water Year 2017 will also be presented using reasonable minimum, most probable, and reasonable maximum water supply conditions. <P> For additional information contact Mahonri Williams at (307) 261-5624 or <a href=""></a>. <P> Annual Drawdown of Alcova Reservoir
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation will be lowering the water level in Alcova Reservoir as the 2016 irrigation season draws to a close. The annual drawdown of the reservoir will begin on Saturday, Oct. 1. <P> During October, the reservoir water surface elevation will be lowered about 10 feet, at a rate of approximately four inches per day. The reservoir's normal winter operating range is between 5,487 and 5,489 feet. Water released in the drawdown of Alcova Reservoir will be restored downstream in Glendo Reservoir. <P> Boat owners and recreationists should be aware of the declining level of Alcova Reservoir and take proper precautions. <P> Reclamation Announces Annual Drawdown of Guernsey Reservoir
MILLS, Wyo. -- The Bureau of Reclamation will be lowering the water level in Guernsey Reservoir as the 2016 irrigation season draws to a close. <P> Guernsey Reservoir levels are expected to remain accessible for boating recreation through September 18. Reclamation will begin drawing down Guernsey Reservoir on the evening of Sunday, September 18, and the boat ramps will quickly become unusable. Reclamation advises that watercraft be removed from the reservoir by the evening of Sunday, September 18. <P> Guernsey Reservoir releases are expected to gradually decrease beginning on September 14 with the end of major irrigation demands. On the afternoon of September 16, releases from Guernsey Reservoir will be set to approximately 2,000 cfs until the end of September when they will be discontinued for the winter. <P> Glendo Reservoir levels are expected to continue gradually declining and reach a water surface elevation near 4589.5 feet (approximately 140,000 acre-feet) around September 19. Glendo releases will be discontinued for the winter by September 25 and Glendo Reservoir levels will then stabilize and slowly increase after October 1. <P> Boaters, recreationists, and irrigators should take proper precautions regarding changing river flows between Glendo and Guernsey Reservoirs and the lowering of Guernsey Reservoir. <P> Reclamation Awards $8.9M Contract for Dike Modification at Altus Dam
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a contract for $8,906,175 to Meridian Contracting, Inc., for the dike modification work at Altus Dam. Altus Dikes are located approximately 20 miles north of Altus, Okla. in Kiowa and Greer Counties. <P> "We're pleased to award this contract to a small business," said Great Plains Regional Director, Mike Ryan. "This work creates jobs, and will help keep Altus Dikes functioning properly well into the future, continuing to provide safe and reliable flood control and irrigation water for Altus, and surrounding areas." <P> The work is required to address the results of a Corrective Action Study (CAS), completed in May 2015, which identified various alternatives to reduce static and hydrologic risks associated with the Altus dikes, ensure continued structural integrity under all reasonable expected operating conditions, reduce potential flood overtopping risks, and fully maintain authorized project benefits at current levels. <P> Principle features of the work include raising the crests of the existing dikes; providing zoned earthfill materials and geotextile to construct the dike raises; constructing new dike connection sections; providing gravel surfacing; clearing, grubbing, and excavating drainage trenches; removing water from excavations; providing and installing earthfill materials, geotextile and HDPE pipe for trench drains; and providing inspection wells. <P> The contract was awarded on August 8. Construction is estimated to begin in early January 2017, and take approximately 3 years to complete. <P> The Altus Project provides irrigation water to approximately 48,000 acres of privately owned land in southwestern Oklahoma, flood control on the North Fork of the Red River, an augmented municipal water supply for the city of Altus, fish and wildlife conservation benefits, and recreation facilities. Project features include Altus Dam, the Main, Altus, West, and Ozark Canals, a 221-mile lateral distribution system, and 26 miles of drains. <P> For more information please contact the Tyler Johnson at 406-247-7610 or <a href=""></a>. <P> Reclamation Announces Canyon Ferry Dam Road Closure
BILLINGS, Mont. -- Montana State Highway 284 across Canyon Ferry Dam will be closed to all traffic on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The temporary road closure is due to required maintenance work being conducted to the spillway. <P> Travelers are encouraged to seek alternate routes, north and south of the dam during the closure period. <P> For more information please contact the Canyon Ferry Field Office at 406-475-3310 or visit Reclamation's website at <a href=""></a>. <P> Lakeshore Drive across Guernsey Dam Temporarily Closed
MILLS, Wyo. -- Reclamation would like to notify the public that the road crossing Guernsey Dam will be closed for most of the non-irrigation season to accommodate rehabilitation of the Guernsey North Spillway Gate. The project is expected to start on October 1, 2016, and be completed no later than April 15, 2017. Road closure signs and gates will be installed prior to commencement of the work. <P> A contract for the gate rehabilitation project has been awarded to Lillard & Clark Construction Company of Denver, Colo. The work will involve cleaning, recoating, and replacing worn components of the gate. This project is important for the continued reliable operation of the spillway and the dependable delivery of water to the water users. <P> Guernsey State Park will remain open throughout the construction period, with the exception of the day use area below the dam. Recreation facilities on the south side of the reservoir will continue to be accessible via Lakeshore Drive. Because Lakeshore Drive will be closed at the dam, recreation facilities on the north side of the reservoir will be accessible by taking Highway 270 north from Guernsey to Hartville, then Highway 317 to Lakeshore Drive at the north entrance to the park. <P> Reclamation Celebrates 50 Years of Service from Yellowtail Dam and Power Plant
BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation will hold a celebration on September 10 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the construction of Yellowtail Dam, Power Plant and Afterbay Dam. <P> The public is invited to attend the celebration that will be held at the Yellowtail Dam Visitor Center at Yellowtail Dam near Fort Smith, Mont. The celebration will begin at 1 p.m. with Reclamation's Great Plains Regional Director Mike Ryan serving as Master of Ceremonies with comments provided by Montana Area Manager Steve Davies, Congressional offices, and select partners. The access road to the Visitor Center will be open at noon and the Visitor Center will be open during the event. <P> The Yellowtail Unit consists of Yellowtail Dam, Power Plant, and Afterbay Dam, completed in 1966. The facilities have provided substantial benefits to the American public through power generation, flood control, recreation, and water storage. Yellowtail Dam is a concrete thin arch structure which is 525 feet high and 1,480 feet long. Four 12-foot-diameter penstocks through the dam supply water to four 62,500 kilowatt generators in the power plant at the base of the dam. The Afterbay Dam is a 72-foot high concrete gravity structure with two embankment wings providing controlled releases into the Bighorn River. <P> Yellowtail Dam impounds Bighorn Lake which is 72 miles long when the reservoir is full. The area around the lake has been designated Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area and offers outstanding scenery and excellent fishing, boating and other recreational opportunities. The recreation area is managed by the National Park Service. <P> Nelson Reservoir Boat Ramps Unusable Due to Low Water
BILLINGS, Mont. -- In support of the ongoing dam safety modifications work at Nelson Dikes, the reservoir has been drawn down to an approximate elevation of 2205 feet. The reservoir will be maintained at this elevation until at least October 15, 2016. At this elevation there are no usable established boat launching facilities. Due to the ongoing construction work, refilling the reservoir is unlikely to occur until spring 2017, and will depend upon available water supplies. Current reservoir levels can be found at <a href=""></a>. <P> Temporary road closures and/or detours around the dikes are not to be expected at this time. <P> An Environmental Assessment (EA) for the modification has been finalized and a Finding of No Significant Impact FONSI) has been signed. The public can access the final EA and FONSI on Reclamation's website at <a href=""></a>. <P> For additional information or questions, please call Jack Conner, 406-247-7300. <P> NKAO Launches SCADA State-of-the-Art System
<p>The Nebraska-Kansas Area Office (NKAO) located in McCook, Nebraska, is in the process of replacing its Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system.</p> <p>The new system will incorporate state-of-the-art Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) driven Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) at the dams and a Windows Server 2012 based Master Station computer system at the Main Office.</p> <p>The SCADA system uses a telephone-based multi-protocol label switching wide-area network to collect data and provide control of dam features.</p> <p>Scipar, Inc. out of Buffalo, New York, is the lead contractor for the new system. Installation of the RTUs began in late April utilizing a local contractor.</p> <p>NKAO provides maintenance, operational jurisdiction and control for 16 dams and reservoirs located in Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado.</p> <p>These reservoirs, together with nine diversion dams, nine pumping plants, and 20 canal systems, serve approximately 269,745 acres of project lands in Nebraska and Kansas.</p> <p>In addition to irrigation and municipal water, these features serve flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife purposes.</p> <p>NKAO has direct control of eleven dams in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska, within the Kansas River Basin.</p> <p>To ensure more efficient use of available personnel and to ensure timely delivery of irrigation water, the project installed a Programmable Master-Station Control (PMSC) system in the late 1970s.</p> <p>This original system was replaced with a state-of-the-art Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system in 1993. This system was upgraded in 2008 with the Master Station and Man Machine Interface computers being replaced with newer models.</p> <p>Many of the discrete RTU parts from this system are still in use and have reached the end of their useful life, with replacement parts difficult to find or obsolete, and new parts difficult to integrate.</p> <p>Some of the SCADA equipment being replaced is over 20 years of age, well beyond the normal life expectancy of 10 years.</p> <p>The SCADA system collects data and allows gate movements to be accomplished by a system controller at the headquarters in McCook for the following dams:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Bonny Dam near Burlington, Colo.;</strong></li> <li><strong>Trenton Dam near Trenton, Neb.;</strong></li> <li><strong>Enders Dam near Enders, Neb.;</strong></li> <li><strong>Red Willow Dam near McCook, Neb.;</strong></li> <li><strong>Medicine Cr. Dam near Cambridge, Neb.;</strong></li> <li><strong>Norton Dam near Norton, Kan.;</strong></li> <li><strong>Lovewell Dam near Webber, Kan.;</strong></li> <li><strong>Webster Dam near Stockton, Kan.;</strong></li> <li><strong>Kirwin Dam near Kirwin, Kan.;</strong></li> <li><strong>Glen Elder Dam near Glen Elder, Kan.;</strong></li> <li><strong>Cedar Bluff Dam near Hays Kan.</strong></li> </ul> <p>Water releases can be scheduled to arrive at the diversion points at the time it is required, rather than being dependent upon regular working hours.</p> <p>The availability of a dependable control system also frees up the 10 Reclamation facilities superintendents to accomplish other duties since they will not be required to remain at remote locations to release water upon demand.</p> <p>The SCADA system also allows for closer management of the water supplies and provides for better site security.</p> <p>Final installation and testing of the new system is scheduled to be completed this summer with the system fully operational by August 2016.</p> <P>