Newsroom Channel Reclamation Newsroom Channel Robert Skordas Named Deputy Regional Director for Reclamation’s Pacific Northwest Region
BOISE, Idaho – Regional Director Lorri Lee has selected Rob Skordas as the new Deputy Regional Director for Power and Infrastructure in Reclamation’s Pacific Northwest Region. Skordas began his new position October 17. He replaces Terry Kent, who will retire at the end of this year. <P> "Rob's years of managing complex power projects, combined with his on-the-ground experience at Grand Coulee Dam, will be a great asset to the Region," said Lee. "His expertise will go a long way to support Reclamation's mission of delivering water and power in an economically and environmentally sound manner." <P> Skordas was previously the Lower Colorado Dams Area Manager where he directed business and maintenance activities at Hoover Dam, Davis Dam, and Parker Dam. <P> He began his federal career in 1999 as an Apprentice Powerplant Operator at Grand Coulee Dam. Since completing his apprenticeship, Rob has assumed increasingly challenging leadership and management positions in Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific and Lower Colorado regions. <P> A native of Coulee Dam, Wash., Skordas holds a doctor of chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic-West in San Jose, Calif. He practiced chiropractic for 15 years before entering government service. <P> Download a photo at <a href=""></a>. <P> <P> Reclamation Seeks Comments on Left and Right Powerhouse Modernization at Grand Coulee Dam
GRAND COULEE, Washington — The Bureau of Reclamation invites the public to comment on a proposed multiyear powerplant overhaul project at two Grand Coulee Dam powerhouses. During the 30-day comment period which ends Nov. 7, the public is encouraged to identify issues and concerns to be addressed in an Environmental Assessment on the proposed modernization and overhaul of all the generators in the Left and Right Powerhouses. <P> The 18 generating units and three station service units have been in operation for over 70 years and are starting to have mechanical problems from age-related wear and design. Reclamation would upgrade components of the generating units, modernize three station service generators, conduct maintenance of the penstocks, and update or replace the overhead cranes. <P> The Environmental Assessment alternatives are: <P> • Alternative A – No Action: Reclamation would continue to operate generating Units G1 – G18 with no system improvements. Maintenance would be performed on an as-needed basis. • Alternative B – Work on Two Units at a Time: Reclamation would repair and restore the generators in a timely manner to ensure reliable operation for an additional 30 years. Work would be expected to begin in the spring of 2018 with project completion anticipated by the end of 2029. Unforeseen circumstances (equipment breakdown, unexpected outages, delay in manufacturing, etc.) could delay completion. <P> • Alternative C – Work on One Unit at a Time: Reclamation would perform the same work as in Alternative B. However, this alternative would extend the overhaul work up to seven years, depending on the speed of completion. <P> The Environmental Assessment would evaluate the impacts of each alternative on the human and natural environments. The final Environmental Assessment is expected to be published in the summer of 2017. <P> To submit comments, or for additional information, contact Pam Druliner, Natural Resource Specialist, Pacific Northwest Regional Office, 1150 North Curtis Road, Boise, ID 83706. Contact can also be made by emailing <P> <P> <P> Temporary Closures Begin at Jackson Lake Dam October 4
HEYBURN, Idaho – The Bureau of Reclamation will repair damaged concrete on the right side of the spillway stilling basin at Jackson Lake Dam beginning Oct. 4. During construction, the southeast side parking lot at the dam and downstream right-hand side of the river will be temporarily closed to all traffic through the end of November. <P> The concrete wall has significantly eroded along its base and is in need of repair. Reclamation will install steel plates on the outer wall and fill the cavity with concrete. <P> "Public safety is our number one concern," said Keith Brooks, civil engineer with the Upper Snake Field Office. "The parking and fishing areas will remain closed until the repair work is completed. Recreation access will still be available upstream of the dam and the north side of the river." <P> Jackson Lake Dam is located on the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park near Moran, Wyoming. The dam is part of the Minidoka Project and was constructed in 1911. In 1989, parts of the dam were replaced under the authority of Reclamation's Safety of Dams Act. <P> <P> Reclamation Awards $13.6 Million Contract to Build Fire Station at Grand Coulee Dam
GRAND COULEE, Washington — The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $13.6 million contract to Innovative Construction & Design Ltd., a small business based in Post Falls, Idaho. <P> The fire station will be constructed at the west gate to the Grand Coulee Power Office Industrial Area, near the intersection of Highway 155 and B Street. The new facility location will ensure reliable protection for all Reclamation facilities and lands, as well as assist local communities and other agencies through mutual aid agreements. <P> The project involves construction of an approximately 22,000-square-foot fire station to provide space for sleeping, dining, vehicle and equipment storage, meeting/training rooms, offices and a public reception area. Construction is funded by the Bonneville Power Administration and congressional appropriations. <P> "Sharpening our focus on safety and our emergency response capability at Grand Coulee Dam and the greater community is a top priority for Reclamation," Commissioner Estevan López said today. "This state-of-the-art fire station will harness new technology into a permanent, highly sustainable and professional facility." <P> Construction activity is expected to begin the winter of 2017 and is scheduled to be completed by April 2018. <P> Grand Coulee Dam, completed in 1941, it is a multipurpose facility and a key feature of Reclamation's Columbia Basin Project. It is the largest hydropower producer in the U.S. at an average of 20 billion kilowatt-hours annually. Learn more at: <a href=""></a>. <P> Black Canyon C.A.S.T. For Kids Event a Hit
Black Canyon Park celebrated its annual C.A.S.T. For Kids event in August. The morning began with much excitement. All the supplies were taken out and placed in their location. The first boat captain arrived promptly at 6 a.m., and others soon followed. Volunteers began to arrive and were ready to work! The early morning smiles brightened the day more than the warm summer sun. By 9 a.m., many families had arrived and the registration process was in full force. <P> "This event was a lot of fun for the children and myself," said Robert Voermans, one of the boat captains. "It's the best organized event I've ever seen. I plan to do it again next year." <P> Thirty-four participants enjoyed this special day made especially for them. Fourteen boat captains came out to share their boat and love for the water with the participants. Forty-five volunteers made sure everything was perfect, and LOTS of fish were caught! <P> "C.A.S.T. for Kids has been celebrated at Black Canyon Park for over 20 years," said Erika Lopez, event coordinator for the Snake River Area Office. "Each year it just gets better and better. I look forward to next year." <P> <img src="" hspace="10" alt="Participants and volunteers pose for a picture at 2016 Black Canyon CAST Event"/> <P> $1.7 Million Contract Award for Work at American Falls Reservoir
BOISE, Idaho - The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $1.7 million construction contract Sept. 9 to Yale Creek, Inc., a small business based in Rexburg, Idaho, for an improvement project on the American Falls Reservoir. The project involves rehabilitation of the West Side boat ramp, parking area and restroom facilities, located adjacent to the dam. American Falls Dam is approximately 26 miles west of Pocatello, Idaho. <P> After more than 55 years of continual use and exposure to the elements, the West Side boat ramp along American Falls Reservoir has reached the end of its functional life. The ramp and parking area are showing considerable signs of deterioration and are in need of replacement. <P> "We are excited to see this project move forward," said Ryan Newman, Upper Snake Field Office assistant manager. "The new ramp will provide for improved, safe, reservoir access and should accommodate the public's needs." <P> On-site work is expected to begin the fall of 2016 with completion in March 2018. <P> American Falls Dam was originally completed in 1928. The dam is part of the Minidoka Project and is located on the Snake River near American Falls. In 1978, the dam was reconstructed and replaced under the authority of Reclamation's Safety of Dams Act. <P> Temporary Lane Closure over American Falls Dam
AMERICAN FALLS, Idaho – The Bureau of Reclamation will temporarily close one of the Highway 39 northbound lanes on American Falls Dam Sept. 20 to perform crane work to lift and replace a bulkhead gate on the dam, weather permitting. <P> Traffic delays will be intermittent between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., as crews use a crane to move the bulkhead gate. <P> "The temporary lane closure should not have a significant impact to daily traffic; however, oversize loads will not have enough room to cross while the work is being conducted," said Keith Brooks, civil engineer with the Upper Snake Field Office. "Delays will be short term. Normal traffic use will resume as soon as the work is completed." <P> For more information, contact Keith Brooks at 208-678-0461 ext. 33. <P> American Falls Dam was originally completed in 1928. The dam is part of the Minidoka Project and is located on the Snake River near American Falls. In 1978, the dam was reconstructed and replaced under the authority of Reclamation’s Safety of Dams Act. <P> Arrowrock Dam Recognized as Historic Civil Engineering Landmark
On Aug. 25, the 100- year-old Arrowrock Dam was recognized as Idaho’s first National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) at a ceremony held onsite. <P> ASCE represent members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. It is the oldest national engineering society in the United States. ASCE recognizes historically significant civil engineering projects, structures, and sites all over the world. More than 200 projects have earned the title for the creativity and innovative spirit of civil engineers. <P> “Arrowrock Dam has been a cornerstone of development in Idaho’s Treasure Valley,” said Lanie Paquin, Deputy Area Manager, Bureau of Reclamation. “The dam has provided irrigation water to farmers and flood control on the lower Boise River for over 100 years. It is with great honor that we accept this historic recognition given by the American Society of Civil Engineers.” <P> The ceremony included a guided tour inside the dam. The group traveled up and down more than 300 steps inside the dam viewing some of its original fixings. <P> “A lot of the innovations in dam building were first used in this dam,” said Ryan Van Leuven, President of Southern Idaho Section of American Society of Civil Engineers. <P> In 1915, Arrowrock Dam was constructed and at the time was the tallest concrete dam in the world, standing 350 feet high and 1,100 feet long along the crest. It is located east of Boise, Idaho, on the Boise River. Arrowrock Dam is a multipurpose facility that provides irrigation water for more than 277,000 acres of land, flood control benefits, hydropower and recreation used by a large population in the Boise area. <P> Arrowrock Dam was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. This engineering masterpiece has been used as a template for other dams constructed by Reclamation. <P> For more information about Arrowrock Dam visit: <a href=""></a>. <P> <img src="" alt="ASCE group is given a short briefing before touring the dam." width="400"><br /> <small>ASCE group is given a short briefing before touring the dam.</small> <P> Yakima Project “Flip-Flop” Operations Underway
YAKIMA, Washington - The Bureau of Reclamation announced that it will begin the annual “flip-flop” operation in the Yakima Basin by gradually reducing flows out of Cle Elum Reservoir in the upper Yakima River basin and increasing flows from Rimrock Reservoir affecting flows in the Tieton and Naches Rivers. <P> The purpose of the “flip-flop” operation is to achieve and maintain relatively low flows in the upper Yakima, Cle Elum, and Bumping rivers where the spring Chinook salmon spawn. These lower flows are closer to the natural flow conditions and are therefore more helpful to successful spawning and incubation of the salmon eggs. This operation also reduces impacts on irrigation water supply by allowing for lower flow releases throughout the winter to improve reservoir storage for the coming season. <P> As part of the process, on or about September 6, Reclamation will begin to divert water down the Kittitas Reclamation District’s Spillway 1146 into the Yakima River near Thorp. Reclamation will install buoys that will be in place from Sept. 6 until about Oct. 21. Recreationists are strongly advised, for their safety and well-being, to portage around the buoys and to stay out of the dangerously turbulent flows. <P> “Those who are enjoying the river should definitely avoid the dangerous turbulent water in the area where the spillway water pours into the river,” said Chuck Garner, Yakima Project River Operations supervisor. <P> Flows out of Cle Elum Reservoir have been gradually decreasing since Aug. 20 from a high of 2,870 cfs and will continue to decline to a low of about 220 cfs in mid-September. Flows from Rimrock Reservoir are expected to be in the 900 to 1,200 cfs range by Sept. 1 and increase to between 2,000 and 2,500 cfs by mid to late September depending on irrigation demands and weather conditions. <P> Streamflow changes will occur gradually during the Labor Day holiday weekend. Streamflow information can be obtained by calling (509) 575-5854 or on Reclamation’s website at: <P> Reclamation Awards $19 Million Contract for Pump-Generating Plant Upgrades at Grand Coulee Dam
BOISE, Idaho – The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $19 million contract on August 11 to American Hydro of York, Pennsylvania. The contract calls for replacing and updating equipment for pump generating units 5 and 6 at the John W. Keys III Pump Generating Plant. <P> "This effort is pivotal to the infrastructure modernization at the Keys Plant. The pump units will provide greater efficiency, flexibility and capacity in hydropower production and water delivery," said Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López. <P> The plant, located 90 miles west of Spokane, Washington, is part of the Grand Coulee Dam Power Complex. A multi-purpose project, it provides flood control, irrigation, hydropower production, recreation, stream flows, and fish and wildlife benefits. <P> Construction will take place over the next two years while accommodating for irrigation demand. It is scheduled to be finished by January 2020. <P> This overhaul work continues a 20-year modernization effort at the plant. The project is funded through Bonneville Power Administration, South Columbia Basin Irrigation District, Quincy Columbia Basin Irrigation District, East Columbia Basin Irrigation District and Congressional appropriations. <P> American Hydro is a leading supplier and installer of large equipment for the hydroelectric and water distribution industries, specializing in design, manufacture, upgrades and servicing of high performance hydro-turbines and pumps. <P> Scooteney Reservoir Experiencing Toxic Algae Bloom
EPHRATA, Washington - The Bureau of Reclamation is alerting users of Scooteney Park recreation area, located 36 miles south of Moses Lake on Highway 17, that the Benton Franklin Health District has identified a toxic algae bloom on Scooteney Reservoir. <P> The Health District is warning that current algae levels are not safe for humans or animals and could be deadly. Warning signs stating that all people and pets remain out of the water have been posted around the reservoir. <P> Scooteney Park campgrounds and recreation area remains open, as does boating opportunities on the reservoir. <P> Drinking Water Restored at Little Wood Campground
CAREY, Idaho - The Bureau of Reclamation has replaced the hand pump and made improvements to a well head located at the Little Wood Campground at Little Wood Reservoir Road, 11 miles northwest of Carey, Idaho. <P> "The new pump works great and is capable of pumping two gallons per minute," said Ryan Newman, manager of the Upper Snake Field Office. "It is now back in working order and is safe and ready for public use." <P> Reclamation closed the well that supplies drinking water to the Little Wood Campground in July, due to health concerns. The drinking water supply is routinely sampled for health and safety purposes. During a July inspection, a water sample tested positive for coliform bacteria and the well had to be closed for improvements and further testing. <P> Little Wood Campground is open year-round and offers fishing and boating opportunities. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no electrical hook-ups. <P> Little Wood Reservoir is formed by Little Wood Dam which was completed in 1939. The dam is part of the Little Wood River Project and provides supplemental irrigation water to approximately 9,550 acres in Blaine County, Idaho. <P> Reclamation Seeks Public Comment for the Proposed Lewiston Orchards Project Water Exchange and Title Transfer
LEWISTON, Idaho – The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public comment on the Draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed Lewiston Orchards Project Water Exchange and Title Transfer. <P> Reclamation has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment analyzing a proposed action and an alternative for a water exchange and title transfer. This effort is intended to benefit Snake River steelhead, protect natural and cultural resources important to the Nez Perce Tribe, and provide a reliable water supply for the Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District patrons. Reclamation’s proposed action is to construct multiple groundwater wells to provide the Lewiston Orchards Project with an alternative water supply that will replace the current surface water diversions from land adjacent to and within the Nez Perce Reservation. <P> The proposed action includes transfer of title of Lewiston Orchards Project facilities and assets once the existing surface water supply is exchanged with the groundwater source. Some facilities and assets would be transferred from Reclamation to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to be held in trust for the Nez Perce Tribe and the remainder would be transferred to the Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District. <P> The alternative to the proposed action is to construct a pumping plant on the Clearwater River to provide a replacement surface water supply to the Lewiston Orchards Project. The title transfer component for this alternative would be the same as the proposed action. <P> The Draft Environmental Assessment evaluates impacts of alternatives on the human and natural environment. You may download the Draft Environmental Assessment at <a href=""></a>. <P> Please send written comments no later than Sept.12 to Jim Taylor, supervisory environmental protection specialist, Bureau of Reclamation, Snake River Area Office, 230 Collins Road, Boise, Idaho 83702 or by email at <a href=""></a>. For more information about the Lewiston Orchards Water Exchange concept, please contact Selena Moore, planning and project management manager at 208-383-2207. <P> The Lewiston Orchards Project is located near Lewiston, Idaho. Project facilities include Reservoir A (Mann Lake), Soldiers Meadow Reservoir, Lake Waha, four diversion structures, several feeder canals, and a system for distributing irrigation water. <P> Lots of Fun and Fishing at the Burley C.A.S.T. For Kids Event
This year’s C.A.S.T. For Kids event in Burley, Idaho, was a great success. It was held at the Burley Golf Course Boat Docks, a new location. The team arrived at 6:30 a.m. and began to set up for the event. The sight of the 45 plus volunteers and boaters arriving was beautiful to see. When the participants arrived, the boaters were ready. The kids were suited up, received their fishing gear, paired with boaters, got their picture taken and began to load the boats for a time of their life. This new venue proved to be a great choice. <P> When the kids returned to shore, they had stories upon stories to tell. It was wonderful hearing all of the good reports especially that some had caught fish. <P> "I feel so blessed to have this opportunity," said Jennifer Richardson, a first time participant’s mom. "No words can explain how this event helped to bring my son and me closer together." <P> Cody Sibbett, Reclamation’s O&M Planner said, "This was my first year volunteering for a C.A.S.T. For Kids event. To see the pure joy and excitement these kids had when talking about the fish they caught made all the hard work worthwhile." <P> The Rupert Elks Lodge provided a delicious lunch and other sponsors helped to ensure no one was left hungry. Before the awards ceremony, the participants and volunteers enjoyed health tips and massages from Dr. Crane. The participants also got a chance to play in the bounce house and get their faces painted. <P> As a bonus for the participants this year, they received an awesome "swag bag" which included a nerf ball, food coupons and other goodies. <P> "Event locale was an absolute 10. I could not imagine a better location to hold a C.A.S.T. For Kids event for children with special needs," said Jim Behnken, C.A.S.T. Western Program Director. "All the volunteers and staff were unbelievably thoughtful, loving and considerate of the families." <P> Thanks to all who worked tirelessly to ensure that this event was a positive experience for all the kids! We hope to see you again next year! <P> <img src="" style="float:left" hspace="10" alt="Group photo at Burley C.A.S.T. Event"/> <P> <P> Reclamation Awards $12.8 Million Contract for Work at Cle Elum Fish Passage Facility
BOISE, Idaho – The Bureau of Reclamation awarded a $12.8 million contract on July 22 to Condon-Johnson & Associates, Inc., based in Kent, Washington. The construction work involves building a secant or concrete shaft adjacent to the Cle Elum Dam, located 75 miles northwest of Yakima, Washington. <P> The secant shaft is an underground vault that will eventually house the juvenile <a href="">fish passage structure</a>, allowing young salmon to safely bypass the dam to the river below. The Fish Passage Facility is a component of the <a href="">Yakima River Basin Integrated Water Resource Management Plan</a>, which focuses on water conservation, irrigation needs, fisheries and watershed health. <P> On-site work is expected to begin in the spring of 2017 and be completed by March 2019. <P> “This is exciting because we are constructing a unique and innovative fish passage system,” said Regional Director Lorri Lee. “By working in partnership with the Yakama Nation, the state of Washington and others, we are one step closer to restoring a historic and culturally significant salmon run to the Yakima Basin.” <P> Condon-Johnson & Associates specialize in heavy civil geotechnical construction and engineering. It has completed hundreds of projects involving specialty foundation services and ground improvement methods since 1976. <P>