Reclamation News Releases News Releases from the Bureau of Reclamation Donald Bader Selected as the New Area Manager for Reclamation’s Northern California Area Office
2016-09-28 14:59:00.0 SHASTA LAKE, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region announces that Donald Bader has been selected as the Area Manager for the Northern California Area Office (NCAO) at Shasta Dam. <P> “Don has successfully collaborated with both internal and external stakeholders to meet our diverse and challenging goals,” stated Deputy Regional Director Pablo Arroyave. “Based on his impressive tenure with Reclamation and experience with supervision, Operations and Maintenance (O&M), resources management, security, Safety of Dams and recreation management, Don will be a great asset in his new position.” <P> As the Area Manager, Bader is responsible for managing a staff of 170 people, all programs and facilities within the Shasta and Trinity Divisions of the Central Valley Project, along with the Orland Project and the Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP). These divisions include thirteen dams with a combined storage capacity of nearly 9 million acre-feet and six powerplants with a combined nameplate capacity of over 1,200 megawatts. <P> Bader was formerly the NCAO Deputy Area Manager. His duties included directly overseeing the Environmental, Security and Safety, and Water and Lands Divisions, as well as providing oversight for the TRRP. He also served as the O&M Director, and responsible for all O&M Program accomplishments for NCAO power plants, dams and associated facilities. Prior to his position at NCAO, he was responsible for the O&M Program at Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, Boulder City, Nevada. <P> Bader graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in Civil Engineering; he is a registered Professional Engineer. His wife, Julie, is a Reclamation Electrical Engineer at the Mid-Pacific Regional Office. They have three daughters, Andrea, Rachel and Natalie. <P> Commissioner López Releases “I Care About Safety” Safety Action Plan
2016-09-27 15:06:00.0 On September 26, Commissioner López released the “I Care About Safety” safety action plan which was developed by 21 teams of Reclamation employees, and was designed to ensure employee safety and accident prevention to maintain a safe and healthful work environment. <P> Its vision statement reads, “Reclamation embraces safety excellence by empowering employees and integrating safety into our mission, achieving a culture which results in a safe environment for our employees, contractors, visitors and public.” <P> The entirety of Reclamation’s safety initiatives can now be viewed online, at Once on the website, you will be able to find an assortment of helpful resources pertaining to Reclamation’s safety and health standards, how to report an accident, health or safety hazard, online reference materials, the safety directory, and basic safety guidance. <P> All Reclamation employees are encouraged to explore this resource, and to use this resource to further develop strategies for keeping ourselves and others safe while at work. <P> Reclamation Seeks Comments on Draft Criteria for Three WaterSMART Funding Opportunities
2016-09-27 15:00:00.0 WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking comments on draft evaluation criteria for three grant categories within the WaterSMART Program, including two within WaterSMART Grants and one within the Cooperative Watershed Management Program. Under WaterSMART Grants, Reclamation is proposing to update the Water and Energy Efficiency Grants evaluation criteria and launch a new funding opportunity for Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects. It is also seeking comments on evaluation criteria and eligible project types for Phase II of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program. <P> Several significant changes to the criteria used to evaluate Water and Energy Efficiency Grants have been proposed for fiscal year 2017, which include a new criterion to assess water sustainability benefits of a proposed project, with greatest consideration given to projects that dedicate water for instream flows. Additionally, water marketing will no longer be an eligible activity under Water and Energy Efficiency Grants. Instead, a separate WaterSMART Grants funding opportunity announcement is being developed for water marketing activities; a draft framework for that new funding opportunity is expected to be posted for public review in November 2016. <P> Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects, a new WaterSMART Grants funding opportunity, will incorporate the types of on-the-ground implementation projects that were previously considered for financial assistance under the Water Conservation Field Services Program. Reclamation has developed simplified criteria for this new funding category and will use a streamlined process to select projects. Other funding opportunities for planning and pre-construction activities will be available separately under the Water Conservation Field Services Program. <P> The Cooperative Watershed Management Program will begin to provide funding for Phase II watershed management projects in fiscal year 2017. Phase II funding will support local watershed groups in implementing collaborative solutions to water management issues. Reclamation is seeking comments on the draft criteria and eligible project types. <P> The President’s fiscal year 2017 budget request includes $23.4 million for WaterSMART Grants and $1.75 million for the Cooperative Watershed Management Program. Eligible applicants for WaterSMART Grants include States, Indian Tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, municipalities, and other organizations in the West with water or power delivery authority. Eligible applicants for Phase II of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program include established watershed groups that represent a diverse group of stakeholders, have completed a watershed restoration plan, and are capable of promoting the sustainable use of water resources. Funding opportunities for WaterSMART Grants are expected to be published in November 2016, and the funding opportunity for the Phase II of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program is expected to be published in January 2017. <P> Send your comments on Water and Energy Efficiency Grants and Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects to Darion Mayhorn at Comments on the draft criteria will be accepted through October 28, 2016. <P> Send your comments on Cooperative Watershed Management Program Phase II draft criteria and eligible project types to Avra Morgan at Comments will be accepted through October 28, 2016. <P> WaterSMART is the Department of the Interior's sustainable water initiative that uses the best available science to improve water conservation and help water resource managers identify strategies to narrow the gap between supply and demand. For more information on the WaterSMART program or download the draft criteria please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> <P> New Melones Lake’s Great Sierra River Cleanup Event
2016-09-27 12:25:00.0 On Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, from 9 a.m. to noon, five Bureau of Reclamation Park Rangers and 12 volunteers from the local community, ages 16-70, spent the morning removing debris from the shoreline of New Melones Lake as part of the Great Sierra River Cleanup (GSRC). <P> Reclamation’s Central California Area Office partnered with the Tuolumne County Land Trust, Tuolumne Resource Conservation District, Tuolumne Master Gardeners, Tuolumne County Probation Department, and New Melones Lake Marina to hold the 2016 GSRC. The cleanup focused on sites around New Melones Lake in the Stanislaus River watershed as the declining water level has exposed trash and debris. <P> This annual event, coordinated by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and held in conjunction with California Coastal Cleanup Day, encourages the public to become involved in maintaining the health of their local watershed. <P> Volunteers on two Reclamation vessels and on a boat from the New Melones Marina scouted the lakeshore, and teenagers from the Tuolumne County Probation Department walked the shoreline of the Tuttletown Recreation Area picking up trash. <P> The energetic clean-up crew removed bottles, cans, metal cables, sheet iron, tires and old pop-up shelters. Thanks to the volunteers and Reclamation staff, approximately 1,200 pounds of trash and debris were removed from New Melones! Great job, everyone! <P> <img src="" alt="New Melones Lake 2016 Great Sierra River Cleanup." hspace="4" vspace="4"/> <P> <img src="" alt="New Melones Lake 2016 Great Sierra River Cleanup." hspace="4" vspace="4"/> <P> <P> Reclamation’s First AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer
2016-09-26 13:38:00.0 With the first rays of morning light, New Mexico’s Upper Chama watershed reveals itself. The valley extends south from Cumbres Pass, winding its way over ridgelines and through meadows. Dropping in elevation, forests of mixed conifer slowly change to tall Ponderosa Pines and then rolling plains of juniper and grasslands. Twenty-six miles to the south lie the cliffs overlooking Heron Reservoir, a resting place for supplemental water on its way to the homes, farms and people of central New Mexico, as well as El Vado Reservoir, which provides water for irrigated agriculture in the Middle Rio Grande valley. <P> The view from Cumbres Pass does little to convey the fragility of this region. Changing precipitation patterns, rising temperatures and decades of fire suppression point towards an uncertain future for the adjacent Chama and San Juan watersheds; a future dominated by the risks of catastrophic wildfire, excessive sedimentation and loss of an important source of clean reliable water for the region. <P> In May 2016, the Bureau of Reclamation sponsored its first AmeriCorps Volunteer under the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program. AmeriCorps VISTA is a federal program designed to provide nonprofits with the organizational capacity to tackle issues of poverty reduction in all of its forms, from early childhood education, to veteran support and environmental stewardship. Reclamation’s VISTA Volunteer, Will Donahoo, lives in Chama, New Mexico. He works as Reclamation’s representative in partnership with the Chama Peak Land Alliance (CPLA), a nonprofit organization of conservation-minded landowners who promote ecologically and economically sustainable land and forest management practices on over 1.4 million acres. Will assists by meeting with landowners on whose lands forest thinning and treatments are planned. He organizes public events and makes public presentations to describe forest treatment work and its objectives. <P> In addition to stewardship and outreach efforts, CPLA conducts forest thinning and prescribed fire treatments in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. The work of CPLA to protect private forest lands directly benefits Reclamation and its efforts to maintain a clean, reliable water supply for its projects in New Mexico. CPLA’s outreach and forest treatment work focuses on the Rio Chama watershed, which serves Reclamation’s Middle Rio Grande Project. Additionally, the Navajo, Little Navajo and Rio Blanco watersheds provide critical supplemental water resources to central New Mexico through Reclamation’s San Juan-Chama Project. <P> Completed in 1976, the San Juan-Chama Project is a series of diversion structures, tunnels and a reservoir that divert, store, and release water for the benefit of Project contractors under the Colorado River Compact. Check dams, located at the base of three tributaries of the San Juan River (the Navajo, Little Navajo and Rio Blanco) in southern Colorado near Pagosa Springs, divert water through tunnels, which together carry runoff 26 miles under the Continental Divide from the Colorado River watershed to the Rio Chama, in the Rio Grande watershed. The total allocation of the San Juan-Chama Project is divided between 9 municipalities, 6 pueblos and 2 counties, with the city of Albuquerque being by far the largest recipient, receiving over 50 percent of diverted waters. Within Bernalillo County alone, the San Juan-Chama Project provides 90 percent of the drinking water for over 600,000 residents. <P> A fire within the upland forests, above the San Juan-Chama diversion could have a substantial impact on the ability to provide the quality and quantity of water required by downstream users. In addition, a fire within the Chama watershed could impact the quality and quantity of water available to irrigators served by Reclamation’s Middle Rio Grande Project. <P> Laid bare by fire, soils become prone to erosion, leading to increased runoff, sedimentation and water quality degradation. Fire-damaged watersheds have a reduced capacity to store water in the form of snowpack, leading to water supply shortages during hot summer months. Fire-damaged watersheds also generate increased runoff during storm events, which can lead to downstream flooding. Limits on the amount of water that can be directed at any given time through the San Juan-Chama diversion means that the total amount available on an annual basis to downstream communities such as Albuquerque could be reduced. Additionally, increased runoff would dislodge debris created by wildfire, requiring removal at diversion structures and potentially inhibiting their operation for days, weeks or longer. <P> Catastrophic wildfire outside the range of natural variation would forever alter the characteristics and economy of the region, but wide-scale forest treatments have the potential to reduce this risk. Even small acreages of thinned forests exhibit different characteristics when fire passes through the landscape than those exhibited by untreated forests. Reduced fuels mean fire burns at a lower intensity and has less opportunity to spread between neighboring trees. Research in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy’s Rio Grande Water Fund estimates the cost of thinning one acre of forest at $700, versus a potential economic impact of $2,150 if the same acre is damaged by wildfire. <P> Over time, Reclamation’s mission of managing water in the West has become more about preserving, improving and balancing the resources already available, ensuring the resiliency of our water infrastructure to meet future needs. Through partnerships with the CPLA and many others, along with the first generation of VISTA Volunteers, Reclamation is working to protect the San Juan-Chama Project and the water supply to its Middle Rio Grande Project by supporting the direct management of upland forests. This is accomplished by informing stakeholders of the importance of the watersheds above the diversions and reservoirs, and promoting a local economy that can utilize natural resources, including water and forest products, for the benefit of the local community, as well as downstream users. These actions, which together help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the Chama region, protect the infrastructure and water supply that Reclamation uses to serve its contractors and project beneficiaries. <P> <img src="" style="float:left" hspace="10" alt="VISTA Volunteer Will Donahoo describing forest treatments in the Canjilon Region of Northern New Mexico"/> <P> <P> <P> Apprentices successfully complete first year of training program
2016-09-26 07:58:00.0 “The month of August 2016 is a memorable period in our Apprenticeship Program,” Randolph M. Argote declared recently. <P> Argote, the Supervisory Apprentice Coordinator at Hoover Dam, added, “Our power system electrician apprentices (PSEAs) successfully completed their first year in the program on Aug. 21.” <P> He then said that following a recent announcement, the Program is in the process of selecting five more powerplant operator apprentices (PPOAs). Additionally, the hydroelectric mechanic apprentices (HEMAs) completed their examinations on Aug. 31, which expedited their crossing of the halfway point in their program. <P> “This is an exciting triple milestone completion for all of us in the Apprenticeship Training Group,” Argote said. “We will celebrate these accomplishments with pride and gratitude to everyone in Hoover Dam and the Lower Colorado Dams Office, whose continuous support made all these possible.” He continued and with pride characterized the Hoover Dam Apprenticeship Program as “. . . a viable resource to train and develop these outstanding journeymen of the future.” <P> The group of PSEAs and HEMAs include Jeremy Trip, Joseph Crugnale, Richard Stewart, Dustin Shigematsu, Paul Valdez, Joshua Schwab, Sean Bucknam, Elijah Long, Chris Hanson and Corinna Wittig. <P> PPOA Instructor Bob Swain said he expects to begin instruction on powerplant operations in December with a new class “. . . of five shiny new powerplant operator apprentices.” <P> <P> Reclamation Awards a $3.7 Million Contract for Silt Pumping Plant Modernization
2016-09-23 14:29:00.0 GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a $3.7 million contract for modernization of the Silt Pumping Plant to Aslan Construction, from Berthoud, Colorado. The pumping plant is part of the Silt Project located near Rifle, Colorado. <P> The pumping plant was completed in 1967 and pumps water from the Colorado River to be stored in Rifle Gap Reservoir. Water from the reservoir is used for irrigation in the area. Modernization of the pumping plant includes: installing new pumps, refurbishing the pump motors, and replacing the electrical system. <P> Manufacturing of equipment and parts will begin during the winter of 2016. In the fall of 2017, after the irrigation season ends, work will begin to modernize the pumping plant. The project will be completed before the 2018 irrigation season. <P> <P> 2016 C.A.S.T. for Kids Fishing Fun Fair at New Melones Lake
2016-09-23 11:22:00.0 On Saturday, August 6, 2016, Bureau of Reclamation staff from the Central California Area Office’s New Melones Lake held their annual C.A.S.T. (Catch a Special Thrill) for Kids fishing event at the Mark Twain Day Use Area. Reclamation’s participating partners were the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Messengers Motorcycle Club, New Melones Lake Marina, Arnold Rotary Club, and ARC of Amador and Calaveras Counties. <P> C.A.S.T. events provide an opportunity for disabled and disadvantaged children to team with experienced anglers. Although the ongoing drought has dramatically impacted New Melones, the low lake levels did not discourage an eager group of young boys and girls from enjoying a day of fishing. <P> This year, 28 children ages 5-15 and 21 adult family members participated along with 24 volunteers and 14 Reclamation employees. All participants were provided with a free fishing rod and reel, bait and tackle, ball cap, T-shirt, and a personalized plaque commemorating the day. <P> New Melones Marina and Reclamation provided boats, giving the children a chance to be out on the water to fish. Although not many fish were caught, the day was still thrilling for these first-time anglers. <P> Besides fishing, the children learned about New Melones Lake through games and activities conducted by Reclamation and Corps Park Rangers. Water safety and the importance of wearing a life jacket were highlighted. <P> Outdoor fun and fishing builds up an appetite, and by noon everyone was ready to eat. For lunch, the Messengers Motorcycle Club barbecued hot dogs. An assortment of fruits, granola bars and bottled water, donated by Mountain Oasis, were also available, helping to make the meal healthy and nutritious. <P> C.A.S.T. events tie into the Department of the Interior’s <em>Let’s Move Outside </em>initiative, which encourages children and their families to enjoy outdoor activities that abound in every city, town and community. ( <a href=""></a>). <P> For information on C.A.S.T. for Kids, please visit <a href=""></a>. For information on New Melones Lake, please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> <img src="" alt="New Melones 2016 C.A.S.T. Event." hspace="4" vspace="4"/> <P> <img src="" alt="New Melones 2016 C.A.S.T. Event." hspace="4" vspace="4"/> <P> <img src="" alt="New Melones 2016 C.A.S.T. Event." hspace="4" vspace="4"/> <P> <P> All Employee Meeting with Secretary Jewell at the Denver Federal Center on September 21, 2016
2016-09-22 14:42:00.0 On Wednesday September 21, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell visited the Denver Federal Center for the All-Employee Meeting. Hundreds of employees gathered at Bicentennial Park to hear Secretary Jewell speak about various issues of importance, and how to continue working toward Interior’s mission with the upcoming changes in the White House Administration. Secretary Jewell discussed the importance of protecting the endangered sage grouse in the West. She had just come from an event at the Rocky Mountain National Wildlife Refuge where, along with Governor Hickenlooper, they recognized the collaborative conservation that is taking place to avert listing the sage grouse on the federal endangered list. <P> She also talked about Interior's Consolidation and Modernization project in the Denver area. She mentioned that currently, the Interior Department spends about $350 million annually for rent of office space. She expressed her appreciation for the efforts of the bureaus in Denver to become more economically and spatially efficient, and for the ability to “make the tax dollar go further.” She said that Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia will soon follow suit. <P> Secretary Jewell also talked about the importance of maintaining a respectful work environment, and acknowledged that harassment has become a significant issue under her watch. She expressed her concern for these issues, and explained that she is currently working to develop a clear set of guidelines and has created a task force dedicated to resolving this serious problem. “We all want to be proud of the work we do and [of] the environment we work in,” she expressed. Another issue that was brought up was the issue of garnering interest for Interior jobs among youth and recent graduates. She expressed a desire to improve access to Federal positions for this age group, and when referring to the current youth and recent graduate hiring process, said that she is currently “trying to fix the roadblocks keeping young people from getting on.” <P> An Interior employee asked what Secretary Jewell’s plans will be once she is no longer in Office. After a “long and slow” road trip, Secretary Jewell intends to continue her efforts of improving tribal education opportunities. She talked about some of the goals she’s hoping to accomplish prior to her leaving office, and expressed desire to update out-of-date regulations, and to receive approval for the Stream Protection Rule which was proposed to prevent or minimize impacts to surface water and groundwater from coal mining. <P> As her time in Office comes to a close, Secretary Jewell expressed appreciation for the opportunity to hold her position saying, “I have never been in a position where I feel so fulfilled… the work we all do is invaluable.” She was asked about the kind of legacy she wishes to leave behind, and explained that she views the whole of Interior’s efforts as “collective” and stated, “It’s not my legacy. It’s our legacy.” When referring to the progress the Interior has made while working under the current Administration, she said, “People can let go of the ‘from’ because they now have a better idea of what the ‘to’ looks like.” <P> <img src="" alt="Sec. Jewell addresses DOI employees." width="500px"><br /> <small>Sec. Jewell addresses DOI employees.</small> <P> <img src=" " alt="Hundreds of DOI employees came out to hear Sec. Jewell speak." width="500px"><br /> <small>Hundreds of DOI employees came out to hear Sec. Jewell speak.</small> <P> <P> Web-to-Print Training Announcement
2016-09-21 14:18:00.0 All Denver Reclamation employees are invited to attend a free “Web-to-Print” training course to cover all of the new features that will be included in the Web-to-Print upgrade. Courses will be offered from 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (MDT) on October 4th, 6th, and 12th in Building 67, Room 170. <P> Class objectives include learning about all of the new features, how to access WebCRD, learning to select paper alternatives, building complex documents, and how to set an order with tabs. The training will also review the new layout of the Visual Ticketing, how to search the catalog, and how to submit a print order. Time will also be allotted for questions. <P> In order to attend, you must register through DOI Learn at If you have questions regarding course content, contact Mr. Barry Waryanka at Remote employees should contact Ms. Jaclyn Zechman at about alternative means of attendance. For employees calling into the meeting, roll call will be taken at the beginning of the class to ensure credit is received. <P> For assistance with DOI Learn, contact Ms. Dee Sandoval at <P> <P> Temporary Closures Begin at Jackson Lake Dam October 4
2016-09-20 16:36:00.0 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> Interior Announces Major Space Consolidation & Money Saving Plan to Modernize the Workplace for Federal Employees at the Denver Federal Center
2016-09-20 16:05:00.0 President Obama recently called on government agencies to improve building efficiency within government-owned facilities and operations. As the result of a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. General Services Administration, today Interior announced its strategic plan for the Denver Federal Center, which it says will improve the quality of work life for federal employees while also utilizing space in the most efficient and economical way possible. <P> “Investment in and management of our facilities is inherent to successful implementation of Interior’s mission. As rising rents outpace our budgets, we must find efficiencies in space management and continue to develop innovative approaches to consolidate work space,” says Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget at Interior, Kristen J. Sarri. <P> By assessing mission needs, personnel count, and space requirements, the Denver Federal Center partnership will enable Interior to adhere to the government-wide initiative designed to reduce the footprint of federally-occupied office space. Additionally, the group reviewed the expansion of child care services, and the creation of a broader variety of food service options. <P> Once complete, Interior expects to save approximately $6.4 million per year on rent savings alone. At the Denver Federal Center, these changes are expected to save about $1.6 million in annual rent, while improving work space efficiency for more than 1,000 employees. The project is expected to provide a more modernized, quality, and efficient space that helps improve Interior’s mission delivery while also lowering costs of operation. <P> <P> <P> Reclamation to Provide $3.3M for Friant-Kern Canal Reverse Flow Pump-Back Project
2016-09-20 14:18:00.0 SACRAMENTO, Calif – The Bureau of Reclamation will provide $3.3 million to the Friant Water Authority for its Friant-Kern Canal Reverse Flow Pump-Back Project. The estimated $9.3 million total project will improve the Friant Division’s operational flexibility, including the ability during dry years to recover banked groundwater. It is expected to be completed within three years. <P> The project includes planning, designing, constructing and operating three permanent pump-back facilities on the Friant-Kern Canal. The new facilities would improve the Friant Division’s ability to recirculate and return recaptured Restoration Flows as part of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program. <P> Federal funding is authorized under Subtitle F of Title IX of Public Law 111-11, and is part of a suite of Reclamation drought relief efforts intended to help boost water efficiency and resiliency in high-risk communities, including in California's Central Valley. <P> The Friant-Kern Canal is a Reclamation facility, operated and maintained by the Friant Water Authority. The canal conveys water over 152 miles in a southerly direction, from Millerton Lake to the Kern River four miles west of Bakersfield, for agricultural and urban use. <P> For additional information, please contact Reclamation’s Kellye Kennedy at (916) 978-4640 (TTY 800-877-8339), or Friant Water Authority’s Steve Ottemoeller at (559) 306-9986 or <a href=""></a>. <P> For information on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, please visit <a href=""></a>. <P> <P> Denver Reclamation's Active Shooter Training
2016-09-20 14:00:00.0 On Thursday, September 15th, Bureau of Reclamation employees in the Denver Federal Center's Building 67 participated in an active shooter exercise. The exercise was designed to serve as an educational opportunity for employees and local law enforcement to gain a deeper understanding of proper responses in a real-life scenario. <P> Two actors served as the shooters, and traveled from floor-to-floor firing weapons with blanks loaded. Scott Swanson of the Policy and Administration Office was a “victim” in the exercise, and was one of the first to succumb to the shooter. “It was a very surreal feeling to watch these actors playing the role of “shooters” walk down the hallway. You recognize that [these people are] carrying a firearm, and then you start to ask yourself what you should be doing in order to protect yourself,” Swanson said. “[It is] vital that we each have a plan before an actual real life event takes place.” <P> Nathan Portman is both the Facilities Supervisor for Reclamation, and also serves as Chairman of the Facility Security Committee. During the exercise, Portman’s role was to test the communications systems to ensure viability in the instance of a real-life event. “The scenario was kept a secret so that we would all have a realistic response,” he said. “Once the [shooters were] reported in a simulated 911 call, law enforcement teams were sent into the building in time delays that simulated what their normal response time would be. Their objective was to take down the shooters. As areas were cleared, additional law enforcement escorted EMT responders into the building to treat and [evacuate] the victims.” <P> Gwynne Massengill of Security, Safety and Law Enforcement, another employee who played a victim during this exercise, noted how the experience allowed her to see how fear impacted her decisions. “My flight or fight kicked in, and I wanted to protect the other people. I think that’s how I would react in real life, too,” said Massengill. <P> The experience has inspired many Reclamation employees to create a safety plan so that if something like this were to ever occur here, they would know exactly what to do. “Know where you would go to hide, and [consider] how you would react [in that situation],” says employee Jade Bornman, also of Security, Safety and Law Enforcement. If experiencing a real life situation Jade says to “play dead and stay quiet.” <P> Swanson offered some additional pieces of advice for Reclamation employees. He suggested that employees, “Accept that these are things that happen nowadays. Be willing to discuss a plan with your co-workers and improve your situational awareness.” <P> As the building Consolidation and Modernization effort gets underway, security improvements are a key element involved within the planning and layout. The Project Management Team is working with GSA in assessing the best options available to ensure the safety of all Reclamation employees. The Project Management Team will consult with GSA, the Design/Build Contractor, and Federal Protective Service to find a solution that addresses active shooter concerns. <P> Prior to the exercise, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided training presentations for all employees interested in learning more about the simulation. In that training, it was emphasized that employees follow the “run, hide, fight” response. Additionally, DHS has provided the following points to consider: <P> • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers <P> • Take note of the two nearest exits in any facility you visit <P> • If you are in an office, stay there and secure the door <P> • Attempt to take the active shooter down as a last resort (Learn more here.) <P> If you have any questions, please speak with your supervisor about what you should do in the event of an active shooter in the building. <P> <img src="" alt="Law enforcement are surveying the area during the exercise" width="500px"><br /> <small>Law enforcement are surveying the area during the exercise</small> <P> <img src="" alt="The hot wash with all participating employees" width="500px"><br /> <small>The hot wash with all participating employees</small> <P> <P> <P> <P> <P> Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project Progresses with Two New Contracts Awarded
2016-09-20 13:19:00.0 Farmington, N.M. – The Bureau of Reclamation recently awarded two new contracts totaling $66.3 million for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project. Those contracts continue construction work on a project that will provide long-term, sustainable water for 43 chapters of the Navajo Nation Reservation, the southwest area of the Jicarilla Apache Reservation and the City of Gallup, New Mexico. <P> On September 7, 2016, Reclamation awarded a $37 million design-build contract to CH2M for the design and construction of a water treatment plant along the project’s Cutter Lateral. Water for the Cutter Lateral will be supplied from Navajo Reservoir via Cutter Reservoir near Bloomfield, N.M. In addition to a state-of-the-art water treatment plant, work under this contract will include design and construction of a clearwell pumping plant, 500,000 gallon regulating tank, 2,500 square foot operation and maintenance building and 21,400 feet of pipeline. The plant will have a phased water treatment system to accommodate increasing flows over time up to a future total capacity of 5.4 million gallons per day. Work under this contract is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2019. <P> On September 8, 2016, Reclamation awarded a second contract valued at $29.3 million to Moltz Constructors, Inc. for construction of Reach 22B of the Cutter Lateral, which will consist of 16 miles of 24-inch diameter pipe and two pumping plants. The pipeline is designed to handle flows up to 9.6 cubic feet per second and is scheduled to be complete in the summer of 2018. <P> “Vital infrastructure is a key focus for President Obama, the Department of the Interior and Reclamation and we’re proud of the monumental work being accomplished on this project by our employees, contractors and partners,” said Commissioner Estevan López. “These awards mark a significant milestone for the project; all Reclamation construction along the Cutter Lateral is now either underway or under contract and we’re on track to begin water deliveries through the lateral in 2019.” said Brent Rhees, Director of Reclamation’s Upper Colorado Region. The Navajo Nation is also moving forward with design and construction of downstream sections of the lateral under a financial assistance agreement with Reclamation. <P> The Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project is the cornerstone of the San Juan River Basin in New Mexico Navajo Nation Water Rights Settlement Agreement. When complete, it will include approximately 300 miles of pipe, two water treatment plants, 19 pumping plants and multiple water storage tanks. <P> <P>