Upper Colorado Region News Releases http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom News Releases from Reclamation's Upper Colorado Region http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=52387 Expert Earth Movers
The Socorro Field Division of the Albuquerque Area Office is comprised of construction and heavy machinery operators who specialize in river maintenance along the Middle Rio Grande. The expertise of these crews in both river maintenance and habitat restoration has recently garnered a lot of recognition in New Mexico. <P> During a dedication ceremony at the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, the crew who worked on the Rio Hondo Restoration Project through an interagency agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was touted for their knowledge of this type of work. <P> Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Regional Director for the Service’s Southwest Region said this project will be used as an example in “collaboration. This is how DOI agencies should partner.” <P> The work near the Pecos River in southeastern New Mexico included installing a fixed height earthen plug to diverts river flows below 750 cfs into a new Rio Hondo channel. The diversion of the existing Rio Hondo back to the pre-1904 Rio Hondo channel required excavating about one mile of new channel, reshaping three miles of pre-1904 channel, and removal of saltcedar from the pre-1904 channel. The construction crew was also commended for their ability to look at plans and actual work and see when things are not going to work and offer workable solutions. <P> This diversion was a matter of much discussion on the tour of the project following the dedication ceremony in November. Floyd Truetken, the refuge manager, said he would have thought these rocks were hand placed if he hadn’t watched the crews use their equipment to push the rocks into place. The Service also commended the great work and cooperation of Cord Everetts, a civil engineering tech from the Albuquerque Area Office who served as the Project Coordinator. <P> Although the Albuquerque Area Office often receives requests for the expertise of the force account crews, their primary responsibility is to respond to floods or other river maintenance issues in the Middle Rio Grande. But they travel throughout New Mexico to perform work. In 2013, when New Mexico experienced fall floods from heavy rainstorms, the Socorro crews were in four different locations and rushed back to the Middle Rio Grande to respond. <P> One of the Socorro crews is currently performing work at Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge through an interagency agreement with New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and the Fish and Wildlife Service. This 16-acre floodplain restoration project along the Rio Grande within the refuge, which is located between Belen and Socorro, is aimed at assist in the recovery of the region’s endangered and threatened fish and birds, especially the Rio Grande Silvery Minnow, the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and the Yellow-billed Cuckoo. It will also reduce the potential for flooding that could impact the refuge. <P> “This project is a great example of how state and federal agencies can work together to achieve mutually agreed upon goals in an expedited manner,” Interstate Stream Commission Director Deborah Dixon said during a recent Open House to highlight the project. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=51787 Reclamation Releases a Draft Environmental Assessment for the Lake Durango Water Pipeline
DURANGO, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation has released a draft environmental assessment for the Lake Durango Water Pipeline Project. <P> The La Plata West Water Authority is proposing to construct a 4.6 mile water pipeline from Lake Nighthorse, part of the Animas-La Plata Project to Lake Durango in La Plata County, Colo. The purpose of the water pipeline is to meet the current and future needs for domestic water supply in western La Plata County. <P> The proposed project includes 4.6 miles of pipeline, an access road to the intake structure, a new 40x40-foot building around the existing intake chamber, a parking area, and a booster pump station. Currently, there is no way to pump water out of Lake Nighthorse. The pipeline and associated facilities will provide access and a way to deliver Animas-La Plata Project water. <P> The draft environmental assessment is available online at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/progact/animas/index.html, under the Environmental Compliance tab or a copy can be received by contacting Phillip Rieger at 970-385-6515. <P> Reclamation will consider all comments received prior to preparing a final environmental assessment. Written comments can be submitted by email to prieger@usbr.gov or mailed to Phillip Rieger, Bureau of Reclamation, 185 Suttle St. Ste. 2, Durango, CO 81301. Comments are due by Monday, January 10, 2016. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=51567 Highway Over El Vado Dam Closed Again for Drilling
EL VADO, N.M. – The highway over El Vado Dam will be closed to traffic during daytime hours for up to 18 days in December. <P> The closure of state Highway 112 from one end of the dam to the other will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The latest round of drilling began December 1 and will run for the next few weeks until the contractor for the Bureau of Reclamation completes geotechnical investigations. <P> The drilling into the interior of the dam is part of a study being conducted as Reclamation prepares for an analysis of the embankment. A total of five holes are being drilled using two rigs. The drilling started in November but drilling conditions made it impossible to complete during the original two-week period. The dam crest road is only about 15-feet wide so there is no way for vehicles to pass while the drilling rigs are positioned on the road. Residents living in the vicinity or anyone visiting the area can expect significant noise during the drilling. Typical noise levels from a sonic drill rig are approximately 96 decibels measured 50’ from the source. <P> During the work period, the road will be open to traffic from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. the following morning. During the daytime closure of state Highway 112 alternate routes include Rio Arriba County Road 322 on the west side of El Vado Reservoir north to state Highway 95 or state Highway 112 south. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=51550 Malcolm Wilson Recognized with Superior Service Award
In recognition of Malcolm Wilson’s exemplary service and outstanding contributions in the area of drought contingency planning and implementation for the Bureau of Reclamation, Upper Colorado Region, he was granted the Superior Service Award of the Department of the Interior from Commissioner Estevan López. <P> Malcolm demonstrates exceptional skill and foresight in working with key stakeholders and governmental officials in the planning and implementation of contingency measures in response to the devastating sixteen-year drought afflicting the Colorado River Basin. Prior to and during his 24 year federal career, Malcolm developed a strong background in water rights, policy and water resources management and he applies these skills toward meeting Reclamation’s mission obligations throughout the drought. Recent hydrologic modeling efforts, led by Malcolm, helped resolve complex questions related to developing a contingency plan to release Colorado River Storage Project water from upstream reservoirs to Lake Powell to protect and preserve valuable hydropower generational capacity. <P> Malcolm took it upon himself to acquire additional education in conflict mediation and dispute resolution competencies, which he puts to use in collaborative work with multiple stakeholders from seven basin states, each having diverse agendas and systems of water law. His contributions greatly added to the successful accomplishment of Reclamation’s mission by staying at the forefront on the implementation of innovative and effective science and computer modeling, while conceiving, developing and implementing creative solutions to complex issues in relation to the ongoing drought. <P> Malcolm supported the funding of weather modification research in Wyoming as part of the Upper Colorado Region’s efforts on the drought contingency plan. He also continues to work very closely with key stakeholders on the implementation of a pilot program designed to test the applicability of funding conservation programs in the Upper Basin, resulting in storage of additional water in Lake Powell and other key reservoirs in the system. <P> Given Malcolm’s professionalism, dedication and commitment to quality, he is truly an asset to Reclamation. For his many exceptional contributions and conscientious service in the area of drought mitigation, is why Malcolm was honored the Superior Service Award. <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=51267 Reclamation to Close East Portal Road for the Winter
MONTROSE, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation’s Curecanti Field Office will close the East Portal Road located east of Montrose, Colorado, on November 19, for the winter. If there is a winter storm before November 19, the road will be closed early. The East Portal Road, beginning at the junction with State Highway 347, provides access to the Gunnison River within the Curecanti National Recreation Area, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Crystal Dam. The road will reopen next spring as weather conditions permit. For more information contact Larry Lingerfelt at (970) 240-6306. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=51248 Reclamation Releases a Draft Environmental Assessment for Piping the Zanni Lateral of the Crawford Clipper Ditch
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that it has released a draft environmental assessment on the Zanni Lateral of the Crawford Clipper Ditch located in Delta County, Colorado. <P> The project would replace approximately 1.7 miles of open irrigation ditch with buried water pipeline. The purpose of the project is to improve the efficiency of water delivery to canal users and reduce salinity loading in the Colorado River Basin. <P> The draft environmental assessment is available online at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html, or a copy can be received by contacting Jenny Ward at 970-248-0651 or jward@usbr.gov. <P> Reclamation will consider all comments received prior to preparing a final environmental assessment. Comments can be submitted by email to lmcwhirter@usbr.gov or by mailing Ed Warner, Area Manager, Bureau of Reclamation, 445 West Gunnison Ave, Suite 221, Grand Junction, CO 81501. Comments are due by Friday, December 11, 2015. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=51187 Highway Over El Vado Dam to Close for Drilling
EL VADO, N.M. - The highway over El Vado Dam will be closed to traffic during daytime hours beginning November 12. <P> The closure of state Highway 112 from one end of the dam to the other will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for approximately 10 to 12 days while a contractor for the Bureau of Reclamation conducts geotechnical investigations. <P> The drilling into the interior of the dam is part of a study being conducted as Reclamation prepares for an analysis of the embankment. A total of five holes will be drilled using two rigs. The dam crest road is only about 15-feet wide so there is no way for vehicles to pass while the drilling rigs are positioned on the road. Residents living in the vicinity or anyone visiting the area can expect significant noise during the drilling. Typical noise levels from a sonic drill rig are approximately 96 decibels measured 50’ from the source. <P> During the work period, the road will be open to traffic from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. the following morning. During the daytime closure of state Highway 112 alternate routes include Rio Arriba County Road 322 on the west side of El Vado Reservoir north to state Highway 95 or state Highway 112 south. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=51167 Reclamation Announces Talmadge Oxford as Power Area Office Manager for the Upper Colorado Region
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah—The Bureau of Reclamation recently announced Talmadge Oxford as the new manager of the Upper Colorado Region’s Power Area Office. <P> As manager, Oxford now oversees the operation and maintenance of three field offices associated with Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP) hydroelectric power generation facilities: the Glen Canyon Field Division located in Page, Arizona; the Curecanti Field Division in Montrose, Colorado; and the Flaming Gorge Field Division in Dutch John, Utah. In addition, Oxford is now responsible for ensuring the structural safety and security of all of these powerplants and dams. <P> “I enjoy serving in the Upper Colorado Region and the great opportunities and challenges it presents,” said Talmadge. <P> “Talmadge brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table, making him well qualified for this assignment,” said Regional Director Brent Rhees. “I know we can continue to rely on his talents as he leads the men and women of the Power Area Office to meet the unique challenges of the Upper Colorado Region.” <P> As a leader in Reclamation, Talmadge brings more than 30 years of nuclear and hydroelectric power operations and electrical experience with the U.S. Navy; Chelan County Public Utility District, Washington; and the Bureau of Reclamation. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=51107 Reclamation Releases the Final Environmental Assessment for Developing Hydropower at Drop 5 of the South Canal
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation has released the Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for developing hydropower at Drop 5 of the South Canal, part of the Uncompahgre Project in Montrose, Colorado. <P> The project will be located approximately four miles downstream from the Drop 4 hydropower project on the South Canal. A Lease of Power Privilege will authorize the use of federal facilities and Uncompahgre Project water to construct, operate and maintain a 2.4 megawatt hydropower facility and associated interconnect power lines. <P> The hydropower plant will operate on irrigation water conveyed in the South Canal and no new diversions will occur as a result of the hydropower project. Construction activities and operation of the hydropower plant will not affect the delivery of irrigation water. <P> The Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact are available at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html, or a copy can be received by contacting Jenny Ward at 970-248-0651 or jward@usbr.gov. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=51087 New Mexico State Parks Teams up with Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Get Every Kid in a Park
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers collaborated with New Mexico State Parks to accept the Every Kid in a Park pass at their state parks. Fourth graders who present their pass at Reclamation or Army Corps-owned state parks will receive free entry alongside their guardian. <P> "America is blessed with unrivaled public lands and waters, and through Every Kid in a Park, we’re inviting every fourth grader and their families to enjoy our nation’s great outdoors," said Secretary Sally Jewell. "Through this program, every fourth grader – including those in New Mexico – will have an opportunity to nurture their curiosity and wonder, developing a lifelong connection to our nation’s land, water and wildlife in their backyards and beyond." <P> State parks participating in the program include: Navajo Lake, Sumner Lake, Elephant Butte Lake, Caballo Lake, Percha Dam, Leasburg Dam, Conchas Lake, Santa Rosa Lake, Heron Lake, El Vado and Brantley Lake State Parks. <P> The Every Kid in a Park program seeks to connect young people with the great outdoors. The program allows fourth graders nationwide to go to www.everykidinapark.gov and obtain a pass for free entry to more than 2,000 federally managed lands and waters nationwide for an entire year for them and their families. The program was announced by President Obama earlier this year and launched by the U.S. Department of Interior on September 1. <P> "Allowing 4th graders and their families into state parks to engage the next generation to be great stewards of the land is key to this initiative," said Christy Tafoya, Director of New Mexico State Parks. "It is a great way for New Mexico children to have meaningful, hands-on, minds-on experiences in State Parks. <P> New Mexico State Parks manages recreation at many of the reservoirs owned by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This decision will allow children and their families to also access these parks, which include New Mexico’s largest State Park, Elephant Butte Lake. For more information, visit www.nmparks.com. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=51030 Reclamation Releases the Final Environmental Assessment for Piping the Cattleman’s Ditches
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that it has released the Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact on the Cattleman’s Ditches Pipeline Project located in Montrose County, Colorado. <P> The project will replace approximately 8.5 miles of open irrigation ditch with 6.4 miles of buried water pipeline. The purpose of the project is to improve the efficiency of water delivery to canal users and reduce salinity loading in the Colorado River Basin. <P> The Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact are available at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/envdocs/index.html, or a copy can be received by contacting Jenny Ward at 970-248-0651 or jward@usbr.gov. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=50828 Officials Conduct Exercise at Glen Canyon Dam
PAGE, Arizona - Officials from the Bureau of Reclamation's Upper Colorado Region, in partnership with federal, state, local and county law enforcement agencies, conducted a security exercise at Glen Canyon Dam facilities today. <P> Residents and visitors may have seen and heard emergency flashing lights and sirens leading to and at dam facilities, however, there was no actual emergency or danger to the public. The lights and sirens were in conjunction with the exercise. <P> Reclamation operations and security officials train with law enforcement officials to ensure positive outcomes to possibly adverse incidents and to build strong working relationships within the surrounding communities. <P> “Reclamation works and trains with our partners in law enforcement to prepare for any security situation that could threaten safety and operations at Glen Canyon Dam facilities,” said Jason Tucker, Glen Canyon Dam Facility Manager. <P> “The exercise went really well today,” said Ron Anderson, Security Specialist. “It was a great opportunity to train with other emergency professionals in our community. We will continue to train with them to ensure that we maintain our high standards of safety and security at Glen Canyon Dam facilities.” <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=50807 Reclamation Begins San Juan-Chama Repayment Negotiations
Santa Fe, NM. – Reclamation’s Albuquerque Area Office announced today that it will initiate negotiations on a proposed repayment contract for the San Juan-Chama Project with the Pueblos of Nambe, Pojoaque, Tesuque and the Pueblo de San Ildefonso for the statutory allocation of project water as part of the Aamodt Litigation Settlement. <P> The contract to be negotiated will provide for storage and delivery of project water, and provide for payment of costs for the operation and maintenance of the project. <P> The first negotiation meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, November 4, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. at the Camel Rock Showroom, 17486A Co Road 84, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87506. <P> All negotiations are open to the public as observers and the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and offer comments pertaining to the contract during a thirty minute comment period following the negotiation session. The proposed contract and other pertinent documents will be available at the negotiation meeting, or can be obtained on our website at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/albuq/index.html in the Current Focus section under Draft SJCP Repayment Contract: or by contacting Terina Perez at (505) 462-3614 or tlperez@usbr.gov. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=50654 C.A.S.T. For Kids Events in the Upper Colorado Region
On September 12 and October 3, the Upper Colorado Region sponsored C.A.S.T. for Kids events at Elephant Butte and Lake Powell, respectively. Both events were unique in that they were coordinated by private citizens acting in a volunteer capacity on behalf of Reclamation. <P> Both events had been cancelled earlier in the year for various reasons and Jim Yelas, Executive Director of the C.A.S.T. for Kids Foundation, reached out to his contacts and was able to secure the services of Messrs. Will Dooley and Jarrett Edwards to plan and coordinate the events at essentially the last minute. <P> Because both volunteers had only a short window of time (about 2 months) and a lack of CAST-specific event planning experience in which to pull off the events, they were smaller than usual. However even then, the children involved had a great time. <P> Specifics of each event <P> Elephant Butte Mr. Dooley is an employee of Lago Rico, Inc., which operates Marina del Sur (in addition to two other marinas on Elephant Butte). With the assistance of another employee, they were able to secure donations of food for breakfast and lunch, boat captains and participants. <P> The day was calm and beautiful, fishing was good for bass, and the kids excited to go for a boat ride. Three of the kids spent time fishing off the marina platform while waiting for lunch and were very successful at catching several bass, which they promptly let go. <P> A pancake breakfast was prepared by volunteers for all attendees and a lunch of grilled hot dogs, chips, watermelon, and drinks was prepared and served by other volunteers. <P> Marina Del Sur has a Facebook page where other attendees posted some great photos. So if you would like to see more, please visit https://www.facebook.com/MarinaDelSur. <P> Mr. Dooley said he is willing to make the Elephant Butte event bigger and better next year and is excited to get started. <P> Lake Powell Mr. Edwards is a professional angler with an outdoor television show, “Jarrett Edwards Outdoors” which can be watched online at http://www.jarrettedwardsoutdoors.com/. It is also syndicated on the World Fishing Network, Altitude Sports and the Sportsman's channels. <P> The Lake Powell event was held at the beautiful Antelope Point Marina on the eastern shore of Lake Powell. Fishing was very good, with lots of bass and catfish caught and one sunfish that this author saw. Most of the fish were released after being brought in, but a few of them made for some tasty dinners later that day. <P> Lunch was prepared and served by employees of Antelope Point and consisted of pulled chicken barbecue sandwiches, potato salad, coleslaw, fries, tater tots, drinks and ice cream for desert. <P> Special thanks to employees from the Glen Canyon Field Division who helped at the event, including Don Elwood, Damion Thomas, Corey Kidwell, Tim Tilney and JC Franklin. <P> In Closing Much gratitude is extended to our citizen volunteers. You selflessly gave of your time to ensure the children in your areas could experience this opportunity. We could not have done it without you! <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=50627 Fairchild Challenge, Green Careers Day
The Upper Colorado Regional Office and Provo Area Office participated in Fairchild Challenge’s Green Careers Day at Thanksgiving Point, Utah. Fairchild Challenge offers 11 fun environmentally-themed challenges aimed to improve the environment and help schools win money by getting students together to compete with each other, or by doing an individual project. The challenge is free to enter for participants. The environmental education program is designed to give high school students an opportunity to express their opinions about environmental issues in their region. By appealing to their intuitive sense of creativity and curiosity, the challenge invites students to investigate the most difficult environmental issues, imagine effective responses to the issues, and take action to address them. <P> Green Careers Day brings the students to interact with and learn from a variety of professionals working in green-related careers. Students get their hands dirty by participating in activities designed to help them gain awareness of different environmentally-based jobs. <P> Reclamation used the Fairchild Challenge Green Careers Day to teach students Reclamation’s mission and conduct a watercourse scenario. Katrina Grantz, Upper Colorado Region Hydraulic Engineer, explained the different types of dams and water management-related projects. She also taught about the exciting work that Reclamation conducts and the potential careers Reclamation offers in the fields of engineering, land and recreation, safety and security, environmental protection, geology, and much more. <P> The students went to the erosion table water room where David Snyder, Provo Area Fish and Wildlife Biologist, provided a scenario to the students where they had to build water delivery systems with irrigation pipelines, ditches, farm ponds, dams, etc., to get water to a farm without enough water on one side of a mountain and manage the water flow to a farm with too much water on the other side of the mountain---all while protecting endangered fish. The fun, hands-on exercise taught students in-depth scenarios of the type of work Reclamation conducts. <P> Students returned positive feedback and were engaged by answering lessons learned questions at the end of each presentation. <P>