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=56795 Reclamation’s First AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer
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="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/images/mediastories/VISTA/VISTA.jpg" style="float:left" hspace="10" alt="VISTA Volunteer Will Donahoo describing forest treatments in the Canjilon Region of Northern New Mexico"/> <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=56767 Reclamation Awards a $3.7 Million Contract for Silt Pumping Plant Modernization
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>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=56687 Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project Progresses with Two New Contracts Awarded
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>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=56632 3D Intelligent Model of Glen Canyon Dam
The Bureau of Reclamation constructed numerous dams and powerplants since 1902 utilizing traditional engineering methods and equipment to produce two-dimensional (2D) engineering drawings for design and construction activities. These drawings were drafted by hand until the 1980s when computer aided design (CAD) was introduced in Reclamation. Engineering drawings are still the main output of design and operation and maintenance (O&M) activities today. A major disadvantage of engineering drawings is their focus on discrete components or systems with little reference to adjacent or complementary systems. Recent advances in data capture, three dimensional (3D) CAD models and building information modeling (BIM) have created options for unified intelligent models far beyond current practices. <P> Using commercial off the shelf software and equipment currently operated by Reclamation, this Science and Technology Program project (project ID: 9748) funded by the Research and Development Office seeks to create a unified intelligent model of Glen Canyon Dam and Powerplant to foster enhanced facility management. <P> This intelligent model would serve as a basis for design, O&M, asset management, monitoring, security, and outreach/education. Overall facility operation and management would be enhanced through managers and personnel having better understanding of the facility and interrelated and interconnected systems. <P> Reclamation has utilized Autodesk software, mainly the AutoCAD product family, for over 25 years. These products are used on a daily basis in many offices throughout Reclamation. Reclamation has a long history of collaboration with Autodesk. Autodesk approached Reclamation with a project proposal to create a unified intelligent model of a Reclamation dam and powerplant. Autodesk will also provide funding for a significant portion of the project. The tasks to create this model will be performed by Autodesk and Reclamation personnel. This project will combine and extend several technologies to prove that laser scanning, CAD and BIM can create a unified intelligent model that can be utilized for design and construction, O&M, facility management, safety and security, etc. <P> The proposed project tasks consist of three phases, (1) capture the interior and exterior of the powerplant and dam exterior using stationary laser scanning equipment. (2) Employ aerial photography and underwater sonar to capture the upstream and downstream faces of the dam as well as conditions ¼ mile upstream of the dam site. (3) Create an intelligent 3D model of the facility with overlays for O&M, facility management, security, power distribution and geographic information system. <P> On Monday, August 29, Reclamation staff from every region joined Autodesk to start these phases of work. The 3D image of the pump demonstrated is just a small example of what this project will look like and can accomplish. <P> <table cellspacing="0" cellpadding="10" width="500" align="center" border="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <img alt="" width="500" src="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/images/mediastories/GCD/Pump.jpg" /><br /> <p><a href="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/images/mediastories/GCD/GCDPumpfromPhotos.mp4">Click here for 3D image</a></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <P> <img src="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/images/mediastories/GCD/Scanning-HC.jpg" style="float:left" hspace="10" alt="Autodesk and History Channel scanning at Glen Canyon Dam"/> <P> <img src="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/images/mediastories/GCD/ScanReleaseValve.jpg" style="float:left" hspace="10" alt="Scanning inside valves at Glen Canyon Dam"/> <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=56607 Irrigation Winds Down on Rio Grande Project
Elephant Butte, N.M. – The Bureau of Reclamation stopped releasing water from Elephant Butte Reservoir on September 8 as the irrigation season for the Rio Grande Project winds down for the year. <P> Elephant Butte Reservoir ended the season with slightly lower storage than this time last year. Its current elevation is 4300 feet with 127,186 acre-feet in storage. Last year, Elephant Butte Reservoir’s low point was on September 22 at 4306 feet with 167,290 acre-feet in storage. <P> Rio Grande Project water is used to irrigate lands in the Elephant Butte Irrigation District in southern New Mexico, the El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1 in west Texas and Mexico. Project water is also used for municipal and industrial purposes by the city of El Paso, Texas. <P> Mexico ended the irrigation season on September 9. The Elephant Butte Irrigation District and El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1 are scheduled to irrigate until about September 12th and 22nd. The total release for this irrigation season on the Rio Grande Project was approximately 525,000 acre-feet. Remaining water for the districts will be released from Caballo Reservoir. Reclamation plans to release most of Caballo Reservoir’s water in the coming weeks to perform maintenance of the intake structure of the dam to remove debris and sediment. <P> The season will end with Rio Grande Project irrigators receiving 77 percent of a full allocation. Typical summer rains didn’t materialize in July, leading to lower reservoir levels than originally anticipated. However, recent rains allowed for an earlier than expected end to the irrigation season. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=56589 Xcel Energy Employees Volunteer at Grand Junction Wildlife Area
On September 10, 2016, as part of Xcel Energy’s Day of Service 2016, ten employees from Xcel Energy in Grand Junction, Colorado, volunteered at the Grand Junction Wildlife Area. The wildlife area is located in Grand Junction and owned by Reclamation. <P> The volunteers pruned trees and cut and removed weed barrier material from around cottonwood trees at the wildlife area. This project will ensure the health and growth of trees planted in the wildlife area 17 years ago. The trees are important because they provide wildlife habitat, soil stabilization, erosion control and a measure of flood control. <P> <img src="http://www.usbr.gov/uc/images/mediastories/GrandJunction/XcelVolunteers.JPG" style="float:left" hspace="10" alt="Volunteers at Grand Junction Wildlife Area"/> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=56549 Reclamation Awards $1.4 Million Contract for Work at Lemon Dam
DURANGO, Colo. – Reclamation has awarded a contract for $1.4 million to Gracon, LLC of Loveland, Colorado for fabricating and installing a steel intake bulkhead gate and refurbishing four trash racks and high-pressure slide gates at Lemon Dam located near Durango, Colo. <P> The bulkhead gate will seal the intake structure to provide a dry work environment for working on the high pressure slide gates while allowing flows into the Florida River to continue. The trash racks prevent unwanted debris from entering the intake structure and protect the high pressure gates that regulate flows through the dam. <P> Off-site fabrication for the steel intake bulkhead gate and other preparatory work will begin in September 2016. On-site work at Lemon Dam is tentatively scheduled to begin in late October 2016 and be completed in January 2017. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=56477 Reclamation Releases an Environmental Assessment on Repairs to the Paonia Dam Intake Structure
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation has released a draft Finding of No Significant Impact and Environmental Assessment evaluating if Reclamation will provide partial funding to the North Fork Water Conservancy District to make repairs to the Paonia Dam intake structure and bulkhead, part of the Paonia Project located near Paonia, Colo. <P> Repairs will include dismantling the damaged upper concrete bulkhead of the intake structure and replacing the bulkhead with a modified aluminum trash rack and support members. Prior to repairing the intake structure, increased turbidity downstream of the dam will be noticeable due to normal reservoir operations and drawdown. Repairs on Paonia Dam will ensure continuation of normal dam operations and water delivery to downstream users. <P> The draft environmental assessment is available online at http://www.usbr.gov/uc/wcao/progact/paonia/documents.html or a copy can be received by contacting Jenny Ward at 970-248-0651 or jward@usbr.gov. Reclamation will consider all comments received by September 20, 2016. Written comments can be submitted by email to jward@usbr.gov or mailed to: Ed Warner, Bureau of Reclamation, 445 West Gunnison Ave., Suite 221, Grand Junction, CO 81501. <P> To learn more about the Paonia Project, the upcoming repair work, or sedimentation issues in the reservoir, visit our website at: http://www.usbr.gov/uc/wca/progact/paonia/index.html. You can also be added to our email list for project updates by clicking the “Contact Us” link. <P> Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=56170 Public Meeting on Navajo Reservoir Spring Peak Releases
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation is hosting a public meeting Tuesday, August 23 at 6 p.m., to recap the 2016 spring peak release operations at Navajo Reservoir. The meeting agenda includes a recap of the 2016 spring operations; flood risk management and safe channel capacity; sedimentation and bank erosion in the San Juan River Basin; and floodplain risk issues. <P> Susan Behery, Hydraulic Engineer for Reclamation, hopes the public will attend the meeting to, “learn about the purpose and need for spring peak releases from Navajo Reservoir and discuss the 2016 spring peak release operations.” <P> The meeting will include presentations and representation from several agencies, including: Reclamation, US Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, and San Juan County, N.M, Office of Emergency Management. There will be opportunities for questions, comments, and discussion during the meeting. <P> The meeting will be held at the Farmington Civic Center, 200 West Arrington, in Farmington, N.M. If you have any suggestions for the agenda or have questions about the meeting, please call Susan Behery at 970-385-6560. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=55992 Extraordinary Maintenance Contract Negotiations Begin for the Grand Valley Project
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation, Orchard Mesa Irrigation District and the Grand Valley Water Users Association will initiate negotiations for a proposed contract for repayment of extraordinary maintenance on the Grand Valley Powerplant, part of the Grand Valley Project. <P> The objective of the proposed contract is to provide funds for extraordinary maintenance activities of the Grand Valley Powerplant. The work is necessary to bring the plant up to contemporary safety and operational standards. <P> The first negotiation meeting is scheduled for August 30, 2016, at 9:00 a.m., in Reclamation’s Western Colorado Area Office at 445 West Gunnison Ave., Suite 221. <P> All negotiation meetings are open to the public as observers, the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and offer comments related to the contract during a thirty minute comment period following the negotiation session. <P> The proposed contract and other pertinent documents will be available at the negotiation meeting or by contacting Ryan Christianson. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=55987 Colorado River More Important Than Ever
SALT LAKE CITY – Ongoing attention to the Colorado River emphasizes its crucial role as the “lifeblood” that sustains millions of Americans across dozens of cities and countless farms in the American West. For the seven states that comprise the Colorado River Basin—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming—the Colorado River has stimulated growth and opportunity for generations. Today it is as important as ever for leaders, residents and visitors to this beautiful and dynamic region of the country. <P> Westward migration in the early 20th century made the challenge of gaining beneficial use from the Colorado River’s unpredictable and often destructive flows more urgent. The basin’s seven states struck a historic agreement in 1922 and adopted the cornerstone of today’s “Law of the River,” the Colorado River Compact. The Compact divides the basin into two sections—the Upper Colorado Basin (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) and the Lower Colorado Basin (Arizona, California and Nevada)—and established that each basin is entitled to 7.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water annually. It also grants priority entitlement to the lower basin. That entitlement obligates upper basin states to deliver the lower basin’s full allocation as averaged over any rolling 10-year period regardless of annual runoff and hydrology. Follow on negotiations further established minimum objective release criteria wherein an average of at least 8.23 million acre feet is provided to the lower basin annually. Additionally, a 1944 international treaty guarantees 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water to Mexico each year. <P> As the century progressed, Congress authorized several projects to build dependability into the river’s resource and reduce the risk from its erratic and destructive flows. By the early 1950’s, many federal projects were in place in the lower basin—including the All-American Canal, Laguna Dam, Imperial Dam, Parker Dam, Davis Dam and the iconic Hoover Dam. <P> In 1956, Congress authorized one of the most extensive and complex river resource development projects in the world, the Colorado River Storage Project. CRSP’s purpose is to allow upper basin states to develop their Colorado River water apportionments while meeting or exceeding required annual water delivery to the lower basin. It accomplishes that through four initial storage units—Wayne N. Aspinall Unit in Colorado (Blue Mesa, Crystal and Morrow Point Dams), Flaming Gorge Dam in Utah, Navajo Dam in New Mexico and Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona—as well as a number of participating projects. <P> CRSP’s key feature, Glen Canyon Dam and its reservoir, Lake Powell, functions like a savings account of water that can be drawn upon in times of drought. With 26.2 million acre feet of capacity, Lake Powell accounts for more than 86 percent of the 30.6 million acre feet of total storage capacity across CRSP’s four main units. That storage is key to ensuring the upper basin can meet its annual delivery obligation to the lower basin without creating shortages for upper basin states. Additionally, CRSP facilities and participating projects provide other valuable benefits such as hydroelectric power, flood control, agricultural irrigation and recreation. <P> Despite CRSP’s importance to the West generally and Glen Canyon Dam’s importance to the system specifically, it has been a source of controversy from its earliest stages. Balancing the vital need for water and related resources with an obligation to protect environmental and ecological health poses an increasingly complex challenge. The Bureau of Reclamation manages CRSP and other Colorado River projects to develop and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner for the American public. It works actively with federal, tribal, state, local and non-governmental partners to adaptively manage the river system with attention toward greater societal awareness and the importance of healthy ecosystems—particularly downstream of the dam through Glen and Grand Canyons. <P> Hydroelectric power generation is a very important CRSP benefit and provides major support to the western power grid. Project facilities can generate enough electricity for nearly 5.8 million customers in seven Western states. Reclamation provides electricity from CRSP facilities to the Western Area Power Administration, which markets and delivers the low-cost, reliable hydropower to a variety of cooperatives, municipalities, tribes, publically owned utilities and state and federal agencies. CRSP facility and project costs—including repayment of initial construction, system upgrades, operation and maintenance—are paid entirely from hydropower electricity sales and transmission revenues, rather than from U.S. taxpayers. In fact, each CRSP project is self-sustaining; costs for facilities within each generating unit are paid by that unit, not shared or covered by other units in the CRSP. Power generation revenues also support recovery and environmental programs within the basin, reduce salinity in the river and rehabilitate local irrigation systems. <P> It has been 60 years since Congress first authorized CRSP and its facilities continue to fully meet its vision and purpose. Storage provided by Glen Canyon Dam in particular has enabled the upper basin to weather prolonged drought successfully, while making consistent full water deliveries to the lower basin without creating shortages for upper basin states. <P> As western populations continue to grow, so do the challenges and complexities associated with water management. Facilities like the Glen Canyon Dam have been integral to development across the seven Colorado River Basin states and they will continue to play a vital role in the future of the West. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=55867 Water Levels Dropping at Elephant Butte
ALBUQURQUE, NM – Extreme heat and lack of rain over the last month are contributing to declining water levels at Elephant Butte Reservoir as the end of the irrigation season nears. <P> Although the decline of water in the reservoir is common this time of year, current levels are lower than expected. The Bureau of Reclamation is coordinating with local recreation managers to ensure they are aware of water level projections so they can make decisions for safe recreation through the end of summer and into fall. If necessary, this would be the third time since 2004 that marinas had to be moved due to low water levels. <P> The pool elevation at Elephant Butte Reservoir is currently about 4,311 feet, 10 feet lower than this time last summer. As the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, El Paso County Water Improvement District Number One and Mexico continue to call for their water to complete this irrigation season, the water level could drop another 10 feet by mid-August. The Rio Grande Project which serves the two districts and Mexico, has not received a full project allocation in the last eight years. <P> “This spring and summer started out strong. We had a good runoff and thought we were set when monsoons appeared to move in last month. Unfortunately temperatures skyrocketed and the monsoons have not been much help. This has set us back as far as the water levels at most reservoirs in New Mexico, including Elephant Butte,” said Jennifer Faler, Reclamation’s Albuquerque Area Manager. “But the good news is the largest reservoir in New Mexico still has enough water to provide good recreation for the remainder of the season.” <P> Hydrologists and specialized modelers with Reclamation and its partners have been coordinating to ensure the most recent and accurate information is being used to model the water supply as we head into August. The irrigation season is scheduled to end in September. <P> "The lake goes up and down every year and it has certainly been lower,” said Neal Brown, owner of Lago Rico Inc., the operator of the marinas and the Historic Damsite Area at Elephant Butte. “This year we will still have plenty of water to enjoy. The marinas will still be here to help those who want to enjoy the lake with boat rentals and gas and groceries. And for what it’s worth, a lot of us enjoy seeing the change." <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=55827 3.5 miles of the Steinaker Service Canal to be Enclosed
Vernal, Utah- Contractor W.W. Clyde will begin work to pipe the lower 3.5 miles of the Steinaker Service Canal August 15, 2016. This project is a joint effort between Bureau of Reclamation, who is providing the materials and construction management, and the Uintah Water Conservancy District who contracted to install the materials. <P> “We are excited about this project,” stated Gawain Snow, UWCD General Manager. “This section of canal has an estimated 1,200 acre-feet of water loss annually and some of the under shots are too small to allow delivery of the needed water to irrigators on the lower end of the canal. <P> “This project will provide greater efficiency and effective use of a valuable natural resource, delivering water where it is needed, as needed,” said Snow. “We have been coordinating with the Highline and Ashley Upper Canals to minimize impacts to the irrigators affected by this project, and appreciate their cooperation and support.” <P> The Project consists of installing 12- to 63-inch high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe, making connections to existing delivery points, installing water meters, and installing a screening structure at the inlet to the 63-inch pipe. Construction is expected to be substantially completed by December 2016. Normal operation of the canal and pipeline will resume in time for irrigation in spring 2017. <P> The Steinaker Service Canal is a feature of Reclamation’s Vernal Unit of the Central Utah Project. Initial construction of the canal was completed in 1962. The Uintah Water Conservancy District has operated and maintained the canal as well as the other features of the Vernal Unit under contract with Reclamation for more than 50 years. <P> For more information, contact the Uintah Water Conservancy District a (435) 789-1651 <P> # # # <P> The Uintah Water Conservancy District was formed to operate and maintain the Vernal and Jensen Units, comprising Steinaker and Red Fleet Reservoirs and related distribution systems. The Uintah Water Conservancy District also provides technical, financial and/or operational support to projects intended to develop and/or local water resources. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=55547 Interior Department and Navajo Nation to Develop Plan for Contingency Water Supplies for Navajo Farms
SHIPROCK, N.M. – U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López and senior Navajo Nation officials met at the Navajo Shiprock Chapter House today and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) intended to evaluate emergency contingency water supplies for Navajo farms in northern New Mexico. This planning effort will identify critical system components and emergency water supplies in case the San Juan River is temporarily deemed unfit for irrigation in the future. <P> Interior has committed Bureau of Reclamation Fiscal Year 2016 financial assistance to fund a study to identify alternative contingency water supplies and operations plans. This effort will include development of parameters for the scope of study, identification of issues and factors to be considered in the evaluation of alternatives, and evaluation of selected alternatives to determine the most practical and attainable solutions. <P> “Water is especially important to Native American culture, economic security, and quality of life, and we at the Department are committed to working with our tribal partners to find meaningful solutions to the water challenges facing these Nations,” said Deputy Secretary Connor. “This MOU builds on years of cooperation between the Navajo Nation and the Department of the Interior to evaluate alternatives to offset impacts to farmers and crops in the event of water supply shortages and other emergencies.” <P> “We support the efforts of the Department of the Interior in making sure that Navajo farmers will continue to have a consistent, dependable water supply in times of water shortage or other water emergencies,” said Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye. “This agreement will help to put a plan in place, in case of any emergency, so that Navajo area farms will continue to receive water.” <P> Today’s MOU reaffirms and reinforces commitments initially made in 2000, when the Bureau of Reclamation and the Navajo Nation signed an MOU to establish a long-term partnership in support of the Navajo Nation’s efforts to develop and protect its water resources. In November 2015, in the spirit of that partnership, Reclamation received a request from the three Navajo Nation Chapter Farm Boards that rely on irrigation water from the Hogback Canal to support a study to find and evaluate options for a secondary water source for the canal, in case water quality in the San Juan River again falls below acceptable standards. <P> “The Bureau of Reclamation supports this Memorandum of Understanding and will work with the Navajo Nation and the Shiprock, Tse Daa K’aan, and Gadii’ahi chapter farm boards to initiate and complete this study,” Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said. “Actions such as these help assure the sustainability and viability of these farms.” <P> Efforts associated with this study began with an information gathering session that was conducted by Reclamation with last week at the Gadii’ahi Chapter house. A detailed schedule will be developed as the scope of the study is further refined. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=55527 $8.3 Million Contract Awarded for Security Guard Services at Flaming Gorge Dam
DUTCH JOHN, Utah – The Bureau of Reclamation awarded Chenega Security and Support Solutions, LLC an $8.3 million contract on Tuesday, June 12, 2016, to provide around the clock security services for Flaming Gorge Dam, Powerplant and Visitor’s Center. These services will protect the dam and associated facilities—including critical assets, employees and visitors. <P> Flaming Gorge Dam provides water storage, power generation and flood control as part of the Colorado River Storage Project. Flaming Gorge Reservoir extends 91 miles upstream from the dam and has a capacity of nearly 3.8 million acre feet of water storage. Its three hydroelectric power generators produce approximately 500 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year—enough to serve about 50,000 households. Power produced by the Flaming Gorge Dam powerplant is distributed by the Western Area Power Administration to Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nebraska and Nevada. <P> “Securing vital infrastructure like the Flaming Gorge Dam is a crucial part of Reclamation’s mission,” said Reclamation’s Upper Colorado Regional Director Brent Rhees. “This contract will help us meet that mission by protecting visitors and employees; controlling access to sensitive and dangerous areas; securing buildings, facilities and property; deterring criminal activity and responding to emergency situations.” <P> Contract security officers will work closely with Reclamation’s facility management, as well as county, state and federal law enforcement agencies to maintain a safe and secure environment at and around the dam. <P> The contract is performance based with an award term clause, which is the first of its kind in Reclamation contracting. Under the clause, Chenega may earn extensions to the contract term if they maintain sufficiently high performance ratings. The initial award includes one year and four option years and if the award term structure is met and the contract is exercised in full, the contract will be worth $8.3 million and extend for 10 years. This structure helps ensure consistent contractor performance while granting Reclamation added flexibility for more efficient contract management. <P>