Big Thompson Canyon construction named national “Best of the Best” — The Loveland Reporter-Herald

Damage to US 34 along the Big Thompson River September 2013. Photo credit: CDOT

From The Loveland Reporter-Herald (Pamela Johnson):

The reconstruction of U.S. 34 in the Big Thompson Canyon was chosen from 820 construction projects nationwide to be named Best of the Best by Engineering New Record.

Several partners in the project — Kiewit Construction, Colorado Department of Transportation, Jacobs, the engineering firm, and a handful of subcontractors — are named on the award that was presented Friday in New York City.

“You would not believe the projects it beat out — vertical construction, a new cadet building for the Army, other just very complicated projects,” said Doug Stremel, project manager with Jacobs.

“It’s really exciting … It was a collaborative effort for CDOT, Kiewit and Jacobs and the others. It was a team effort. We’re happy to share in it, but it really was a collaborative effort.”

USACE Omaha District: Corps provides updates on current levee breaches and damage assessments #Flood2019

Here’s the release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District (Capt. Ryan Hignight):

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District continues to work with state, local, and tribal governments to repair damaged levees from the 2019 unregulated runoff event. There are over 350 miles of levees on the Missouri, Platte and Elkhorn rivers and tributaries that have experienced significant flood damage. Due to the magnitude of damage along these levees, repair efforts will take an extended period of time. The Omaha District is initiating efforts to perform damage assessments as water recedes and access to the levee system becomes available.

Omaha District Commander Col. John Hudson visited Pierre, South Dakota and met with state emergency management officials. They discussed flood forecasts as well as Omaha District’s ability to respond to state, county, or tribal requests for assistance. Col. Hudson also met with South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Congressman Dusty Johnson. Col Hudson provided them with a situational update on Omaha District’s capabilities regarding the upcoming spring thaw and potential rains. He also discussed the Army Corps’ technical assistance in Sioux Falls, South Dakota concerning high flows and snow melt concerns.

The District is sending notification to levee sponsors in the PL 84-99 program on Monday, March 25 with information on how to request damage assessment and levee repairs. Levees must be active in the Public Law 84-99 program to be eligible for repairs.

Much of the levee system remains compromised due to the record inflows surpassing their designed protection levels.

As of noon today, there were 47 confirmed breaches at L611-614 (South of Council Bluffs, Iowa), L-601 (South of Glenwood, Iowa), L-594 (near Fremont County, Iowa), L-575 (Fremont County, Iowa), L-550 (Atchison County, Missouri), L-536 (Atchinson County, Missouri), R-613 (Sarpy County, Nebraska), R-562 (Nemaha County, Nebraska), Western Sarpy (Ashland, Nebraska), Clear Creek (Ashland, Nebraska), Union Levee (Valley, Nebraska), and R-573 (Otoe County, Nebraska). In addition, levee 550 remains overtopping.

The Omaha District is initiating efforts to perform damage assessments as the water recedes and access to the levee systems becomes available. The District has already begun initiating underwater surveys of scour holes along the Missouri and Platte rivers as well as collecting aerial imagery to support these efforts.

Omaha District’s focus remains on ensuring the safety of citizens and communicating the conditions on the river systems to all of our partners and stakeholders. The Corps continues to provide flood fight assistance to state, local, and tribal government agencies.

The Omaha District has distributed approximately 227,000 sandbags, 2,020 super sandbags, 9,930 feet of HESCO barriers, seven pumps and 21 poly rolls.

The first source of information for citizens is their local emergency managers. For questions or concerns you can call 211, which is a national resource hotline and website geared to local area needs.

#ColoradoRiver: [With regard to demand management], “We don’t know what voluntary, compensated and temporary means yet” — Jim Pokrandt #COriver #DCP #aridification

From The Montrose Press (Katharhynn Heidelberg):

After roughly seven years of work, Colorado River Compact states have reached an agreement for drought contingency plans that would maintain levels at lakes Powell and Mead.

The contingency plans allow Colorado and the other Upper Basin states (New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) to control their own destiny, Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association Manager Steve Anderson said.

“It, one, gives us the right to use the storage in the Colorado River Storage Project Act reservoirs to help with the level of Lake Powell. That’s a big win,” he said…

According to a March 19 letter the seven Colorado River Basin states sent to Congress, requesting legislation necessary to implement the new drought contingency agreement, 2018’s runoff was the second lowest since 2000 and there is no significant trend indicating these conditions will improve, even if runoff turns out to be above-average this year.

The recent agreement needs Congress to pass legislation directing the Secretary of the Interior to implement it. Under the drought contingency plan, the Lower Basin states have agreed to a schedule of curtailments, or shortages, when levels at Mead reach certain points.

Such trigger points are established and specific, “no ifs, ands, or buts about it,” said Jim Pokrandt, community affairs director with the Colorado River District.

The situation is different in the Upper Basin.

“The three legs of the stool for the Upper Basin, one leg is to increase cloud-seeding and the eradication of tamarisk. The second leg of the stool is to use the Aspinall Unit reservoir (Blue Mesa), the Navajo reservoir and the Flaming Gorge reservoir to be able to send a slug of water from one or all of the reservoirs down to Powell,” Pokrandt said.

The involved states must now plan to determine how much water can come out of those reservoirs to bolster levels at Lake Powell, in the event the drought contingency plan needs to be enacted.

“The third leg of the stool is a ‘plan to make a plan’ with demand-management,” Pokrandt said.

Demand-management means reducing water use so the savings can be sent on to Lake Powell to keep the power turbines turning. For Western Colorado, this means finding a way not to use water, he said.

“There are two key ways. One would be a mandatory curtailment, which would be an economical, social and environmental disaster for Western Colorado,” Pokrandt said.

“The other way would be to come up with a voluntary way with producers and water users. What we call that is ‘voluntary, compensated and temporary.’ This is where we have a plan to make a plan. We don’t know what voluntary, compensated and temporary means yet.”

At present, there is neither policy nor money for this purpose.