Tag Archives: Colorado River

September 30, 1936: Hoover Dam Dedication; 1882: First Hydro Power Plant in US

September 30, 1936:  Hoover Dam Dedication by U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickes

Roosevelt Dedicates Hoover Dam

and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Click HERE for an audio recording of the dedication.  New York Times headline–President…Speaks at Boulder Dam.  ”Standing on a platform perched high above the Colorado River at the eastern terminus of the great, towering Boulder Canyon Dam, President Roosevelt dedicated it today as a “splendid symbol” of employment-providing public works which he said have already given the necessary recovery spur to private industry while increasing the value of the nation’s resources.” Commentary:  If we could only learn this lesson today. Building and replacing infrastructure would result in a better country and a huge boost to the economy. How can we get Washington to cooperate long enough to make this happen?

First Hydroelectric Power Station, Appleton, WI

September 30, 1882 – Paper manufacturer H.F. Rogers (Appleton, WI) opened the first hydroelectric power plant in U.S. at riverside paper mill on Fox River, in Appleton, WI (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company); powered by water wheel, provided 12.5 kilowatts, enough for 180 lights (ten candlepower each) to light Rogers’ home, plant.

“On September 30, 1882, the first centrally located electric lighting system using the Edison system in the West and the first hydroelectric central station in the world began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin. The Vulcan Street plant (the Appleton Gas Light Co.), later named the Appleton Edison Light Company, powered the two paper mills of H. J. Rogers’ Appleton Paper and Pulp Co. and his residence, Hearthstone. Rogers, also president of the Appleton Gas Light Co. had been inspired by Thomas Edison’s plans for a steam-based power station in New York. With financial backing from three Appleton men, one a personal friend of Edison’s, Rogers began building this new venture during the summer of 1882, harvesting the power of the Fox River with a water wheel. The water wheel, generators, and copper wiring took only a few months to install and test. Initial testing of the plant on September 27 was unsuccessful but the Edison “K” type generator powered up successfully on September 30.”

Commentary: Interesting juxtaposition of topic and dates. On the same day only 54 years apart, hydroelectric power generation goes from beginning to one of the biggest in the world.

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September 17, 1983: Colorado River Floods and the Blame Game

September 17, 1983New York Times headline–Floods Along Colorado River Set Off a Debate Over Blame. “So much water is coursing through the Colorado River system that Federal engineers now say flooding will not end until September or later.

”That’s great news for the people who live here, isn’t it?” said James Campbell, the Mohave Valley fire chief, as he poled an aluminum rowboat through a flooded subdivision of nearly 60 homes in this sunblistered community. ”I’ll bet some of this water will still be here through the winter.”

It has been more than three weeks since engineers from the Federal Bureau of Reclamation first sent torrents of water crashing over dams to relieve reservoirs swollen by record runoff from late spring snows in the Rocky Mountains. Those spills pushed the Colorado over its banks in its worst flooding in decades, resulting in at least seven deaths and more than $12 million in property damage.

What Federal officials call controlled flooding has contaminated underground wells, damaged hundreds of homes and furnished ample breeding grounds for millions of mosquitoes, raising fears of encephalitis and other diseases. It has also touched off an acrimonious debate as to whether man or nature is to blame for the high water.”

December 19, 2011: USEPA Water Headlines; 2011: Colorado River Supply

1202 USEPADecember 19, 2011: USEPA Water Headlines.

1) EPA Extends Comment Period for the Proposed CAFO Rule

On October 21, 2011, EPA published a proposed rule that would require concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) to submit basic operational information to the Agency. EPA received requests from the public for additional time to submit comments, and is extending the public comment period to January 19, 2012. EPA proposed the rule in order to more effectively carry out its CAFO permitting programs on a national level and ensure that CAFOs are implementing practices to protect water quality and human health.

For information on the proposed rule, visit http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/afo/aforule.cfm.

2) Success Spotlight: Fosdic Lake, Texas–Educating Residents and Collecting Household Hazardous Waste Items Reduces Pollutants in Fosdic Lake

EPA’s Clean Water Act Section 319 Program provides funding for restoration of nonpoint source-impaired water bodies. Success stories are posted at: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/success319/. This week’s success spotlight shines on Fosdic Lake, Texas.

In 1995, the Texas Department of State Health Services banned the possession of fish taken from Fosdic Lake in Fort Worth because of high concentrations of potentially-harmful chemicals in fish tissue. As a result, Texas added Fosdic Lake to the state’s list of impaired waters. In 2000, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and EPA approved a total maximum daily load for Fosdic Lake to address pollutants in fish tissue. Local, state and federal agencies coordinated data collection and education and outreach efforts in the city of Fort Worth to reduce the inflow of harmful chemicals into area lakes. Recent monitoring shows that the pollutant levels in fish from Fosdic Lake have diminished sufficiently to allow for their safe consumption, prompting the state to lift the fish possession ban in 2007.

coloradobasinDecember 19, 2011. Circle of Blue. Federal Water Tap, December 19: Less Money, More Problems. Colorado River

The Bureau of Reclamation and several state water agencies are conducting a multi-year study of water supply and demand in the Colorado River Basin. According to projections, demand will exceed supply by nearly 25 percent by 2060. The bureau is canvassing the public for ideas about how to rebalance the curves.

November 29, 1905: Colorado River Flood that Created the Salton Sea

November 29, 1905: Colorado River Flood that Created the Salton Sea

1129 Attempts to Close Canal Intake 3Commentary: The flood that filled the Salton Sea began in earnest on November 29, 1905, but it was not a singular event. As a result of decisions to supply water to an important agricultural area, the disaster seemed to occur in slow motion. Development of the irrigation system for the Imperial Valley occurred over many years and resulted in the construction of a canal that existed in both Mexico and the U.S. In 1905, one of the intakes (“cuts” or “headings”) to take the water from the Colorado River into the canal system began to erode disastrously. The quoted material below is only part of the account. I refer you to the complete book which is available gratis on Google Books.

Reference:  Kennan, G. 1917. The Salton Sea:  An Account of Harriman’s Fight with the Colorado River. New York:MacMillan.

1129 Lower Mexican Intake 2

“Throughout the month of August 1905, the intake continued to widen, with the caving away of its banks, and in September Mr. Harriman and President Randolph decided that an other effort must be made either to close the break, or to regulate and control the flow of water through it. About the first of October, at the suggestion and under the supervision of Mr. E. S. Edinger, a Southern Pacific engineer, an attempt was made to close the channel west of the island by means of a six-hundred-foot barrier-dam of piling, brush-mattresses and sandbags. This dam, which was built in October and November at a cost of about $60,000, might perhaps have checked or lessened the flow through the crevasse if nothing unforeseen had happened; but on the 29th-30th of November a tremendous flood, carrying great masses of driftwood, came down the Gila and increased the discharge of the Colorado from 12,000 to 115,000 cubic feet per second. The dam could not withstand such pressure, and even before the peak of the flood was reached it went out altogether, leaving hardly a vestige behind. As a large part of the island was eroded and carried away at the same time, further operations in this locality were regarded as impracticable. The crevasse had then widened to six hundred feet, and nearly the whole of the river poured through it into the deepest part of the Sink, where there was already a lake with a surface area of one hundred and fifty square miles. The main line of the Southern Pacific, in many places, was almost awash, and the whole population of the Valley was alarmed by the prospect of being drowned out. If the break could not be closed and the river brought under control before the period of high water in the spring and summer of 1906, it seemed more than probable that sixty miles of the Southern Pacific track would be sub merged; that the irrigation system of the California Development Company would be destroyed; and that the whole basin of the Imperial Valley would ultimately become a fresh-water lake.

1129 Intakes for the Imperial Canal 1The difficulty of dealing with this menacing situation was greatly increased by the necessity of furnishing an uninterrupted supply of water to the farmers of the valley while engineering operations were in progress. It would not do to shut the river out altogether, because that would leave without irrigation nearly two hundred square miles of cultivated land. The Colorado must be controlled, but not wholly excluded. Several methods of solving this problem were suggested, but the only two that seemed likely to succeed were advocated by Consulting Engineer Schuyler and Chief Engineer Rockwood. Mr. Schuyler proposed that a new steel-and-concrete head-gate be put in near Pilot Knob, where a solid rock foundation could be secured; that the four miles of silted channel be re-excavated and enlarged by a powerful steam dredge specially built for the purpose; and that the whole low-water flow of the river be then turned through this head-gate into the enlarged canal and thence into the Alamo barranca [deep gully] west of the break. By this means the settlers would be continuously supplied with water, while the crevasse-opening would be left dry enough to close with a permanent levee or dam. The whole work, it was thought, could be finished in three months, or at least before the coming of the next summer flood….

1129 Exploring Salton Sea for the Source of the Waters. January 13, 1905   The task [to close the eroding intake and put the Colorado River back on its previous course] set before Messrs. Randolph, Cory, Hind and Clarke was one that might well have daunted even engineers of their great ability and experience. As the [1906] summer flood approached its maximum, in the latter part of June, the crevasse widened to more than half a mile, and the whole river, rushing through the break, spread out over an area eight or ten miles in width, and then, collecting in separate streams as it ran down the slope of the basin, discharged at last into the Salton Sea through the flooded channel of the New River barranca. Thousands of acres of land, covered with growing crops, were inundated, and thousands of acres more were so eroded and furrowed by the torrential streams that they never could be cultivated again. The works of the New Liver pool Salt Company were buried under sixty feet of water; the towns of Calexico and Mexican” were partially destroyed, and in many places the tracks of the Inter-California Rail road (a branch of the Southern Pacific) and the Holtville Interurban were deeply sub merged or wholly carried away. The wooden flumes which carried the irrigating water over the New River barranca were swept down into the Salton Sea, and 30,000 acres of cultivated land in the western part of the Valley became dry, barren and uninhabitable. At the height of the flood, the Colorado discharged through the crevasse more than 75,000 cubic feet of water per second, or six billion cubic feet every twenty four hours, while the Salton Sea, into which this immense volume of water was poured, rose at the rate of seven inches per day over an area of four hundred square miles. The main line of the Southern Pacific was soon inundated, and five times in the course of the summer the company had to move its track to higher ground.”

1129 Intake No 1, from the North Bank. January 22, 1905

Reference: Kennan, G. (1917). The Salton Sea—An Account of Harriman’s Fight with the Colorado River. New York:MacMillian. beginning at page 50.

September 30, 1936: Hoover Dam Dedication; 1882: First Hydro Power Plant in US

Roosevelt Dedicates Hoover Dam

Roosevelt Dedicates Hoover Dam

September 30, 1936:  Hoover Dam Dedication by U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickes and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Click HERE for an audio recording of the dedication.  New York Times headline–President…Speaks at Boulder Dam.  ”Standing on a platform perched high above the Colorado River at the eastern terminus of the great, towering Boulder Canyon Dam, President Roosevelt dedicated it today as a “splendid symbol” of employment-providing public works which he said have already given the necessary recovery spur to private industry while increasing the value of the nation’s resources.” Commentary:  If we could only learn this lesson today. Building and replacing infrastructure would result in a better country and a huge boost to the economy. How can we get Washington to cooperate long enough to make this happen?

First Hydroelectric Power Station, Appleton, WI

First Hydroelectric Power Station, Appleton, WI

September 30, 1882 – Paper manufacturer H.F. Rogers (Appleton, WI) opened the first hydroelectric power plant in U.S. at riverside paper mill on Fox River, in Appleton, WI (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company); powered by water wheel, provided 12.5 kilowatts, enough for 180 lights (ten candlepower each) to light Rogers’ home, plant.

“On September 30, 1882, the first centrally located electric lighting system using the Edison system in the West and the first hydroelectric central station in the world began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin. The Vulcan Street plant (the Appleton Gas Light Co.), later named the Appleton Edison Light Company, powered the two paper mills of H. J. Rogers’ Appleton Paper and Pulp Co. and his residence, Hearthstone. Rogers, also president of the Appleton Gas Light Co. had been inspired by Thomas Edison’s plans for a steam-based power station in New York. With financial backing from three Appleton men, one a personal friend of Edison’s, Rogers began building this new venture during the summer of 1882, harvesting the power of the Fox River with a water wheel. The water wheel, generators, and copper wiring took only a few months to install and test. Initial testing of the plant on September 27 was unsuccessful but the Edison “K” type generator powered up successfully on September 30.”

Commentary: Interesting juxtaposition of topic and dates. On the same day only 54 years apart, hydroelectric power generation goes from beginning to one of the biggest in the world.

September 17, 1983: Colorado River Floods and the Blame Game

Flooding by DamSeptember 17, 1983New York Times headline–Floods Along Colorado River Set Off a Debate Over Blame. “So much water is coursing through the Colorado River system that Federal engineers now say flooding will not end until September or later.

”That’s great news for the people who live here, isn’t it?” said James Campbell, the Mohave Valley fire chief, as he poled an aluminum rowboat through a flooded subdivision of nearly 60 homes in this sunblistered community. ”I’ll bet some of this water will still be here through the winter.”

It has been more than three weeks since engineers from the Federal Bureau of Reclamation first sent torrents of water crashing over dams to relieve reservoirs swollen by record runoff from late spring snows in the Rocky Mountains. Those spills pushed the Colorado over its banks in its worst flooding in decades, resulting in at least seven deaths and more than $12 million in property damage.

What Federal officials call controlled flooding has contaminated underground wells, damaged hundreds of homes and furnished ample breeding grounds for millions of mosquitoes, raising fears of encephalitis and other diseases. It has also touched off an acrimonious debate as to whether man or nature is to blame for the high water.”

December 19, 2011: USEPA Water Headlines; 2011: Colorado River Supply

1202 USEPADecember 19, 2011: USEPA Water Headlines.

1) EPA Extends Comment Period for the Proposed CAFO Rule

On October 21, 2011, EPA published a proposed rule that would require concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) to submit basic operational information to the Agency. EPA received requests from the public for additional time to submit comments, and is extending the public comment period to January 19, 2012. EPA proposed the rule in order to more effectively carry out its CAFO permitting programs on a national level and ensure that CAFOs are implementing practices to protect water quality and human health.

For information on the proposed rule, visit http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/afo/aforule.cfm.

2) Success Spotlight: Fosdic Lake, Texas–Educating Residents and Collecting Household Hazardous Waste Items Reduces Pollutants in Fosdic Lake

EPA’s Clean Water Act Section 319 Program provides funding for restoration of nonpoint source-impaired water bodies. Success stories are posted at: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/success319/. This week’s success spotlight shines on Fosdic Lake, Texas.

In 1995, the Texas Department of State Health Services banned the possession of fish taken from Fosdic Lake in Fort Worth because of high concentrations of potentially-harmful chemicals in fish tissue. As a result, Texas added Fosdic Lake to the state’s list of impaired waters. In 2000, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and EPA approved a total maximum daily load for Fosdic Lake to address pollutants in fish tissue. Local, state and federal agencies coordinated data collection and education and outreach efforts in the city of Fort Worth to reduce the inflow of harmful chemicals into area lakes. Recent monitoring shows that the pollutant levels in fish from Fosdic Lake have diminished sufficiently to allow for their safe consumption, prompting the state to lift the fish possession ban in 2007.

coloradobasinDecember 19, 2011. Circle of Blue. Federal Water Tap, December 19: Less Money, More Problems. Colorado River

The Bureau of Reclamation and several state water agencies are conducting a multi-year study of water supply and demand in the Colorado River Basin. According to projections, demand will exceed supply by nearly 25 percent by 2060. The bureau is canvassing the public for ideas about how to rebalance the curves.