Bids for dam removal out to contractors

The Klamath River Renewal Corp. last week put out its request for proposals for removal of the four hydro-electric dams on the Klamath River: Iron Gate, Copco No. 1 and 2 in California; and J.C. Boyle in Oregon.

The request for proposal — formally known as the Dam Removal Design-Build Contract — will decide who will be the general contractor for the project, slated to be one of the largest dam removal and restoration projects in the Pacific Northwest and perhaps in U.S. history. The general contractor is expected to be named in March 2019 and removal may start in early 2021.

San Rafael Airport to maintain levees after land swap

Marin County is entering into a land swap with San Rafael Airport with the objective of relieving itself of responsibility for maintenance of levees surrounding the airport.

The Board of Supervisors last week approved a memorandum of understanding laying out the specifics of the deal, including the allocation of $290,000 to cover associated costs.

“What this MOU would do is transfer responsibility for levee maintenance to the airport for all levees on the airport side of Gallinas Creek,” said Supervisor Damon Connolly, who spearheaded the agreement approved Sept. 18. “Currently, some of those levees are controlled by the county by virtue of a state lands grant many years back.


Construction is currently underway to raise the height of the Shasta Dam by 18 and a half feet, a project that has been decades in the making.

The stage of pre-construction is expected to take place in the next few months. Geologists have already begun drilling for core samples on and around the dam to determine the engineering needs for construction.

“The cores provide concrete-strict data that contractors would then use for determining how to anchor the new 18 and a half feet onto the existing surface,” said Don Bader, manager for the Bureau of Reclamation in Northern California.

The first construction contract is not expected to take place until late next year.

The project will raise the dam from 602 feet to 620 1/2 feet. This would allow for extra storage of over 600,000 square-acre feet of water.

Exploratory drilling at New Bullards Bar Dam set to begin

Beginning today, people traveling across New Bullards Bar Dam and recreating on the reservoir will see heavy machinery mobilizing in the parking lot on the east side of the dam, in preparation for exploratory work related to Yuba Water Agency’s plans to design and build a $160 million secondary spillway at the dam, according to a release.

Large drills will be positioned on both the water and downstream sides of the reservoir to obtain samples to determine the strength of the underlying rock, ultimately influencing how the planned spillway tunnel and foundation will be designed.

Aging levee along Ventura River needs upgrades to protect lives, property

Thousands of residents live in homes protected by a levee that stretches 2.65 miles along the Ventura River, between the Pacific Ocean and Shell Road.

In the more than 3,500 residential, commercial and industrial structures lie an estimated $2.157 billion worth of infrastructure and property, according to studies prepared for the Ventura County government.

Experts with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say that without rehabilitation, it’s likely the levee could in time breach or collapse entirely.

“Failure of the levee could result in millions of dollars of urban infrastructure and commercial/residential property losses, not to mention the potential for significant loss of life – particularly if a portion of the levee were to collapse suddenly during the night,” a Corps of Engineers appraisal released in August 2013 shows.

Valadao, Costa, other Valley leaders rally in support of California water ballot prop

A coalition of local leaders gathered Thursday at the Friant-Kern Canal near Millerton Lake to formally launch the Yes on Prop 3 campaign in support of a state water bond they say would bring billions of dollars in much-needed relief to the central San Joaquin Valley.

The speakers included Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno; Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford; Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno; state Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford and Fresno Mayor Lee Brand.

“For far too long, we’ve been left out of too many bonds,” Valadao said to open the news conference. “This is a direct funding source that will actually deliver dollars to the community here.”

Commentary: Proposition 3 enhances investments in water system

Come November, it will have been four years since California made its last meaningful investment to upgrade the state’s system to capture and deliver water—and now it’s time to take the next step.

On Nov. 6, California voters will have the chance to vote in favor of Proposition 3, the Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018. This $8.9 billion citizen’s initiative water bond will enhance the down payment made by Proposition 1—overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2014—to upgrade the state’s water infrastructure.

Federal water bill aims to smooth project funding

Plans to increase California water storage capacity received a boost from passage of bipartisan, comprehensive water resources legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, which the House approved last week, is expected to garner Senate passage and President Trump’s signature.

California Farm Bureau Federation President Jamie Johansson called the congressional action to help secure added funding for water infrastructure “critical,” especially as California faces new state groundwater management requirements and the possibility of reduced flows in certain rivers and streams.

ASCE Gives California’s Kern County C on Infrastructure

Kern County, California’s third largest by surface area, has earned an overall C on an infrastructure report card developed by the region’s American Society of Civil Engineers division.

ASCE’s Southern San Joaquin Branch released a scorecard Sept. 18 that assessed nine elements of Kern County’s infrastructure: aviation, bridges, drinking water, parks, rail, roads, solid waste, transit and wastewater.