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Book provides guide to water control gates

The American Society of Civil Engineers announces availability of Water Control Gates: Guidelines for Inspection and Evaluation.

This 404-page guide provides information and techniques for assessing water control gates, focusing particularly on those controlling reservoirs impounded by a dam. As many dams in the U.S. reach or pass their 50-year design lives, water control gates and other features must be examined to determine their condition for continued reliable, safe use. This book covers the most common types of major water control gates used throughout the past century in the U.S., ASCE says.

Topics covered in the book include:

- Description of various water control gates and operating systems;
- Gate operation and maintenance;
- Preparing for a gate inspection;
- Conducting visual gate and gate operating system inspections;
- Gate system testing; and
- The evaluation process.

This volume will help owners of dams, whether large or small, to develop a comprehensive plan to actively manage their dam gates, ASCE says. Its development was sponsored by the Hydropower Technical Committee of the Energy Division of ASCE, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Interagency Committee on Dam Safety, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Engineer Research and Development Center.

- The book costs $90 for ASCE members ($120 non-members) and can be ordered at

Website commemorates 40th anniversary of ESA

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has launched a website to spotlight the history and accomplishments of efforts to protect and recover America's threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.

In 1972, President Nixon declared that conservation efforts in the U.S. aimed toward preventing the extinction of species were inadequate. He called on the 93rd Congress to develop comprehensive endangered species legislation. On Dec. 28, 1973, the ESA was signed into law.

The website, at, provides details on the history of the ESA and milestones achieved by this historical law, featuring such species as San Joaquin kit foxes, Higgins eye pearlymussels, black-footed ferrets, California condors, bald eagles and Chiricahua leopard frogs. The site offers conservation success stories by state and species. It also features an interactive map to educate about endangered species successes based on state or territory.

The site also shares images and videos and provides free educational activities.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Mead & Hunt receives award for dam replacement work

Engineering firm Mead & Hunt received an Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin for designing the reconstructed Black River Falls Dam on the Black River in Wisconsin.

The old dam, owned by Black River Falls Municipal Utilities, was nearly 100 years old and nearing the end of its useful life. Mead & Hunt performed a feasibility study to look at alternatives for the rehabilitation, replacement or removal of a gated spillway at the dam. The company recommended reconstructing the spillway and adding a low-flow powerhouse to satisfy the minimum flow requirement and capitalize on energy available in the river flow.

The old dam had eight gates, while the new dam has wider spillway bays with six gates that measure 14 feet by 27 feet. Building the new dam took almost seven years, starting with a feasibility study in September 2006 to completion of construction in March 2012.

The new spillway and 1.5-MW powerhouse occupy the same footprint as the previous dam, preserving the historic and scenic nature of the site. The dam cost about $9.5 million to build.

ACEC Wisconsin's Engineering Excellence Awards program recognizes engineering achievements that demonstrate the highest degree of skill and ingenuity and contribute to residents' quality of life.

MWH earns honors for hydropower project, fish protection work

A trio of hydropower- and dam-related MWH Global projects have received "Outstanding Project" awards from the California region of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

The honors - announced at ASCE's California Infrastructure Symposium and Awards Dinner in March - recognized the projects from around the state that best combined contributions to civil engineering progress and to society.

"It's an honor for both MWH and our partners across California to receive these awards," said Bruce Howard, American president of government and infrastructure for MWH. "MWH draws on a vast reservoir of talent and experience to manage every water and wastewater project, and these awards demonstrate our ability to work hand-in-hand with local organizations to deliver excellence across varying project categories."

Earning awards for MWH Global are:

- Outstanding Construction Project: L.L. Anderson Dam Spillway Modification Project, Placer County Water Agency, Auburn, Calif.

L.L. Anderson Dam was modified to bring the dam into compliance with current standards, which mandated that its spillway must pass the recently increased probable maximum flood in order to eliminate the possibility of overtopping failure of the dam.

MWH performed multidisciplinary engineering and construction management services on the 231-foot-high dam, which forms the 136,000 acre-feet French Meadows Reservoir.

The spillway modification included two 36-foot-wide by 18-foot-high radial gates, rock channel widening, grout curtain, upgraded power and controls, nominal dam raise and roadway replacement, and a new parapet wall across the dam crest.

- Outstanding Energy Project: Los Vaqueros Energy Recovery Project, Contra Costa Water District (CCWD), Concord, Calif.

The 1-MW Los Vaqueros Energy Recovery Project was designed to capture excess hydraulic energy in CCWD's Los Vaqueros Pipeline to offset a portion of the district's electrical energy usage and reduce reliance on carbon- based energy.

MWH developed the project concept and provided design documents comprising conceptual powerhouse arrangement drawings and turbine-generator equipment specifications that were used as the basis for design-build teams to develop equipment procurement and construction cost proposals.

MWH was retained for the duration of the project as owner's engineer - providing technical advisory services - during equipment manufacturing, construction, startup and project commissioning.

- Outstanding Water Resources Project: Patterson Irrigation District (PID) Fish Screen Intake Project, Patterson Irrigation District, Patterson, Calif.

The fish screening facility was constructed to prevent anadromous fish and other species including steelhead trout and chinook salmon, from entering the district's pumps.

MWH led a feasibility study, preliminary design, final design, environmental and permitting and construction management. The project included construction of a pile-supported 195 cubic feet per second pump station with a concrete-constructed frame and top deck and riverside mounted fish screens.

The 101-year-old district serves hundreds of farms on 13,500 acres in the Patterson area. This facility will aid the district in maintaining access to its historic water rights.

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