Friday, September 14, 2018

The Rainbow Trout Count

It is that time again. Time for the Trout Count. Biologists with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission have been working to estimate the total number of adult rainbow trout living in Calaveras Reservoir.

Sunol biologist Randy Renn trolling for fish on the reservoir.

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are a cold water species native to the rivers and lakes of North America. Like all native fishes, it’s important to preserve them and our ecological systems. Monitoring fish populations is an important part of protecting trout in Calaveras Reservoir.

Here is a good specimen from Calaveras Reservoir.

How do the biologists estimate the rainbow trout population size?

They use a technique known as mark and recapture. During spring, when adult rainbow trout migrate from the reservoir upstream to Arroyo Hondo to spawn, the biologists capture and mark as they can. During summer, after the adult fish move back down into the reservoir, the biologists fish for them and check for tags. Knowing how many trout were originally tagged in Arroyo Hondo, they can use the ratio of tagged to untagged fish caught in the reservoir to estimate the total number that are there.

Pictured here is Scott Chenu SFPUC Sunol biologist, with one of his catches.

Our dedicated biologists will continue track the fish through the end of September. After Calaveras Reservoir is refilled, they will check the population size again to see if there is a difference. 

Periodically tracking the rainbow trout population size is also important because it helps our biologists determine whether they are healthy and thriving or being negatively impacted by reservoir operations.

See you around the valley!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Photo Friday from Sunol Long Term Improvements

Happy Photo Friday!

The team working on our Sunol Long Term Improvements Project has been tasked with constructing a new corporation yard and offices to house SFPUC Water Supply and Treatment and Natural Resources staff near Sunol. These new facilities replace the old corporation yard and buildings, which were aging and in need of upgrading.  The teams housed here operate the East Bay water system as well as monitor the rights of way and 35,000 acres of SFPUC-owned watershed lands.

We dedicate this photo Friday to the tremendous progress the team has made this year.

Here is a view of the new administration building.

Workers are installing a new bioswale to catch and absorb water run off at the site.

And, here is a very modern looking canopy for equipment to be installed outside of the shop.

The Sunol Long Term Improvement Project is 75% complete. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. 

During construction, the Sunol Water Temple will remain closed to the general public.

We hope you have a great Labor Day weekend! See you around the Valley!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thank you, Jordan Erickson

Meet Jordan Erickson. He is a native of Maple Grove, Minnesota and was with us this summer as a student intern. Jordan is currently studying civil engineering at Iowa State University. During the summer. He was an integral part of the Sunol Yard Long Term Improvement Project team. Last week was his last week on the job.

He said that working as an intern for the SFPUC gave him a better perspective on the type of work he'll be doing in the future. One the most valuable things that it taught him was the importance of communication between the contractor and the owner.

When he is not busy working, Jordan enjoys playing sports and hanging out with his friends. We wish Jordan another successful year at Iowa State University.

Jordan is one of dozens of summer interns we at the SFPUC are delighted to host each summer. They are all fantastic, like Jordan. It is extremely important to help support the growth of future leaders in our industry.

The entire staff at the Sunol Yard Long Term Improvement Project would like to thank Jordan for all of his hard work.

See you around the Valley!

Friday, August 17, 2018

An Ode to Cows

Summer is fire season in the Sunol Valley and the Alameda Creek Watershed. And as fires blaze across Northern California, and flare up closer to home, we’re reminded of an unsung cadre of fire prevention specialists on SFPUC lands: Cows.

Cows have grazed the Alameda Creek Watershed since the mid-1800s. Our Watershed Managers at the SFPUC use a twenty-first century approach to this century’s old tool to help minimize fire danger on the 36,000 acres of land we own in the Alameda Creek Watershed.

Our rangeland managers apply sustainable and cutting-edge cattle management practices, an the cows’ hungry habits do a great job of keeping the grasses low, which reduces the potential fuel for fires.

When driving through the watershed, please stay on paved areas and away from high grasses that could catch fire from the underside of your car.

And if, while you’re there, you happen to see any of our four-legged fire prevention team members, say thanks. For all of us.

For more local resources on fire safety:

See you around the Valley! And be fire safe out there.

Members our four-legged Fire Prevention Team near San Antonio Reservior. Their appetite keeps grasses from growing into a fire hazard. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

Meet the CAT-773

Our work at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project wouldn’t be possible without the help of heavy equipment. Heavy equipment helps our team complete big tasks like moving 12 million cubic yards of rock and earth. Because of the size and scope of our project, we have the privilege of working with some big and cool heavy equipment on our job site.

On any given day we could have approximately 20 pieces of heavy equipment operating. Today I would like to introduce you to the CAT-773

Here is a picture of some of our equipment.

With a full load it can carry 100 tons of dirt or 200,000 pounds of material. This machine can climb steep roads and is very comfortable for the operator. It has a 12-cylinder engine that can reach 42 miles an hour.

John Rocca, Field Operations Manager in front of a CAT-773.

It’s a real life Tonka truck. We have a total of 10 CAT-773’s on site hauling material and getting the job done.

 This equipment belongs to our Joint Venture (Dragados, Sukut and Flatiron), our partners on this project.

See you around the Valley!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Meet Glen Gorski, Lead Quality Assurance Inspector

As the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project starts to wind down, we'd like to focus on some of the key people that have played a crucial role in the construction of the replacement Dam. 

This week we'd like to introduce you to Glen Gorski. He is the Lead Quality Assurance Inspector for the project. A big part of his job is to ensure that the project is being built correctly. 

He and his team are tasked with observing and reporting that quality control measures are effective, so that the entire dam project is being constructed to the expectation of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.  He is a wealth of information and insight and he knows every detail of the dam's construction. If you have a question, Glen will always have the correct answer.

Here is Glen with his team.

Glen has over 40 years of experience in the construction industry. He has quite a resume with two Bachelor of Science degrees in Engineering and Geology from the University of Notre Dame and one Masters of Science in Civil Engineering from Notre Dame and a Masters of Science in Business Administration from the University of Indiana. He started his career as a geotechnical engineer for the Scilts Graves & Associates. 

He says that the biggest lesson learned in his career is the importance of "paying attention to the contract." Paying attention to the contract will save you plenty of headaches in the long run. Out of the plethora of projects he's worked on throughout his career he says that the most interesting one is his work at Snoqualmie Falls where he was refurbishing a hydro electric power plant built in 1895.

When he is not working at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project, you can find him volunteering at his local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) group, golfing, leading a Boy Scout troop, or spending time with his grandchildren.

Glen enjoying the great outdoors.

The team at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project would like to thank Glen for his commitment to excellence. 

See you around the valley!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Photo Friday - Calaveras

Happy Photo Friday

Here are a couple of shots from the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project taken this week.

The dam itself is growing higher and higher on the lower left. A portion of the existing dam is shrinking lower and lower on the center right as crews excavate the approach channels. 

On the new dam itself, crews use large equipment to transport and compact the materials for the earth and rock fill dam, as well do hand work, such as vacuuming the foundation of clay core of the new dam. Why vacuum? To ensure a solid connection between the core and the bedrock and protect the integrity of the new dam.

Have a great weekend, everyone! And see you around the Valley!