Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Creepy Crawlies at Calaveras Dam

Happy Halloween from the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project! 

The Sunol Valley is naturally decorated for Halloween thanks to the “spooky” tarantulas coming out this time of year.  That’s right.  It’s tarantula season and just in time for Halloween. 

The California brown tarantula (Aphonopelma sp.) heads out of its burrow at Calaveras Dam in search of romance.

Turns out that after five plus years of living alone (maturing in a burrow), male tarantulas head out in the fall to find a female mate. 

After mating, the males tend to die a few months later.  By stark contrast, females live for 20 plus years in silk-lined burrows.   Talk about luxury!

And how many babies do these productive moms create?  The number ranges from 75 to hundreds per year.

Our goal is to keep these native species safe from harm while we build the replacement Calaveras Dam.  On a daily basis, our environmental inspectors work closely with construction staff to identify any wildlife on the move through the site. 

Even the spooky ones!  

See you around the Valley!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Sunol's Own Shine at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project

The $4.8 billion Water System Improvement Program has generated millions of craft hours and thousands of job opportunities for residents of the Bay Area counties served by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC).

The SFPUC Infrastructure Division’s Workforce and Economic Program Services Bureau works closely with participating contractors to support their efforts to employ local journey and apprentice workers on their projects. 

To date, 48% of all workers are residents of the agency’s 7-county service territory, which includes Bay Area residents who receive SFPUC services or who are impacted as a result of WSIP construction activity. Furthermore, 71% of all apprentice hours have been worked by SFPUC service territory resident apprentices.

On the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project, for example, three residents of Sunol have found successful employment and professional development opportunities as a result of this once-in-a-lifetime project. Two residents, Mr. Anthony DeValle and Mr. Travis Hoxie, have recently completed their respective apprenticeship programs, obtaining milestones such as advanced certifications and more than 3600 hours of on the job training. Mr. Justin Gronley, also of Sunol, is nearing completion of his apprenticeship training, and will soon “journey out”.

Mr. DeValle expressed that, for him, the best part of achieving journeyman status is the opportunity to reach back, “Helping to teach the younger kids by sharing lessons I’ve learned from the more experienced workers.”

Mr. Hoxie agrees that “passing it on” is a major benefit. Travis also liked “gaining more education and developing one’s professional skills necessary to make it in the construction industry.” 

Some of the skills and experience they highlighted while working on the Calaveras Project were: environmental remediation, electrical work, tree cutting, concrete work, dirt work, asphalt, power tools, carpentry, iron work, and traffic control. They even learned complex skills such as rappelling as part of the complex structural work.

Mr. Gronley is especially grateful that the Calaveras project’s timing and location has benefited him. “It’s nice to be able to succeed right out of high school, participate on this project, and still be close to home.”

The Calaveras Dam Replacement Project team would like to congratulate these hard-working individuals on their recent success and express their gratitude for their efforts, and the efforts of all of the workers and staff who are working on this integral project of the WSIP program. 

Calaveras Dam's newest journeymen from Left to Right:

Anthony DeValle; Travis Hoxie;  Justin Gronley