Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dams: Bridge's quiet time, 1950's, part II


The Arizonans continued to develop plans, and fence with LA, over Bridge and Marble-Kanab, but there was no agreement on how to proceed, so each pursued their permit  separately at FPC. They came to Washington thinking there could be a start on legislation in 1961. There was agreement to supply money for studies, so Arizona put up money for Reclamation to update CAP-Bridge. 

In April 1961, then, work began on an updating of the decade-old information on Bridge-CAP. NPS, Fish & Wildlife and the Army Corps of Engineers were asked for material. This was coincident with LADWP offering Reclamation money to revive studies on Kanab. On Bridge: There was a report on drainage areas for silt. The capacity was set at 1500 mw from 6 generators. Within two months, there were flood studies and power plant design, with projected power operations involving actual pumping of water and peaking capacity both. There had been a degradation in the river bed of 10' due to Mead's low level. Cost estimates were ready by October. The dam was set as a variable radius arch. The lower 14 miles of the Park would be affected by backwater & silt, which could reach 89' at the boundary. There is then extended discussion of sediment impact, made muddy because of use of 1947 report before silt traps like Coconino dam. Conclusion was that impact would be cut 60% by Marble and Coconino dams. Draft report went to DC in December. 

Reclamation's 1961 report did not include Marble dam, but Reclamation insisted its power revenue was needed for lower basin irrigation projects. It had doubts that APA plans would provide a project that would be much help. Meanwhile, several bills to authorize Bridge by LA and Nevada were put forth. And the Navajo floated the idea of the fed building Marble, and diverting water onto their lands, a monstrous idea to the Arizonans, who had agreed APA would drop Bridge (leaving it for Reclamation and the CAP), and pursue Marble. Late 1961, all Arizona agencies agreed on this strategy. But the AISC had a long list of grievances: APA wanted to press application; we only wanted to block LA. They have not cooperated with us or Reclamation on data, and made an agreement, without consulting us, with the Hualapai that is costly. Mostly their application actions will disrupt our effort to get the water project, which ought to be federal. (Though not in these files, there was also a strain of private v. federal ideology running through the disagreements; the APA seemed ideologically unfriendly to the federal role.)

February 1962, Commissioner Dominy of Reclamation wrote a strong memo to Secretary Udall, arguing the superiority of building the high Bridge, rather than a combination of low Bridge and Marble. There would be adequate pumping power, payout in 50 years, and commercial sales with money left over. Even better would be a high Bridge plus Marble. Meetings indicated that a decision on how to proceed was expected in 1962 or soon. AISC was doing its part, arguing that a state Marble could not produce the subsidy for irrigation assistance that a Reclamation project could. The big private utility, APS, also weighed in, Nov 62, as a proponent of the CAP, but not as a big public power project from which they would be excluded. Opposed to socialization of power in Arizona, APS attacked the Salt River Project, another indicator, if needed, of Arizona's factionalism.

Sep 1962, at a meeting of the governor and the water/power agencies, in which APA wanted to go hell-bent for Marble. It attacked Reclamation as liars and California allies; Congress would never pass a CAP bill. At this time, the AISC openly opposed the APA application, tying itself to the position of having Reclamation build all the projects. 

Some effort was put into justifying Park invasion, going back to passage of GCNP Act in 1910's. The case for Bridge was made to Secretary Udall at the end of 1961; he was told the reservoir would be confined to canyon walls; the park is south of the river; the Monument is north. The reclamation clause from the GCNP Act of 1919 was cited, along with the thorough discussion in 1948, which was followed by secretarial approval. Hayden advised, for the Secretary, that the reservoir would increase beauty and accessibility.  Revision of backwater study now showed effect to mile 143 (Kanab junction). Lower Bridge would have to have no encroachment; so could be down to 1750'. The results from the silt study showed half of the sediment load of 21,400 acre-feet/yr would be caught by Paria and Coconino dams. Study was done to show surplus from dam after construction paid off. In March, Reclamation, headed by Commissioner Dominy, and California took a trip to the Bridge site. The staff worked out a study for a Bridge that stayed out of the Park, and arrived at an elevation of 1765', to mile 158 (Havasu). The assumptions and calculations were complex and subject to when various parts of the projects were built. The capacity had to be set at 1200 mw. Marks at 1877' and 1775' were painted on the canyon walls at the Bridge site. When NPS got its recreation report done in Aug 1962, it stated it was opposed to plans that would impair the Park, and recommended a height of 1783', to Havasu junction. 
Here is a pretty map from the early 1960's that shows Bridge's backwater effect points and the proposed route for the Marble/Kanab dam/tunnel power project.
And from that same map, here is a cross-section of the proposed reservoir, showing how much water would be on top of various points in the Monument and Park.
Az Interstate Stream Commission files in state archives
Bureau of Reclamation archives & files: Boulder City, Denver
Papers of Carl Hayden in ASU, esp.
*Hayden, p 39, his folder 8-4, Gookin to MUdall, 22 Mar 65.

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