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Public Lands

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Colorado's public lands are faced with new challenges but water and land management depend on working together. Read about the relationship between water and land in Colorado and how Coloradans are converging to restore Colorado's public lands in the Spring 2018 issue of Headwaters magazine.

Browse articles and find a flipbook of the magazine here.

Connecting the Drops

connectingdropslogo4.1Bringing you the reporting you crave over the radio airways with extras and archives on our website. Visit the audio archives or listen to the latest story on the connection between Colorado's forests, watersheds, and forest fires:

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Water Education Colorado

Bureau Celebrates 75th Year Anniversary of Water Lab

DENVER—The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation celebrated the 75th anniversary of its Water Resources Research Laboratory on August 19. Housed at the Federal Center in west Denver, the lab is the only one of its kind in the nation. A quiet cornerstone of modern water storage and development projects, the laboratory has tested and helped engineer the design of most all the major dams in the West: Shasta, Hoover, Glen Canyon, Grand Cooley, Imperial, as well as the All American Canal and others.

It started back in 1930 when the Bureau was looking to build Hoover Dam—a project 60 percent larger than any dam ever constructed by the agency. Faced with a disparate group of engineers and scientists lacking comprehensive knowledge or experience with dams and hydrology, the government knew it needed to create a brain trust of experts if this massive project were to succeed.

Their first partner was Ralph Parshall—inventor of the widely-used Parshall flume—who let the group share his laboratory at Colorado Agricultural and Mechanical College—now Colorado State University. As the lab grew, it eventually moved to its present-day location in 1946.

Initially the lab was dedicated to dam construction design, flood control and other issues related to water management structures. But these days its focus has shifted to address ‘as-built’ issues such as dam safety, better spillways, fish ladders and water conservation innovations. At the facility, enormous models replicate the turbulent forces and stresses that uniquely occur when large rivers are dammed. Slow-moving fish test the best passages around scaled-down obstructions.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, John W. Keys III, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, complimented the lab's ‘engineers, technicians and craftsmen’ as they ‘continue to supply the innovation needed to solve today's problems.’

The lab is open for tours and school visits. For more information call Anita Decker at (303)445-2140 or view www.usbr.gov/pmts/hydraulics_lab

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