As I sat down to write the next President’s message for 2020, I contemplated how much I wanted to talk about COVID-19 as it’s in every article, newspaper, on-line message, and social media platform. We are inundated with COVID-19 updates every day. However, to ignore it seems like an oversight as it is a part of our daily lives whether we are working from home or changing the way we operate in the field. So while clearly this isn’t the obstacles we thought we would overcome when we selected the tag line “Come Hell or High Water”, it seems it couldn’t be more fitting. Keeping resilient and moving forward day by day and month by month will be crucial to our company’s success. Staying focused on executing work, delivering high-quality products for our clients, and continuing to focus on building the infrastructure projects that are key to our clients and communities is what we must strive to achieve in the short and long term. We are fortunate that our clients have continued to work with us to implement new practices and drive projects forward.
So this year looks different. We have Skype calls where our dogs or kids always seem to participate. Our construction staff is implementing the COVID-19 practices to keep our sites healthy while still safely accomplishing the work. No matter how big or small the change is, it all makes a difference. But even with all the change, our Water Resource Division is moving projects ahead and we are on track to complete several key design-build projects this year. Projects such as the Melvin R Sampson Hatchery Design-Build for the Yakama Nation, funded by Bonneville Power Administration, are moving forward towards the completion of Fall 2020. This project will increase harvest levels, natural spawning abundance, and distribution of coho salmon in the Yakima Subbasin. The facility will utilize partial recirculating aquaculture systems, implement water treatment process, outdoor raceways, and provide for a new 29,000 SF hatchery building. Another key design-build project that will be completed this year is the Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District, South Fork Powerhouse. This project will begin the startup and commissioning process this summer and be producing power by year-end (pending COVID-19). The purpose of this project is to increase water releases to enhance fish habitat and accommodate recreational boating. The powerhouse will allow the generation of energy from that increased flow. Our team has designed and installed 165” x 132” slide gate, 60” fixed cone valve, and 78” butterfly valve into the 26’ diameter adit tunnel.
So while COVID-19 is definitely in the news and on everyone’s mind our teams are focused on staying healthy, safely executing all of our projects, and seeing these two projects to completion in 2020 – Come Hell or High Water!
Mara McMillen, President, Water Resources Division
Be sure to check out our latest Water Resources newsletter, CURRENT for project updates, technical insights, and more!