S: A Dam Tour
FC: A Dam Tour | While in Las Vegas, we went on a | ...Hoover Dam
1: Our visit to Hoover Dam on February 13, 2011
2: BEFORE HOOVER DAM For millions of years, the Colorado River flowed along a 1400-mile course from Colorado's Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California, carrying water through the arid lands of the American West. As early as 600 A.D. humans worked to harness its water for their use, and in the years of Western settlement, growing populations came to rely increasingly on its waters for sustenance. In the 1800's and early 1900's, the river often flooded low-lying farmland and communities in the spring and early summer as it surged with water from melting snow. In the late summer and early fall, it often dried to a trickle, too low to divert. To protect the low-lying lands from flooding, and to assure a stable, year-round water supply, the river needed to be controlled. But before the river could be managed. its waters had to be equitably divided among the seven states it serves. In 1922, a representative from each state and the federal government met for this purpose and created the Colorado River Compact. Signed in November 1922, this agreement divided the Colorado River Basin into an upper and lower half, and gave half of the river's annual estimated flow to each basin. Division of each basin's apportionment was left to the states in that basin. (Mexico did not receive a guaranteed apportionment until the execution of the Mexican Water Treaty in 1944.) AN ENGINEERING WONDER The Compact paved the way for the construction of several storage dams and delivery facilities on the Colorado River, and in 1928, Congress passed the Boulder Canyon Project Act, authorizing construction of the Hoover Dam. Construction of Hoover Dam began in 1931, and the last concrete was poured in 1935. Even with the remote location and some of the harshest working conditions, the government's contractor - Six Companies Inc. - completed the project two years ahead of schedule and well under budget. Hoover Dam was without precedent, the greatest dam of its day, and it still is a world-renowned structure. Located in Black Canyon near Las Vegas, Nevada, the dam is a National Historic Landmark, National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and one of America's Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders. In 1999, it was named the number five construction achievement of the 20th century. Technical innovations developed during the dam's construction transformed several traditional engineering methods, setting a precedent for future large construction projects. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the dam on September 30, 1935. The powerplant wings were completed in 1936, and the first generator began operation in October of that year. The 17th and final generator went into commercial operation in 1961. Hoover Dam's reservoir, Lake Mead, is America's largest manmade reservoir. Named for Reclamation Commissioner Dr. Elwood Mead, it can store 28.5 million acre-feet (9.2 trillion gallons!) of water, or nearly two years of the river's average annual flow. (An acre-foot of water would cover a football field to a depth of one foot.) Hoover Dam is named for Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States. (It has also been called Boulder Dam; the name Hoover Dam was made permanent by Congress in 1947.) President Hoover strongly supported construction of a high concrete dam on the Colorado River to control its flow, provide irrigation water to nearby farmlands, and provide a dependable supply of water for southern California communities. He advocated that the Boulder Canyon Project be self-supporting, financed entirely through the sale of hydroelectric power generated at the dam. To this day, the operation and maintenance of the facility continue to be solely supported with revenues from power sales. | The following information on Hoover Dam is from the literature handed out on the Power Plant Tour.
3: MULTI-PURPOSE BENEFITS The Boulder Canyon Project Act authorized Hoover Dam for: "flood control; improvement of navigation and regulation of the Colorado River; storage and delivery of Colorado River waters for reclamation of public lands and other beneficial uses exclusively with in the United States; and hydroelectric power production." The water storage and river control provided by Hoover and downstream projects enable residents of the Southwest to use the waters of the lower river for many purposes: Irrigation of more than one million acres of some of American's richest crop lands and nearly half a million acres in Mexico. These lands grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, cotton and hay throughout the year, generating millions of dollars for local economies. Meeting the domestic water needs of more than 20 million people in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson and other southwestern cities, towns and Indian communities in Arizona, Nevada and California. Generation of low-cost hydroelectric power for use in Nevada, Arizona and California. Hoover Dam alone generates more than 4 billion kilowatt-hours a year - enough to serve 1.3 million people. From 1939 to 1949, Hoover Powerplant was the world's largest hydroelectric installation. Between 1982 and 1993, the powerplant was uprated, using funds advanced by the dam's power customers. The uprating increased the dam's rated capacity from 1.3 to just over 2.0 million kilowatts. Today, it is still one of the country's largest hydroelectric power facilities. The Boulder Canyon Project's original $165 million cost has been repaid, with interest, to the Federal Treasury through the sale of Hoover Dam power. This energy is marketed by the Western Area Power Administration to 15 entities under contracts which expires in 2017. Most of this power, 56 percent, goes to southern California users; Arizona contracts receive 19 percent, and Nevada users get 25 percent. Revenues from the sale of this power pay for the operation and maintenance of the powerplant, as well as replacement of many of its aging parts. Recreation, although a by-product, constitutes a major use of the lakes and controlled flows created by Hoover and other dams on the lower Colorado River today. The lake and surrounding area are administered by the National Park Service as part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which also includes Lake Mohave downstream from Hoover Dam. This has become one of America's most popular recreation areas, with 12 month season that attracts more than nine million visitors each year for swimming, boating, fishing, and other water-related sports. Several wildlife refuges and backwater have been developed along the lower river to replace habitat lost with construction of dams. River water is provided to these facilities, which create important habitat for native and introduced species. The river is also operated to the extent possible to protect native fish species and help them recover in population. THE HOOVER DAM "MYSTIQUE" More than half a century has passed since Hoover Dam rose from the bed of the Colorado River, but there appears to be no end to people's fascination with this awe-inspiring achievement. Although more modern dams are taller or generate more power, Hoover continues to lure millions of visitors from across the nation and around the world. The man-made wonder has also provided a unique setting for film makers and producers through the years, and continues to draw national and local film, public television and advertising companies attempting to explain its essence and magnificence or use it as a product backdrop. The ongoing world-wide exposure of the dam continues to bring an increasing number of sightseers to tour it and its powerplant. Yearly visitors total now exceed one million, and on some busy days, over 5,000 people take the tour. | Transformers 2 shoot at the Dam.
4: See we're really at the dam and we have matching jackets - what's with that.
12: During the construction of Hoover Dam there were few jobs that equaled the high visibility of the high scaler. A man hanging hundreds of feet in the air on the side of a deep canyon, knocking away loose rock and setting dynamite charges with a jackhammer sparked romantic images of courage and daring. In 1995, local sculptor Steven Liguori and Hoover Dam Spillway House concessionaire Bert Hansen decided to create a bronze high scaler statue in the likeness of Joe Kine, one of the last surviving high scalers who worked on the Hoover Dam project. A clear picture of Joe Kine existed showing him in his working environment and was used as a guide to create the bronze figure.
16: The Mike O'Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, also known as the Hoover Dam Bypass, was the first concrete-steel composite arch bridge built in the United States, and includes the longest concrete arch in the Western Hemisphere. The arches are made of 106 pieces—53 per arch—mostly cast in place. The arch was constructed from both sides of the bridge concurrently, supported by diagonal cable stays strung from temporary towers. The concrete arch was 50% completed in May 2009, and the twin arch spans were completed with the casting of the center segments in August. When the two halves of the arch were completed in August 2009, they were only 3/8 inches apart, and the gap was filled with a block of reinforced concrete. Opened on October 19, 2010, the bridge provides a crossing of the Colorado River for U.S. Route 93, linking Nevada and Arizona 1,600 feet downstream from the Hoover Dam. It is located approximately 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. The bridge is the second-highest in the United States, behind Royal Gorge Bridge, at 840 feet above the Colorado River.
17: If you rub the ten toes of the Winged Figures of the Republic statue, it's supposed to bring you good luck for 24 hours.
19: The border between Nevada (left) and Arizona (right) is located in the middle of the dam. Above, Ellen is in Nevada and Mark is in Arizona. To the right, Mark is in both - but favoring Nevada. And to make it more interesting, Nevada is in Pacific time zone and Arizona is in Mountain time zone, so there is a one hour time difference.
20: Back in Vegas, we had lunch at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant and had the best seat in town to watch the water fountain show at Bellagio
21: Ellen won the big jackpot and it made her day. And it helped "soften" her loses for the previous days. | Having a cosmo at Olives in Bellagio.