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Vol. 82, Issue 2

US Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District

Winter 2010

The Prospector


IN WITH THE NEW Sacramento District takes over the JFP

2010 Winter Edition




2 Sacramento District celebrates the holidays 3 Recreation committee does so much more 4 Civil engineer helps with international handbook 6 Napa at forefront of World Water Council tour 7 Invasive weed removal at Martis Creek


8 Techs go up high for radio repairs 10 Napa flood project beats the clock


11 Testing flood-fighting technologies 12 There’s an app for that 13 Championship tournament at Black Butte Lake


14 Leadership class charts its own course 15 An engineer and his flowers

Carlos J. LAZO

18 Ground broken for $1.2 billion Utah Data Center 20 Joint Federal Project shifts to Sacramento District


21 Winter survey measures national treasure 23 District, Kings celebrate military appreciation 24 Corps’ ‘STEM’ program is growing 25 Solar array coming for Hunter Liggett


26 Roseville recruiting center honors veterans


On the Cover

An aerial view (above) of ongoing construction at the new auxiliary spillway at Folsom Dam, and a digital rendition (below) of what the spillway will look like once completed.

Katrina NATIVIDAD Top Photo by Michael J. Nevins Page created by Carlos J. Lazo

The Prospector is an unofficial publication authorized under the provisions of Army Regulation 360-1. It is published by the Public Affairs Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento District, 1325 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95814. Telephone: (916) 5577461; Fax (916) 557-7853; e-mail: This publication is available on the Sacramento District’s Internet homepage, at, and will be printed and mailed to those requesting it in writing. Editorial views and opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Corps of Engineers or the Department of the Army. Follow the Sacramento District on our social media sites; - and

Commander’s Way Ahead Working Hard to Accomplish Our Mission “Far

a n d a w ay t h e b e s t p r i z e t h at l i f e o ff e r s i s

t h e c h a n c e t o w o r k h a r d at w o r k w o r t h d o i n g .”

- T h e o d o r e R o o s e v e lt

Col. William J. Leady


his is my second note for the Prospector and surprisingly, I am writing it from my desk in San Francisco. I am sure all of you know by now that Lt. Col. Andy Kiger has taken over command of the Sacramento District; and I am currently serving as the South Pacific Division commander. It is all a little strange, but it is a good story about what the Army and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers do – we “get things done.”

General Donahue’s service was needed in Iraq as the U.S. Forces Iraq-C7 (that is the senior U.S. engineer in Iraq), so he deployed in mid-January. The Army did not have an engineer general officer available to backfill for him, so the Army did what it is really good at – it just moved forward - and the Corps leadership put me here as the commander, and Lt. Col. Kiger took over my duties in Sacramento. The Army will most likely assign a general officer to the South Pacific Division by this summer, maybe much sooner. At that time, I will come back to Sacramento and Lt. Col Kiger Lt. Col. Andy Kiger will resume his duties as the deputy commander. It is really an honor to be serving in such an important leadership role for the Corps.

Gen. Rock Donahue

The division staff is great, but I do miss Sacramento, and am looking forward to my return. In the meantime, I trust that each of you will continue to follow the Army’s example, and “get things done.” We have a lot to get done! There’s so much going on right now, and we all have so many high priority projects on our plates. But if everything is a priority, nothing is. We must make that extra effort to manage our time and projects carefully and efficiently, without any sacrifice to quality. Easier said than done, right? I have all the faith in the world that you can do it. With this amazing team I’m so proud of, I know we can do anything we set our minds to.

Sharon Caine

I had the pleasure of handing out federal service awards to some of the longest serving members of our team at the district’s holiday party. Things like that are the best part of being a commander, if you ask me. It was remarkable to honor people for service that collectively represented nearly 1,000 total years of service. Most inspiring to me was recognizing Sharon Cain, for 50 - yes 50 - years of federal service. She is our chief of real estate, and has reached as high as anyone can go in the GS system. But her beginning was much more humble. In October 1960, she joined this great organization as a GS-2 clerk-typist at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Supply and Mainte- Holiday party participants nance Depot in Granite City, Illinois. She made $1.81 per hour and told me she was very satisfied with her pay at the time. Lucky for us, marriage and a move west brought her to Sacramento, and she joined the Sacramento District in 1962, as a GS-4 clerk-typist in engineering. She has climbed a huge ladder since then! Sharon’s story is inspiring to me because it’s all about service and it also tells that great American story about no limits. Anyone can achieve almost anything with hard work, talent, character and the value of selfless service.

I have no doubt that with teammates like Sharon, we will ride the tides of change with ease, manage our unprecedented workload, and we will deliver, on time, on budget, and provide our customers the quality they’ve come to expect from the Corps.

Essayons & Building Strong!

2010 Holiday Party! 2

The Sacramento District celebrates the holiday season with singing and dancing.

The Prospector Sacramento District Recreation Association Committee members (clockwise, from left to right) Mary Moore, LaDonna Hulcy, Tyler Stalker, Chris Claude, Erik Gomez, Katie Huff, Jerilynn Gilbreath, Robert Caputo, Stacey Dobrenick, Holly Conrad and Jinnah Benn.

Recreation committee supports morale and so much more Story by Katrina Natividad Photo by Michael J. Nevins Public Affairs Office

With a room full of smiles, gifts and endless laughter, there is no question that it’s the season of giving, and that’s exactly what the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District’s Recreation Association Committee does, as seen with the 2010 holiday party. The holiday party is just one of several fun-filled events hosted by SDRAC. “The main purpose of SDRAC is to be a morale-boosting committee while hosting monthly fundraisers that help offset the cost of the annual picnic and holiday party,” said SDRAC chairperson Katie Huff.

the events not only successful, but memorable as well. Some of the things the committee does for their monthly events include the annual summer picnic, the harvest festival with costume contest, delicious chili cook-offs and Valentine’s Day grams. It funds some of these events by selling “Corps wear,” clothing and a variety of items available for purchase such as tote bags, shirts, sweaters and more. “I like how I’m able to purchase Corps wear as gifts for my family since they now have women and children clothing too,” said current SDRAC member Todd Plain.

“These gatherings are a fun way to get our [Sacramento District] family to interact with one another and to have fun.”

Even with all of these events, the committee is mindful of its members’ constantly changing workloads.

SDRAC currently has 15 members from various organizations within the district that plan monthly events. These employees volunteer their time and effort to make

“We know that we want to give 100 percent to the committee all the time, but are aware that sometimes that can’t always happen due to our schedules, so we wel-

come new faces at any time,” said Huff. “Anyone who wants to support the district is always welcome.” SDRAC also works with other groups in the district such as the Corporate Board and Office of Management and Budget for various fundraisers, and the Family Readiness Team for upcoming monthly events. “We feel that being open to new members and working together with other groups allows our committee to bring in new faces and new ideas that create a fullyfunctioning cohesive team that enjoys and supports our district mission. This is the key to successful events that are attended by all employees,” Huff said. SDRAC vice-chairperson Stacey Dobrenick shared her thoughts on how SDRAC makes a difference at the district: “A lot of people get so much happiness from our events. That’s why it’s so important for SDRAC to do what we do.”


Rachael Hersh-Burdick, a civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, visits the Maeslant barrier in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in May 2010. The barrier, widely considered a feat of engineering, forms a critical part of the Netherlands’ coastal flood risk reduction system.

Story by Chris Gray-Garcia Public Affairs Office Photo Courtesy of Rachael Hersh-Burdick

District’s Rachael Hersh-Burdick selected to help compile International Levee Handbook In the Netherlands, they’ve built levees that have only a one in 10,000 chance of failure each year. Could we achieve that level of protection in America? Do we need to? Hurricane Katrina and heavy flooding in Europe in recent years have compelled levee experts on both continents to take closer looks at their nations’ levee systems, revealing widely different approaches to managing them. With the shared challenge of addressing the possible impacts of climate change on levee systems, a clear need for international consensus on levee safety emerged. In 2008, organizations in six nations - the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States committed to developing a manual of levee safety best practices, the International Levee Handbook. The Sacramento District’s Rachael HershBurdick was among seven Corps engineers selected in October by the Corps’ levee safety community of practice to represent the United States in compiling the manual. She will manage the multi-national team writing the chapter on levee operation and maintenance, something she’s been


well prepared for as the Sacramento District’s non-federal levee program manager, overseeing inspections of levees under the Corps’ Levee Rehabilitation and Inspection Program. “I love to organize,” Hersh-Burdick said, explaining why she’s excited by her selection. “One of my personal goals has always been to contribute on the regional level and also on the international level. I feel like this is going to give me an opportunity to contribute in a significant way globally,” she said. The Corps will share policies and procedures under its national Levee Safety Program, and is helping fund the project. The handbook won’t be binding on any of the contributors, Hersh-Burdick said, but is intended as a useful reference for making levee safety decisions based on the bestavailable science and shared experience. “I want to try to make sure that we have the right information when we’re making decisions (about levee safety) and that we’ve checked as many sources as we’re able to check,” Hersh-Burdick said. “It is important to get all the key parties

who can contribute to the levee safety effort together so we can learn from the experiences each of us have had with extreme events.” Hersh-Burdick traveled to Amsterdam in November for the first meeting of handbook chapter leaders. While there, she presented an outline for the operations and maintenance chapter, met with other chapter leaders and joined discussions about a vision for the document. Much of the operations and maintenance chapter will address criteria and case studies for vegetation on and near levees, she said. “My favorite part of the trip was actually getting out on the levee in Rotterdam with the head of maintenance. I saw firsthand that the Netherlands is struggling with many of the same encroachment and vegetation issues that we are here in California,” she said. Completing the handbook is expected to take three years. “I think a lot of people have been looking for answers about levee safety,” she said. “I’m hoping that this document can at least give everyone a jumping off point.”

A note from the Equal Employment Office

Story by Chaene Jones Equal Employment Opportunity Office Photos by Michael J. Nevins and Carlos J. Lazo Public Affairs Office

primary goal of each of these events is to better inform Sacramento District employees of their career options, provide tools and direction that will promote positive career growth, with benefit to employees and our shared Corps mission.


his year the Sacramento District Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office endeavored upon a career development series to benefit all Sacramento District employees. The purpose and intent of these important events is to create ongoing engagement, help employees align their talents with the needs of the district and

to provide career enhancing resources to our dedicated and motivated team members. The series launched in April 2010 with an informative presentation by Dr. Christine Altendorf (upper right photo) of the Senior Executive Service. Altendorf shared her experiences through years of federal service and provided tangible advice and lessons for employ-

ees interested in advancing their careers. The presentation was well attended and Sacramento District employees had the opportunity to engage with career mentors, as well as hear from district employees who had recently deployed and shared their valuable experiences.

The second event of the series held Dec. 14, 2010, featured nationally-renowned, certified career counselor Helen Scully (Upper left photo). This presentation was well attended by Sacramento District employees (bottom left photo), who engaged with a useful, self-assessment challenge and a lively discussion about the differing personalities and values we bring to our daily work.

Scully outlined the basic steps to developing a career action plan, to include self-assessment tools and advice for participating in the competitive employment process. The information presented was geared toward service in the federal sector and Sacramento District career fields. The EEO office has received very positive feedback from district employees, who found the presentation to be “extremely helpful and enlightening…knowing and understanding your goals and values is helpful in developing your IDP (Individual Development Plan).” – District Employee Feedback/ Comments In March 2011, the series continues with a Sacramento District career showcase. At this event, all major Corps occupations will be represented and showcased at individual booths. Division chiefs and career program managers will be available to offer guidance to interested employees on how best to pursue a career in each specific field. Again, the

Future events under consideration for fiscal year 2011, with more career topical themes, are “Dress for Success,” “Resume Writing,” “Preparing for an Interview,” “Mock Interviews” and “Generations,” a fascinating and informative presentation that closely examines the generational differences that influence our workplace values, strengths, and differing approaches to conflict and problem solving. The EEO team is excited about coordinating these upcoming events based on employee feedback and pleased with the success of the career development series to date. Each of these workshops serves to strengthen our diverse workforce, and motivate our Corps team members to build upon their vast potential. The EEO office always welcomes employee involvement and participation in executing these program events. Employees who have feedback, ideas or simply want to be involved in the planning of future events are encouraged to contact the EEO staff directly. Linda Brown Leia Sherer EEO Manager EEO Specialist Chaene Jones Amanda Erwin EEO Specialist EEO Assistant

We look forward to seeing everyone at the next career development workshop!


Napa project’s “living river” concept at forefront of World Water Council tour Story and Photos by Tyler Stalker Public Affairs Office

The World Water Council Board of Governors joined the Sacramento District and local officials for a tour of the Napa River project Oct. 16 to learn more about the “living river” concept employed for the project. The World Water Council is an international multi-stakeholder group representing over 180 countries that seeks to address growing concerns about water issues from the global community. The council chose to tour the Napa River project to gain a greater understanding of the “living river” concept, which implements components addressing flood risk management, ecosystem restoration and recreation. The tour began at Kennedy Park by focusing on ecosystem restoration. Here, the Corps removed levees to restore historical flood plains, as well as 14 acres of tidal mudflats and 50 acres of wetlands. It also created 150 acres of emergent marsh while helping to lower flood depths by absorbing additional moisture. As the tour moved to downtown Napa, the council got a closer look at the flood risk management aspects constructed to date.


Before and after pictures highlighted the impact of floodwalls constructed in 2008 and the visuals provided by two elevated vehicle bridges illustrated how water will flow down the channel with minimal impacts. The floodwalls lining the Napa River add recreation to the project, as well. The floodwalls create a river walk connecting commercial businesses with local restaurants and the recently remodeled Veterans Memorial Park, a popular gathering place for families and local events. Overall, the tour provided an overview of how the “living river” concept can not only provide flood risk management in an urban setting, but also improve the environment and provide increased recreational opportunities. “We believe that the Napa River project’s “Living River” concept is leading the next generation of flood risk management projects,” said Col. Bill Leady, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District commander. “Its blend of flood risk management concepts with recreation and the reintegration of environmental components, including wetlands, make this project something that will be enjoyed for years to come.”

Top Photo: Col. Bill Leady (left), Sacramento District commander, speaks to members of the World Water Council Board of Governors near the Napa River Oct. 16. Above Photo: View of the Napa River.

Corps, partners work to eradicate invasive water weed from Martis Creek Story and Photos by Chris Gray-Garcia Public Affairs Office

It took years to take over, and it will take years to get rid of it. But volunteers helped the Corps get a strong start on eradicating invasive Eurasian watermilfoil from the Sacramento District’s Martis Creek Lake Oct. 31, placing 5,000 square feet of sunlight barriers that will kill it off sustainably and help restore the lake’s native ecosystem.

labor-intensive and costly to be feasible, especially in deeper lakes like Tahoe.

The project, years in development by the Corps and the Tahoe Divers Conservancy, is funded by a $20,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Western Nevada’s Truckee River Fund.

It was the key to fighting milfoil on a larger scale. The conservancy brought the idea to the outdoor sporting goods company Patagonia, which engineered a solution: a ten-by-ten feet square wall of dark fabric, placed over the weed on the lake floor to block sunlight. The barrier fabric, framed by sand-weighted PVC pipes, is lightweight, durable and non-toxic. It also breathes, keeping the barriers from smothering native plant and animal species. Better still, they’re easy to build, allowing volunteers to ease the cost of placing them.

Milfoil has long been a nuisance in the Truckee River watershed, which includes Martis Creek Lake, said Phil Caterino, of the Tahoe Divers Conservancy. “It completely changes the ecosystem,” he said. “It clogs out the native species, it’s detrimental to water quality, and will affect drinking water.” Caterino and the conservancy started worrying about milfoil getting into Sierra Nevada watersheds in the 1980s, after they heard about it taking root in the Great Lakes. Some invasive species watchers thought the weed couldn’t survive in the colder mountain waters of the Sierra, but “it’s invasive,” Caterino said. “It adapts.” And it did. By 1986, Caterino and fellow conservancy divers were finding milfoil on their dives in nearby Lake Tahoe, likely transplanted by recreational boaters. Soon, it was showing up all over the watershed. At Martis, it ruined what had been a trophy fishery for native Lahontan cutthroat trout. Crowding out native elodea plants, the milfoil also choked off the trout. In their absence, bluegill fish, a nuisance fish to anglers, thrived. For years, there were no good options for eradicating milfoil. Poisoning a lake to kill invasive species risked killing native species too, among other environmental effects. And eradication by hand was too

But dive after dive, the conservancy found something funny about the weed. Near marinas, beneath moored boats, the milfoil struggled and died. The boats were blocking their sunlight.

“It’s made to be used by volunteers,” Caterino said. “That’s what makes it feasible.” Conservancy divers first tried the barriers at Priest Lake in Idaho, and then in Lake Tahoe. They worked. Where the barriers were placed, the milfoil died, and native elodea returned. Martis Creek park ranger Jacqui Zink had heard of the conservancy’s success, and reached out to Caterino about placing barriers at Martis. “It was a great project,” Zink said, “and I thought, ‘why wouldn’t it work here?’” Together, they put together a grant application to the Truckee River Fund to try the barriers here, and got it. The grant paid for 50 barriers, and helps cover the conservancy’s expenses for placing them. Four volunteers, three of them local anglers, joined Zink and Caterino Oct. 31 to place all 50 barriers, mostly along the lake’s shoreline. “It’s the most visited part of the lake,” Zink said, “so it’s the best place to start. We’re

-Continued on page 27 A volunteer holds a strand of Eurasian watermilfoil.


Sacramento techs go to great heights for radio repair Story by Robert Kidd Public Affairs Office Photos courtesy of Pete Arpin

Employees with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are charged with managing a wide array of projects – and while that can be fulfilling – for one trio in the Sacramento District, it’s sometimes more satisfying to get their hands dirty, sweat a little, then reach out and touch the product of their labor at the end of the week.

This repeater collects radio-transmitted data from other backcountry monitoring stations and transfers it back down the mountain, in essence “repeating” the data to the project office at Lake Kaweah.

Pete Arpin, Rob Barbato and Aaron DeGennaro, all part of the Sacramento District’s water control data system team, recently helped rebuild a radio repeater and mini weather station high above the Corps’ Lake Kaweah in midSeptember.

“It gets plenty of sunshine at 10,000 feet – even in the winter,” said Arpin. The trio worked alongside contractor Sierra Hydrographics – a small California firm with expertise in these installations – to complete the station.

The trio used a helicopter to reach the location, and to assist in transporting the thousands of pounds of material needed to rebuild the station.

Sierra Hydrographics also conducts yearly preventive maintenance checks throughout HydroNet – often traveling on horseback to remote stations. This particular job required too much equipment and material to be delivered using pack animals – hence the helicopter.

But the high elevation still proved challenging. “You move slower and get tired quicker at that elevation,” said Arpin. “On each flight to the mountain, we landed in a meadow area and hiked the final quarter-mile up to the peak.”


The previous tower at this site served for about 20 years, but failed during severe weather last winter. The design of the new station distributes the total load stresses more evenly onto several mounting points anchored into the granite mountaintop. The radio and data equipment is entirely powered by a solar cell array laced to a series of storage batteries, producing up to 80 watts of peak power.

A great feat in itself, the automated monitoring station provided an additional challenge to the trio: it’s actually located 10,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

The automated monitoring station is part of the Sacramento District’s 120-station HydroNet system, which provides data for the management of Corps reservoirs. The weather info can be critical, monitoring rain amounts and helping to predict runoff from melting high-country snowpack.

The information is then sent through the network to district offices in Sacramento.

Top Photo: The Water Management team (from left to right) Rob Barbato, Aaron DeGennaro and Pete Arpin, pose by the helicopter hired to ferry equipment and the team up the mountain. Above Photo: The helicopter carrying the team lands in a clearing a quarter-mile from the peak.

The rotorcraft ferried about 5,000 pounds of materials and tools up the mountain along with the team of technicians. This required multiple trips from 7 a.m. to dusk on three workdays. Because flights were restricted to daylight hours, each technician carried an overnight survival kit – just in case. Given the precipitous nature of the work site, each worker on the installation wore a full safety harness and other protective gear while assembling the new station.

The Prospector


Napa flood project beats the clock to remain on schedule $65 million flood-risk reduction project is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Story by Tyler Stalker Public Affairs Office

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District beat a major deadline on the Napa Railroad Relocation Project when it removed the second of two cofferdams from the Napa River Dec. 8, keeping flood risk reduction work for the city of Napa, Calif., on schedule. The cofferdams, enclosures created by pile driving long sheets of metal into the ground, were necessary to maintain a dry work area to build two bridge piers in the middle of the Napa River. The piers will support spans for one of six new railroad bridges across the river, including five that are replacing lower bridges that needed to be removed for the river to safely pass more water.

With the rainy season approaching and a permit to work within the Napa River set to expire Dec. 15, completing the bridge piers and removing the cofferdams before that day was vital. “Completion of this in-water work allows construction to continue during the winter on the bridge span over the river,” Corps project manager Bert Brown said. “If this in-water work had not been completed before Dec. 15, this component would have been delayed until June 2011.” Funded largely by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the $65 million Napa Railroad Relocation

Project, part of the larger Napa RiverNapa Creek Flood Protection Project, is scheduled to be completed in 2012. The Napa River-Napa Creek Flood Protection Project is a partnership between the Corps, the city of Napa and the Napa Flood Control and Water Conservation District designed to help reduce the risk of flooding in the Napa community. Work on the Napa Creek phase of the project is expected to begin in February. The $14.8 million stimulus project, awarded to Proven Management Inc., will install two large diversion culverts and improve river bank protection along Napa Creek.

Electrofishing at Englebright Lake Hunter Merritt Public Affairs Office Photo courtesy of William “Skip” Sivertsen by

Jamie Ramirez (left), a park ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, and biologists from the California Department of Fish and Game’s Associate Fisheries, conduct electrofishing at Englebright Lake Nov. 23. Using a specialized boat outfitted with long booms, electrofishing has become an effective and minimally-invasive method for collecting fish, which are being sampled at Englebright as part of an annual monitoring program to track mercury accumulation. The stunned fish quickly return to their normal state within minutes.


The Prospector

Corps employees test floodfighting technologies first-hand

Captions and Photos by Todd Plain Public Affairs Office

Left Photo: Employees from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District practiced assembling portable floodwater barriers during a product demonstration at a Corps facility in West Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 3. When filled with sand, the series of interlocking plastic dividers (pictured left) form flood-water barriers. The dividers were one of three new products being tested for future use in emergency and disaster operations. “The district has several floodfighting technologies stored across the nation so we can deploy them when and where we need to,� said district disaster program manager Christy Jones. Left Photo: Employees assemble a series of interlocking metal cells lined with special material, which, when filled with sand or rock, form flood-water barriers. Bottom Photo: Employees assemble a series of interlocking metal A-frames, which form a barrier when covered with a weighted tarp. The frames are able to be deployed in flood waters and have the capability of pumping water from one side of the barrier to the other.


Sacramento District commits to new safety management program

Sacramento District intern creates new safety manual ‘app’ Story by Bernard Tate Photo Courtesy of Phelipe Silva Graphic by Carlos J. Lazo

Story by Curtis Morris Safety Office

The Sacramento District has made the commitment to rise to a new level of safety by enrolling in the Voluntary Protection Program. What is VPP? VPP is a program that promotes effective worksite-based safety and health. In VPP, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration establishes a cooperative relationship with workplaces that have implemented a comprehesive safety and health management system. OSHA is the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation. OSHA approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health. How does VPP work? In practice, VPP sets performancebased criteria for a managed safety and health system, invites sites to apply, and then assesses applicants against these criteria. OSHA’s verification includes an application review and a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health experts. How has VPP improved worker safety & health? The average VPP worksite has a Days Away Restricted or Transferred (DART) case rate of 52 percent below the average for its industry. These sites typically do not start out with such low rates. Reductions in injuries and illnesses begin when the site commits to the VPP approach to safety and health management and the challenging VPP application process. How does VPP benefit employers? Fewer injuries and illnesses mean greater profits as workers’ compensation premiums and other costs plummet. Entire industries benefit as VPP sites evolve into models of excellence and influence practices industry-wide. For more inforamtion about VPP please contact the district’s safety office or the Department of Defense Voluntary Protection Program Center of Excellence (VPP CX) website at:


DISCLAIMER: The application mentioned in this article has not been endorsed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and should be utilized at the individual user’s discretion. The Safety and Health Requirements Manual is a bear to carry. It’s more than eight inches long, five inches wide, two inches thick; with over 1,000 pages inside and nearly three pounds in weight. Phelipe Silva hated lugging it around at project sites, so he did something about it. He created a smart phone application (app) that allows all 1,000 pages to fit in the palm of his hand. “It’s annoying to carry a large manual,” said Silva, a quality assurance intern at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District’s Sierra project office. “I thought it would be easy to put on an iPhone. I always carry my iPhone, so I would always have a copy, and have better navigation than with the manual itself.” “Phelipe contacted me about a couple of months ago with this wonderful idea, and I’m so happy we were able to have him pursue this project,” said Ellen Stewart, senior safety engineer with the office of safety and occupational health at the Corps’ headquarters. “He contacted us for permission because we are the proponent for the safety manual, EM 385-1-1.” Silva graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho last year with a degree in construction management. He collaborated with a programmer friend from BYU-I to create the safety manual app in his free time. He also drew heavily on his experience as a quality assurance inspector to fine tune the app for field use. “Ideas would occur to me in the field,” he said. “For example, I noticed that everyone used the safety manual’s index to find what they want, so I put the index right on top. Now you can do an index word search and

find what you’re looking for in seconds, versus it taking a couple of minutes with the paper manual’s index. “Not only can you find that keyword you’re looking for, but also navigate definitions, acronyms, figures and tables instantly. You can also bookmark pages with notes. I had to do a lot of cutting-and-pasting from the original PDF manual.” It took a couple of months to develop, but now the app is available free to anyone who wants it. Silva said the download takes about a minute, and that a few hundred people have already downloaded the safety manual. His next project is to adapt the safety manual for other smart phones in order to increase availability for all Corps employees. His idea has garnered great reviews from many within the Corps already. “This is a great idea; I don’t know why we never thought of it before,” Stewart said. “We’ve had tremendous response from a lot of folks. It’s much more readable, it’s searchable, and you can go page-to-page easily with a touch of a fingertip on the screen.” “This new safety manual app will be a real asset to our safety program,” said Richard Wright, chief of safety and occupational health. “The safety manual has gotten bigger with time. Years ago it was almost small enough to stick in your shirt pocket, but our present edition is a pretty good-sized book and it’s a load to carry. Phelipe’s app puts the manual at everyone’s fingertips.”

The Prospector

Black Butte Lake hosts championship tournament

For northern California disc golfers, it was the year’s biggest event. Three days of camping, grilling out and non-stop golf. For Black Butte Lake, its new disc golf course and its local patrons, it was one big debut party. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District’s Black Butte Lake hosted the Professional Disc Golf Association’s NorCal Series Championships Oct. 15-17. Disc golf is played much like regular golf, only players throw flying discs into freestanding baskets. Over the three-day tournament, more than 150 golfers - professionals and amateurs, men and women, some from as far away as Texas - played four rounds across two 18-hole courses; the new course, plus another, temporary course installed just for the tournament.

Buttes recreation area had been set aside undeveloped for years, for a possible expansion of the campground someday, if funding allowed. “We were pleased to be approached about partnering to build the course,” said Black Butte Lake park ranger Mary Ann Deeming. “We proposed that if the club could pay for the equipment, we’d be glad to let them use the space, and help with the maintenance, like mowing and tree trimming.” Leis agreed, and working with the club, started raising the money. While the Corps looked into the potential environmental impacts of putting in the course, he spent weekends walking the landscape, plotting spots for holes with scenic, lake-view vistas.

New to just about everyone but local golfers, the Black Butte course is considered one of the region’s finest. But it wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for the Orland Aces disc golf club.

The environmental investigations complete, the money raised, the Aces began installing the hole baskets and tee mats in summer 2009. By December, the course was ready.

Rick Leis, president of both the Orland Aces and the Chico Disc Golf Club, approached Black Butte in 2006 about building a disc golf course at the park. He’d played courses at other Corps parks, like New Hogan Lake, near Valley Springs, Calif., and driving by Black Butte one day, he’d seen gold in its rolling, oak-studded hills.

“People are ecstatic about this place,” Leis said. “Lots of hills and trees - lots of challenges - it has basically everything we could ask for.”

“That’s golf land,” he said. Acres of open space surrounding the campground at Black Butte’s Orland

Fellow-golfer Pete Sontag agreed. “It’s perfect terrain,” he said. “I’m from the (San Francisco) Bay Area, where space is limited and we have to share our courses with dog walkers and joggers. But here, we’ve (disc golfers) got it all to ourselves.” “The camping here is so much better than

Story and Photo by Chris Gray-Garcia Public Affairs Office

other courses,” said Alan Shanahan, who drove up for the tournament from Sacramento, Calif. “Most places we drive to we have to sleep in our cars. Some have campgrounds, but you have to hike to get to the course. Here, you can camp right next to the course,” he said. “And it’s got showers!” said another golfer. “Free showers!” said another. Deeming said the course has been a big success for Black Butte, too. “This was an area of the park that just wasn’t getting as much use as it could have,” Deeming said. “In the winter, we’d see a few campers, but that’s about it. Now we’ve got events like this, and we see four or five groups a day out here using the course. “It’s a perfect example of the kind of partnership we need as we look at the future of recreation,” she said. “We’ve got this land that belongs to all of us. We won’t always have the funding to build things like disc golf courses. But where a club like the Aces can find money to build one, why not work together to create it? We’re helping the community make use of this shared public space, and encouraging everyone to get out in the fresh air, get some exercise, and appreciate just being in nature. It really benefits all of us.”

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Future leaders chart their own course Six employees from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District were selected to begin their year-long journey to complete Tier III of the district’s leadership development program. This year, the program is taking a different tack: the participants are helping to steer the ship and chart their own course. At a luncheon aboard the Delta King in Old Sacramento Dec. 13, Tier III coordinators and facilitators met with park ranger Alyson Strickland, geology section chief April Fontaine, planner Kim Carsell, project manager James Robb, civil engineer Kristy Riley, and liaison officer Maj. Scott Moore, to iron out details and help the group shape their curriculum for the journey toward the next level of leadership. The district’s class is part of a regional Tier III program of 19 South Pacific Division employees, all of whom are scheduled to graduate September 2011. Mark Cowan, chief of the water resources branch and facilitator for the district’s Tier III program, explained the

Story and Photos by Hunter Merritt Public Affairs Office

details of the program, recalling some of the highlights of his own program, and introduced the new approach toward the course design at the luncheon. “Each year, we try to keep evolving the program, so this year we took a look at our internal curriculum, and we decided to let the participants determine what would be of the greatest value to them,” said Cowan. “At this level, people bring enough to the table that you can trust them to work hard. All we have to do is ask them where we can fill in the gaps.” Participants will meet regularly for one year, both at the district and division levels, and work together on two group projects, one focusing on the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program and another on the Interagency and International Services (IIS) program. After graduation from Tier III, each participant will spend another year working on an individual project, called a utilization assignment, intended to improve the district and benefit the Corps. The leadership development program follows the structure of the Army’s leadership training with a framework more focused toward a civilian audience. The program aims to provide participants the opportunity to reach the next level of leadership in their districts and divisions, and in the Corps. The program becomes more selective and demanding as the tiers increase. There are four tiers overall. Cowan recalled that when he was in his program, his group project was to develop the Family Support Group (now called the Family Readiness Network), which provides a support link between deployed employees and their families. His role as facilitator of the district’s LDP Tier III was initially a utilization assignment from his program. He has stayed on as the LDP Tier III facilitator for five years. “It can be a life-changing program, for the good,” said Cowan. “But it is really up to them.” Participants, facilitators and coordinators of the district’s LDP Tier III pause for a photo at a luncheon in Sacramento Dec. 13. From left to right: Megan Brogger, Alyson Strickland, James Robb, Kim Carsell, Kristy Riley, Maj. Scott Moore, April Fontaine, Cynthia Burris, and Mark Cowan.


The Prospector

Engineer follows orchids around the world Story and Photo by Robert Kidd Public Affairs Office

Orchids have a hold over Jose Rodriguez. A civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, Rodriguez tends to the intricacies of dam safety during workdays at the Corps. After hours, his time is consumed by his fascination with the life of these beautiful flowers -- and has been for the past 16 years. Rodriguez studied for seven years to become an official judge with the American Orchid Society and that passion has taken him as far as Peru and Brazil. He was a judge at the World Orchid Conference in Miami in 2008 and will be judging at the International Orchid Conference in Singapore in 2011. His first plants were some

orchids his mother was given as gifts. Rodriguez grins and shakes his head over memories of his first primitive attempts to grow them. “When I first started, I thought they just needed high humidity, so I placed them along my kitchen counter with a constantly steaming pot of water on the stove!” His passion for the flowers grew and soon there was no space left for more plants in the kitchen. Rodriguez’ orchids then took over a spare bedroom, where he strung up extra lights over racks of PVC pipe to hold trays and trays of plants and humidity basins – until the walls turned green with algae. Finally he assembled a Lexan greenhouse for his backyard – the maximum size allowable

without obtaining a building permit. His personal collection of orchids keeps increasing and he currently tends about 400 plants. Some of his orchids (epiphytes) have long, long roots trailing from ceiling to floor in the greenhouse. Those can be found in nature, perched on the side of a tree, absorbing moisture and nutrients from the air. Other orchids root on rocks (lithophytes) or in the ground (terrestrials). “Around the world, there are species of orchid native to every continent except Antarctica,” the engineer says. “And every state in the nation has at least one native orchid.” In order to raise and enjoy several such different species of orchid, says Rodriguez, “you have to create

several micro-climates within one space.” This can mean misting the roots of one plant, while keeping the extra moisture well away from its arid neighbors. His greenhouse also has its own swamp cooler – an evaporative cooling device that moderates summer temperatures while maintaining humidity levels. Plants from high altitudes like cooler air. Why the fascination for Rodriguez? “It is a challenge, and I always seek to learn more,” he says. Thinking of the various species of orchid, Rodriguez says they are “like children in a family – not all of them have the same likes and dislikes –

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moisture, temperature and lighting conditions.” The primary appeal of orchids for the engineer is the technical challenge involved in producing gorgeous hybrids – the best of the best. And he enjoys the social interaction with like-minded people from around the world. Developing a single successful hybrid – mixing the most beneficial qualities of two individual plants – can take four or five years to yield results. It is a challenge that demands patience. “The very construction of an orchid bloom benefits the plant’s reproduction – the petal that droops like a lip has coloration that guides desirable insects inside to

pollinate the plants,” he explains. “There is even a variety in Europe (in the genus Orchis) that emulates the color of wasps, since those are the predominant pollinating insect in that region.” The seed pods of one particular species of orchid are also known as quite a popular spice – vanilla beans. Orchids were first noticed by the Western world in late 18th century Britain, says Rodriguez. The flowers became so popular among the aristocracy that South America’s orchids were nearly decimated to fulfill Europe’s newfound desires. After that, orchids were grown in hothouses and hybridization became a popular chal-

lenge. During an orchid show, individual plants are judged in a very anonymous fashion – wearing only identifying numbers and sitting in generic pots. They’re judged for color, texture and health. Contestants bring their prize plants to shows hoping to walk away with praise from the judges and perhaps have their plant photographed and displayed in orchid society publications. The Sacramento orchid societies attract growers from Reno, Stockton, Modesto, Fresno and throughout the Central Valley to monthly meetings. The major Sacramento contest is in April.

Judy Soutiere nationally recognized for floodplain management work Story by Chris Gray-Garcia, Photo by Michael J. Nevins Public Affairs Office

Before hundreds of her peers, Judy Soutiere received the Hogg-Owen Award for meritorious achievement in floodplain management at the Floodplain Management Association’s annual conference in Henderson, Nev., Nov. 5. Soutiere is the flood risk program manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, responsible for coordinating the district’s flood risk reduction programs and policies. “When you receive recognition outside of the Corps, it means you’ve had an impact somewhere,” Soutiere said. Impact, said FMA Executive Director Iovanka Todt, is why she nominated Soutiere for the award. “(Soutiere) is doing things nobody else is doing,” Todt said. “She looks at (flood risk management) long-range, and helps build long-term communities to achieve it.” Soutiere said the challenge of helping flood-prone communities understand their risk and


their options for reducing it is why she went into flood risk management work. “I think it’s fun to go talk to the locals, to work with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), and help communities understand what they can do, and what they can’t do,” she said. “It’s so important to know where they are coming from. And you don’t always get that at meetings.” The flood risk manager role is new for the Corps, following lessons the Corps learned from Hurricane Katrina, she said. “All of our policies and programs had been focused on individual projects for flood control,” she said. “We weren’t looking at things as systems.” Since Katrina, the Corps has overhauled its policies for levee safety and flood risk management. Now they all approach flood risk in

terms of systems; taking into consideration all the parts of a flood risk reduction system and their interactions, not just individual lengths of levees or dams. As the Corps has developed more modern and consistent national policies on levee safety since Katrina, much of Soutiere’s work has focused on helping organizations within the Sacramento District and partner organizations like FEMA understand and follow these changes. She has also helped communities to understand how flood risk reduction systems work and how that relates to their safety.

For this outreach work, she was named the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Ronald J. Ruffennach Communicator of the Year in 2008. “It takes a lot to change the course of a big ship,” Soutiere said. Part of doing that, she said, will take more outreach to other agencies doing floodplain management work. “It allows us to see what our non-federal partners need, see what their battlefield looks like,” she said. “It’s also a good chance for our talented (Corps) folks to talk about the good work they’re doing.”

The Prospector


Ground broken for $1.2 billion Utah Data Center Story and Photo by Carlos J. Lazo Public Affairs Office

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah addressed attendees during a ground breaking ceremony for a new $1.2 billion data center at Camp W.G. Williams in Salt Lake City, Jan. 6. More than 200 people attended the event, signaling the official start of construction on the state-of-the-art facility designed to support the intelligence community’s efforts to further strengthen and protect the nation’s cyber security. Sen. Hatch emphasized the number of jobs construction of the project would create locally, estimated to range from 5,000 to 10,000. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the construction agent responsible for han-

dling the acquisition and contracting process, design management and review, and project management for the facility. Two Corps of Engineers districts serve on the Utah Data Center project, Baltimore and Sacramento districts, which are responsible for handling the acquisition and contracting process, design management and review, and project management of the project. The facility will assist various agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, in protecting national security networks. The National Security Agency is the ex-

ecutive agent for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and will be the lead agency at the data center.

Breaking ground on the new Utah Data Center alongside Sen. Hatch (fourth from right), were Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet (left), Adjutant General for the Utah National Guard at Camp Williams; Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell (second from left); Dr. Harvey Davis (fourth from left), Associate Director for Installations and Logistics (ADIL) at the NSA; John “Chris” Inglis (second from right), Deputy Director of the NSA; and Brig. Gen. Peter A. DeLuca (right), commander of the North Atlantic Division of the Corps of Engineers. (Photo courtesy of the Camp Williams Public Affairs Office)


Hensley Lake hosts wildlife triage course for Corps employees

The Prospector

Story by Adela Lint, Photos by Morgan Barnes and Bill Fratzke Hensley Lake

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District’s Hensley Lake hosted a wildlife triage course led by Fresno Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Services (FWRRS) in Raymond, Calif., Dec. 10.

body temperatures warm, and their eyes covered to simulate darkness is essential to keeping them less stressed and stable until caregivers arrive, Garner said. “More wildlife will die from Cathy Garner, the stress related Park rangers Angela Bradley (left) and Bill Fratzke (right) learn founder of FWRRS problems than about the anatomy of birds of prey at the wildlife triage course. and team leader for from any other the organization’s injury or illness,” them how to handle the birds and to check raptor unit, led the she said. for malnourishment by touching the aniclass of 20 park mal’s breastbone. rangers, volunteers “It is our job to protect and maintenance natural resources,” said At the conclusion of the course, each staff from the Corps’ Hensley Lake park rangCorps lake received a wildlife triage kit Hensley, Eastman er Morgan Barnes. “This with contact numbers to call in case of an and Success lakes, job includes stabilizing emergency. which taught them injured wildlife so they Park ranger Morgan Barnes (left) learns how to how to catch injured can be rehabilitated and Fresno Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation rehydrate a Great Horned Owl. birds of prey and released to their natural Services, located in Clovis, Calif., is a nonother animals and habitat.” profit organization founded in 1974 whose keep them comfortable using a “Quiet, mission is to treat, rehabilitate and return Warm, and Dark” care guide. Participants used deceased raptors to injured or orphaned wildlife to their natural learn more about birds of prey, and Garner habitat and to educate the public about Keeping the animals in a quiet place, their brought a live Great Horned Owl to show wildlife.

District leads levee tour, focus on issues Story and Photo by Todd Plain Public Affairs Office

General manager for the American River Flood Control District, Tim Kerr (center), spoke about various levee issues during a tour along the banks of the American River near Sacramento, Calif., with employees of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District and other partner agencies Nov. 17. Kerr discussed such issues as limited access to inspect levees, erosion and invasive or endangered vegetation on or too close to levees.

Dan Tibbitts (left), project manager for the Corps’ American River Common Features project, organized the tour, as an opportunity to highlight a wide variety of levee issues in the area. The group was told that maintaining the levee system is a joined effort among the Corps, state and local agencies.

“Levees fail because of seepage, stability, height or erosion. Every levee we visited today has the potential to fail during a flood event,” Tibbitts said. Nearly 30 federal and state employees attended the tour.


Folsom Dam Joint Federal Project officially shifts to Corps of Engineers

Story by Tyler Stalker Photos by Micheal J. Nevins Public Affairs Office

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District can begin work on the third phase of the Folsom Dam Joint Federal Project following the official handover of the project from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Jan. 14. In this $125.9 million third phase, awarded to Granite Construction Company of Watsonville, Calif., in September, the Corps will build the control structure for the new auxiliary spillway. The spillway’s control structure will work much like the main dam’s. Six large gates will control water flow into the new auxiliary spillway, allowing flood officials to safely release water earlier during a high water event. This phase of construction is expected to take 45 months, including nine months of additional excavation work. The project’s first two phases, completing most of the spillway site excavation, were managed by the Bureau of Reclamation.

Top Photo: A view of Folsom Dam (left) and the site of the new auxiliary spillway. Above Photo: A closer look of construction of the auxiliary spillway.

The Joint Federal Project is a five-phase project being completed in a partnership between the Corps and the Bureau of Reclamation to improve the dam and reduce the Sacramento region’s flood risk. California Department of Water Resources and the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency are the nonfederal partners on the project. “We’re excited to be starting on the remaining phases of the project,” Corps project manager Jason Magness said.


“The Bureau did a great job getting the project to this point, now it’s our job to take it to completion.” The Corps is moving forward with the design of the remaining two phases. Those phases will construct a 3,000-foot spillway chute and stilling basin, which will slow water leaving the spillway to a level that can be contained by downstream levees, and a 1,100-foot approach channel connecting the new spillway to the dam.

Winter eagle survey measures resurgence of national treasure

The Prospector

Story and Photos by Hunter Merritt Public Affairs Office

The bald eagle, national bird and symbol of the United States of America, a once endangered species, was under investigation again this January as hundreds of volunteers and officials recorded the winter behaviors of the eagles and other raptors during the Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey ending Jan. 12. The nationwide survey, which was started by the National Wildlife Federation in 1979, takes place each year during the first two weeks of January and now covers nearly 750 standard, non-overlapping survey routes in 43 states. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers coordinates the survey, a responsibility it inherited from the U.S. Geological Survey in 2007.

on California’s Catalina Island for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “This survey falls squarely within our mission as environmental stewards, and we had already been participating for a long time anyway,” said Eakle, who helped usher the transfer of responsibility from USGS to the Corps. “The Corps’ involvement is widespread. There are a handful of states where a Corps employee serves as the state coordinator, and individual Corps park rangers have been personally involved in surveys for more than a decade.”

Data from the survey informs decisions on how to best promote the resurgence of the bald eagle, which was removed from the federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in 2007. Eagles are still protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act Regulatory technician Chandra Jenkins peers up at the treetops of the Corps’ Martis Creek Lake area, looking for any sign of raptors Jan. 7. and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Other raptors such as golden eagles Corps park ranger and natural resources specialist Ella Thurston is one such and osprey are also counted in the study. ranger. She worked with two volunteers to conduct the survey by boat at the Corps’ Wade Eakle, regulatory project manager Eastman Lake in Raymond, Calif. in the Corps’ South Pacific Division, is the national coordinator of the MWBE survey. “It gives a consistent and formally docu“It is a unique data set because we have mented snapshot, which helps us measo many years of data accumulated,” said sure the health of the ecosystem,” said Eakle. “The more data you accumulate Thurston. Eastman Lake is a success over time, the more powerful it is and the story for the protected birds – it is home to more you can say about it.” one of the most productive pair of nesting bald eagles in the state, according to the Eakle has been involved in the study of raptors since the early 1980s, from his un- California Department of Fish and Game. The pair has fledged 35 young since they dergraduate work in wildlife ecology trainmoved into the area in 1993. Once the ing at Arizona State University -Tucson, bald eagles were discovered as an acto his graduate work in the same field at tively breeding pair, the Corps worked with California State University - Humboldt, to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the his field work with many federal agencies, California Department of Fish and Game including an eagle re-introduction project

to develop a management plan at the lake, in accordance with Army natural resource management regulations. “The bald eagle is still listed as endangered in California,” said Thurston, “so we act in accordance with those rules to protect them.” Eastman performs two eagle surveys each year – the midwinter survey and a breeding survey in September – and a portion of the park is closed to visitors for much of the year, due to the nesting birds’ need for seclusion. Thanks to modern computer technology, the survey data is easily accessible. The Northwest Alliance for Computational Science and Engineering in Boise, Idaho, maintains a website that provides access to survey results. Various agencies use the data to inform land use decisions, such as the potential impact to raptors of industrial-sized solar and wind projects planned for public lands. “The midwinter survey is institutionalized, it is a matter of fact,” said Eakle. “It is low cost, low effort, and high return. It is one of the few that has gone on as long as it has, and we are lucky to have this much information.” A new survey route was established at the Corps’ Martis Creek Lake in Truckee, Calif., this year. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District park ranger Alyson Strickland and regulatory technician Chandra Jenkins established a route ahead of time, based on area maps, and they recorded all sightings of birds, even non-raptors. Although no eagles were sighted there during the survey this year, Strickland said she felt that the trip was productive. “The fact that the survey was performed, and it has never happened here before, makes it a success. Also, just because we didn’t see any eagles, doesn’t mean they aren’t there,” said Strickland. “It is also really important to have data, because we can’t all be in the field all the time. This survey gives us the information we need to make a better habitat for eagles, to preserve this natural resource and national treasure.”


Sacramento District project manager recognized for volunteering efforts Story and Photo by Carlos J. Lazo Public Affairs Office

Everyone looked on with sadness as the flames slowly devoured the fort. It had stood for 15 years, and it was being reduced to a pile of ashes right before their eyes. But as the flames died down, so did the sadness; replaced with a selfless sense of duty. During that night in June 2006, many Natomas, Calif., residents witnessed a fire destroy the kids’ playground known as Fort Natomas. Those same residents, along with dozens of volunteers, organized and created the “Rebuild Fort Natomas” project to rebuild the playground. Among those volunteers was Dave Cook, a project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District. Cook put in 12 hours of work a day on the project, and was featured on the news for his volunteer efforts. His work would not end there, though. In 2008, through the United Cerebral Palsy organization, Cook volunteered to take on a home remodeling project. A construction company had left a home unfinished for the organization. With his own funds and donations he solicited from local

businesses, Cook not only raised enough money – he volunteered his own personal time to complete the home. He followed this up with another home-remodeling project in 2009, in which the home was made ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible. Again Cook solicited a large number of local businesses for donations to complete the project. Cook is currently building a custom bed to accommodate a child with lissencephaly; a rare, gene-linked brain malformation that causes often Dave Cook (right) poses with Roger Dickinson after accepting his severe mental and physical dis- certificate of achievement Nov. 30. ability. The bed will accommoCounty Administration Center in Sacradate the child for years to come mento, Calif., Nov. 30. He was awarded and save the family thousands of dollars. a certificate of appreciation by Roger Throughout all this time volunteering with Dickinson, supervisor of District One on rebuilding and remodeling, Cook has the Board of Supervisors. coached youth baseball and soccer for three and four years respectively. “I do it, not for the recognition,” said Cook, “but to help somebody out. You don’t need For his efforts, Cook was recognized by the County of Sacramento Board of Super- money; you don’t need a talent to volunteer to help out - all you need is a heart. It visors during the fourth annual Heroes of felt good to help out.” Human Services Awards ceremony at the

Corps details progress on Central Valley flood risk reduction at public forum Story and Photo by Chris Gray-Garcia Public Affairs Office

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District’s Alicia Kirchner addressed questions about the Corps’ Central Valley Integrated Flood Management Study at the California Department of Water Resources’ Valleywide Forum in West Sacramento, Calif., Dec. 9. Officials from the district joined the Department of Water Resources at the public meeting to detail progress on California’s Central Valley Flood Protection Plan. The district is developing a parallel study to California’s to determine what needs to be done to improve the Central Valley’s flood risk reduction system and how the federal government can help.


District joins Sacramento Kings’ Military Appreciation Night Photos by Carlos J. Lazo & Michael J. Nevins Public Affairs Office

Col. Bill Leady (right), commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District, and district park ranger Terry Hershey (left) pose with the Sacramento Kings basketball team mascot, Slamson, before the Kings’ Military Appreciation Night game in Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 10.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District joined the Sacramento Kings basketball team for the Kings’ Military Appreciation Night game Nov. 10. The Sacramento District was recognized along with fellow military servicemembers during opening ceremonies and hosted a welcome booth to explain the Corps’ mission and educate attendees about levee safety, water safety and job opportunities with the Corps. Left, Right Photos: Mini-life jacket key chains (left) and information pamphlets on the proper use of life jackets (right) were among some items handed out by the district to attendees. Below Photo: Dozens of employees from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District attended the game.

Col. Bill Leady and district park ranger Terry Hershey await high-fives from the Kings players prior to the game.


Corps’ ‘STEM’ program is growing New STEM agreement led by Sacramento District introduced at National Hispanic Engineering Conference in Florida Story and Photos by Carlos J. Lazo Public Affairs Office

“Where you put your money and time,” he said, “tells a lot about you.” Those were the words of Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van “Van” Antwerp, Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), during the USACE workshop at the Hispanic Engineering National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) in Orlando, Fla. The conference ran from Oct. 7- 10, 2010 at the Coronado Springs Resort Convention center in Orlando. Van Antwerp was at the conference to address the importance of the “STEM” program. The program’s goal is to stimulate interest and academic achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among underrepresented elemen-

tary through high school students. Van Antwerp was joined at the conference by other senior leaders and representatives from throughout the Corps’ districts and divisions. The overall goal was to educate college students at the conference about the Corps’ mission, as well as recruit those interested in becoming future Corps employees – from what could be the largest workforce in the coming decades. “The Latino/Hispanic community is the highest growing population in the U.S.,” said Van Antwerp. “We need this population in STEM.” During the conference, the

Above: Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van “Van” Antwerp speaks about the importance of STEM to Corps employees during the conference Oct. 7. Below: Students work on their resumes and search for jobs at a cyber cafe station during the conference. Corps of Engineers hosted a booth for attendees, sharing information about the Corps and showcasing more than 65 job opportunities at several Corps locations. More than 170 students visited the booth during the conference. A recruitment drive was also held, with 150 resumes collected and more than 70 interviews conducted. Eight tentative job offers were made during the conference, and eight other job offers were pending. Overall, the recruitment drive was a success, said Fidel Rodriguez, HE-


NAAC program manager for the Corps of Engineers. But more is needed. Various science and engineering organizations, including the American Society of Engineers, estimate that the nation will need 160,000 engineers a year for the coming decade. “The current estimate of engineering graduates is seventy thousand,” said Van Antwerp. Unlike generations before, where foreign college

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Solar array coming in 2011 for Fort Hunter Liggett Story by David Killam Public Affairs Office Photo by Gary Headley

The largest U.S. Army Reserve post in the nation, Fort Hunter Liggett is a training facility that can accommodate thousands of soldiers at one time. One of the more popular features of the large post for the military is its remoteness. Hunter Liggett is located between Los Angeles and San Francisco, near King City, Calif. Unfortunately, because energy has to travel a long distance over transmission lines to get to the post, the history of occasional blackouts – often due to downed lines during storms – is greater than at other locations. Soon, this problem may be a thing of the past. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District will break ground in March 2011 on a new one megawatt solar array at the post. It will generate enough electricity for approximately 30 percent of Hunter Liggett’s power needs and is scheduled to be completed by December. It will be the first of two solar arrays being built at the post. The second facility is scheduled to be built in 2012.

Skinner. “It’s a unique opportunity for us to construct a project of this magnitude under the auspices of the Energy Conservation Investment Program. And, since the Army is doing the constructing instead of a third party, the Army will own the renewable energy credits produced by the project.” “The ECIP was established as a result of the Energy Security Act, which was passed by Congress in 2007,” said Headley. “Funding is provided under ECIP to increase renewable energy and energy efficiency at military installations.”

“Clean, renewable energy is the name of the game at military installations these days,” said Gary Headley, a project manager for the Sacramento District. “This array is configured so that it will not only provide energy, but also shade for the military vehicles that will be parked underneath it.”

The post will still be connected to the local energy grid, but this project will lessen its reliance on the grid. During those times when the solar array produces more power than Hunter Liggett needs, the surplus will be sold back to the local electrical company.

Cyndi Skinner, chief of master planning for the Department of Public Works at Hunter Liggett, sees many benefits in the project.

“With two one-megawatt facilities, Hunter Liggett will have more energy than it needs,” added Headley. “The surplus energy will be available for future use.”

“Our goal is to be energy self-sustaining,” said Skinner. “This project will also help us to provide energy for some of the new buildings we’ll be constructing.” “I’m very excited about the project,” said

Solar arrays at the Sacramento State Fair Grounds in Sacramento, Calif. The new one megawatt solar array envisioned at Fort Hunter Liggett will use a similar arrangement.


Roseville recruiting center remembers American veterans Story by Robert Kidd Photo by Michael J. Nevins High-Dynamic Range Photo illustration by Carlos J. Lazo Public Affairs Office

The Stars and Stripes flaps gently in the wind over Veterans Plaza, an outdoor mall on a boulevard in the Northern California town of Roseville. An etched granite monument (opposite page) near the street remembers and thanks all area residents who have served the nation in our armed forces. Home to sev-


eral neighborhood businesses, Veterans Plaza is also the site of a collocated Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines career center that opened in September. Leasing commercial space for the center was accomplished by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District’s

real estate division utilizing military appropriated funds. Paul Petrovich, the center’s commercial developer, says the name is a thank you to all veterans, but it holds a special remembrance for his family: it remembers his father, “the only one true hero in my life.”

Born in 1920, Alexander John Petrovich was a master sergeant in the Army and fought in both the Normandy Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. Master Sgt. Petrovich was among the first American troops to witness the atrocities committed against prisoners of war in Germany and the horrors of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

The Prospector The elder Petrovich was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions during the war, but never spoke about them, says his son. “My mother finally told me he led his company through a minefield,” and was subsequently decorated for his valor, says the younger Petrovich. Four other Petrovich commercial properties in the region also feature memorials to American veterans. “None of the memorials mention [my father], but it’s about him and all those like him,” says Petrovich. “I like to create a tangible reminder in the community.”

The Corps of Engineers is the leasing agency for all of America’s armed forces recruiting programs and is responsible for meeting all requirements for the facilities, including complete onsite branding. Each branch of the U.S. armed forces has its own look – the colors, logos and designs that define the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. The real estate division of the Sacramento District directs leasing for 141 recruiting facilities in Northern California, Utah and most of Nevada. It acquires the land, contracts the work and manages the property, working directly with property owners to make building repairs. The site is located within the desired recruiting region and provides recruiters with the necessary around-the-clock access. Raul Perez, a real estate specialist with the Sacramento District, notes that Veterans Plaza is a unique solution: “It was both the primary choice of the recruiters and also a best value for the government.”


People’s Choice Awards Janice Will is the recipient of the 2010 Hattie Peterson Award.

Dave Neff is the recipient of the 2010 Lewis A. Whitney Leadership Award.

Will began working in the district in 1993 and currently works in the real estate division.

Neff is currently the general design lead for the Joint Federal Project.

The award recognizes the individual whose actions best exemplify the highest qualities of personal and professional perseverance through social challenges.

The award recognizes the individual whose actions, over a period of one year or more, best exemplify the highest qualities of successful leadership in executing the district’s mission.

Andrea Vaiasicca was the recipient of the 2010 Laura Asay Exceptional Support Award.

Harvey Jones is the recipient of the 2010 Lt. Gen. Arthur E Williams Outstanding Service Award.

The award recognizes the individual whose actions, over a period of one year or more, best exemplify the highest qualities of exceptional public service through support to mission activities.

Jones has worked at the Sacramento District for more than thirty years. The award recognizes the individual whose actions best exemplify the highest qualities of outstanding service to the public. The Delta Project Delivery Team is the recipient of the 2010 Col. Dorothy F. Klasse “Be One Team” Award.

John Prettyman was the recipient of the 2010 George Weddell Professional Excellence Award. Prettyman is the primary broadcaster for the public affairs office.

The award recognizes the team whose members have interacted in an enjoyable and harmonious working relationship, while making effective use of the district business process model.

The award recognizes the individual whose performance has reflected the highest level of professionalism within their discipline.

Time in Service Awards Melanie S. Reagin Steven R. Simangan


Roxanne N. Bump Stephen D. Slinkard

Robert Garcia Danny C. Durkee

Shanching Hsia Bruce L. VanEtten

Katherine E. Sawyer Sharon K. Caine

The Prospector

LDP Tier

Leadership Development Program Tier One Graduates Steven Soldati Morgan Marlatt Marci Jackson Brian Unruh Matthew Valentine Shaliz Nakashima

Shauna England Heather Jackson Keley Stock Lindsay Dembosz Dave Cook Holly Conrad Joseph Hembrac Piper Hendershot Bryan Holm Kyle Cronin Michelle Lockhart

Time in Service Awards Paul S. Geyer Catrina L. Hanley Catherine Wise Alicia E. Kirchner Nicolasa Cowan

Everett Day Theresa M. Hershey Donna Degregorio Tanis J. Toland Doris S. Donoho Helen A. Maxwell

Peck-Leong Edward Ha Meegan G. Nagy Ginerva Hightower Peter C. Broderick Elizabeth G. Holland Sonia Delizo



Family Readiness Network packs holiday cheer for deployed employees

The Prospector

Story by Katrina Nativadad Photo by Todd Plain Public Affairs Office

Family Readiness Network volunteers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District packed care packages at the district headquarters Dec. 14 for district employees deployed overseas during the holidays. FRN volunteers (pictured from left to right) Ed Garcia, Sylvia Ramos, Christopher Palileo and Crystal Ramos packed 10 boxes containing items such as candy, coffee, toys, games, and clothing for Sacramento District’s deployed employees.

FRN is a nationwide, Corps-supported program, and provides resources to family members of the deployees as well as all employees within each Corps district. “The Corps wants to remind our deployees that we still think and care about them,” said Denise Garcia, FRN co-coordinator for the district. “Sending goodies from home is just another way the Family Readiness Network reminds our deployed (employees) how much we care.”

-MILFOIL (page 9) just so excited to be getting started on this. We’re restoring this ecosystem, and we’re doing it efficiently and sustainably.” In the spring, they’ll move the barriers to new spots, moving them again every six to eight weeks, with the working goal of eradicating 80 percent of the milfoil over the next few years. “It’s a good start,” said Larry Sveland, a fly fisherman who helped Corps park ranger Jacqui Zink (left) and volunteers place sunlight barriers at Martis Creek Lake Oct. 31 as part of a place the barriers. project to eradicate invasive Eurasian milfoil plants from the lake bottom. “Everybody has to give back, and if we can help improve things “I have a lot of history here,” he said. “I like Ogburn said. here, maybe we can help bring it back (the to see the water stay clean, and I’m glad to fishery).” do whatever I can to help. “I hope this helps us stay ahead of the curve here, and bring (the lake) back to Fellow angler Terrell Ogburn agreed. “I caught my first cutbow (fish) here,” what it was.”


-STEM (page 24) students remained in the U.S. after graduation, more and more foreign students are returning home to practice what they have learned, he said.

STEM careers have drastically decreased as compared with international students.”

ing to host an event to actually conducting one. Bianca Roberts, project manager for STEM at the Corps of Engineers headquarters, understands the importance of the program.

Which means “seventy thousand isn’t seventy thousand,” said Van Antwerp. The Corps is tackling this issue by hosting STEM events throughout the nation. In order to streamline the process, a new agreement was created in October 2010.

“This program is very important,” said Roberts, “because never before has the need for a more comprehensive and structured approach to the promotion of STEM awareness among American underrepresented/underserved K-12 students been so compelling.

This agreement, led by the Sacramento District, aims at minimizing the amount of time each district or division would take on the necessary paperwork for hosting such an event and allowing for more time focused on the event itself. The end result is a smoother and faster process from wish-

“We are fast approaching a potential crisis in our ability to meet the nation’s STEM challenges. Statistics shows that international countries are outperforming U.S. secondary schools, and subsequently, the amount of students attending STEM careers program and graduating from

The Sacramento District’s new agreement is just one step toward increasing the interest of students, especially in the Hispanic Latino community, in STEM and STEMrelated careers. “Both USACE as a sponsor and HENAAC, have for the past years exceeded their vision and mission of keeping America technologically strong by promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers especially in underserved communities,” said Rodriguez. “Understand that USACE can’t solve these education problems alone. However, we can make a great difference,” said Roberts.

Corps employee’s efforts awarded second grant Story and Photo by Todd Plain Public Affairs Office

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District budget analyst Cindy Asbell (second from left) accepts a giant check from Avon Foundation executives on behalf of the Women Escaping a Violent Environment organization during an award ceremony in Sacramento, Calif., Dec. 17. The $10,000 check to WEAVE represents the second grant written by Asbell for the organization’s ongoing “Speak Out Against Domestic Violence” campaign. Asbell wrote a similar $10,000 grant for WEAVE in 2009. Asbell says she tries to help em-

power women through her involvement in the organization. “As a child, I learned what domestic violence does to a person. It doesn’t just come in the form of bruises but also as wounds to a person’s soul,” said Asbell. “I’m grateful every day for the mission that WEAVE does to help each and every woman and child willing to speak out against domestic violence.”

WEAVE is the primary provider of crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento, and receives more than 12,000 phone calls and 55,000 website visits a year. Avon has awarded more than $12 million to more than 400 domestic violence organizations since 2004.

Summer Caption It goes from zero to ‘well done’ in just under five seconds. 32

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Picture Challenge Can you spot the seven differences between these photos? Fall Picture Challenge Answers


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District 1325 J. Street Sacramento, CA 95814

The Prospector - Winter 2010  

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District quarterly magazine. Winter 2010 edition.