Sunday, May 19, 2013

New Job

On April 22nd I started my new job as a Civil Engineer (Hydrologic) at the US Bureau of Reclamation Lahontan Basin Area Office. I was both excited and nervous to start, because this is really the first job of my professional career. So far I am really enjoying my job. It has been interesting, with a variety of things to work on.

 First day of work

One of the first things I got to do was take a tour of the Truckee Canal, which is one of the major things I will be working on. We started at Derby Dam, which is one of Reclamation's oldest projects. Derby Dam diverts water from the Truckee River (which flows to Pyramid Lake) into the Truckee Canal. The Canal carries water from the Truckee Basin to the Carson Basin, where it is used for irrigation.
Derby Dam
Start of the Truckee Canal

Next we took a slight detour to visit Marble Bluff Dam, near Pyramid Lake. Marble Bluff has a fish passage facility for moving endangered cui-ui (a sucker fish) upstream to spawn.

The cui-ui were running while we were there, so we got to see them go through the fish facility. They were much bigger than I expected--about 8 lbs and more than a foot long

Next we drove through Fernley, NV and stopped along the canal.

 Finally we made our way to Lahontan Dam, which is where the Truckee River water is transferred to the Carson system. The canal empties into a reservoir above Lahontan Dam, which is on the Carson River. A bit downstream of Lahontan Dam, a smaller diversion dam moves the combined Truckee and Carson River water to the fields for irrigation.

Last week I also got to spend some time in the field helping with discharge measurements on some of the canals below Lahontan Dam. A Reclamation team was collecting data to use in a HEC-RAS model of the canal system. We used Acoustic Dopper Current Profilers (ADCPs) to collect the discharge data. These instruments ride on small boats, which are towed across the channel. The instrument samples across the channel and calculates discharge from water depth and velocity. We also used RTK GPS to record water elevation and the elevations of structures along the canal.
SonTek M9 River Surveyor

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