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Rancho Alegre Camp Project: Spring Water Line
Rancho Alegre was supplied by water from a spring up the adjacent Tequepis Canyon since the 1930’s. The pipe was all steel and mostly on the surface. The Whittier Fire and post fire debris flow destroyed much of the system. The diversion intake is over 2 miles from the tank location on USFS property.
The camp staff went through a lengthy process to obtain the permits to replace the system. We worked closely with the USFS, biological monitors & landowners to execute this project. The permits came available with only a short window to get the work done in February 2020. We had to scramble to devise a construction plan for approval.
Our plan was to fly all the pipe and materials into the inaccessible portions that did not allow for any vehicle travel within the Forest using a helicopter. In addition, we had to remove the steel pipe and debris from the historic system. The forest service biologist determined just days before the flight day that there were nesting Southern Spotted Owls in the canyon on a certain slope. They would not allow the helicopter within .5 miles of the location and we had only a couple of days remaining before it was a complete no fly area. With all of the materials staged on the lower property we were able to fly all materials in 1 day to and from the site. The helicopter pilot was careful under the watchful eye of multiple biologists to avoid the owl no fly zone and skillfully drop the materials through the tree canopy at our designated drop points.
Once all the materials were on site, we devised a method to pull the 3” diameter 1000 lbs rolls of HDPE pipe into position using a gas powered capstan winch, numerous large aluminum rolling blocks and 500’ lengths of high strength rope. We customized a large metal spool to hold the rolls which were then hoisted with chain hoist between trees so the pipe could be unspooled. The path was often through heavy brush, across steep slopes and rock faces. The pipe was anchored using bolts and metal straps, heavy nylon webbing & cables. A new spring box and intake were installed at the diversion point. Multiple pressure regulators were installed as there was over 1200’ of elevation from the intake to the lowest point of the system. Then the pipe climbs back up a steep slope to the 150,000 Gallon Tank.