Preserving the Source
An e-newsletter from the
Water Resources Archive
From the Archivist
Thank you for reading this newest issue of “Preserving the Source.” You’ll notice a new look and feel here, as well as for the Water Resources Archive’s web presence. We are sprucing up these and other marketing materials — and making some bigger changes.
In 2018, the Water Resources Archive at Colorado State University will launch a new events series to celebrate the people, organizations, and innovations associated with western water. The events will be held at Morgan Library on the Fort Collins campus to more directly cultivate community relationships with the Archive and its holdings and services.
During the past 12 years, Water Tables and the Western Water Symposium & Barbecue have helped raise financial support for and awareness of the Archive. The new series, which will be free to attend, enables us to celebrate historical water happenings and make their impact more relevant to students and the general public. Here and elsewhere, we intend to tie water history more closely to timely topics.
Please keep in touch to suggest celebration-worthy events and to share your feedback. And, if you’d like to keep supporting the Archive’s work of collecting, preserving, and making available historical water-related materials in the absence of fundraising events, monetary donations are always welcome! We look forward to seeing you at future events.
–Patty Rettig, Archivist, Water Resources Archive
Signed on New Year’s Eve, this river compact celebrates its 75th anniversary this month. Congress authorized the negotiations in August 1942, so fruition just four months later seems quick, until the early history is revealed.
Colorado officials began contemplating this potential compact as early as 1934. The 1930s drought and a devastating flood in 1935 added motivation that brought three states together for negotiations in 1940. They completed a compact in March 1941, the state legislatures ratified it, and Congress consented – but President Franklin Roosevelt vetoed the legislation. So, with a federal representative appointed in 1942, final negotiations proved fast and fruitful, leading to the December 31 signing. Hopefully all involved celebrated with a glass of champagne!
Which of Colorado’s nine river compacts is this?
High-Tech Teaching – 1890s style!
Images of faraway places are at our fingertips these days, but how were civil engineering students able to see modern marvels in their 1890s classrooms? At CSU, then called Colorado Agricultural College, irrigation engineering professor Louis Carpenter assembled more than 400 lantern slides. These images on glass would be projected for lectures, an early form of PowerPoint. More than 120 years later, Carpenter’s lantern slides of dams, ditches, and headgates in Egypt, Spain, Italy and other exotic places survive in the Irrigation Photograph Collection.
The History Behind…
The Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act of 2017 : These programs for recovering fish in the Upper Colorado and San Juan rivers date to the early 1980s. They grew out of a Colorado Water Congress special project that aimed for ways to allow water development and management activities to comply with the Endangered Species Act while preserving state water law and interstate river compacts.
Tom Pitts, a Loveland consulting engineer, served as the project coordinator. The 105 boxes documenting his work are being examined and described by the Water Resources Archive right now; we expect to have full information about the Pitts Papers available in January. In the meantime, take a look at the Papers of John Shields, Wyoming’s representative for the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program.
Picturing Sugar Beet Glory Days
The eastern plains of Colorado’s Arkansas Valley experienced an influx of optimism in the early 1900s when the national sugar beet boom arrived. Extensive irrigation facilities enabled the 1901 creation of the Arkansas Valley Sugar Beet and Irrigated Land Company, which exists today as the Amity Mutual Irrigation Company. Photographs dominate the Company’s collection, depicting irrigation facilities, construction and maintenance activities, floods, Dairy Days Parades, cattle, and sugar factories.
Puzzler answer: the Republican River Compact, signed December 31, 1942, by the states of Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska. See the 1934 letter (p.20 of the PDF file) and additional information from 1941. Read more about the compact at the Republican River Water Conservation District.
- March - New finding aid: Papers of Tom Pitts
- January - New finding aid: Records of the Land Rights Council
- December - New finding aid: Records of the North Poudre Irrigation Company
- December - E-newsletter: Preserving the Source, Issue 46