Crews preparing the Second Lower Feeder in order to place new pipe; photo by Salvador Vazquez

A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
December 11,  2017

In the Path of Raging WIldfires

With thick plumes of smoke, towering flames and mass evacuations, a number of fast-moving wildfires began burning in Southern California last week. Many Metropolitan staff and their families have been affected by the fires. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those whose lives have been disrupted or who lost homes and property.

The conditions also impacted some of Met's own facilities, including the Jensen Treatment Plant which is just a few miles from the Creek Fire in Sylmar.

According to Plant Manager Ric Johnston, the fire itself was never a serious threat, but the  high winds were a problem. Last Monday night, gusts were clocked by the plant's SCADA system at 65 mph. "Those winds impacted the power lines and created 'blips' in the power we receive," said Johnston, but fortunately the system is "very intelligent." When power is interrupted, two large e mergency generators turn on within 7-10 seconds to keep the plant operating. That's what happened last week, and the generators ran the plant for 24 hours, allowing it to stay online. 

While there was no change in flows - which stayed stable at about 500 cfs - the generators do not operate the ozone system, so chlorine was used to treat the water. The situation required extra Met staff to work the night shift, including an additional electrician, mechanic and plant operator, to ensure the treatment process continued safely.  

Fires and winds affected several other Met facilities. And seven-foot swells on DVL
caused the closure of the lake one day last week.  See the video

We owe a lot to the extraordinary work of firefighters and first responders, and the well-orchestrated response and training by Met staff.  
Metropolitan's Staff is Kicking It

On Saturday, December 2, a group of 34 Metropolitan weekend soccer warriors gathered in Boyle Heights at Bishop Mora Salesian High School to gauge their endurance, team skills and desire to secure bragging rights as the best Metropolitan soccer team for 2017.

Four teams competed in this second-year event captained by Francisco Flores, Stacie Takeguchi, Brandon Ward and Diane Pitman who led the winning team.

Stacie, a senior engineer in Ops Planning, played soccer for her high school in Hawaii and later on Tulane's college club team.  She saw the event as a way to bring ops and engineering colleagues together to create a stronger work environment.

Francisco, Eastern/Western Region C&D engineer who attended Salesian High School noted, "What a joy it is to play on the same field where a quarter century ago I scored many goals." 

Brandon, an HR analyst responsible for employee recruitment activities, is a soccer novice. He took his athletic skills from basketball to the soccer field. "It's such a plus to venture into a second sport," he said.

HR Group Manager Diane, who is active in a recreational soccer  league, has been a strong supporter of the friendly and competitive athletic setting where employees from across the district gather and have fun.

If the calls for a spring 2018 competition are an indication of success, the tournament looks to become a regular event at Met.

Go teams! 

He has an Ear for Salmon

Metropolitan research scientist Corey Phillis garnered national attention last week as the lead author of a study about salmon migration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that was published in the journal, Biological Conservation.

In a joint study with UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and NOAA Fisheries, Corey and his team found that baby salmon use rivers differently than previously thought, a finding that may impact how agencies protect endangered fish.

The findings came after researchers collected tiny ear bones called 'otoliths' from adult fish. These bones function like tree rings - distinct layers form around the edges over time as the fish grows. As they grow, otoliths absorb isotopes found in the water. 

From this, Corey and the other scientists created a chemical map to retrace the juvenile visits to various rivers while they make their journey to the ocean. The fish use the Sacramento River as rearing habitat but after hatching they also venture into the river's tributaries, including creeks that drain Mount Lassen, and larger rivers like the Feather and the American. 

Corey joined Metropolitan in 2015 with 15 years of experience working with salmon and steelhead fish populations in California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Corey, who works in Met's Sacramento office, uses fish and environmental monitoring data to better inform management actions and decisions. He has also authored several scientific articles on the migration of fish species and conservation science.

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