Tech Briefs

USGS offers sediment data portal online

The U.S. Geological Survey offers the USGS Sediment Data Portal online, intended to aid in the access to and interpretation of USGS discrete and daily suspended-sediment and related data.

This portal, at, uses data from the USGS National Water Information System. A variety of filters are available, including boundary (such as state or basin), data characteristics (such as minimum years of daily data or year range) and site characteristics (such as drainage area or soil permeability). Once filters are applied, the data can be downloaded.

Overlays can be added to the map, including daily sites, discrete sites, USGS basin boundaries, and National Inventory of Dams. The portal features a user guide and three video demonstrations for more information about the data presented or for instructions on site navigation.

Corps releases guidance on Section 408 approval process

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued an Engineering Circular that provides guidance on how it will process requests from non-Corps entities to alter its civil works projects.

The guidelines, available at, are pursuant to the Corps’ Section 408 permitting process and applicable to all private, public, tribal and other federal groups wishing to use Corps properties.

Section 408 authorizes the Secretary of the Army to grant for the alteration, occupation or use of Corps properties, if the Secretary determines the activity “will not be injurious to the public interest and will not impair the usefulness for the project.”

As defined by the Engineering Circular, the Corps’ Section 408 procedures will be grouped into nine steps, including: pre-coordination, written request, required documentation, district-led Agency Technical Review, Summary of Findings, division review, Corps headquarters review, notification, and post-permission oversight.

The Corps said the guidance will not only be applied to conventional projects being developed in combination with its unpowered dams, but also non-conventional projects, such as hydrokinetic facilities, that would use civil works structures like jetties, levees and navigation channels.

HydroVision International calls for abstracts, panelists

HydroVision International is accepting abstract submissions for the Technical Papers track of the 2015 conference program, Hydro Review and HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide magazines Managing Editor Elizabeth Ingram announces. In addition, for the second year, the organizers have issued a call for panelists for the Panel Presentation track. Abstracts and potential panelist names are due by Oct. 17.

The technical papers program is an opportunity to share your insight and knowledge with more than 3,000 colleagues in the hydro industry who will attend HydroVision International 2015 in Portland, Ore. Technical papers will be accepted in a number of categories: environmental and social issues, equipment and technology, market trends and strategies, project management and operation, and water management and movement.

Panel presentations will be made in a number of sessions spread across seven conference tracks: asset management, civil works and dam safety, marine and hydrokinetic energy, new development, operations and maintenance, policies and regulations, and water resources. Panel presentations are intended to be informal in nature, involving a moderator-driven panel discussion that includes questions from the audience.

All abstract submissions will be evaluated by the Technical Papers Committee. Preference will be given to abstracts that focus on innovative, practical and proven technologies and methods. Abstracts that describe the focus and content of proposed papers (maximum of 400 words) are due by Oct. 17, 2014, and contacts will be notified via e-mail no later than Jan. 31, 2015, as to whether their paper has been selected. The presenting author for all selected abstracts will then be invited to make either a technical paper or poster gallery presentation at HydroVision International 2015.

The HydroVision International Conference and Exhibition will be held at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland July 14-17, 2015. Hydro Review is the flagship media sponsor of HydroVision International and HRW-Hydro Review Worldwide is a media partner.

For more information about the conference — or to register as an attendee — visit

Flow Science earns industry honor

Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling software developer Flow Science has been named a recipient of a 2014 Venture Acceleration Fund award by Los Alamos National Security, LLC.

The award program was created in 2006 and is a collaborative investment funded by Los Alamos National Security (LANS), Los Alamos County, the city of Santa Fe and the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The fund is administered by Los Alamos Connect, which is a program managed by the Regional Development Corporation.

“Since the Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) was initiated in 2006, Los Alamos National Security has invested approximately US$3 million in 49 New Mexico businesses,” said David Pesiri, director of the Feynman Center for Innovation. “Now it’s a community effort, with Los Alamos County, the city of Santa Fe and MEP stepping forward to partner with us.

“It’s encouraging to see that the payback triggers we implemented in 2013 are already creating sustainability for the fund.”

The fund is intended to help commercialize technologies developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, but has been expanded to include all types of businesses in every stage of development.

Multiple awards presented at HydroVision International 2014

PennWell’s Hydro Group handed out many awards during HydroVision International in Nashville, Tenn. Among these were the Women with Hydro Vision award, Hydro Hall of Fame inductees, Attendees’ Choice Awards for the best panel presentation sessions, and Best Technical Papers awards.

The inaugural class of recipients of the Women with Hydro Vision award was announced during a special luncheon. This program honors the most influential women in the hydropower industry. These women were nominated by their peers and were selected for this honor based on the tremendous influence and impact they have had on the hydropower industry. For the names of the winners, visit

Plants inducted into the Hydro Hall of Fame for 2014, and presented with their awards during the closing luncheon, are:

— Les Cedres, a 103-MW facility on the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Canada, owned and operated by Hydro-Quebec; and
— Stevens Creek, an 11.8-MW plant on the Savannah River in Georgia, owned and operated by South Carolina Electric & Gas.

For more, visit

Other awards given include the Attendees’ Choice Award. The conference featured 49 panel presentation sessions spread across seven tracks, with the top three sessions from each day being selected via attendee voting. A complete list of winners is available at

Finally, the winners of the Best Technical Papers awards were announced. These awards are given to the strongest papers presented over the three days of the conference, chosen by the technical papers committee. A list of winning papers is available at

For more technical news, check out the Technology and Equipment tab at

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