Discovery of 64 Million Year Old Fossils

ICON’s Associate Principal Troy Carmann and family make a 64 million year old discovery… fossils in their sandbox! While digging a sand box in their back yard, Troy Carmann and sons found 64 million year old fossils.

When Grant pointed out the fossils, Troy at first didn’t believe what was so obvious to his young son. “I just thought, yeah fossils, it was so hot and the ground was getting so hard to dig, I went ahead and got the electric jack hammer out.” Troy has seen many excavations as a result of his design work in drainage and flood control, but never thought that his own backyard could literally contain a treasure trove of the earth’s history.

Luckily, another ICON engineer, Aaron Bousselot and his wife Jen showed up with beer and the sand box excavation slowed down. Jen has a PhD in Horticulture and formerly served as the Douglas County extenion agent. Jen knows her plants! She and Aaron quickly recognized that the bedrock Troy was trying to blast through just might contain something significant.

At Aaron’s and Jen’s urging, Troy brought a small sampling of the fossils into ICON’s office to show off the hard work from his backyard.  Troy knew that the person that would be the most interested would be ICON’s President, Penn Gildersleeve.  According to Troy, he figured that Penn is the closest thing ICON has to being an actual fossil himself!  In reality, Penn is somewhat of an amateur paleontologist.  When he was much younger, he worked several summers on excavations in both archaeology and paleontology through a museum associated with Idaho State University.  He is currently taking certification classes in Paleontology from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS). 

The next day, Penn took the sampling of fossils to the DMNS for further identification. Penn had been studying the geology and ancient land forms of the Castle Rock area in a class he was taking being taught by Bob Raynolds, PhD, research associate with the DMNS Earth Sciences Department.  Dr. Raynolds showed the fossils to his associates at the museum, and the importance of what Troy had found was quickly recognized.  We were all astounded by the results. 

Troy’s backyard find was attributed to the ancient Castle Rock Rain Forest which thrived in the Denver basin right after an asteroid strike near Cancun, Mexico some 64.1 million years ago. It is believed that this asteroid collision likely resulted in, or at least contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs.
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Support Colorado’s 2012 Wildfire Watersheds

More than 105,000 acres were devastated by fires this past year in Colorado, including the loss of over 600 buildings.  From a stormwater management standpoint, the worst may yet be to come.  Acquiring precipitation data and then understanding how this correlates to runoff will be extremely valuable for the impacted communities, as well as providing base level information for other communities that may be impacted by future fires.

Now is your chance to help make a difference!  The CASFM Board of Directors has endorsed the soliciting of funds that will be used to help reduce the risk from post-wildfire flooding within Larimer and El Paso Counties resulting from the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires.  This fund raising activity will commence at the CASFM 2012 Annual Conference and run for a period of 2-months, after which the accumulated funds will be used to acquire CoCoRaHS Rain Gauges and/or help the 2012 wildfire impacted communities to meet local funding requirements for a State grant.

It’s Easy To Do!
All Donations Appreciated

Please find any of the representatives from ICON Engineering, Inc. at the conference and they can provide more information and assist you in making a greatly appreciated donation.  Simply visit ICON’s booth at this year’s conference.  Not going to the conference?  You can still contact ICON to receive and fill out a pledge card.  Their contact information is provided through the ICON or CASFM websites.

What’s a CoCoRaHS Rain Gauge?  Glad you asked!  The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network is a high density network of volunteers who take daily measurements of rain, hail and snow.  CoCoRaHS came about as a result of the devastating 1997 flood in Fort Collins.  CoCORaHS was born with the intent of doing a better job of mapping and reporting intense storms.  Volunteers post their daily observations on the CoCoRaHS Website www.cocorahs.org.  It is easy to do, practical and the data produced is incredibly useful.

Colorado’s Governor approved $200,000 for Colorado Post-Wildfire Flooding Early Warning Grants to be administered through the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.  This funding will support local early warning systems in areas impacted by the Waldo Canyon and High Park wildfires which have greatly increased risk from post-wildfire flooding.  Grants can be used for a number of early flood warning measures, including establishing stream gauges, rain gauges and warning sirens.  These grants are for up to $25,000 and require a 25% local match.  Your donation to CASFM will go to help offset the local match requirement.

Want More Information? Visit the ICON booth at the CASFM 2012 Annual Conference!

Branter Gulch Pedestrian Bridge Project

Branter Bridge Project Rendering

Branter Bridge Project Rendering

The Branter Gulch Pedestrian Bridge Project began as an idea of the Wright Farms Metropolitan District (the “District”) to serve as a solution to the safety problem arising from the students crossing Brantner Gulch and Holly Street while walking to and from school. To help study the feasibility of a pedestrian bridge across the gulch, the District submitted the project to the Colorado School of Mines for use as a senior project for graduating engineering students. Because the results of the senior project were positive and showed a real benefit to the community, the District hired ICON Engineering to prepare preliminary plans and sought open space grant funding from Adams County. Impressed with the project and recognizing the need to solve the safety concerns, the Adams County Board of County Commissioners awarded over $250,000 in open space funds to the District to help build the bridge.

To date, ICON and the District have been working diligently to finalize design plans, obtain the necessary permits, ensure the wetlands in the gulch are protected, and to create a bridge that is an asset to the local community and all users of the Adams County and City of Thornton regional trail system.

Currently, the District expects to complete construction in the Spring of 2012. If you have any questions, please contact the Wright Farms Metropolitan District at (720) 560-1984 or visit the District’s webpage at http://wrightfarmsmetropolitandistrict.com.

More Information to follow…….

ICON Presents at CASFM 2008 Annual Conference.

Crested Butte, Colorado – At the 19th Annual Colorado Association of Stormwater and Floodplain Managers conference held in Crested Butte, Colorado, September 10-12, 2008, ICON Engineering, Inc. made an entertaining presentation which incorporated a crowd pleasing video starring an animated robot and one of ICON’s own engineers. The presentation was authored by ICON’s own Craig Jacobson, PE, CFM and Steve Brown, PE, CFM. Entitled “When Good Pipes Turn Bad – Evaluation and Inspection of a Major Pipe Outfall System in Aurora, CO,” the presentation focused on the results of ICON ’s initial investigation and evaluation of a very large corrugated metal pipe (CMP) outfall system. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the existing hydraulic capacity and structural integrity of the existing storm sewer system. The study also recommended immediate and future mitigation or replacement needs. In order to accomplish the project tasks and goals, new and innovative methods were utilized throughout the project during analysis of the hydrology and pipe inspection, where a full line of robotics testing was utilized to thoroughly document the internal condition of the pipe system along with other forms of “non-destructive” testing focusing on the various areas of concern.

The City Center outfall system was constructed in 1974 and ranges in size from 84-inches to 120-inches. The overall length of the system is approximately 4,350 feet. The majority of the pipe is CMP with a paved concrete invert. This pipe system serves as the outfall for a large drainage basin within a very prominent area of the City of Aurora. In fact, the pipe system collects runoff from both the Aurora Mall and the Aurora Municipal Center located adjacent to Alameda Avenue. Using SWMM to model the hydrology, it was quickly identified that discharges had the potential to exceed the system capacity. The pipe’s conveyance capacity was further complicated by the complex interaction with the adjacent City Center Detention Facility and at Alameda Avenue where the flows split between the detention pond and outfall system are highly dependent on the tailwater conditions. At the detention pond, the outfall system had the potential to both convey water out of the pond, or “bubble-up” back into the pond. Evaluation of these complex interactions surrounding the outfall system required the development of a dynamic hydrology and storm sewer model utilizing the EPA SWMM 5 program.

Three phases of testing were also completed on the outfall pipe system to evaluate the current conditions and future integrity of the pipes. First, a full line of testing utilizing a Responder Robotic platform was completed to provide: Digital Fiber-Optic Closed Circuit TV Reports (CCTV); Laser Scans for precision measurements of the internal pipe shapes diameters, deformities, and deflections; and Gas Measurements within the pipe. The second phase included comprehensive field inspection and various “non-destructive” testing methods.  This testing focused on discolored and rusted areas that had the potential to be detrimental to the structural integrity of the pipe. Testing under this phase included: Visual inspection; Magnetic Particle and Liquid Penetrant testing; Ultrasonic Measurements to determine wall thicknesses; and Hardness measurements.  Finally, the third phase of testing included the removal and inspection of small samples of CMP material, or “coupons”, in an effort to determine the condition of the CMP material below the concrete invert.  Design of a slip-lining is currently underway.