70 Ranch Reservoir near Kersey, Colorado

Adams County firm pulls off construction hat trick – Fiore & Sons picks up 3rd award for building the 70 Ranch Reservoir

An Adams County company that built an earthen reservoir in Weld County as part of Colorado’s vital water conservation efforts on Friday collected its third major award for the project. 

To build the reservoir, Fiore & Sons Inc., a Colorado civil construction company, moved more than 3 million cubic yards of dirt.

The Colorado Contractors Association presented the award to Fiore & Sons its annual H20 Awards banquet, which honors outstanding water projects in the state. Fiore won in the “dam/reservoir” category. 

“It was an honor to be part of such a unique project,” said President Butch Fiore, whose grandfather founded the firm in 1959.

The 5,500 acre-foot 70 Ranch Reservoir stores water to support the ranch’s cattle and farming operations, and provides storage for local agricultural and municipal water providers. It’s located near Kersey above the South Platte River, and below the confluence of the St. Vrain and Cache La Poudre rivers.

The reservoir is owned by Weld Adams Water Development Authority and operated by United Water and Sanitation District. 

President Bob Lembke said Colorado doesn’t have a water shortage problem but a water storage problem. 

“There is plenty of water in Colorado,” he said.  “We just have to capture and store it for those times and seasons when we need it.”

The porous soil in that region is susceptible to wind and rain erosion so the reservoir was lined with 7 million square feet of a  reinforced synthetic liner. The wave-action protection near the top of the design was unique, and involved a variety of products and employed several techniques on the slope.  

Fiore & Sons Inc., an Adams County firm, picked up its third award for its construction of an enormous earthen reservoir near Kersey that contains 7 million square feet of a  reinforced synthetic liner. From left to right, engineer Andy Rodriguez with Civil Resources, project manager Drew Damiano with United Water and Sanitation District, project manager Jim LaTerra of Fiore & Sons and Fiore & Sons president Butch Fiore.

Fiore & Sons’ diligence and innovation in building the 70 Ranch Reservoir included the efforts of 30 workers hand pulling weeds around the top of the dam wall because the use of herbicides on a water project would be unacceptable.

In its contest application, Fiore & Sons noted that protecting and preserving water quality was a top priority.

“A state construction dewatering permit required water volume be tracked and samples routinely obtained and tested at Colorado Analytical Labs for water quality,” the firm stated. 

Over 115 water tests and 55 site inspections were completed. In addition, Fiore & Sons implemented a detailed erosion and sediment control plan.

“With a project of that size and magnitude, there are some really big lessons that are learned in the process and will really help us when we get the opportunity to build another dam”, Fiore said. 

At the groundbreaking ceremony for the 70 Ranch Reservoir in 2019, state Treasurer Dave Young of Greeley and other elected officials  praised the “visionary project.”

The project manager for United Water was Drew Damiano, for Fiore & Sons, Jim LaTerra. Fiore & Sons subcontracted with Civil Resources to provide engineering for the project. 

Fiore & Sons received two other awards for the construction of the 70 Ranch Reservoir: 

The National Utility Contractors Association, which  recognizes “challenging, innovative, or unique projects completed with excellent results.”  Fiore & Sons won the award in the water category at NUCA’s conference in Arizona last month.
The Associated General Contractors, which recognized Fiore for “Meeting the Challenge of a Difficult Job.” Fiore received the award in Denver last November. 

For more information, contact

Lynn Bartels, 303-748-4502 or  againlynn@gmail.com

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.