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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow ACHP Case Digest arrow Summer 2004 arrow Nevada: Landscaping of the Bureau of Reclamation Regional Office, Boulder City
Nevada: Landscaping of the Bureau of Reclamation Regional Office, Boulder City

Agency: Bureau of Reclamation

Atop a prominent hill within Nevada’s Boulder City Historic District sits the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region headquarters. Its historic landscaped slope and parks radiate the three major thoroughfares of Boulder City, which is the focal point for community activities and the gateway to the Hoover Dam.

The ACHP is reviewing the Bureau of Reclamation’s proposal to re-landscape its regional office headquarters to more effectively conserve water without adversely affecting the historic district.

Boulder City, Nevada, was established by the Federal Government in the 1930s to house government workers who were building the Hoover Dam. Designed by master planner Saco Reinck De-Boer, the city is also nationally significant in the history of American city planning as America’s first fully developed and implemented experiment in town planning.

Bureau of Reclamation Lower Colorado Region headquarters, Boulder City, Nevada

 

 

Bureau of Reclamation Lower Colorado Region headquarters, Boulder City, Nevada (photo courtesy of Andy Pernick, BoR)

 

 


DeBoer designed Boulder City to be America’s model city to which the American people could look for hope for the future during the economic downturn of the 1930s, and to express the Bureau of Reclamation’s (BoR’s) early public works mission to reclaim and “green” the American West.

BoR’s Lower Colorado Region headquarters in the city crowns a hill that is the apex of the Boulder City Historic District. From the historic landscaped slope and parks of BoR’s property radiate the three major thoroughfares of Boulder City, the focal point for community activities.

In June 2004, the ACHP toured BoR’s property and met with its staff, the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office, and local residents to help develop a re-landscaping plan to reduce water usage—without sacrificing the property’s significance as a historic landscape and its role in Boulder City’s unique identity as a clean and lush community.

The most recent of BoR’s proposals seeks to balance lower water usage through xeriscaping—using “unthirsty” native plants and drought-tolerant exotics—on the upper terraces of the property while retaining its grass-covered slopes and trees visible from the local roads.

It is estimated that re-landscaping around the office building would reduce water usage by one-third with little sacrifice to the property’s historical and community values. Water usage could be reduced further with new state-of-the-art water irrigation systems, grass that uses less water, and installation of a water meter for effective water monitoring in the future.

BoR will further refine its landscaping design based on community input and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Properties.

Staff contact: Margie Nowick

Posted August 6, 2004

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