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Inventory of the Nikola P. Prokopovich Papers
D-229  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Collections
  • Indexing Terms
  • Access
  • Processing Information
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights

  • Creator: Prokopovich, Nikola P.
    Title: Nikola P. Prokopovich Papers
    Date: 1947-1994
    Extent: 83 linear feet
    Abstract: The Nikola P. Prokopovich Papers document United States Bureau of Reclamation geologist Nikola Prokopovich's work on irrigation, land subsidence, and geochemistry in California. The collection includes draft reports and memoranda, published writings, slides, photographs, and two films related to several state-wide water projects. Prokopovich was particularly interested in the engineering geology of the Central Valley Project's canals and dam sites and in the effects of the state water projects on the surrounding landscape.
    Phyiscal location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
    Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Dept. of Special Collections.
    Davis, California 95616-5292
    Collection number: D-229
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English

    Biography

    Nikola P. Prokopovich (1918-1999) was a California-based geologist for the United States Bureau of Reclamation. He was born in Kiev, Ukraine and came to the United States in 1950. He earned his doctorate in Geological Sciences in Germany, where he lived for a time before emigrating. After his arrival in the United States with his wife, Sylvia, Prokopovich worked a series of odd jobs followed by more meaningful work at the University of Minnesota, and later with the US Geological Survey. Eventually, he made his home in Sacramento, where he worked as a geologist with the Bureau of Reclamation's Mid-Pacific Region. He worked out of the Sacramento office from 1958-1986, investigating the geology and geochemistry of California statewide water projects, including the Central Valley Project and the Solano Project. Due to Prokopovich's extensive work on these projects and his investigations into the effects of irrigation on land in the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, he became a respected authority on land subsidence in water development projects.
    Prokopovich was a frequent presenter at professional meetings and a prolific writer. Among his works are the articles Irrigation History of the West-Central San Joaquin Valley-San Joaquin Valley Drainage Program (1989) and The Cost of Subsidence to the Central Valley Project, California (1983), as well as an unfinished book on land subsidence. Prokopovich's articles were published in a wide range of professional journals, including the Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, the Journal of the American Water Works Association, and the Bulletin of the Association of American Engineering Geologists. Nikola Prokopovich lived in the Sacramento area until his death in 1999.
    Sources:
    Unpublished oral history from Bureau of Reclamation Historical Office, Denver, Colorado. Interview conducted by George Petershagen, USBR Historian, 1994.

    Scope and Content

    The Nikola P. Prokopovich Papers document United States Bureau of Reclamation geologist Nikola Prokopovich's work on irrigation, land subsidence, and geochemistry in California. The collection includes draft reports and memoranda, published writings, photographs, slides, and two films related to state-wide water projects. Prokopovich was particularly interested in the engineering geology of the Central Valley Project's canals and dam sites and in the effects of the state water projects on the surrounding landscape.
    The papers contain personal drafts of Bureau of Reclamation publications and internal reports dealing with California's Central Valley Project, Solano Project, and smaller multi-regional projects, including a study of irrigation history in the San Joaquin Valley and investigations into subsidence along Arizona's Salt-Gila Aqueduct. These drafts and reports include information about engineering investigations of several dam sites and canals; studies of land subsidence and hydrocompaction; and geochemical studies. Prokopovich's professional activities are further documented in his published writings and in reports from conferences that he attended in the course of his work.
    The collection also includes an extensive collection of slides and photographs. These provide a detailed visual record of Prokopovich's work and study of the landscape. The photographs depict canal building and maintenance; geologic investigations of dam sites; sedimentation in canals and tunnels; and hydrocompaction and land subsidence in the areas around the canals and dams.

    Arrangement of the Collection

    The collection is arranged into four series: 1. Projects; 2. Subject Files; 3. Professional Activities; and 4. Photographs and Films.

    Related Collections

    The following collections at Special Collections may also be of interest:
    D-092, Arthur E. Gilmore Papers, 1955-1956. Clippings, slides, and photographs of Sutter County flood damage in 1955.
    D-310, Thorne B. Gray Collection, 1965-1985. Background materials supporting Gray's work on various water projects, including the Don Pedro Dam, Hetch Hetchy, the Central Valley Project, the Folsom-South Canal, the Auburn and New Melones Dams, and other issues relating to the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts.
    D-348, Robert Mower Hagan Papers, 19---19--. Class lecture notes, supporting publications and other documents, and publications and records on special problems such as the drought of 1976-1977, the peripheral canal, and Delta water management. The collection provides ample documentation of the politics of California's water in the last fifty years.
    D-398, Harry O. Walker Slide Collection, 1958-1989. Approximately 3,000 slides that Walker photographed and used in his Resource Sciences course, California: the State. The slides, many of which are aerial views, illustrate the geography and natural resources of California from 1958-1989.
    MC155, Federal Power Commission Collection, 1934. Memorandum about Central Valley Project in California.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Prokopovich, Nikola P.--Archives.
    United States. Bureau of Reclamation.
    Sacramento Valley (Calif.)
    San Joaquin Valley (Calif.)
    Central Valley Project (Calif.)
    Solano Project, California (U.S.)
    Irrigation -- California.
    Salt River Valley (Gila County and Maricopa County, Ariz.)
    Water resources development -- California.
    Uncovering California's Environmental Collections Project

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Processing Information

    Published materials, such as general books and government documents, have been separated from the collection. These have been reviewed and, where appropriate, added to the Shields Library general collection. A complete list of publications is kept on file at Special Collections.
    Photographs, negatives, and slides are described by groupings rather than individually. Groupings are either categories assigned by Nikola Prokopovich, or where no category was assigned, by region or subject.
    Processing of the Nikola P. Prokopovich Papers was generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The University of California, Davis Special Collections was awarded a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from 2010-2012, "Uncovering California's Environmental Collections," in collaboration with eight additional special collections and archival repositories throughout the state and the California Digital Library (CDL). Grant objectives included processing of over 33 hidden collections related to the state's environment and environmental history. The collections document an array of important sub-topics such as irrigation, mining, forestry, agriculture, industry, land use, activism, and research. Together they form a multifaceted picture of the natural world and the way it was probed, altered, exploited and protected in California over the twentieth century. Finding aids are made available through the Online Archive of California (OAC).
    Elizabeth Phillips, Manuscript Archivist, processed this collection with the help of student employee Alex Dao.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Nikola P. Prokopovich, 1987-1994.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Nikola P. Prokopovich Papers, D-229, Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17, of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections, University of California, Library, Davis as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.