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"A Note on Sources" from Jack's Biography

Written by Kathleen Ingly

Much of this story of Jack Pfister’s life is drawn from news articles, Salt River Project publications, organizational newsletters, government reports, and more than eighty interviews. Jack’s life was so varied and so crammed with complex and technical issues that virtually every paragraph could have been footnoted at least once.  As explained in the endnotes, I’ve chosen for the sake of readability to keep notes largely limited to identifying the source of quotations.

Jack Pfister is a biographer’s dream. With his passion for history, he knew the importance of hanging onto source material. He assembled several notebooks of family history and filled notebooks with clippings and other material about Salt River Project, his subsequent career and the many issues he was involved with. He kept his correspondence and agenda books. He donated an extensive collection of papers and books to Arizona State University, although much of it concerns historical events before his time.

The Arizona Memory Project, azmemory.azlibrary.gov, offers access to a number of the reports that Jack worked on.

Jack recorded several oral histories. The most extensive was in 1991, an invaluable interview conducted by Karen L. Smith as a historical record for Salt River Project. SRP continued to do oral histories, and parts of some provided helpful background for this biography. The Central Arizona Project has assembled an impressive collection of oral histories of people involved in the project, including those who fought it. The edited transcripts, including Jack’s, are available on-line at www.cap-az.com/index.php/oral-histories. Jack gave a broader perspective in an oral history for the Historical League, Inc., when he was named an Arizona Historymaker for 2003.  A transcript of the interview, conducted by Pam Stevenson and videotaped by Bill Stevenson on July 23, 2002, is linked to a biography on the website: www.historicalleague.org.

Jack established a quarterly newsletter, “Arizona Waterline,” in 1982 as a forum for discussing water issues. Published by SRP and intended to last two years, the publication went on for six. Edited by Athia L. Hardt and later collected in a book, Arizona Waterline (Phoenix: Salt River Project, 1989), the articles are a valuable record of the challenges and responses of the 1980s. As of 2015, it was still easy to track down inexpensive copies of the book.  

Since links may change over time and search engines make it easy to track down a report, I’ve included web addresses in only a limited number of cases.

Family Roots: Jack conducted extensive research into his family history, which he assembled in two notebooks. The material includes copies of death certificates, letters, newspaper articles, family trees, a narrative written by Jack, and a mimeographed family history written by his uncle, Leon F. Kneipp, dated August 11, 1947.  

Arizona History: Many excellent books cover Arizona and Phoenix history. Thomas E. Sheridan, Arizona: A History, (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2012) offers an excellent overview.  Central Arizona Project: Background on the project, particularly before construction, is in Jennifer E. Zuniga, “The Central Arizona Project,” Bureau of Reclamation, 2000. A detailed discussion of the Carter hit list is in “Water Projects Compromise Reached,” CQ Almanac 1977, 33rd ed., 650-59. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, 1978.

Phoenix 40: A brief history is on the website of its successor organization, Greater Phoenix Leadership, www.gplinc.org.

Floods: A short history of the SRP canal system and the September 1970 flooding is included in the Arizona Supreme Court decision in Salt River Water Users Assn. v. Giglio. Two federal reports analyze the huge 1980 floods: “The Disastrous Southern California and Central Arizona Floods, Flash Floods, and Mudslides of February 1980,” Natural Disaster Survey Report NWS 81-1 (Silver Spring, Md.: National Weather Service, 1981) and “Floods of February 1980 in Southern California and Central Arizona,” by B.N. Aldridge and R.J. Longfield, U.S. Geological Survey and E.H. Chin, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1991). Jack himself wrote an account in “The Day Stewart Mountain Dam Almost Failed,” a conference paper prepared for the annual Arizona History Convention in April 2003; it is available in the Jack Pifster Papers, Arizona Collection, Arizona State University Libraries.

Three Mile Island Accident:  The “Report of the President’s Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island” is available on-line. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission produced a handy sheet, “Backgrounder on the Three Mile Island Accident,” available on its website.

SRP in Egypt: For a contemporary analysis of the objectives and accomplishments of the 1977-1984 water development effort in Egypt, see the “Final Administrative Report, Egypt Water Use and Management Project,” by E.V. Richardson, M.E. Quenemoen and H.R. Horsey, Consortium for International Development, April 1985.

Goundwater Management: For the impact of pumping, see “Land Subsidence and Earth Fissures in Arizona,” by Steven Slaff (Tucson: Arizona Geological Survey, 1993) and “Land Subsidence and Earth Fissures in Arizona: Research and Informational Needs for Effective Risk Management,” by Arizona Land Subsidence Group (Arizona Geological Survey report, 2007). Background on legal efforts to control pumping are in “Final Report, June 1980,” Arizona Groundwater Management Study Commission, and in an article reprinted in Arizona Waterline, “Struggle to Get Act Frustrating, Rewarding,” by A.J. Pfister and Rep. Larry Hawke, 1987.

Tribal Water Rights: A full and excellent discussion is in Daniel Killoren’s 2011 Arizona State University doctoral dissertation, “American Indian Water Rights in Arizona; From Conflict to Settlement, 1950-2004.” A useful summary is in “Appendix G: Indian Water Rights Claims and Settlements,” in the Arizona Water Atlas, Volume 1, available on the website www.azwater.gov.

Plan 6: The process is laid out in “Public Involvement Plan: Central Arizona Water Control Study,” (Water and Power Resources Service, Arizona Projects Office, 1980). For a discussion of habitat concerns omitted from the Orme Dam draft environmental impact statement, see the July 2, 1976, letter from Laurie J. Vitt, who participated in part of the assessment, to Manuel Lopez Jr., regional director of the U.S. Department of Interior.  http://archive.library.nau.edu/cdm/ref/collection/cpa/id/61157

Harmony Alliance Inc.: Loretta Avent kindly provided access to the organization’s files, which were not publicly available as of 2015.

Efforts to Protect the San Pedro River:  The full report from the panel Jack co-chaired, A Ribbon of Life: An Agenda for Preserving Transboundary Migratory Bird Habitat on the Upper San Pedro River, is available online. Unfortunately, the long-term fate of the San Pedro River remains in the balance, as both mining and residential development projects threaten to deplete the groundwater vital for its year-round flow.

ASU Research Park: A review of the history of research parks, as well as an analysis of those in Arizona, is in “Arizona Universities’ Research Parks,” a performance audit by the state auditor general, Report #97-20, November 1997, available on-line through the Arizona Memory Project.  

Phoenix-area Canals:  For proposals to make the canals part of the urban fabric, see “Metropolitan Canals: A Regional Design Framework,” Michael Fifield, Madis Pihlak, Edward Cook, Sharon Southerland, (Tempe: College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Arizona State University, 1990) and “Canalscape: An Authentic and Sustainable Desert Urbanism for Metro Phoenix,” Nan Ellin, project director, (Tempe, Arizona State University, 2009).



About the Author

Kathleen Ingley

As a journalist and free-lance writer Kathleen Ingley has specialized in Arizona’s pivotal issues, including the state budget, water and energy. She was a reporter and editorial writer at the Arizona Republic, where her work included award-winning series on state trust land, the potential of solar energy, the threat of invasive plants, the increasing impact of the urban heat island and the challenge of growth (“An Acre an Hour: the Price of Sprawl”). She was business editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and assistant editor of the San Francisco Business Journal. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s from the University of California at Berkeley. She served in the Peace Corps in Senegal.

Jack Pfister