Dam Safety & Security

USDA, Middle Fork Irrigation District begin Clear Branch rehab

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently held a public meeting with the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon’s Middle Fork Irrigation District (MFID) to begin the planning process to rehabilitate Clear Branch Dam.

The dam, located southwest of Parkdale in Hood River County, was built in 1968 and impounds Laurance Lake, which provides water for more than 8,000 acres of cropland as well as supporting recreational activities.

The dam received federal funding in 2014, and it is being used by MFID and others to rehabilitate the dam, which has neared the end of its 50-year design life.

Meetings held in August were not only intended to inform the public about infrastructure and dam safety concerns, but also to allow shareholders that included individuals, agencies, tribes, organizations and others to voice their opinions about Clear Branch Dam’s future.

NRCS will now develop an assessment that evaluates several potential courses of action that MFID could pursue in order to meet current environmental, engineering, seismic and safety standards.

USU’s Blake Tullis wins ASDSO’s Terry L. Hampton Medal

The Association of State Dam Safety Officials has named Utah State University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dr. Blake Tullis, its 2016 recipient of the Terry L. Hampton Medal.

The award, presented in September as part of ASDSO’s 2016 Dam Safety conference, was established in 2007 and honors its namesake’s accomplishments in the fields of hydrology and hydraulics.

Utah State University professor Blake Tullis has been awarded the Association of State Dam Safety Officials’ Terry L. Hampton Medal for his work in hydrology and hydraulics.
Utah State University professor Blake Tullis has been awarded the Association of State Dam Safety Officials’ Terry L. Hampton Medal for his work in hydrology and hydraulics.

USU describes Tullis as a “pioneer of labyrinth design,” which increases hydropower output and irrigation capacity and improves municipal use without affecting dam safety.

Tullis is also an associate director of the Utah Water Research Laboratory (UWRL), which specializes in hydraulics and fluid mechanics.

Corps awards $10 million contract to test tainter gate anchors

FDH Velocitel has received a five-year, $10 million contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide architectural and engineering services to complete testing of tension in tainter gate trunnion girder anchor rods.

Tainter gate anchorage systems, which contain post-tensioned anchor rods, have been used in major U.S. dams since the 1960s, according to FDH Velocitel. In addition, the company says the number of rod failures has grown recently. About 150 dams across the U.S. used the post-tensioned anchor rods, with more than 50,000 post-tensioned anchor rods in Corps inventory, according to an FDH Velocitel press release.

FDH Velocitel will use its proprietary nondestructive testing method to enable the Corps to safely and effectively manage its aging inventory of post-tensioned anchor rods.

Development of this technology was made possible through legislation supported by Congressman David Price, FDH Velocitel says, which helped form the government-industry partnership that enabled the deployment of this test method on Corps dams.

“For the past four years, we have worked in partnership with the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, MS, to develop and deploy this service – which reduces testing costs by up to 90%, while significantly improving safety,” said Robert Lindyberg, PhD, PE, vice president of technology/R&D for FDH Velocitel.

Texas receives US$5.2 million to repair 26 flood control dams

The Texas State Soil & Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) received US$5.2 million from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as part of the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program to repair 26 flood control dam structures across six counties in Texas.

The federal funds will be put toward flood control dams that need vital repairs as a result of the heavy rainfall events of May 2015.


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