USACE Galveston District’s dam safety mission highlighted on National Dam Safety Awareness Day

GALVESTON, Texas (May 31, 2016) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District joins the Association of State Dam Safety Officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in recognizing May 31 as National Dam Safety Awareness Day.

“The recent rain and flood events in the Houston area have highlighted the importance of our flood risk management program and the value it provides to the public,” said Col. Richard Pannell, USACE Galveston District commander. “National Dam Safety Awareness Day reminds of us potential consequences that could result from a dam failure. Today marks the 127th anniversary of the worst dam disaster in U.S. history – the South Fork Dam failure in Johnstown, Pennsylvania – which resulted in the deaths of 2,209 people and left thousands homeless. The Corps of Engineers is committed to reducing flood risks through our Dam Safety Program and ensuring we effectively communicate the risks associated with dams.”

In response to devastating floods that occurred in Houston in 1929 and 1935, the USACE Galveston District began construction of Addicks and Barker dams in what was then undeveloped areas in far west Harris and east Fort Bend counties to prevent the loss of life and property and provide flood damage reduction along Buffalo Bayou downstream of the reservoirs and through the center of the City of Houston. Construction of the Addicks and Barker structures were completed in 1948 and 1945 respectively.

According to Dam Safety Officer Terry Bautista, USACE Galveston District, the district began a risk assessment on all USACE-owned dams nationwide in 2005. The potential failure mode analyses on the Addicks and Barker dams (completed in 2009) identified unacceptable risks associated with the dams. The risks combined with the potential consequences to the Houston metropolitan area, should there be a failure, elevated the classification of Addicks and Barker dams to extremely high risk.

“Having Addicks and Barker dams designated as extremely high risk was a significant step toward increasing their safety because it led to additional funding for modifications,” said Bautista. “These modifications, once constructed, will decrease the risks associated with the dams. The design for the repairs were completed in May 2015 with award of the construction contract in August 2015. Construction is expected to take three years.”

The Addicks and Barker dams have served the Houston metropolitan area for more than 70 years, saving taxpayers an estimated $10 billion through 2015 in potential flood prevention. During the April 2016 Tax Day Flood alone it is estimated that over $5 billion in flood damage was prevented and an estimated 24,000 homes and business were not flooded as a result of the operations of Addicks and Barker Dams and Reservoirs. With risk reduction measures implemented and proposed long-term measures now under construction, it is expected that the dams will continue to serve the City of Houston for decades to come.

During the April 2016 record-setting flooding event in the Houston region, the USACE Galveston District activated its Emergency Operations Center in preparation for managing record pool elevations at both the Addicks and Barker dams and reservoirs and partnered with local, state and federal agencies to maximize public safety and minimize impacts. Working 24/7 for more than three weeks, staff increased surveillance of the Addicks and Barker foundations and structures to ensure they continued to operate as intended, brought in inspectors to test for structural issues and employed dam observers to monitor the rate of storm water releases.

With all dams presenting risk potential, Bautista reminds residents that it is important to know the risks associated with potential dam incidents and failures and recommends residents review a new guide entitled “Living With Dams: Know Your Risks,” located on the ASDSO website at http://www.damsafety.org/. The guide covers topics ranging from an explanation of the potential risks associated with dams to providing tips for preparing for an emergency.

For more information about the Addicks and Barker reservoirs and dams visit www.addicksandbarker.info or learn more about dam safety at http://www.damsafety.org/. For news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict, or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEGalveston.

 

Fort Worth District officials release listing of open and closed recreation areas in the region

Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives, in preparation of the Memorial Day weekend have released a comprehensive list of open and closed recreation areas throughout their region of responsibility. The District is responsible for 25 Lake Projects in Texas. Most of those lakes are still recovering from the impacts of the floods in 2015 and recent high water events.

The following list, by region outlines current open and closed recreational areas. All dates are subject to change. Contact the lake office or visit the Fort Worth District website at http://www.swf.usace.army.mil/About/LakesandRecreationInformation.aspx for information regarding a specific area.

  • Three Rivers Region
    • Aquilla Lake – all facilities open
    • Hords Creek Lake
      • Swim beaches are closed
      • Boat Ramps in Lakeside Park are closed
      • Flatrock Park is closed
    • Navarro Mills Lake
      • Oak Park
        • Boat ramp opens May 27
        • 12 campsites closed
        • Playground, swim beach, group shelter and courtesy dock closed
      • Liberty Hill
        • 1 boat ramp open
        • 3 campsites closed
        • Fishing pier, swim beach and courtesy docks closed
      • Wolf Creek
        • 37 campsites and 3 restrooms closed
        • Group shelter closed
        • Boat ramp and courtesy dock opens May 27
      • Pecan Point – closed
      • Oak Park Day Use – closed
      • Brushie Prairie opens May 27
    • Proctor Lake
      • All parks closed until late June
    • Waco Lake
      • Airport Park – closed (boat ramp opens May 26)
      • Opens July 1
      • Bosque Park – open
      • Dam Hike and Bike Access – open
      • Flat Rock – closed
      • Opens July 1
      • Reynolds Creek – closed
      • Opens July 1
      • Lacy Point – closed
      • Speegleville Park
      • Campground and boat ramp re-open May 26
      • Twin Bridges Park – closed (boat ramp opens May 26)
      • Midway Park
      • Campground and boat ramp re-open May 26
      • Koehne Park
      • Boat ramp re-opens May 26
    • Whitney Lake
      • Soldiers Bluff – partial closure
      • McCown
      • Boat ramp open
      • Campground and Day Use opens June 20
      • Riverside East – closed
      • Riverside West – open
      • Steele Creek Park – open
      • Cedar Creek Park – open
      • Wailing Bend – Camping loop and boat ramp open; Cliff Side closed
      • Lofers Day Use – boat ramp opens May 25
      • Lofers Campgrounds – open June 20
      • Kimball Bend – closed
      • Plowman Creek – closed
  • Piney Woods Region
    • Wright Patman Lake
      • All campgrounds closed (partial opening for July 4)
      • Oak Park, Spillway Park and boat ramp at Piney Point are open
      • Swim beaches closed for summer season
    • Lake O’ the Pines
      • Brushy Creek Campground – closed
      • Alley Creek, Buckhorn Creek and Johnson Creek Campgrounds – partial closure
    • Sam Rayburn Lake
      • Hanks Creek Park – closed
      • Mill Creek, Rayburn Park, Twin Dikes and Ebenezer Campgrounds – partial closure
    • Jim Chapman – no closures
    • Town Bluff – no closures
  • Capital Region
    • Canyon Lake
      • Potter’s Creek – 1 camping loop open
      • All other parks are open
    • Somerville Lake
      • Rocky Creek Park – closed
      • Yegua Creek Park – 62 campsites and 1 boat ramp open
    • Belton
      • All courtesy docks closed
      • Sparta Valley, Winkler, Rogers, McGregor and Owl Creek Horseshoe Bed Parks are closed
      • Live Oak Park – boat ramp is closed
      • Westcliff Park – beach, all tent sites and campsites 1-20 are closed
    • Stillhouse
      • All courtesy docks closed
      • Stillhouse Park – beach is closed
      • Union Grove Park – beach and campsites 4-7 and 31-37 are closed
      • Dana Peak Park – beach and campsites 1-7, 13-25 and all tent sites are closed
    • Georgetown
      • All courtesy docks closed
    • Granger
      • All courtesy docks closed
      • Wilson H. Fox Park – beach is closed
      • Friendship Park – beach is closed
  • Trinity Region
    • Bardwell
      • High View Park – partial closure; all swim beaches closed; 75 percent of facilities available
      • Love Park – open
      • Mott Park – partial closure; 75 percent of facilities available
      • Waxahachie Creek Park – partial closure; 50 percent of facilities available
    • Benbrook
      • Rocky Creek – closed; working to open small percentage of facilities for July 4; targeting Labor Day for full open
      • Bear Creek – partial closure; 50 percent of facilities available; targeting Labor Day for full open
      • Mustang Park – closed; fully open by Labor Day
      • North Holiday – partial closure; 50 percent of facilities available; targeting Labor Day for full open
      • South Holiday – partial closure; 80 percent of facilities available; targeting Labor Day for full open
    • Grapevine
      • Murrell Park – partial closure; 75 percent of facilities expected to be available for Memorial Day; trails re-open June 13; High Water Boat Ramp is open
    • Lavon
      • Avalon Park – closed
      • East Fork Park – Day Use closed; Camping is open
      • Brockdale Park – open
      • Bratonia Park – open
      • Highland Park – open
      • Clear Lake Park – partial closure; 50 percent of facilities available; camping and main boat ramp are open; Day Use area and North Boat Ramp are closed
      • Tickey Creek – boat ramp is open
      • Twin Groves – open
      • Caddo – closed
      • Elm Creek – open
      • Lakeland – closed
      • Pebble Beach – closed; targeting Labor Day for full open
      • Little Ridge – closed; boat ramp scheduled to open for Memorial Day; remaining facilities scheduled to be available July 4
      • Lavonia – open; courtesy dock not available
    • Lewisville
      • Hickory Creek – open
      • Westlake/Oakland – Westlake Day Use is open; Oakland Day Use is closed with target of July 4 to reopen
      • Big Sandy Access – open
      • Doe Branch Access – open

The Corps of Engineers is concerned for public safety, and urges boaters to wear life jackets and use caution while navigating. Flood waters have created unfamiliar boating conditions and increased flows into the reservoir have flushed a large amount of debris into the main body of water. Boaters are reminded to CLEAN, DRAIN AND DRY YOUR BOAT, TRAILER AND GEAR! Please avoid or minimize boat travel through any mats of vegetation to limit the spread of invasive species, more information is available at http://www.texasinvasives.org/.