Category Archives: Fort Worth District

Army Corps of Engineers projects prevent $13.3 billion in flood damages during spring rains

Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, located near the intersection of I-10 and State Highway 6 in Houston, helped prevent $2.1 billion in flood damages during the recent spring rain event.
Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, located near the intersection of I-10 and State Highway 6 in Houston, helped prevent $2.1 billion in flood damages during the recent spring rain event.
Water flows over the spillway at Lewisville Lake near Dallas after heavy rains in the area in May. About 35 trillion gallons of rain fell across Texas alone in May, with heavy rains also in Oklahoma and Arkansas, putting Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs and flood risk reduction structures to the test.
Water flows over the spillway at Lewisville Lake near Dallas after heavy rains in the area in May. About 35 trillion gallons of rain fell across Texas alone in May, with heavy rains also in Oklahoma and Arkansas, putting Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs and flood risk reduction structures to the test.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood risk reduction projects in the south central and southwestern United States prevented an estimated $13.3 billion in damages to local communities and infrastructure during the May-June 2015 flood event, according to recent calculations by Corps officials with the Southwestern Division in Dallas. The most damages prevented were in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area, where the figure stood at $6.7 billion. Closely following was the greater Houston area with $6.4 billion in flood damages prevented.

“The Army Corps of Engineers flood risk reduction infrastructure—constructed, operated, and maintained with our great partners at all levels—and the benefit that it provides to our nation came to the forefront during this year’s extreme rainfall event, and our structures performed as designed,” said Brig. Gen. David C. Hill, Southwestern Division commander. “The fact that more than $6 billion in damages were prevented in both the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas—the nation’s fourth and fifth largest metropolitan areas—underscore the very robust and tangible benefit this infrastructure provides, along with the other key benefits that our lakes provide throughout the region: hydropower, water supply, and recreation.”

May 2015 was the wettest month on record for both Texas and Oklahoma, and set numerous records throughout the region. Continuing rains from Tropical Storm Bill in June resulted in Army Corps of Engineers flood risk reduction reservoirs and other systems put through a rigorous test to hold the floodwaters and protect local communities and downstream areas.

The breakout for the $6.7 billion in the Dallas-Fort Worth area includes the following: $1.2 billion in damages prevented by the flood damage protection at Grapevine Lake; $2.5 billion at Lake Ray Roberts; and $2.4 billion at Lewisville Lake.

The figures for the $6.4 billion in the greater Houston area include the following: $4.3 billion in damages prevented by the Houston Flood Channel improvements (Brays Bayou and Sims Bayou) and $2.1 billion by the Buffalo Bayou reservoirs (Addicks and Barker reservoirs).

Additionally, the Arkansas River Basin projects (which include parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas) prevented approximately $350 million in flood damages. The Red River Basin projects (which include parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana) prevented approximately $150 million in flood damages.

During this flood event, the Southwestern Division had 51 flood control lakes in flood pool and 23 in surcharge pool. Eight new pools of record were set. The Division was in an emergency operation status for two months, which was also the length of time that the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System was not navigable by industry. Corps projects sustained approximately $209 million in damages, much of that at its recreation sites on the lakes. The Southwestern Division covers some 2.3 million acres of public land and water across five states.

Estimating flood damages prevented is a multi-stage process that involves looking at the water level with the flood reduction project (dam or levee) in place, and where the water level would have reached if the dam or levee had not been built. Economists and hydraulic engineers looking at the damages occurring with the dam or levee in place versus no dam or levee in place calculate the estimated economic damages prevented.


Fort Worth District team responds to historic rainfall

Lt. Col. Clay Morgan, Deputy Commander, Fort Worth District.
Lt. Col. Clay Morgan, Deputy Commander, Fort Worth District.

Lt. Col. Clay Morgan
Deputy Commander,
Fort Worth District

 

Team Fort Worth, for every organization there are key events and milestones that define and reinforce its reputation and the character of its people. In May 2015, the Fort Worth District withstood such an event – the Texas Spring Flood 2015.

Many words have been used to describe that event but one that has consistently and accurately been used is ‘historic.’ Forecasts in early May indicated that the rainfall would be significant but this proved to be an understatement.

As the severe rainfall hit in mid-May, SWF immediately stood-up our Emergency Operations Center to execute all facets of emergency flood fight operations.

The SWF Emergency Operations Center was the nucleus of those operations with our Operations Division taking the lead in the field/onsite at our numerous impacted lakes.

The EOC started off on twelve hour shifts but at the height of the flood event went into round the clock operations, with representatives from our district and other USACE district offices working as a cohesive team to meet numerous requirements – operational and administrative in support of flood fight operations.

Some of you may not be familiar with our flood risk management terminology, but in its simplest terms, flood surcharge pool is the area above the flood pool and to the top of the structure.

As recently as the third week in June, twenty-three of our twenty-five Fort Worth District multi-purpose lakes, were in flood pool. Surcharge releases were made at Bardwell, Benbrook, Grapevine, Joe Pool, Lavon, Lewisville, Navarro Mills, Ray Roberts, Somerville, Sam Rayburn and Town Bluff lakes.

Four of our lakes reached record-high pool elevations as a result of Spring Flood 2015: Joe Pool – 538 ft., Lewisville – 537 ft., Navarro Mills – 442.6 ft. and Bardwell – 441 ft.

It is the character of Team Fort Worth that allowed us to:

  • Conduct increased surveillance of our reservoir projects to monitor conditions, read instrumentation and report areas of distress. This effort included 24 hour surveillance of several lake projects performed by Operations and Engineering and Construction Division personnel from within SWF, SWD, and across USACE
  • Provide round the clock support by our Water Management Section to state, county, and local Emergency Management partners at the State of Texas with flood inundation maps and shape files for rivers below our USACE projects; technical assistance on flood fight measures and provision of flood fight materials
  • Coordinate and execute the delivery and distribution of over 169,500 small sandbags, 1,100 Super Sandbags, and HESCOs by our Logistics Office and Operations Division
  • Coordinate and execute action plans and expedited repairs at lakes by our E&C, Operations, and Contracting Divisions
  • Provide technical assistance to help stabilize conditions at Padera Dam near Midthlothian, TX and technical assistance on a collapsed bridge on the Blanco River by our Dam Safety Team
  • Embedded in the Texas Operations Center in Austin to provide instant access to State resources and coordination
  • Unprecedented coordination and work with our local, state and other federal agencies partners
  • Record-breaking local, regional, national and international balanced and positive media coverage all coordinated by the SWF Public Affairs Team with 170 print and broadcast interviews conducted; over 225 media and public inquiries responded to and three major press conferences coordinated and executed

These achievements were outstanding! In the months ahead, we will have significant challenges ahead as we assess and repair dams, levees, and parks that were damaged during the floods.

Additionally, due to storm waters captured from the flood event in May and June, SWF’s recreation mission for our twenty-five lakes has been greatly impacted. In some of our lakes, it will take at least two months or more for lake levels to return to normal conservation pool levels, without any significant rainfall.

We are definitely aware of the inconvenience, as well as some economic impacts, this will have on the communities in and around our lakes in terms of less recreational opportunity over the next few months. However, flood damage reduction and public safety must and will always be our priority and is the primary reason for our multi-purpose reservoirs. Our partners, and the public, understand this and we appreciate their patience as we gradually assess, repair and ready all of our facilities to reopen as the safe recreation areas that they were prior to Spring Flood 2015.

In the coming months, my plan is to ensure that all the outstanding work before, during and after the flood event by our numerous SWF team members is formally recognized.

As the Acting Commander, I want to thank Team Fort Worth and all our many partners for a job well done and look forward to us successfully completing the recovery phase of this mission.

As we enter that recovery phase, we can also proudly welcome our new Fort Worth District Commander, Col. Calvin Hudson, his spouse Mrs. Glenda Hudson and their daughter Madison. Col. Hudson will assume command on August 14 and I look forward to celebrating that event with all of Team Fort Worth.