Category Archives: Tulsa 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 Supply Lake utilizes solar power to save energy

The shower and restroom facility at Supply Park on Fort Supply received an on-grid solar power upgrade, July 21. The solar panels will offset electricity costs for the facility.
The shower and restroom facility at Supply Park on Fort Supply received an on-grid solar power upgrade, July 21. The solar panels will offset electricity costs for the facility.

By Eric Summars
Fort Supply Lake

The Fort Supply Lake Office of the Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is making waves when it comes to the USACE “Go Green Initiative” – solar waves.

The project installed 18 solar panels and an inverter to provide up to 5 kilowatt hours of electricity to power a toilet and shower facility at Supply Park Public Use Area, here, July 21.

“The photovoltaic system at Fort Supply Lake is the first of its kind in the region to be installed in cooperation with Northwestern Electric Co-operative, Inc,” said Don Underwood, assistant lake manager, Fort Supply Lake.

As an on-grid system, the panels will supplement electricity to one of the buildings in Supply Park Public Use Area and hopefully reduce energy consumption and utility costs.

This solar energy installation was made possible through the award of a sustainability project submitted through a recreation budget request for fiscal year 2015.

Inspired by an executive order to strengthen federal environmental, energy, and transportation management, the project is executing the goal of improving energy efficiency through sustainable, renewable energy resources.

“Long-term, our goal is to see Fort Supply Lake become the greenest project within Tulsa District,” said Underwood. “Pole mounted photovoltaic lighting has been in place for about five years on select boat ramps at Fort Supply. This year we added three more pole mounted systems, and we have added three more through the Defense Logistics Agency Purchase Place system. Ultimately all of the security lighting at Fort Supply will be powered by the sun.”

Another way Fort Supply is trying to decrease the use of resources is through the use of waterless urinals at one shower-toilet facility and by continuing the effort to replace all flush urinals at all waterborne facilities with a waterless design to reduce the use of water and electricity.

To date, the largest “Go Green” project at Fort Supply was the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system in the lake office.

According to Underwood, all of the energy efficient items in place now have worked flawlessly.

“With the exception of the geothermal unit, these items have all been somewhat experimental and have proved to work extremely well,” said Underwood. “While the overwhelming majority of the effort has been geared towards smaller, more affordable items, project staff understands mountains can only be moved inch-by-inch.”

Seeing good results makes it easier for personnel to stay engaged and constantly examine new ways to improve energy and resource conservation efforts.

“Transitioning to conservation-friendly amenities takes time,” said Kathy Carlson, Fort Supply lake manager. “These efforts have been bolstered by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and sustainability funding outside the normal budget and likely wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.”

“Because of outstanding expertise and technical support from the Tulsa District Engineering and Construction Division, we were encouraged to jump at each opportunity to expand the conservation effort at Fort Supply Lake,” Carlson said, “And we intend to keep pushing for change in the way services are provided.”