Category Archives: Regional Priorities

Regional priorities within the Southwestern Division

Corps sandbag filler saves labor, helps communities in need

The hydraulic sandbag filler was loaned to Tulsa District Communities in Grove, Oklahoma, Durant, Texas and Wagoner, Oklahoma. Wagoner was able to build 500 sandbags in 50 minutes with the machine, and will serve as the distribution center for sandbags.
The hydraulic sandbag filler was loaned to Tulsa District Communities in Grove, Oklahoma, Durant, Texas and Wagoner, Oklahoma. Wagoner was able to build 500 sandbags in 50 minutes with the machine, and will serve as the distribution center for sandbags.

Brannen Parrish
Tulsa District
Public Affairs Office

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been using and providing communities with sandbags for more than 100 years, but building sandbags is labor-intensive.

As a results of recent flooding in Oklahoma and Texas, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided a hydraulic sandbag filling machine, on loan from the Corps’ Kansas District, to help Oklahoma and Texas Communities with the bag-building process.

The hydraulic filler and its two-man crew spent one day in Grove, Oklahoma, and two days in Durant, Texas, before being sent to Wagoner, Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management determined Wagoner would be the central sandbag distribution center.

In the first 50 minutes of operation the machine and community volunteers built 500 sandbags.

“We had volunteers come from all over the county,” said Heath Underwood, emergency manager for Wagoner County.

“We had the Coweta football team come in,” added Underwood, “We asked for volunteers and they all just started coming in.”

Those volunteers, said Gary Cain, one of two sandbag machine operators sent from Kansas City to set up the hydraulic filler, are as important as the machine itself.

“You need the volunteers to tie and stack the bags” said Gary Cain, a crane operator with the Kansas City District, who works with the sandbag filling machine during emergency operations. “The more volunteers you have the more you can put the bags out, the easier it is.”

The Wagoner County Emergency Management Office now has 8,000 sandbags. Some will be placed into storage for future use, while the rest will be picked up by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and delivered to sites around the region.

The machine and crew were able to return to Kansas City, June 1.

“It really helped my guys out and relieved the pressure on us. The people came in, pulled together and helped us out,” said Underwood.

In addition to sandbags, the Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed water releases from more than 50 reservoirs in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas during the May rain event.

“We believe we’ve been able to save lives and infrastructure with our system of reservoirs,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Young, Deputy Commander, Tulsa District. “The people who operate, manage and maintain our structures worked long hours to safely guide us through this event.”


USACE Galveston District creates ESRI Operation Dashboard to monitor water levels

GIS Technology
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District created the ESRI Operation Dashboard, a geographic information system (GIS) tool, that allows Corps employees, partners and community to monitor water levels throughout the district’s area of operation along the Texas coast.

By USACE Galveston District Public Affairs Office

GALVESTON, Texas – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District created the ESRI Operation Dashboard, a geographic information system (GIS) tool, that allows Corps employees, partners and community to monitor water levels throughout the district’s area of operation along the Texas coast.

The tool customizes and consolidates data layers from the U.S. Geological Survey, National Weather Service and Corps with a base map, and allows interested parties to share information related to federal projects that may be affected by rainfall and increases in river or stream elevation.

“Due to the high number of data sets we must monitor during a weather event or disaster, it can often be difficult to go back and forth between websites and agencies to get all the data required to make informed decisions,” said Mike DeMasi, emergency management chief for the USACE Galveston District. “Pulling all the information for a particular type event, such as the recent flooding in Texas, allows us to see where the rain is falling, what streams and rivers are rising and/or falling and where the federal projects are in relation.”

According to DeMasi, while the tool does not provide analytical instruments, it does consolidate all the information into a single viewer and is usable on any smartphone, providing the capability for staff to get into the field with data readily available in hand.

“We discussed the various data that we were monitoring with our GIS team and asked if they could pull all of the various data providers’ data into a single map, usable by anyone,” said DeMasi. “The GIS team linked our base map, which included all of our areas of responsibility and projects, with data that is maintained by many other agencies.”

A feature currently being tested is the ability to upload images to the site in real time, which will allow users to see graphics of river elevations at specifics points on the map.

To view the ESRI Operation Dashboard, click on the following link: http://www.arcgis.com/apps/dashboard/index.html#/ad46e3dcae3048ed89706314ed68fce3.

The USACE Galveston District was established in 1880 as the first engineer district in Texas to oversee river and harbor improvements. Its main missions include navigation, ecosystem restoration, emergency management, flood risk management and regulatory oversight.

For more 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.