Category Archives: SWT Commander

Tulsa District presses forward following a successful FY15

By Col. Richard A. Pratt, Commander, Tulsa District

Fellow Pacesetters, with fiscal year 2015 behind us, we can look back at a rewarding twelve months that saw us transition from a multi-year drought to one of the largest regional flood events in recorded history. Simultaneously, you accomplished numerous mission-critical events and activities important to those living and working within the Tulsa District area of responsibility, our regional partners and the Nation.  Your dedication to duty and uncompromising professionalism throughout the year has been the driving force for our success. As we move forward, there is still much work to be done in the aftermath of the 2015 flood as well as the numerous projects we have in the works or already underway.

The Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues work on the auxiliary spillway construction at the multiphase Canton Dam Safety Assurance Project, Oct. 22, 2015 at Canton Lake, Canton Oklahoma.  The project is the second largest civil works project ever undertaken by the district and is projected to be completed in summer 2016. (Photo by Preston Chasteen/Released)
The Tulsa District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues work on the auxiliary spillway construction at the multiphase Canton Dam Safety Assurance Project, Oct. 22, 2015 at Canton Lake, Canton Oklahoma. The project is the second largest civil works project ever undertaken by the district and is projected to be completed in summer 2016. (Photo by Preston Chasteen/Released)

For example, the Canton Lake Dam Safety Project continues to make good progress with a scheduled completion date of summer 2016. With fuse gates in place, the project is currently in phase II, which encompasses excavating the remainder of the channel, reconfiguring the boat ramp area, vertical wall construction and completion of raising the disposal berm. The Canton Dam Safety Assurance Project is especially important due to its proximity to Oklahoma City, located just to the Northwest, on the North Canadian River.

Phase I construction efforts on the Cumberland Levee are also underway with the temporary cofferdam only 20 feet from its designed intended elevation of 640 feet above sea level. The cofferdam will allow for temporary repairs to a near breach area and various relief wells, as well as the implementation of internal seepage control measures along the levee. Phase II design efforts at Cumberland are scheduled to be complete in the spring of 2016. Phase II construction will focus on permanent repairs required to return the levee system to its pre-flood elevation once funding is in place.

Southwestern Division commander Brig. Gen. David C. Hill and Col. Richard Pratt Tulsa District commander survey progress on the Cumberland Levee project with District engineers, managers and contractors. Phase I of the project to return the levee to its pre-event status has been underway with the continuing construction of a cofferdam at the inundated site. The levee overtopped and breached June 21, 2015 after the region received historic amounts of rainfall.  (Photo by Preston Chasteen/Released)
Southwestern Division commander Brig. Gen. David C. Hill and Col. Richard Pratt Tulsa District commander survey progress on the Cumberland Levee project with District engineers, managers and contractors. Phase I of the project to return the levee to its pre-event status has been underway with the continuing construction of a cofferdam at the inundated site. The levee overtopped and breached June 21, 2015 after the region received historic amounts of rainfall. (Photo by Preston Chasteen/Released)

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, we had a ceremony at Waurika Lake to kick-off dredging operations. This project will establish resilient water yield to the conveyance system with improved water quality and offer greater access to lower intake gates providing greater resiliency during drought.  Similarly in May, we approved the Kansas Water Office’s Section 408 authorization request for the modification of John Redmond. The John Redmond Dredging Initiative was the first and largest (to date) inland Section 408 request in the nation to be approved by HQUSACE. The lake is approximately 50 percent silted in and removal will significantly increase the reservoirs water storage and increase the long term sustainability of that project ensuring availability of conservation storage and restoration of water supply capacity lost due to siltation. Both efforts have equal significance in their roles to deliver enduring and essential water resources solutions.

On Oct. 22, Tulsa District conducted a Pine Creek Dam Safety Modification Project tour for community leaders, media and stakeholders. A town hall meeting was held the same evening in Valliant, Oklahoma. An update of current operations, the planned path forward and the expectations for final completion were presented to those who attended. Contractors have completed the cutoff wall, one of four elements in the dam safety modification.

Pine Creek Dam Safety Modification Project Resident Engineer, Jacob West, speaks to members of the press, interested stakeholders and other members of the Tulsa District during a project tour held Oct. 22, 2015 at Pine Creek Lake near Valiant, Oklahoma.  The project consists of four separate elements and is expected to be complete in October 2016 with a follow-on risk assessment. (Photo by Preston Chasteen/Released)
Pine Creek Dam Safety Modification Project Resident Engineer, Jacob West, speaks to members of the press, interested stakeholders and other members of the Tulsa District during a project tour held Oct. 22, 2015 at Pine Creek Lake near Valiant, Oklahoma. The project consists of four separate elements and is expected to be complete in October 2016 with a follow-on risk assessment. (Photo by Preston Chasteen/Released)

They are currently preparing to install a chimney filter, which will be the first ever on a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project.  Following the chimney filter, the contractor plans to place the downstream filter and complete the project with a steel liner installation in the 13′ conduit through the dam.  The construction phase of this dam safety modification project is expected complete in October 2016.  A follow on risk assessment will be completed by the following July in 2017 to re-assess the dam and make recommendations for the future storage of Pine Creek Lake.

We held an industry day in downtown Oklahoma City, Oct. 21, in regards to Tinker AFB upcoming construction opportunities with their KC-46A program and other MILCON construction projects. The purpose of the industry day was to promote the contracting opportunities at Tinker AFB and generate maximum interest and visibility to the upcoming projects with results to maximize the number of offerers and the competition for upcoming solicitations. USACE representatives presented the out year KC-46A program and the immediate projects of interest including the FY15 KC-46A Complex Infrastructure and Two Bay Hangar, FY16 Design Build Depot Maintenance Hangar and the FY17 System Integration Lab. Additional MILCON projects presented were the FY16 Air Traffic Control Tower, FY16 Plating Shop Renovation and FY14 AFR 513th Air Control Group Squadron Operations Facility.

Natural Resources Specialist from the Tulsa District recently participated in an Outdoor Wildlife Expo hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. The ODWC, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, National Parks Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers all came together in an effort to provide a variety of outdoor educational activities for Expo visitors. Tulsa District Rangers provided an interactive water safety booth with a quiz that tested each participant’s knowledge of the USACE water safety mission, rules and regulations. Rangers also staffed an area where visitors could learn more about the Natural Resources Management Mission as well as find out more info about hunting opportunities on Corps managed land. Based on the number of promotional items distributed over the three day event, we estimate that approximately 20,000 people were reached through their educational efforts.

Recently, Tulsa District leaders met off-site at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, to discuss the vision for the future of the District.  Working groups conducted focus discussions on the topics of leadership, relevancy and human capital. Each group developed an action plan for future work in these areas to address identified needs and deficiencies within the District. The leadership also discussed the District’s Knowledge Management Action Plan and efforts that require leadership involvement in order for KM to be effective in the Tulsa District.

As you can see, we’ve had a busy and rewarding year. Thanks for all you do to support our mission and the people we serve. Keep up the great work. Essayons!