Tag Archives: USACE Southwestern Division

MLK Day – A Day On, Not A Day Off! 

MLK Day 2018

On Monday, Jan. 21, we honor the life and legacy of a great American, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.  Dr. King was one of the most beloved and dynamic civil rights leaders of this Nation, with a legacy of compassion, justice and equality for all. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is truly a unique event:  not only is it a celebration of his birthday, but also a National Day of Service.

In 1983, legislation was signed making Dr. King’s birthday a federal holiday. In 1994, Congress designated MLK Day as a day of service and giving back to our communities, a reflection of his often quoted statement: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” The theme for this year’s observance is Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not A Day Off!

Dr. King served as a Baptist minister and civil rights leader from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. He earned a PhD at the age of 25, and the Nobel Peace Prize when he was only 35 for non-violent resistance to racial prejudice in America. The previous year, at the age of 34, he delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington. He was a leader with immense personal courage and his love for all people paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The U.S. Army and the Southwestern Division are dedicated to leveraging the strength of our diverse force and ensuring equality for all our team members. When individuals succeed, America succeeds. All Soldiers, civilians and family members are a valued part of our team, and their contributions are vital to our success and history. The timeless values Dr. King taught through his example –courage, truth, justice, compassion, dignity, respect, humility and service – are Army and American values.  When we celebrate Dr. King’s dream, we celebrate the American dream.

Find a project in your community or register your own project so that volunteers can find it.    You can go to www.nationalservice.gov/mlkday for more information and to find ways to support the legacy of Dr. King.

Mission/People/Teamwork – PACESETTERS!

Paul E. Owen, P.E.
Brigadier General, US Army Corps of Engineers
Commander, Southwestern Division

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers advises caution around Whitney Dam

Overview – File photo

As summer temperatures rise and the demand for more power to be produced by the Whitney Powerhouse increases, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Whitney Lake wants to remind everyone to use extreme caution and put safety first when visiting the recreation areas downstream of the Whitney Dam.

Spillway Overview – File Photo

Because of extreme heat, visitors are likely to see more power generation from the dam to support the electric grid, which means large amounts of water moving downstream.  When power generation takes place, there is little or no time for anyone in the area to retreat to higher ground.  Warning signs, as well as the warning horn, should be signals of the potential danger to visitors in the area downstream of Whitney Dam.  Release of water from the Whitney Powerhouse is immediate at the sound of the first warning horn.  While boat launching is permitted from Riverside East, swimming and wading are no longer permitted from USACE managed access areas behind the dam.

Hydropower Generator – File Photo

The two turbines in the Whitney Powerhouse release about 3,000 cubic feet per second each.  For comparison, a cubic foot is roughly the size of a basketball.  The turbines operate in a mode referred to as Responsive Reserve Service.  RRS is an ancillary service sold to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas which provides an automatic response to support a stable electric grid.  This service is instrumental in preventing brown outs and black outs.  Because of the RRS service, when the warning horn sounds, releases are immediate and a large amount of water will cause a powerful surge to rush downstream.  Visitors will see this automatic response used to support the electric grid during the heat of summer.

Hydropower Switchyard – File Photo

USACE also advises caution when fishing along the banks of the Brazos River from USACE land below the dam.  The changes in the rate of release give fishermen very little or no time to retreat to higher ground.  As always, visitors are encouraged to wear a life jacket, follow warning signs, and be aware of their surroundings. The dam and lake continue to operate as designed.

Lake Whitney elevation and gate opening information can be found here: http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/whitney/