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Recovery Act Funding Helps Dam Repairs in Johnson County

story by Randy Henry

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has started dam repairs in Johnson County using Recovery Act funding. Approximately $2.11 million will be used to repair two flood control dams within the sub-watersheds of the Trinity River.

Federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 will result in repairs to Chambers Creek dams Nos. 32 and 38. To date, repairs have begun on the dams that encompass 2,818 project area acres. Altogether, these two dams will continue to provide more than $114,000 in annual benefits to downstream properties in the county.

"Dam repairs to these flood control structures in Johnson County will definitely help maintain the infrastructure and protect the growing population in the county," said Stan Ellison, NRCS district conservationist in Johnson County.

The needed repairs are from slope slides on the flood control dams that occurred during periods of heavy rainfall following extended drought and wave erosion damage. In turn, soil will be removed, treated with lime, replaced, and vegetated to stabilize the slopes. The repairs will ensure the dams are safe, providing benefits for years to come.

"Downstream communities will benefit from the dam repairs, for when these dams were originally built the area was mostly rural and agriculture land," Ellison said.

Besides NRCS, sponsors for the dams include the Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District and Johnson County Commissioner's Court.

Flood prevention dams within the Trinity River Watershed are a part of nearly 2,000 dams constructed in Texas by NRCS and local sponsors. These dams continue to provide nearly $120 million of annual benefits protecting downstream properties, infrastructure, and countless lives across the entire state.

Moreover, project repairs will maintain the integrity and function of the dams. Benefits include downstream protection of farms, communities, and bridges from flooding, along with reduced sedimentation into lakes and other waterways, and enhancement of riparian area wildlife habitat.

Dam repairs funded through the ARRA are part of the Obama Administration's plans to modernize the nation's infrastructure, jump-start the economy, and create jobs.

NRCS is using Recovery Act dollars to update aging flood control structures, protect and maintain water supplies, improve water quality, reduce soil erosion, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, and restore wetlands.

Plus, dam repairs within these sub-watersheds of the Trinity River will create or save jobs through industries supplying or supporting construction activities and the sale of goods and services. In addition to the jobs created, this program will increase the demand for construction supplies and equipment, adding approximately $12.77 million to the local economy overall.

For more information about NRCS watershed programs, please visit the NRCS Texas Web site.

The back side of Chambers Creek dam No. 38 had considerable slope slide damage shown here that occurred during periods of heavy rainfall following extended drought. Discussing Chambers Creek dam No. 38 and the progress of the more than $1.33 million Recovery Act funded project are Stan Ellison, left, NRCS district conservationist in Johnson County and Charles Kaluza, right, NRCS construction control inspector. Together, Chambers Creek dams Nos. 32 and 38 are using approximately $2.11 million in federal funding to repair the two dams within the sub-watersheds of the Trinity River.

The back side of Chambers Creek dam No. 38 had considerable slope slide damage shown here that occurred during periods of heavy rainfall following extended drought.

Discussing Chambers Creek dam No. 38 and the progress of the more than $1.33 million Recovery Act funded project are Stan Ellison, left, NRCS district conservationist in Johnson County and Charles Kaluza, right, NRCS construction control inspector. Together, Chambers Creek dams Nos. 32 and 38 are using approximately $2.11 million in federal funding to repair the two dams within the sub-watersheds of the Trinity River.

This photograph shows the severe wave erosion damage to the front side of Chambers Creek dam No. 38, along with slope slide damage located near the riser. Once the dam repairs are completed, the benefits to downstream communities will ensure the dams are safe, providing benefits for years to come. These two self-elevating scrapers and bulldozer work together to development the mixing area during the repairs to Chambers Creek dam No. 38. In the mixing area, the soil is removed, treated with lime, replaced and vegetated to stabilize the slopes.

This photograph shows the severe wave erosion damage to the front side of Chambers Creek dam No. 38, along with slope slide damage located near the riser. Once the dam repairs are completed, the benefits to downstream communities will ensure the dams are safe, providing benefits for years to come.

These two self-elevating scrapers and bulldozer work together to development the mixing area during the repairs to Chambers Creek dam No. 38. In the mixing area, the soil is removed, treated with lime, replaced and vegetated to stabilize the slopes.