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Williamson County Gets Dam Repairs

story by Randy Henry

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has dam repairs started in Williamson County using Recovery Act funding with approximately $1.86 million to repair a flood control dam within the Lower Brushy Creek Watershed.

Federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 paid for repairs on Lower Brushy Creek Watershed dam No. 4A on about 1,920 project area acres, and will provide about $220,000 in annual benefits to downstream properties in the county.

"Dam repairs to this flood control structure in Williamson County will help maintain and protect the surrounding communities and public infrastructure that are so vital to this area," said Jeff Heath, NRCS program manager in Weatherford, Texas.

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

"With the population growth in Williamson County, these dams that originally had a 50-year lifespan and built in a rural landscape are now helping prevent flooding in a more urban environment and provide benefits for many communities," Heath said.

Besides NRCS, other partners include the Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District No. 1B and Taylor Soil and Water Conservation District.

Flood prevention dams within the Lower Brushy Creek 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 dam. Benefits include downstream protection of farms, communities, and bridges from flooding, 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.

Dam repairs within the Lower Brushy Creek Watershed 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 nearly $1.73 million to the local economy.

Front Slope with Wave and Slope Slide Damage

Front Slope and Scrapers

Lower Brushy Creek Watershed dam No. 4A had severe wave erosion and slope slide damage like the one shown here that occurred during periods of heavy rainfall following extensive drought. This $1.86 million Recovery Act funded project will provide $220,000 in annual benefits to downstream properties in Williamson County, along with adding nearly $1.73 million to the local economy.

Self-elevating scrapers work along the front slope on Lower Brushy Creek Watershed dam No. 4A in Williamson County, so Misti Pearcy (left), NRCS rangeland management specialist in Georgetown, Texas, checks the progress of the dam repairs. The soil is being removed, treated with lime, and replaced to stabilize the slopes.