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Recovery Act Funding Helps Dam Repairs in Collin County

story by Randy Henry

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has dam repairs started in Collin County using Recovery Act funding with approximately $1.28 million working 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 Pilot Grove dam No. 28 and Little Elm and Laterals dam No. 16. To date, repairs have begun on the dams that encompass 2,506 project area acres. Plus, the two dams will continue to provide more than $183,800 in annual benefits to downstream properties in the county.

"With the population growth Collin County has experienced, these flood control structures will help maintain the infrastructure, along with increasing safety measures to protect the surrounding communities," said Clyde Hogue, NRCS district conservationist in Collin 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.

"Many communities downstream will truly benefit from these dam repairs," Hogue said. "Plus, the landowner had stocked the lake with hybrid bass, so we did not drain it making for a successful project for everyone involved."

Besides NRCS, sponsors for the dams include the Collin County Soil and Water Conservation District and Collin 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, as well as 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.

The front side of Pilot Grove dam No. 28 in Collin County, Texas

This photograph shows the landscape surrounding the back slope of Pilot Grove dam No. 28 with the impact basin in the background and removed top soil in the mixing area.

The front side of Pilot Grove dam No. 28 in Collin County, Texas, shows how close homes are to the lake with current repairs under way using $744,000 in federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Prior to repairing the dam, the landowner stocked this lake with hybrid bass, so the lake was not drained to accommodate the surrounding homes and families during construction.

This photograph shows the landscape surrounding the back slope of Pilot Grove dam No. 28 with the impact basin in the background and removed top soil in the mixing area. The landowner was able to rotate his livestock successfully to graze in the pastureland near the repair site, ensuring environmental benefits for the landowner, livestock and downstream communities once the dam repairs are complete.