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Congressman Ralph M. Hall Addresses Constituents at Dam Rehabilitation Ded

Congressman Ralph M. Hall Addresses Constituents at Dam Rehabilitation Dedication Ceremony

Story by Randy Henry

Supporters and constituents joined the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in a dedication ceremony celebrating the completion of the dam rehabilitation of East Fork above Lavon (EFAL) Floodwater Retarding Structure (FRS) Site 1A on Nov. 5, 2010, along with landowners Lawrence and Wanda Freeman and city officials from McKinney, Texas. The keynote speaker for the ceremony was U.S. Representative Ralph M. Hall (R-TX) from the 4th Congressional District of Texas.

The recognition ceremony acknowledges the cooperation of local, state, and federal agencies in developing and implementing the rehabilitation of EFAL FRS Site 1A, which is located in Collin County near the city of McKinney.

At a cost of approximately $3 million, with NRCS contributing 65 percent of the cost, the project is the fifth watershed dam to be rehabilitated in Collin County. The city of McKinney provided funds for the remaining 35 percent of the project cost. The project is administered by NRCS through the Small Watershed Rehabilitation Program.

�When people look to an area for growth, they will look for water, highways and roads with people that can work together. This watershed project is a good example of working together in celebrating its completion with achievement and pride,� said Congressman Hall. �The standards have increased in Collin County due to population and growth, so working together is how this rehabilitation project has come about successfully.�

�This project assures the safety for many upstream and downstream communities and shows the success of the Small Watershed Rehabilitation Program that�s working in Collin County,� said Clyde Hogue, NRCS district conservationist in Collin County. �The program helps protect lives and property by upgrading dams to meet high hazard criteria. Many dams have been reclassified from low hazard to high hazard because of downstream urban development.�

Hogue added that the completion of the rehabilitation ensures the dam meets current performance and safety standards for a high hazard dam.

Over the past 60 years, nearly 2,000 FRSs have been built in Texas through the Small Watershed Program. However, many dams are impacted by both upstream and downstream development as was the case with EFAL Dam Site No. 1A.

�This floodwater retarding structure will deliver protection for the citizens and residents of Collin County,� said Steve Bednarz, NRCS assistant state conservationist for water resources. �The success of dam rehabilitation projects like EFAL Site 1A lies within the ability to form lasting partnerships between NRCS, local conservation districts, cities, counties, and other government entities. This dam rehab benefits the surrounding downstream communities near U.S. Highway 380 within the county and the city of McKinney.�

Bednarz noted that working with many sponsoring local organizations in Texas as well as the rest of the nation, NRCS has been able to significantly reduce flood damages and eliminate or reduce the potential for loss of life within hundreds of watershed projects.

�EFAL Dam Site 1A is the tenth dam to be rehabilitated in Texas,� he said. �The first dam rehabilitated in Texas was EFAL Site 3C located in the Mallard Lakes subdivision in Collin County. Plus, the rehab plan for another EFAL Dam Site 2A, was recently completed and authorized for funding and implementation.�

Moreover, Congressman Hall commented on the progress of dam rehabilitation projects in Collin County, and particularly within the congressional district he represents.

�This structure was originally constructed around 50 years ago, and this area was mostly rural back when the first structure was built,� said Congressman Hall. �There was no stimulus funding used here for this dam rehabilitation, and it�s the first structure to be completed in McKinney�s portion of District 4.�

�I want to thank the NRCS for a job very well done using their technical guidance, and working with local sponsors in completing this rehabilitation project,� he said.

NRCS worked very closely with a steering committee made up of representatives of the sponsor agencies, city officials of McKinney, local homeowners, and other interested citizens to evaluate several options to rehabilitate the dam.

�Downstream urbanization has caused many dams in Collin County to be classified high hazard, so working with local partners, landowners and other residents surely benefits the city of McKinney to reduce the dam for failure that could result in the loss of life,� said Hogue.

Other distinguished speakers at the ceremony were Mike Hebert, president of the National Watershed Coalition; McKinney Mayor Pro-Tem Pete Huff; and Butch Aycock, chairman of the Collin County Soil and Water Conservation District.

1A City of McKinney Shot #2 
Photo Credit:  City of McKinney, Texas

Jaynes, Hall and Huff at 1A

This aerial photograph shows East Fork above Lavon Floodwater Retarding Structure Dam Site 1A, which was completed at a cost of approximately $3 million with NRCS contributing 65 percent of the cost. The project is the fifth watershed dam to be rehabilitated with funding from local partners in Collin County, Texas.

With a new 30-inch principal spillway pipe (riser) and 70-foot wide roller-compacted concrete auxiliary spillway in the background, four key players that supported the dam rehabilitation project are, from left to right, Butch Aycock, chairman of the Collin County Soil and Water Conservation District; Joe Jaynes, Collin County Commissioner (Precinct 3); Congressman Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), 4th Congressional District of Texas; and McKinney Mayor Pro-Tem Pete Huff join together during the dedication ceremony on Nov. 5, 2010 at the EFAL Dam Site 1A in McKinney, Texas.

Hall and Huff Cut Ribbon Rep Hall with NRCS Award

While Collin County Commissioner Joe Jaynes (Precinct 3) looks on, Congressman Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), 4th Congressional District of Texas, and McKinney Mayor Pro-Tem Pete Huff cut the ceremonial ribbon dedicating the dam rehabilitation project at the East Fork above Lavon Dam Site 1A on Nov. 5, 2010.

During the dedication ceremony, Congressman Ralph M. Hall (R-TX), 4th Congressional District of Texas, shows the many supporters and constituents attending the ceremony a recognition award presented to him by NRCS Texas for his efforts in getting the dam rehabilitation of EFAL Dam Site 1A completed. The dam rehab project will deliver a safer environment against possible floodwater damage to downstream communities near U.S. Highway 380 and the city of McKinney in Collin County, Texas.