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Navarro County Gets Dam Repairs Started from Recovery Act Funding

story by Randy Henry

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has started dam repairs in Navarro County using Recovery Act funding with nearly $3.33 million to repair three flood control dams in the sub-watersheds of the Trinity River.

Federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 will pay for repairs to Chambers Creek dam No. 128 and Richland Creek dams Nos. 26 and 47. To date, repairs have begun on Chambers Creek dam No. 128. Together, these three dams encompass 3,040 project area acres, and will provide about $165,000 in annual benefits to downstream properties in the county.

"The dam repairs to these three flood prevention sites in Navarro County will help maintain the flood control structures for years to come, and protect the surrounding communities and public infrastructure that are vital to this area," said Kristy Oates, NRCS district conservationist in Navarro County.

These needed repairs are from slope slides on the flood control dams, 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 dams are safe, providing benefits for years to come.

"As the population grows in the county, these dams that were originally built in rural areas are now helping prevent flooding in a more urban landscape," Oates said.

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

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, 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 in 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.

Chambers Creek 128 Front Slope and Riser

Chambers Creek 128 Topsoil Removal

The front slope on Chambers Creek dam No. 128 in Navarro County is currently being repaired due to slope slides that resulted from heavy rainfall following extensive drought. Funding for three dam repair sites is being provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 within the Chambers Creek and Richland Creek sub-watersheds of the Trinity River in Navarro County.

With a view from on top of the dam at Chambers Creek No. 128, the plunge basin is successfully flowing to drain the lake for further dam repairs while the back side has topsoil being stripped to produce a mixing area. The soil is removed, mixed and treated with lime, and replaced to stabilize the slopes of the dam.