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USACE Galveston District to host dam safety workshop

Published May 11, 2015

GALVESTON, Texas (May 11, 2015) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District will host Corps project managers from around the nation during a Dam Safety Modification Studies Workshop May 12-14, 2015, at the district’s headquarters building in Galveston, Texas.

The purpose of the meeting is to share lessons learned and best management practices between project managers in order to improve program and project execution and report quality for dam safety studies throughout the Corps.

“The Corps currently has 12 dam safety modifications studies underway, in addition to five recently completed studies that are now in the pre-construction engineering and design phase or early stages of construction,” said David E. Carlson, program manager for the Corps’ Risk Management Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “The outcomes of the workshop will provide insight on necessary training, staffing, process improvements and management practices that can be implemented to make future project studies more efficient and effective.”

According to Carlson, each project manager will present lessons learned and recommended best management practices pertaining to project planning, scoping, budgeting, risk assessment, alternative plan formulation and preliminary design of dam safety modifications studies.

“The primary objective of the Corps’ Dam Safety Program is to maintain public safety by ensuring that dams we own and operate are safe and that risks to the public are minimized,” said Rick Villagomez, USACE Galveston District project manager for the Addicks and Barker Dam Safety Program. “Houston’s own Addicks and Barker dams, constructed in the 1940s to protect downtown Houston from flooding in response to devastating floods that hit the city earlier in the century, have continued to protect the Houston metropolitan area for nearly 70 years.”

According to Villagomez, a Dam Safety Modification Study was completed for the Addicks and Barker Dam Safety Program, which took a comprehensive look at concerns associated with the dams.

“First and foremost, these dams are not in danger of failing,” Villagomez said. “Addicks and Barker are dry reservoirs about 90 percent of the time, and they undergo daily, weekly and annual inspections and monitoring. While the likelihood of overtopping or failure is very low, the fact the dams protect the nation’s fourth largest metropolitan area makes the consequences to life safety relatively high risk.”

According to Carlson, the Addicks and Barker Dams project is currently one of the Corps’ highest priority dam safety projects in the country and has been well-managed while experiencing numerous challenges and lessons learned over the course of the study, making the district an excellent choice to host the workshop.

“The goal is to conduct these meetings so that the knowledge we gain can be collected and passed along from the completed and on-going projects to the new start projects,” said Carlson.

The USACE Galveston District was established in 1880 as the first engineer district in Texas to oversee river and harbor improvements. The district is directly responsible for maintaining more than 1,000 miles of channel, including 250 miles of deep draft and 750 miles of shallow draft as well as the Colorado River Locks and Brazos River Floodgates.

Its main missions include navigation, ecosystem restoration, emergency management, flood risk management and regulatory oversight.

To learn more about the Addicks and Barker Dam Safety Program, visit www.addicksandbarker.info. For more news and information, visit www.swg.usace.army.mil. Find us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/GalvestonDistrict or follow us on Twitter, www.twitter.com/USACEgalveston.


Release no. 15-025