Feds Should Build Dams

Any dam of substantial size or threatening communities should be built by the federal government, as they are the only ones with the expertise and resources to ensure a good and safe build.

This article from the Los Angeles Times is about dams in trouble and it seems most are not federally built.

An excerpt.

“On a cold morning last March, Kenny Angel got a frantic knock on his door. Two workers from a utility company in northern Nebraska had come with a stark warning: Get out of your house.

“Just a little over a quarter-mile upstream, the 92-year-old Spencer Dam was straining to contain the swollen, ice-covered Niobrara River after an unusually intense snow and rainstorm. The workers had tried but failed to force open the dam’s frozen wooden spillway gates. So, fearing the worst, they fled in their truck, stopping to warn Angel before driving away without him.

“Minutes later, the dam came crashing down, unleashing a wave of water carrying ice chunks the size of cars. Angel’s home was wiped away; his body was never found.

“He had about a five-minute notice, with no prior warning the day before,” said Scott Angel, one of Kenny’s brothers.

“State inspectors had given the dam a “fair” rating less than a year earlier. Until it failed, it looked little different from thousands of others across the U.S. — and that could portend a problem.

“A more than two-year investigation by the Associated Press has found scores of dams nationwide in even worse condition, and in equally dangerous locations. They loom over homes, businesses, highways or entire communities that could face life-threatening floods if the dams don’t hold.

“A review of federal data and reports obtained under state open records laws identified 1,688 high-hazard dams rated in poor or unsatisfactory condition as of last year in 44 states and Puerto Rico. The actual number is almost certainly higher: Some states declined to provide condition ratings for their dams, claiming exemptions to public record requests. Others simply haven’t rated all their dams due to lack of funding, staffing or authority to do so.

“In California, six high-hazard dams were rated as poor or unsatisfactory, including Oroville, which failed in 2017 and prompted mass evacuations downstream. Crews have since been repairing the dam and it is now listed in “fair” condition, according to California inspectors. The other dams were Kelley Hot Spring in Modoc County; North Fork in Santa Clara County; Misselbeck in Shasta County; Moccasin Lower in Tuolumne County; and Matilija, a dam in Ventura County slated for removal.

To read the rest of the article retrieved November 12, 2019, go here, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2019-11-12/dams-failure-flood-risk-oroville

 

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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