- About Us
Delegation calls for urgency, cooperation to keep dam fix on track
Today, a state congressional delegation sent a letter to Lieutenant General Robert Van Antwerp urging the Army Corps of Engineers to continue working at full speed to complete the study phase of the Howard Hanson Dam fix and move into the design and construction phase of the project.
The delegation included Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and Congressmen Adam Smith, Dave Reichert, Norm Dicks, Jim McDermott, Jay Inslee, Brian Baird and Rick Larsen.
The delegation called on the Corps to explain in full how they plan on completing the study phase by June in order to ensure that the project can be considered for fiscal year 2012 construction funding.
The delegation also requested a meeting with Major General William T. Grisoli, deputy commanding general for civil and emergency operations, to review the timeline and impress upon him the importance of this project for families and businesses in the Green River Valley.
Members of the delegation also requested a conference call with Army Corps leadership and local officials to discuss the Howard Hanson Dam project and give them an opportunity to ask additional questions.
Members of the delegation said in the letter:
“Our priority at the federal level is to achieve the safest and fastest permanent fix to the Howard Hanson Dam, which requires no delays in the study, design, and construction of the project … This decrease in the probability of flooding is a critical achievement. However, it is difficult for those who live, work, or own businesses in the Green River Valley to rest easy until the full protection offered by Howard Hanson Dam is restored.”
Following a record high level of water behind Howard Hanson Dam last January, the Corps restricted flood storage behind the dam after they observed two depressions on the right abutment, increased water levels in groundwater monitoring wells, and silty water entering the abutment drainage tunnel. To date, engineers have excavated the depressions, installed additional monitoring equipment and conducted tests while a summer conservation pool was stored at the dam.
There is no imminent risk of dam failure. However, what the Corps has found so far hasn’t yet increased confidence in using the full flood storage capacity of the dam. Should a major flood event occur with a limited flood storage capacity, it is possible that levees in the lower valley could be overtopped.