Targeting Water Resources Projects with USACEPosted on Wednesday, November 14th, 2018 by Jason Davis
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The United States Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Civil Works program targets water resource projects, such as flood risk management, navigation, recreation, infrastructure, and environmental. Efforts with this designation are not located on a military installation or used for military operations.
The USACE Civil Works mission is to provide quality service to the nation during peacetime and war. They help maintain and build the country’s water resource infrastructure to protect life and property, support interstate commerce via waterways, and help manage our natural resources. Below, you’ll find descriptions of work we recently completed as part of USACE’s vital program.
FY18 Levee Inspections
This year, Affinis performed periodic inspections for the Osawatomie, Auburndale (Topeka) and North Topeka Unit-Soldier Creek RB2 (Topeka) levee systems. A periodic inspection (PI) is an in depth, boots-on-the-ground inspection, during which we walk the entire levee to locate deficiencies that require repair. For these kinds of projects, we also research the levee design criteria to determine if the system would still perform as intended during a highwater event. All of this data is packaged into a final PI report when the inspections are complete. USACE used to perform PI’s every 5 years until the 1980s when funding for PI’s was reduced or eliminated. After Hurricane Katrina, levee safety was placed in the spotlight. The comprehensive PI allows USACE to:
- Determine levee risk for each system in an effort to mitigate it.
- Help local levee sponsors mitigate their risk through deficiency repair and changes to levee operation and maintenance and emergency action plans.
- Determine the nation’s over all flood risk for levees within the USACE inventory.
PBPN Feasibility Study
The project area for these studies is the 77,440 acre, Prairie Band Pottawatomie Nation (PBPN) reservation in Jackson County, Kansas. There, we evaluated watersheds within the reservation, including Big Soldier Creek, Little Soldier Creek, Banner Creek, Bills Creek, and South Cedar Creek. The objective of the preliminary assessment was to characterize issues within the study area using available data and to identify a minimum of one beneficial and effectual plan that would create federal and sponsor interest.
The preliminary assessment documented existing and future conditions without any improvements and recommended that USACE and PBPN move forward with a cost-shared feasibility study for ecosystem restoration and streambank stabilization projects. The suggested improvements would restore habitat, protect water resources, improve natural resource-based cultural resources, provide an emergency water supply for the reservation, and improve water quality. The preliminary assessment was completed in 2015, while the feasibility study is ongoing.
VE Study for Swope Park Flood Damage Reduction Project
USACE is required to perform a Value Engineering (VE) Study when project costs exceed $10M. A VE study waiver may be allowed for projects costing less than $10M. The Affinis team performed a VE to look for value-added items that would make the levee project better and/or find ways to reduce cost by constructing or designing the project in a different way than what was originally proposed. The completed levee will protect the Swope Industrial Park businesses from the risk of flood caused by the Blue River. This project is ongoing, but slated for completion in 2018.