Friday, December 16, 2005

Flood Control Editorial

This editorial in today's Bee shows signs of an emerging collaboration among public leadership around American River flood control involving the Folsom Dam.

We hope it continues, here's an excerpt.

"Talk about a turnaround. Six months ago, the flood control project at Folsom Dam was a near disaster when its project cost appeared to triple. Today, a new project is rapidly taking shape that could solve the problem of the dam's inability to release enough water before big rains arrive.

Part of the credit goes to the engineers who may have found a cheaper solution. But huge credit goes to an emerging team of federal and local agencies. They have learned that this flood control problem cannot be solved expeditiously without each other's help.

Big flood control projects are typically the sole domain of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A different federal agency, the Bureau of Reclamation, actually operates Folsom Dam. But the original flood fix was entirely under the corps' control.

That project was to enlarge the existing outlets on the face of the dam. The corps thought the project would cost around $200 million. But bids came in above $600 million - way beyond any federal or local budget.

Then a new engineering solution emerged. There is an emergency spillway to the side of the dam. A small cofferdam behind the dam could expose this spillway to give construction crews easy access. The idea is to construct new flood release gates."