ARRA funding and Flood Control Dam Rehabilitation

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The Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission received funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the Small Watershed Rehabilitation Program (REHAB) that was managed by USDA-NRCS. The REHAB Program allowed NRCS to provide technical and financial assistance to watershed sponsors to rehabilitate aging dams. Many of the soil and water conservation district sponsored watershed dams were built during the 1950-1970s and now, over 150 of these dams are classified as Georgia Safe Dams high hazard structures. This classification requires that these dams be upgraded and rehabilitated in order to meet state and federal safe dam requirements that are designed to protect the dams and existing structures in the breach zones below dams.

The ARRA program required that sponsors provide a local cost share match of 35 percent. Fortunately, GSWCC received state assistance to accommodate the local cost share requirement.  This funding provided an opportunity for GSWCC and NRCS to rehabilitate five dams: Marbury No. 22 in Barrow County, Sandy Creek Nos. 15 and 23 in Jackson County, and South River No. 4 and Little Sandy and Trail Creek No. 1 in Madison County.

Work included:

Marbury Creek #22, Barrow County: J&K Utilities of Jefferson, Ga has been contracted to widen the existing auxiliary spillway to 200 ft. and restore the slopes of the dam to original grade after years of damage.

Little Sandy Creek and Trail #1, Madison County: Sullivan Construction Company of Homer, Ga working to widen the auxiliary spillway to 300 ft. and install a 40 splitter dike in the spillway center.

South River #4, Madison County: Sunbelt Structures of Tucker, Ga worked to install a concrete chute in the dam’s center with a corrugated weir to replace the earthen spillway (which will not be closed). The dam will also be raised 3 ft., although maximum flood elevations will not change. This is done to ensure that all flood waters are directed to the chute spillway; in the past the dam would have overtopped.

Sandy Creek #15, Jackson County: Brasfield & Gorrie of Atlanta, Ga performed the work on this dam, which will feature a 180 ft. concrete chute spillway with a corrugated weir. The top of the dam will also be raised by 3 ft. to ensure that all flood waters are directed to the chute spillway. Maximum flood elevations on this watershed structure will not change.

Sandy Creek #23, Jackson County: Brasfield & Gorrie also performed work on this structure, which will receive a concrete chute spillway with a corrugated weir upon completion. The top of the dam will also be raised 5.8 ft.

With the end of ARRA funds, rehabilitation of flood control dams has continued but on a more limited basis using state bond money.