Locals urged to give feedback on high-risk Martis dam | SierraSun.com

Locals urged to give feedback on high-risk Martis dam

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun
Sun File PhotoThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has labeled the Martis Creek Dam east of Truckee and#8220;critical,and#8221; and#8220;near failureand#8221; and and#8220;extremely high risk."

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; With a rating that includes terms such as and#8220;critical,and#8221; and#8220;near failureand#8221; and and#8220;extremely high risk,and#8221; the Martis Creek Dam poses a significant flood threat to residents both locally and in the Washoe Valley.

And with a new timeline recently unveiled by the US Army Corps of Engineers, it’s possible corrective work may not begin until 2017 and#8212; roughly 45 years after structural problems were first detected.

US Army Corps of Engineers’ Adam Riley, the dam’s project manager, announced at a workshop earlier this month that a permanent solution won’t be realized until about 2015 or 2017.

Riley said temporary preventive measures are already in place to monitor the dam and#8212; rated among the nation’s worst and#8212; and to allow the lowest amount of reservoir build-up possible; however, procedures including an Environmental Impact Statement are required before any permanent solution and subsequent construction can be done.

and#8220;There are laws and regulations that we have to follow, but trying to move through that process as fast as we can is essential because of the dam’s rating,and#8221; Riley said.

Riley estimated an EIS to be completed by 2012, with engineering design and construction to occur three to five years later.

Environmental and potential financial impacts of an eventual re-build will not be clear until then, Riley said.

Previous timelines put potential project construction to begin in 2014 or 2015.

Though Truckee is upstream and well out of Martis Dam’s flood zone and#8212; if it fails, it could send a wall of water straight toward Reno/Sparks and#8212; Riley said there would still be local impacts.

and#8220;I think some of the concerns (for Truckee residents) have to do with the various measures to alleviate some of the problems in changing some of the aesthetics and some of the environmental resource issues that come with a changed environment,and#8221; Riley said.

During the Dec. 1 workshop at Truckee High School, Riley said his hope is more public outreach can be done so residents near the dam can voice opinions and understand the structure’s current problems.

and#8220;I hope Truckee residents are aware of the current situation of the dam because it’s in their backyard,and#8221; he said.

Written comments are encouraged through Jan 3, 2011. To fill out a form, visit http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/projects/civil/Martis_Creek/Docs/MartisPublicCommentForm.pdf

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