Martis Creek Dam study continues, no closures expected this summer | SierraSun.com

Martis Creek Dam study continues, no closures expected this summer

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The Army Corps of Engineers will back off on field work this summer on Martis Creek Dam, meaning no closures for the public.

The 1970s-era earthen flood-control dam has been ranked by the corps as one of the six riskiest in the country because of the glacial till soil underneath that allows water leakage, and the earthquake faults that appear to run under it and#8212; both meaning the dam could fail, sending a wall of water downstream to Reno in a worst-case scenario.

The corps has kept the dam gates open throughout its study, keeping water levels extremely low and#8212; 4 percent of the total storage as of March 8.

This summer, Adam Riley, project manager for the corps, said the corps likely will study the results of field work done the past few years, from soil composition to earthquake fault trenching, working toward potential solutions to reduce risks.

Previously, the corps had been working under a timeline that involved completion of a Dam Safety Modifications Report by 2014, designing a project by 2016 and construction between 2016 and 2019.

and#8220;Weand#8217;re looking to accelerate that timeline because of the urgent nature of the project by about a year and a half,and#8221; Riley said.

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The project has received $2.4 million for 2010, compared to an anticipated $3 million, and carried over about $83,000 from previous years.

and#8220;Weand#8217;ve been getting a good amount of funding for the project, but less funding than ideal and#8212; I think thatand#8217;s across the board for all projects,and#8221; Riley said. and#8220;Everybody is doing the best they can.and#8221;