Army Corps of Engineers keeps watch on Indiana and Illinois levees

Published Feb. 12, 2009

LOUISVILLE, KY – Along the Wabash River in Indiana and the Wabash Basin area, some communities are bracing for rainfall predicted this week and with it, possible increased river flows or potential flooding. The Army Corps of Engineers water management teams working in the emergency operations center have activated and are monitoring river gauges and Corps lakes in the area.
Army Corps of Engineers Lakes in central and southern Indiana has room for rainfall storage. Water is released from the lakes under controlled conditions which minimize impacts to downstream areas. At this time, all the Corps lakes in the Wabash River Basin are capable of providing near maximum flood damage reduction benefits. Even under the current rainfall predictions, these lakes are not expected to reach even 75 percent utilized.
The Louisville District levees within the federal program, both agricultural and urban levees, are in good standing and remain in the program. This means they would qualify to receive federal aid for repairs should they be damaged in a flood.
Since the Midwest flooding in the summer of 2008, eight agricultural levees received aid for repairs in Indiana and Illinois. These are Russell-Allison, Ambraw, Ste. Marie, Honey Creek, Gill Township, Niblack, England Pond, and Brevoort.
As an example, repairs to the Ambraw Levee, in Lawrence County, Illinois, on the left bank of the Embarras River were made by the Army Corps of Engineers after the Midwest flooding in the spring of 2008. It is currently performing and is operational. Some local levees operators performed the levee repairs on their own and they still remain in the levee Rehabilitation Inspection Program. The McGinnis Levee is such an example.
Recent work to stabilize the Russell-Allison levee, also in Lawrence County, has just been completed. Three breaches from the summer Midwest Flooding were temporarily repaired during the fall and winter at this site. Construction efforts included placement of material and compaction of the levee embankment. Continued monitoring indicated some further settling of material had occurred.
To provide increased stabilization, a full lift of 250 ft. of good clay-type material, approximately 3,000 cubic yards, has been placed on the landside of the levee. Permanent repairs are scheduled to begin later this spring weather permitting.
“Our contractor, TJC, has used good, workable clay material which will allow a stable tie-in to the existing levee embankment,” said Theresa Beckham, Louisville District project manager. “This type of material contributes toward a suitable permanent repair.”
Due to inclement weather and soggy climate in the fall and winter, the fill material for Russell-Allison needs to be increased and compacted for a more permanent and substantial repair. No other additional work has been needed at other levees that the Corps repaired from the Midwest floods.
As a precaution, the Corps will preposition sandbags and other materials for ready use should the Russell Allison levee exhibit signs of stress.
Kentucky Ice Storm and Army Corps of Engineers Preparedness News
The Army Corps of Engineers, along with team from FEMA and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, installed more than 155 generators at critical facilities across the 101 counties ravaged by the ice and cold weather in Kentucky. The Corps of Engineers also has the mission to remove generators as power is replaced in the vicinity. As of Feb. 10, Corps Contractors have de-installed twenty-six generators.
“The Corps of Engineers is committed to provide whatever support is needed to FEMA, State and Local Officials and the citizens throughout Kentucky and Indiana affected by this winter storm,” said Commander Col. Keith Landry, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District. “We are here to serve.”