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Federal Grants for WA Dams

by Evin Moore


Workers assess growth and slope stability in Aberdeen.

The Department of Ecology in early October received $153,000 in federal grants for projects on two dams in need of repair. How this funding fits into the greater hot-button conversation about removing dams to benefit the struggling salmon returns is unknown.

The grants are part of a new federal program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), who will providing $10 million for dam repair, pre-planning, and data collection. The grants will be split evenly between the cities of Aberdeen and Newcastle. Improvements will be made to slope stability issues at Aberdeen’s Fairview Reservoir #1 and Newcastle’s Railroad Embankment Dam will be stabilized and removed.

Both cities will consult engineers next year to collect data and develop solutions to residual problems. One of the terms of the grant was that dam owners must be able to provide a 35% match of the funds made available from the grant.

“Through our inspection program, we identified both of these projects as being in poor condition and needing engineer assessments and repairs,” said Joe Witczak, Ecology’s Dam Safety Office manager. “This is the first year this grant funding was available and we intend to apply again next year in support of other high hazard dams in need of repair.”

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