WEDA Webinar: Spotlight on reservoir sedimentation

The Western Dredging Association (WEDA) Education Commission’s Reservoir Sediments Dredging Panel is set to take place on Friday, August 14, at 1 PM EST.

This panel will discuss the current state of reservoir sedimentation in the United States, estimated reservoir capacity losses, flooding impacts due to the loss capacity, dredging practices to reduce reservoir sedimentation, current research efforts by the USACE, environmental benefits and steps to secure permits for reservoir dredging, and Reclamation and USACE research prize competition for reservoir sediment removal.

Reservoir Sediment Dredging panelist:

• Dr. Greg Morris, Reservoir Sediment Expert

• Dr. John Shelley, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

• Michael Whelan, Anchor QEA, LLC

• David Olson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

• Dr. Tim Randall, Bureau of Reclamation

• Stanley Ekren, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co.

The estimated 90,000 dams and reservoirs in the U.S. (National Inventory on Dams, 2017) constitute a critical component of the nation’s water infrastructure.

Economy and welfare depends on a continuous and reliable system of water supply and infrastructure for municipal, industrial, agricultural, flood control and hydropower uses.

These water systems are also important for environmental management, recreation and groundwater aquifer recharge. Water storage reservoirs are essential for regulating highly Variable River flows, making water available whenever needed, creating a singularly important, but often unseen foundation for modern society.

The vast majority of the nation’s water storage reservoirs were constructed decades ago, and since construction, they have been trapping clays, silts, sands and gravels eroded from the land surface of the upstream watershed.

The present practice of allowing the nation’s reservoirs to gradually fill with sediment over time is not sustainable.

Once the benefits of a reservoir have been lost to sedimentation, dam removal is often the eventual outcome and can be expensive for large sedimentation volumes.

Even after dam removal, significant quantities of sediment may remain in the reservoir which will likely render the area unsuitable for future generations to use for water storage.