Pocahontas State Park

Flooding took place at Pocahontas State Park following storms last September. Nearby Woodland Pond in Chesterfield County is one of more than 20 dams receiving a state grant toward dam safety initiatives.

As groups like the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) warn of the risks for dams in Virginia and around the country, we’re pleased to see our state create programs to foster improvements.

On Friday, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) announced more than $500,000 in grants to support tools and upgrades at more than 20 dams across the commonwealth. Applications for projects were robust and reviewed by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board.

“As we are in hurricane season in the Mid-Atlantic, it’s important to remember that flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster,” DCR Director Clyde E. Cristman said in a statement. “I’m pleased that dam owners and communities across Virginia are leveraging these funds to increase public safety.”

Every effort counts. The grants provide a boost for infrastructure studies, as well as emergency planning initiatives to keep Virginians safe and sound. Some focus on “inundation zones” — downstream areas at risk during a breach. Others zero in on “probable maximum precipitation” — the greatest depth of rain that could occur during a storm.

Local awards include:

Woodland Pond in Chesterfield County — $6,980 for dam break inundation zone analysis, mapping and digitization

Westview Dam in Goochland County — $3,400 for emergency plan development; $9,000 for dam break inundation zone analysis, mapping and digitization

Charter Lake in Hanover County — $3,125 for emergency plan development

Upper Byers Dam in Powhatan County — $1,140 for probable maximum precipitation impact analysis and certification

Last year, the Lake Overton Dam in Henrico County received two grants from the same fund — $11,295 for dam break inundation zone analysis, mapping and digitization and $1,882.50 for geotechnical analysis for dam/spillway stability.

According to DCR, the dam safety fund provides support for public or private owners whose structures are state regulated. Local governments also can submit proposals for flood control initiatives, ranging from revised ordinances that can mitigate flood damage to outreach materials that increase public awareness.

One of the greatest issues dam owners face is funding. We recognize DCR’s efforts and hope these grants will be put to good use by local entities to create a safer commonwealth.

— Chris Gentilviso

Receive daily news emails sent directly to your email inbox

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.