U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District, Vol. 7, Issue 1, Fall 2016
Environmental Advisory Board visits Pittsburgh see page 12
Headwaters Update is a quarterly publication of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District. It is produced for electronic distribution by the Public Affairs Office. Views and opinions expressed in the Headwaters Update are not necessarily those of the Department of the Army or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Submissions may be sent to CELRP-PA@usace.army. mil for consideration in upcoming editions. Stories submitted should be in a Word document format. All photographs should include a caption and be high resolution (at least 4x6 inches and 300 dpi).
Huntington District visits East Branch
US Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District Col. John P. Lloyd District Commander Public Affairs Chief Jeff Hawk Editor Carol Vernon John Kelly Layout & Design Dan Jones Public Affairs Office 412-395-7500 www.lrp.usace.army.mil
Kim Warner, East Branch Dam
On the Cover Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite (Right), commanding general and chief of engineers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, toured the site of the future North Shore Ecosystem Restoration Project during the Environmental Advisory Boardâ€™s visit to Pittsburgh, Oct. 17 -19, 2016. (Photo by Carol Davis, PAO)
Huntington District personnel from the Muskingum Resident Office in Dover, Ohio visited the East Branch Dam project, Oct. 5. The visit provided the two staffs the opportunity to meet and share information about their projects and tour the site, Oct. 5. The Muskingum Resident Office is administering the Bolivar Dam Safety Assurance project near Bolivar,
In this Issue
Ohio, a $44.3 million contract, which includes a cutoff wall through the dam to prevent seepage. Participating in the visit and site tour were Matt Folk, resident engineer and Brian Soller, a Muskingum Resident Office project engineer; Jeff Maynard, lead engineer from the Dam Safety Modification Mandatory Center of Expertise in Huntington; and Howard Gault from the Risk Management Center in Pittsburgh.
Page 4 - District Divers perform underwater inspection Page 5 - Treatment Plant rescues East Branch Lake Page 14 - Cross Culvert installed at Charleroi Lock and Dam Page 16 - Corps partners with University of Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania Geologists dig in at Conemaugh
Diane Czelusta and Kevin Gabig, district geologists, share their insight and issues of the geology involved in the construction of the Conemaugh Dam.
By Mark Keppler, Conemaugh Lake Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District attended the 81st Annual Field Conference of Pennsylvania Geologists at Conemaugh Lake Oct. 6 – 8. The focus of the conference was energy and the environment surrounding Indiana, Pa. and included a tour of Conemaugh Dam. Geologists were focused on this area due to it being rich in both energy and non-fuel minerals.
Attendees included numerous institutional professors and professional geologists. The event hosts were members from various organizations including the Pennsylvania Geologic Survey, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and the Geoscience Department of Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Federal and state agencies were also represented including the Environmental Protection Agency, United States Geologic Survey and Pa. Department Environmental Protection employees.
Disk Golf tees off at Tionesta By Luke Houston, Tionesta Lake A new golf course has been installed at the Tionesta Lake Dam site recreation park. Lake ranger and volunteer, Chris Deitzel, installed the nine-hole disc course, which begins at the Visitor’s Information Center parking lot and loops around the dam site trail, then ending back near the parking lot. The tee-to-basket distances range from 75 yards to 205 yards along the back loop. The course blends in with the natural terrain and is designed to be fun and challenging. A plan for an 18-hole course is in the works for next year.
The original geological survey of Pennsylvania from the 1800s passed to the right and left of Indiana County when it was conducted. This left a conspicuous gap and a veritable “nether world” of geology uncharted. Since the original survey, the “nether world” has been fleshed out, and during this year’s event these later chronicled areas were highlighted. Attendees looked at past and present environments, and Pittsburgh District employees indicated that the event was a great success.
Diversity alone will not fix the generational gaps and communication problems in today’s workforce. When we look at the meaning of the word diversity, it basically means difference. Focusing on Robert Turner differences will not create the EEO Chief synergy needed to become the workforce of the future. In my experience, if we move pass concept of diversity and embrace inclusion the outcome promotes acceptance and builds a team concept. Here in the Pittsburgh District, I challenge you embrace inclusion. You will be amazed in how it will help change the culture of this great organization.
District takes a dive at Montgomery L/D
By Dane Summerville, Locks and Dams Branch Diving operations were conducted at Montgomery Lock and Dam to perform mandatory underwater inspection of the facility, June 20-24. Matt Reisinger, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District diver, is depicted in the picture entering the water with a “giant stride.” The technique ensures the diver not only clears from the boat, but also places his legs in the position to propel him back to the surface if something goes wrong during the entry. Montgomery Lock and Dam have as much structure underneath the water as there is above. That is what makes diving a very valuable component to the navigation mission not only in the Pittsburgh District, but also across the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Other members of the underwater inspection dive team are Jay Kochuga, Joe Kochuga, Pete Gerovac and Kip Shenton.
Crooked Creek volunteer rewarded hard work, dedication By Karlee Kocon, Crooked Creek Lake
A Crooked Creek Lake volunteer received a Volunteer’s Coin from the Corps Foundation for his outstanding efforts at Crooked Creek Lake on Sept. 21. The volunteer, Patrick Schrock, has worked more than 100 hours at the lake during the 2016 recreation season. Schrock’s hard work touched nearly every aspect of the park including everything from refurbishing benches and picnic tables to painting parking lot bumper blocks to building owl boxes. Inside the Visitors Information Center, among his many task, he constructed shelving and put together new office chairs. Schrock’s actions have improved the aesthetic appeal of the park and supported the flood damage reduction, recreation and environmental stewardship missions, respectively. He also inspired other volunteers to participate at the project.
For more information about the Pittsburgh Distict, visit: www.lrp.usace.army.mil 4
Treatment plant rescues East Branch Lake By Art Myers, East Branch Dam
Maj. Cornelius Batts, deputy commander of the Pittsburgh District, presented Dwyer with a district coin in appreciation of his presentation.
Pittsburgh District hosts
immigration lecture for Hispanic Heritage Month By Oleain Lockhart, Engineering U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District held its Hispanic Heritage Month Program, Oct. 26. This year’s guest speaker, Dr. John “Jay” Dwyer, is an award-winning author who spoke to an audience of 55 employees about the pattern of Mexican migration in the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition to patterns of movement, he brought focus to the political and socio-economic history of the Mexican migration to the United States. He examined various causes, benefits, drawbacks and federal programs that both restricted and encouraged Mexican migration since World War II and throughout the years. Additionally, he illustrated the struggle of immigrants through various historical images throughout the presentation. As the presentation neared its end, Dwyer briefly dis-
cussed the current political opinions concerning immigration, while giving a different perspective as it relates to Mexican migration. At the conclusion of the presentation, Maj. Cornelius Batts, deputy commander of the Pittsburgh District, presented Dwyer with a district coin in appreciation of his presentation. Dwyer is the Chair of the Department of History at Duquesne University where he teaches Latin-American and Mexican history, as well as U.S. and Latin-American relations. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. His earlier research focused on land reform in Mexico and bilateral relations during the 1920s and 1930s. Presently, he is researching environmental degradation during the late 20th century along the U.S. and Mexico border around the cities of Tijuana and San Diego.
Once known as the Dead Sea of Elk County, East Branch Lake is having a resurgence of life. From the 1940s through the early 1960s, the lake endured the toxic effects of acid drainage in its water shed from heavy coal and clay mining. During that time, the average pH levels in the outflow were between 4.0 and 5.0. This decline in water quality reduced the plankton, which is an essential aquatic organism and primary food chain element. At these levels, fish are not able to survive in this environment. In 1969, the former Department of Environmental Resources, Bureau of Mine Reclamation initiated a program called “Operation Scarlift.” A lime treatment plant was established at Swamp Creek and was viewed as a short-term solution to the problem. It was thought that with the closure of the old deep mines and reclamation of high walls the discharge would be eliminated. This was not the case. Continuous operation of the lime treatment is essential to the lake’s water quality and fishery. Since shortly after the treatment with lime began, pH levels at the outflow average between 5.6 and 6.7. Now, according to Pennsylvania Great Outdoors, East Branch Lake is referred to as “Pennsylvania’s Best Kept Secret”.
East Branch Engineers work with students during K’NEX Challenge
By Kim Warner, East Branch Dam More than 50 high school students from two counties attended the Engineering Day event at the Elk County Catholic High School in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, Oct. 6. East Branch Resident Office, Project Engineers Michele Kingrey and Rob Cathers participated in the event hosted by the Community Education Centers of Elk and Cameron counties. The event intended to give students an introduction of the field of engineering and allow them to participate in the K’NEX Construction Challenge. The K’NEX Construction Challenge Workshop is designed for students to investigate the engineering process and the behavior of simple machine components as they plan and build machines to accomplish a task.
West Penn Triathalon tests athlete’s at Conemaugh Lake By Mark Keppler, Conemaugh Lake The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District Conemaugh Lake was the site of the West Penn Trail Triathlon during its fourth annual iteration Oct. 8. In addition to being a rigorous physical test, the event provides some of the financial funding to help maintain and develop future expansion of the Conemaugh Valley Conservancey trail system. The race also showcases the West Penn Trail, the Conemaugh River, and the multiple natural and historic resources the area has offer. During the early hours of race day nearly 90 participants, comprised of both individuals and teams, arrived at Conem-
augh to begin the first leg of the triathlon, a seven-mile paddle to Saltsburg. The second leg was bicycle centered with entrants peddling 14 miles to the Conemaugh Dam following a section of the CVC West Penn Trail and then returning to Saltsburg. The final leg of the race was a run of 3.1 miles, taking contestants out and back on the Kiski Section of the West Penn Trail. The fastest time was 2:13:14 by Stan Strzempek, 42, of Allison Park, PA, 35 seconds ahead of Judd Michael, 54, of Lemont, PA. Edna Spang, 48, Gibsonia, PA, won the women’s open event with a time of 2:27:34. All race times were tracked and recorded by chipped timing bracelets.
For fun children’s water safety activities visit: bobber.info
Michael J. Kirwan Celebrates 50 Years By Julie Stone, Michael J. Kirwan Lake
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh Districtâ€™s Michael J. Kirwan Dam & Reservoir celebrated 50 years of service with a ceremony hosted by Col. John Lloyd, district commander, Oct. 1. Michael J. Kirwan Dam was named after Congressman Michael J. Kirwan, a champion for the construction of the facility. At the outset of the event, the national colors were posted by a joint ranger color guard consisting of Kat Pavolillo, Mosquito Lake ranger, and Matt Pook, Berlin Lake ranger. Following the colors presentation, Southeast High School senior Carissa Flint gave a solo performance of the National Anthem. Event speakers included Col. Lloyd, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Deputy Chief Steve Harvey, Michael J. Kirwan Resource Manager Doug Krider, and grandson of the facility namesake, Michael J. Kirwan III. A total of eight members of the Kirwan family attended, with some travelling from as far away as North Carolina and Texas for the event. Special guests included 93-year old Rudy J. Kroft, the first resident
As part of the 50th Commemoration, Col. John Lloyd, district commander, plants a tree with Kirwan staff and honored guests.
engineer of the project; Susie Kline, the first park ranger assigned to Kirwan Dam; Lt. Col. William Meade of the Ohio National Guard; and Frank Seman mayor of Ravenna, Ohio. An interpretive panel, which will be placed on the dam, was unveiled and a tree was planted Col. Lloyd speaks with MS Kirwan First Resident Engineer, Rudy by Col. Lloyd and S. Kroft. members of the Kirwan family to include Swiftcraft mahogany boat. 14-year old Anna Kirwan, great-grandPark staff said attendees enjoyed daughter to Congressman Kirwan. touring the Visitor Information CenThe ceremony concluded with the ter and the appearance of Bobber the singing of the Army Song. Water Safety Dog, and that the event Displays and activities after the for- was a great success. mal portion were provided by: the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Ohio National Guard, West Branch State Park, For more information Buckeye Trail Association, Edinburg about Michael J. Kirwan Cub Scout Den 3558, and Edinburg Lake visit: Boy Scout Troop 558. www.lrp.usace.army.mil A sleek, black 1966 Ford Mustang was on display as well as a 1966
Pollinators increase at Stonewall Jackson Lake By Scott Hannah, Stonewall Jackson Lake Recently, the Stonewall State Park Foundation has taken the first steps toward the Bright Star Park Developmental Plan at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District’s Stonewall Jackson Lake. The development plan includes the establishment of an arboretum, butterfly garden, sensory garden, and daffodil memorial garden to increase pollinator availability and dispersion. In the first phase, the foundation has created a one-acre Milkweed Maze that contains a field full of Milkweed, Iron Rod, and Golden Rod. The field is not just a haven for pollinators such as Monarch butterflies and honey bees, visitors can also walk along the exercise path which runs through the field. The exercise path is located within the Milkweed Maze and encourages the public to exercise as they walk the trail. Planners wanted to multipurpose the space using exercise with the added bonuses of awareness and education promoting conservation. Path walkers encounter information that is centered on best management practices for pollinator health as they head down the trail.
The Stonewall State Park Foundation continues to seek expansion with this program through grants and volunteer services from organizations, universities and colleges. Since the Presidential Memorandum to promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators on June 20, 2014, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects across the nation are responding to the call, according to Stonewall Jackson rangers.
Silly Science Fair teaches students about STEM careers By Sharon Perkins, Berlin Lake
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District participated in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic or STEM fair called the Silly Science Fair in Youngstown, Ohio, Sept. 18. Berlin Lake Ranger Sharon Perkins managed the district’s display. The display allowed children to look at and touch numerous real animal pelts and skull replicas, including coyote, squirrel, beaver, deer and skunk. The children were provided a magnifying lens to use while at the fair and to take home for their own scientific examinations. Booth visitors could also choose from a variety of water safety products to take home with them from the USACE Water Safety Program. In addition to the Pittsburgh District display, many other displays were available to encourage children’s interest in STEM careers and activities. NASA, the OH WOW Science Museum in downtown Youngstown and local colleges provided other scientific presentations at the fair. Explorers enjoyed exploding watermelons and a Guinness Book of World Records beach ball drop with thousands of beach balls tossed in the air at once.
The fair provided children with an opportunity to exercise their curiosity, have fun and stimulate their interest in science. As quoted by the event organizer, “I cannot thank you all enough for making this year’s Silly Science Sunday so fantastic for the estimated 5,000 explorers in attendance! I had so many of our guests tell me what a great time they were having throughout the day.”
Mahoning gets some slithery visitors By Anna Donato, Mahoning Creek Lake U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District Mahoning Creek Lake hosted an educational program on snakes and their habitats with a wildlife expert at the Milton Loop Campground, Sept. 11. Stacy Foster spoke about some common preconceived notions held about snakes. As part of her program, she
brought along a timber rattle snake, a water snake, an adult and baby copperhead, and a few non-venomous snakes. Approximately 80 people attended the program. After the event, many had the opportunity to touch the rattlesnake. According to park rangers, the event seemed to be a success where everyone enjoyed the day. Attendees said they can’t wait until the next program.
Bear tagged near East Branch
By Art Meyers, East Branch Lake A farmer near East Branch Lake reported his third black bear intrusion, with corn field crop destruction, to the Pa. Game Commission during late September. The report of the bear prompted a response to locate and tag the animal. East Branch Lake staff were in attendance observing game officers carry out procedures necessary to process the bear. Its girth was measured to estimate its weight; this particular bear’s estimated weight was 198 lbs. Officers also had a milk tooth removed to determine age. Metal tags were placed in each ear and the inside of the mouth was tattooed for the purpose of permanent identification. All the measures used will assist in tracking the bear for future management.
Stockert Youth Center tours Stonewall Jackson Lake, learns water safety U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees promoted water safety to a group of 5 to 12-year-old children from the Stockert Youth Center in Buckhannon, W.Va. on July 28. Jacob Henry, Stonewall Jackson Lake ranger, provided water safety messages and water safety bags to approximately 30 children in attendance. During the presentation, volunteers from the group assisted Henry to demonstrate the proper way to wear and use a lifejacket. The children were able to enjoy the dam’s Visitor Information Center displays also. Kit Tressler, Stonewall Jackson Lake maintenance mechanic, provided a tour of the dam to the children where they learned about how and why the dam was built.
Loyalhanna Lake volunteer honored for exceptional service A Loyalhanna Lake volunteer received the Volunteer’s Coin from the Corps Foundation after logging more than 430 hours of volunteer time. Arthur Cunningham received the coin for his exceptional efforts as campground host in 2016. Sam Wagner, natural resource manager specialist ,and Loyalhanna Resource Manager, Paul Toman presented the coin Nov. 9. Cunningham volunteered as the sole host in 2016 at the Bush Recreation Campground at Loyalhanna Lake. During his time as the host, he welcomed and registered campers, explaining campground regulations and ensuring public safety throughout the day use area and campground. Cunningham served as the “eyes and ears” for USACE when employees were not present by reporting anticipated problems, maintenance concerns and security issues. He Resource Manager Paul Toman presents a Volunteer Coin to Arthur Cunningham. acted as an ambassador of Loyalhanna Lake by promoting the park’s recreational opportunities Loyalhanna staff. His sheer dependability and commitment and the Corps water safety initiative. He assisted with interto the position and the organization alone is admirable. Cunpretive programs, special events and beautification projects. ningham’s exemplary volunteer service is an asset to the U.S. Mr. Cunningham’s pride in the position was displayed on Army Corps of Engineers. He was recognized for his selfless a daily basis. He exhibited outstanding communication skills service and outstanding performance as Campground Host in and a willingness to work with visitors, campers, and the 2016 at Loyalhanna Lake.
Johnsonburg HS Students clean-up East Branch
On June 15, 2016, with the assistance from Pennsylvania Elk State Park, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Corps of Engineers and Johnsonburg Area High School Students, 147 old tires were removed and hauled off to a local landfill. Nine students donated 6 hours of their summer time to dig up, carry, load, unload and reload the old tires onto a Corps dump truck to be hauled off to the landfill.
Tionesta Heritage Day brings history to life
By Luke Houston and photos by Anna Donato, Tionesta Lake The Tionesta Lake manager and ranger staff hosted their annual Heritage Day event, Aug. 14. The purpose of the event was to present exhibits which entertain and educate visitors about the early culture of the Tionesta Valley along with the history of the area and the construction of the dam. Visitors had the opportunity to take a walk through the information center where they could view the early Native American, railroad, logging and flood history of the Tionesta Valley. Visitors also had a variety of photographs and information about the history of the Tionesta Dam as well as a lesson in water safety. Visitors could also take a guided lake tour where they learned more about the history and construction of the tower and dam. A short walk around the lawn behind the Visitors Information Center provided visitors
with more than 20 interpretive stations that displayed different activities and tools that were used by the early settlers in the valley. Additionally, visitors could see demonstrations or participate in candle making, Atlatl or spear-thrower, blacksmithing, foot-powered lathe, fire building and see a moonshine still. Other displays included quilting, survival shelters, Native American artifacts, Civil War Battle at Gettysburg, trapping, cider press, pioneer toys and craft jewelry. The Tionesta Lake staff would like to thank all participants in this year’s event including the USFS Allegheny National Forest, Forest County Sherriff’s Department, the Pa. Firefly Festival and many others each took time to share their knowledge and skills. The Heritage Day turned out very successful with an estimated 350 visitors. The district extends an invitation to others interested in participating next year.
WVa. National Hunting &Fishing event held at Stonewall Jackson Lake By Scott Hannah, Stonewall Jackson Lake More than 6,500 people traveled to participant in this year’s West Virginia National Hunting and Fishing Days Celebration at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District’s Stonewall Resort State Park, Sept. 17 and 18. This year, more than 950 children, ages six to 18, accepted the Youth Challenge, and completed several tasks to be eligible for a prize giveaway at the end of the day. How to cast a line, fish identification, cleaning fish, trapping, archery and gun safety were some of the items listed
on the challenge checklist. One of the requirements on the Youth Challenge was to attend a water safety program with the Corps. Stonewall Jackson Lake collaborated with Huntington District’s Burnsville Lake for the 18th year to represent the Corps of Engineers at this wonderful event. Members of Stonewall Jackson staff who attended the event included Resource Manager Jeff Toler, rangers Scott Hannah and Jacob Henry, Burnsville Ranger Ben Coulter and Corps volunteers Sinney Nethken and Peggy Dawson. The team provided water safety pro-
grams, staffed the information booth, and entertained the children with Bobber, the Water Safety Dog during the two-day event. This year marks the 26th year that the Stonewall team
has participated in this event, and they plan to continue providing the water safety message at future West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Days events at Stonewall Jackson.
Environmental Advisory Board visits Pittsburgh, discusses region’s future conservation efforts By Carol E. Davis, PAO The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District hosted a board of national environmental experts from academia and non-profit organizations on a tour of the district’s infrastructure and aquatic ecosystem restoration efforts, Oct. 17-19. The Environmental Advisory Board provides expert and independent advice and recommendations on environmental issues facing the Corps. The board, which can have between five and 10 members, usually meets once or twice a year for deliberation. Its members are eminent authorities in their respective fields, which include disciplines such as biology, ecology, anthropology as well as community planning and other related fields. This year, the Pittsburgh District was selected because it offered the board an opportunity to observe the environmental challenges it faces associated with managing its aging inland navigation infrastructures. “It is highly appropriate for the EAB to select Pittsburgh District and the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division for its meeting,” commented Brig. Gen. Mark Toy, commander Great Lakes and Ohio River Division. “This region provides examples of aging inland navigation infrastructures, areas that demonstrate the Corps’ dedication to environmental stewardship, and examples of programs designed to make reservoir operations and navigation more environmentally sustainable.” Formed by the headwaters of the Upper Ohio River Basin, the Pittsburgh District’s boundary extends across five states and 26,000 square miles. It manages 16 multi-purpose reservoirs and 23 locks and dams within the Upper Ohio River Basin region. The meeting provided the board an opportunity to tour Locks and Dam 7 on the upper Allegheny River. The Allegheny River facilities represent some of the oldest locks and dams in
Members of the Environmental Advisory Board tested the water for the presence of aquatic life during their tour of Nine Mile Watershed, an urban aquatic ecosystem restoration project undertaken in 2006 by the district and its partner the city of Pittsburgh.
the Corps’ national inland navigation system, averaging more than 86 years old. Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, commanding general and chief of engineers, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, chaired and presided over the public meeting. While addressing the board, he emphasized the importance of working together to find the best environmentally sound solutions to the challenges facing the region. “What I want from this board is for us to really take on the hard ones, and be able to figure those out,” Semonite said. “Collaboration really has to be instrumental out there. We have to figure out how we lean on each other, back and forth.” Col. John Lloyd, commander, Pittsburgh District, spoke about the district’s efforts to study how it can continue improving aquatic ecosystems downstream of its reservoirs through operational or structural modifications. He offered the group an example of these efforts, i.e. whether mimicking natural flows by performing pulse releases after small storms, or whether structural modifications such as installing additional control towers at varying elevations to better mix water would
meet its downstream temperature objectives. As an example of environmental stewardship, the board accompanied Semonite on a tour of a future project on Pittsburgh’s north shore. The project is designed to look at approximately 13 acres of degraded aquatic and riverfront habitat. By touring the North Shore Ecosystem Restoration project, the board was able to see first-hand how partnering with other agencies can not only improve the environment, but improve the community. The board also toured the Nine Mile Watershed, an urban aquatic ecosystem restoration project the district understook with the city of Pittsburgh in 2006. The habitat along Nine Mile Run had been severely degraded. The restoration work used a variety of techniques to allow the stream to function better in high volume situations. “In the future, the question we need to ask ourselves is how do we continue to improve the environment while making smart decisions regarding the operations and maintenance of the system and reinvestment in our aging infrastructure,” Lloyd said.
Taking the plunge at Montgomery L/D By Dane Summerville, Locks and Dams Branch
On a cold and snowy day in January, members of the district’s dive team conducted operations to inspect and measure the lower sill of the 600-foot chamber at Montgomery Locks and Dam on the Ohio River. The measurements were requested by the Inland Navigation Design Center to assist them in the final design for the new bulkhead sill system. The new sill system is expected to be installed during fiscal year 2018. The team completed the mission in half the time and without incident.
Developing Future Talent at University of Pittsburgh Engineering Co-Op Fair By Sean Weston, Engineering U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives attended the University of Pittsburgh Cooperative Education program, Jan. 25, as part of the district’s college outreach program. Pittsburgh District’s Sean Weston and LouRebecca Huberman (LRL-CPAC) operated the USACE booth for the four-hour event, talking about the invaluable work USACE does for the region and nation, and sharing the many benefits to working for the Corps. The two collected resumes, provided students with information about how to apply for jobs with USACE, and answered questions about how to target their education, experience and resumes to meet their career goals. Weston and Huberman collected
more than 20 resumes from freshman, sophomores and juniors in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering on behalf of Pittsburgh and Huntington districts. The Pittsburgh District’s recent revitalization of the college outreach program is already paying dividends, with the number of students and recent graduate applicants on USAJobs.gov and from local universities greatly
increasing. Representatives from the Pittsburgh District and neighboring districts are collaborating to attend fairs at Penn State, West Virginia University, Carnegie Mellon University, Ohio State and other schools within the region. The Pitt Engineering Cooperative Education program is an internship program in which students in the School of Engineering can rotate between school and full-time work assignments. Providing students with practical experience, technical knowledge, financial remuneration, confidence, assurance, and better understandings of academics are all benefits of the co-op experience in addition to the academic credits earned by the student. The co-op experience has also immensely benefited students with their job search, as many students becoming full-time employees with USACE.
Cross Culvert Installed at Charleroi Lock and Dam By: Robert Burstynowicz, ECN The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District successfully installed the second of two precast concrete cross culverts in the new middle wall monolith M22 at Lock and Dam 4 at Charleroi on the Monongahela River, Jan. 31. The precast culverts are stay-in elements within the new middle that will allow the future second lock chamber to empty water from the lock into the river. Each culvert roughly weighed 115 tons and was installed within the tight clearances inside the cofferbox work area. The cofferbox allows worker to stay dry while completing the work. In a future contract, the two culvert will be connected to new river wall and emptying basin. A vital part of the Lower Monongahela River Project, the Charleroi lock processes approximately 12 billion tons of cargo each year, providing annual benefits of more than $50 million per year in the transport of bulk commodities. The use of the areaâ€™s three rivers to transport bulk commodities such as coal, significantly reduces the wear and tear on roadways, causes considerably less pollution than other modes of transportation, and reduces the cost of electricity.
The Lower Mon Project replaced the nearly 100-year-old fixed-crest dam at Braddock Locks and Dam with a gated dam, will remove Lock and Dam 3 in Elizabeth, and construct two new larger lock chambers at Lock and Dam 4 in Charleroi.
Lock personnel battle winter conditions to repair locks By Jeff Hawk, PAO
Bone-chilling winds cut through the crisp December air as operators and mechanics at a downed Ohio River lock scrambled on the early morning of Dec. 12 to isolate a hydraulic line break that shutdown navigation. The lock crew stopped passing vessels through the lock after noticing a sheen on the water in the facility’s 110 feet by 1,200-feet primary chamber at New Cumberland Lock and Dam, eight miles south of Wellsville, Ohio. They immediately deployed spill containment booms to absorb and stop the spread of hydraulic fluid, which was mostly contained within the chamber. The shutdown closed Ohio River navigation upstream and downstream of the lock. Tows pushing 15 jumbo barges of mostly coal, aggregates and petroleum started to stack up. Some returned to their terminals but most tied up to river mooring cells, waiting for the lock to open back up. The district dispatched civil and environmental experts to investigate the spill and reported the situation to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Response Center, navigation interests and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, which monitors water quality on the Ohio River. As the time passed, tows delivered supplies and new crews to waiting vessels to replace those who had been housed on their tows for days. Meanwhile, lock mechanics and repair party welders worked in wind chills approaching 10 degrees below zero trying to cap and test several hydraulic lines that run under water and operate the chamber’s 170-ton miter gates and filling and emptying valves. Five days later, the New Cumberland team had a temporary fix in place that allowed them to operate the upstream miter gates and some filling and emptying valves hydraulically; the work of opening and closing the downstream miter gates, where hydraulic power was still unavailable, fell to the facility’s 53-feet work boat and lock operators.
A workboat rests on the main chamber lock wall as repair crews above work to fix New Cumberland Lock and Dam’s hydraulic system.
Due to safety and operational considerations, crews only worked during daylight hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. New Cumberland is usually open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Still, crews locked six vessels through when it re-opened on Dec. 17, significantly reducing the number of waiting vessels. The next day they passed another six tows. The quick action to install a temporary repair allowed vital commodities such as steam and metallurgic coal to reach their destinations. Rich Lockwood, chief of the district’s Operations and Regulatory Division, said that crews did exactly as they have been trained to do when something goes wrong – from noticing the sheen to deploying the containment booms to notifying industry. “(Lockmaster) Willie Maynard and his team have done it all about as well as anyone could have hoped for,” said Lockwood. “What service we are providing is due to their service, skill and dedication.” The district submitted a request to its headquarters for $3.8 million in emergency funds to put in place a more long-term solution, but that fix could be several months away. “The men and women who work on the locks everyday are dedicated to
the mission and take pride in ensuring the river remains open so that industry is able to deliver goods to keep the nation running,” said Col. John Lloyd, commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District. New Cumberland Lock and Dam is comprised of two lock chambers, an auxiliary and a main chamber. The Corps placed the 110 feet by 600-feet auxiliary lock chamber out of service approximately two years ago due to structural issues that prevent its safe operation; however, the remaining primary lock is a vital part of the nation’s inland waterways system. “Any closure like we saw at New Cumberland because of aging infrastructure is costly to us, industry, and many others who depend on the river system to be open to transport goods,” Lloyd said. “It always reminds me how we must take a hard look at our future strategy to deal with our infrastructure to reduce river closures that are costly at so many levels.” At the time of this report, crews were looking for additional ways to increase operating hours at the lock using temporary measures until a longterm solution can be executed. “I am incredibly proud of the work they do especially under adverse conditions.” Lloyd said.
Corps, University of Pittsburgh study aging infrastructure’s impact on nutrient pollution By Carl Nim, Water QualityUnit Crumbling concrete, equipment repairs and restrictions on the movement of goods and services are all too familiar for U.S. Army Corps of Engineer employees who deal with the challenges of aging infrastructure on a daily basis. What may be lesser known is the impact of aging infrastructure on water quality in the Pittsburgh District. Like many large cities that built sewage systems in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Pittsburgh built combined sewer systems that combine sewage and surface runoff. During periods of high rainfall, the sewage pipes are inundated with surface water and overflow into local bodies of water. These discharges are called combined sewer overflows (CSOs). In addition to CSOs, many of the sewer lines that run from Pittsburgh houses, built nearly 100 years ago, utilized clay pipe that may be broken or crumbling after years of use and may or may not carry all of the sewage to where it is supposed to go. As a result of these two pathways, during high rainfall events a measurable amount of pollutants --nutrients being one of them -- is transported via surface and ground water to Pittsburgh’s rivers. Recently the district’s water quality unit joined efforts with The Elliott Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, which is researching the sources and loads of nutrients to regional water bodies. Utilizing GPS technology, water-
Utilizing GPS technology, water-quality sonde measurements, flow cells, peristaltic pumps and an ultraviolet nitrate sensor, the Army Corps and experts from the university were able to map nitrate concentrations in the three rivers around Pittsburgh.
quality sonde measurements, flow cells, peristaltic pumps and an ultraviolet nitrate sensor, the Army Corps and experts from the university were able to map nitrate concentrations in the three rivers around Pittsburgh. The survey occurred on Oct. 24, 2016, just after about 2.5 inches of rain had occurred over the region between Oct. 20-22, resulting in increased gage heights on both rivers and a CSO advisory from Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, or ALCOSAN. The nitrate measurements provided interesting spatial trends. The Monongahela River had nitrate levels nearly double that of the Allegheny River.
Two factors support these findings: the increased population in the Monongahela River basin as compared to the Allegheny and the amount of CSOs that drain into the Allegheny and Monongahela River main stems, 149 and 245 respectively. The Elliott Lab also collected water samples for nitrate isotope analysis, which allows the researcher to pinpoint the source of the nutrient, e.g. fertilizer, animal waste, or atmospheric in the case of nitrate. In low concentrations, nitrate is not problematic and is necessary for primary production. However, with the increased amounts found in the Monongahela River during this survey, it is indicative of the pathways by which nitrate may be carried into waterways. This is especially important in light of the occurrence of the large algae bloom that occurred on the Ohio River in the summer of 2015 because it identifies the nutrient sources and pathways by which these algae blooms are supported. In addition, it highlights the need for renovating the existing sewer infrastructure of Pittsburgh and the beneficial contributions of “green infrastructure” that take up nutrients and slow or reduce the flow of surface water to waterways. There are still many questions about nutrient pollution, algae blooms and the processes by which they are supported. However, with additional studies like this one, those monitoring water quality on local rivers are able to understand a little more.
For more information about the Pittsburgh Distict, visit: www.lrp.usace.army.mil 16
Polar Plunge Participants take chilly dip at Mosquito Creek Lake By Kathryn Pavolillo with photos by Jo McKenna, Mosquito Creek Lake Approximately 120 participants took the 37-degree plunge at the 11th annual Polar Plunge held at Mosquito Creek Lake State Park Beach, Jan. 21. The event is a local fundraiser designed to support the Ohio Special Olympics. This year’s coordinators hope to surpass last year’s contribution of $18,000 with a $20,000 goal.
2017 Spring STEM Career Fair held at University of Pittsburgh By Megan Miller, Engineering Pittsburgh District employees attended the 2017 University of Pittsburgh Spring Career Fair focusing on STEM-related jobs, Feb. 15-16. STEM is an initiative that seeks to promote and encourage educational and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. During the event, district representatives Christian Lichty, Stephen Dine, Steve Stoltz, Shane Michael, Robert Turner and Megan Miller received more than 50 resumes from students looking for summer internships or full-time positions plus others seeking post-graduation positions. The event hosted more than 100 employers. The majority of the students who visited the district’s booth were majoring in electrical, mechanical or civil engineering.
Wear your Lifejacket! 17
Wired: Repair party lends a hand at East Branch Lake By Autumn Rodden, East Branch Lake Members of the Pittsburgh Districtâ€™s repair party reported to East Branch Lake during December to replace two flat-wire ropes in the control tower. The flat wire ropes are the mechanisms used to control gates that regulate the amount of outflow from the dam. Each wire rope is hand made in the U.S., measures 5 feet 6 inches wide by 390 feet long and the material is extra-improved plow steel. The crew off loaded the spools and closed off each gate, one at a time; therefore, East Branch staff used the emergency gate to continue operating the dam while the repair team worked. The crew covered a portion of the control tower bridge with canvass, unspooled the old wire ropes and cut the ropes for disposal. They spooled each new wire rope onto the hoisting machinery, hoisted the bulkhead and
greased the entire 390-foot length of each new wire rope. The repair party worked through the weekend and finished the job with no lost time accidents, ahead of schedule,
and left the tower cleaner than they found it. East Branch Dam staff appreciates the work the repair party completed, and would like to thank them.
NCST students visit Shenango Lake, learn about Solar Tracker By Rich Egger, Shenango Lake
Maintenance Technology Students from the New Castle School of Trades visited Shenango Lake to learn about the Solar Tracker.
Nine students and an instructor from the New Castle School of Trades Maintenance Technology visited Shenango Lake to learn about the 2kW Solar Tracker in the Shenango Recreation Area, Jan. 27. During the visit, the students learned about installation of the tracker, its major components, and some of the challenges encountered when building the tracker. The tracker was installed in 2009 as the Leadership Development Program class project. Not only does the tracker serve as an educational tool, it is also a means to reduce Shenango Lakeâ€™s operating costs. The tracker provides supplemental power to the ranger station, producing 2,000 watts per hour at maximum output, and has generated 17,500 kW of power since going on-line. The tracker is maintained under a partnership with the Warren, Ohio Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee Program.
Think before you sink... visit bobber.info 18
Fish Attractor projects goes swimmingly at Tygart Lake By Christina Fox, Tygart Lake The 2017 Fish Attractor Program event resulted in securing hundreds of trees in the lake. A team of determined volunteers came together at Tygart Lake in Grafton, West Virginia to participate in the event, Feb. 25. The volunteer force was comprised of members of the West Virginia University Fishing Club. Thanks to good fortune, the lake staff received a considerable number of local used and discarded Christmas tree donations this year. Through the efforts of the volunteers, Tygart staff was able to secure 336 trees to the lakebed. The success of the project was aided by accommodating weather and characterized by a sense of accomplishment. Volunteers did their part to bring the project to a safe and successful completion. In good stewardship of the land, Tygart is contributing to the environment and providing a habitat for the lake fish. The lake staff is protecting the future through community education and cooperation.
Members of the West Virginia University Fishing Club assisted Tygart Lake with a fish attractor program. Volunteers placed 336 tres in the lake which will improve the aquatic habitat for fish.
Streambank project help Worthington, WVa. Sewer System By Carol E. Vernon, PAO Photo by Jeff Hawk, PAO
the earth is being disturbed to ensure it stays out of the river. Other sediment control measures include erosion Although stream bank erocontrol blankets and catch sion is a natural process over basin inserts. time, the result can be probAdditionally, the in-stream lematic. work has to be complete In the Town of Worthingbefore the fish-spawning ton, West Virginia, an eroding season, which starts around river could result in changes to April 1. the water flow rates, but more Bob Tramontina, conimportantly, it could possibly struction control represenexposure of a vacuum sanitary tative Pittsburgh District, sewer line. The Pittsburgh District is partnering with the Town of Worthington to said although the West Fork The U.S. Army Corps of reclaim an eroded bank along a 1,400-foot stretch of the West Fork River is smooth flowing, its Engineers Pittsburgh District River. The more than $880,000 project is designed to protect a sanitary levels can vary quite a bit. is partnering with the Town sewer line that runs along the riverbank. “The river can change of Worthington to reclaim an team has to consider the environmental pretty quickly,” Tramontina eroded bank along a 1,400aspect of the project. said. “From day-to-day, they might get 6 foot stretch of the West Fork River. The “Excessive erosion leads to loss of to 8 feet difference in water elevation.” more than $880,000 project is designed vegetation, woodlands or wetland; it can Because of the dynamics of the river, to protect a sanitary sewer line that runs workers have to remain cognizant of the along the riverbank. The project is being also cause a loss of topsoil and habitat, funding in a 35-65 percent split between which then pollutes receiving waters and changing levels and be ready to react -degrades in-streams habitat and aquatic sometimes quickly. Even with the safety the City of Worthington and the district. life,” said Rosemary Reilly, biologist challenges, he says the project has been “The work entails basically clearing U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsgoing smoothly. and grubbing the entire bank, installburgh District. “Everyone is looking out for each ing a geo-textile layer down, putting According to McKissick, a major other – we’re keeping the roads clean, riprap down at the toe and the bank, and environmental concern is minimizing the workers are watching for the neighlaying some top soil and seed,” Matt the amount of sediment entering the bors, watching the environment; I really McKissick, project engineer, Pittsburgh river. He said the crew installed turbidthink we have a good project going District. ity curtains to any of the areas where here,” Tramontina said. In addition to the physical work, the
An upstream view of workers using a crane to support hydraulic dredging equipment to remove sediment from coffer boxes at Monongahela River Lock and Dam 4 at Charleroi, Feb. 17.
Published on Mar 27, 2017
Headwaters Update is a quarterly publication of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District. It is produced for electronic distrib...