Awards Program

2014 ASDSO Award Winners

The Terry L. Hampton Medal: Dr. Ed Tomlinson, Applied Weather Associates, Monument, Colorado

Advisory Committee Chairman Terry Arnold (left) presented the award to Dr. Tomlinson.

The Terry L. Hampton Medal was established in 2007 by ASDSO’s Advisory Committee (ADCOM) to recognize Terry Hampton’s lifetime achievements in the field of hydrology and hydraulics and his contribution to the ADCOM. The award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to research and/or practice in hydrologic and hydraulic engineering for dams.

Dr. Ed Tomlinson has been active in ASDSO for more than 20 years and was a colleague and friend of Terry Hampton. Dr. Tomlinson has distinguished himself in the hydrologic and hydraulic and dam safety communities as the “go to” person for probable maximum precipitation (PMP) studies and rainfall analysis.

Dr. Tomlinson holds BS degrees in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Richmond and MS and PhD degrees in Meteorology from the University of Utah. After working as a meteorologist for various organizations early in his career, he joined North American Weather Consultants as a Chief Scientist on projects involving atmospheric dispersion modeling, cloud seeding and PMP. As current owner and chief meteorologist of Applied Weather Associates in Monument, Colorado, Dr. Tomlinson has continued his work involving PMP and extreme rainfall events with site specific projects including the Gilboa pumped storage project in New York, the Wanahoo Lake drainage basin in Nebraska and the Baker River drainage basin in Washington. He also helped develop the Storm Precipitation Analysis System (SPAS) a state-of-the-art-science hydrometeorological tool used to characterize the magnitude, temporal, and spatial details of precipitation events. SPAS utilizes real-time rain gauge observations, the industry’s highest resolution NEXRAD radar data, and a climatological “base-map” approach to produce gridded rainfall at a spatial resolution of 1 square km and temporal resolution of 5-minutes (with radar).  This is an invaluable tool for the hydrologist in predicting runoff from extreme storm events.

Dr. Tomlinson’s numerous projects, papers and talks have left an unmatched and lasting impression in the field of H&H, especially as related to dam safety.

National Rehabilitation Project of the Year: Tarrant Regional Water District and Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. for the Rehabilitation of Eagle Mountain Lake Spillway Dam, Fort Worth, Texas

ASDSO Awards Committee Chairman Jim Pawloski (left) presented the award to James Parkes (center) of Parsons Brinckerhoff and Louie Verreault (right) of Tarrant Regional Water District.

In 2007, Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) asked Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. (PB) to perform a comprehensive seepage and stability assessment of both dams at Eagle Mountain Lake, located northwest of Fort Worth, Texas, as part of a proactive management strategy for its existing infrastructure. Although there were no indications of concern, TRWD wanted to assess the dams to provide confidence in another 80+ years of service of the embankments.

A comprehensive investigation and analysis performed by PB enabled TRWD to locate and assess seepage windows and to design upgrade measures to close the windows under one of their embankment dams. PB utilized a rational, phased approach with each phase building on the findings of the subsequent phase to investigate potential issues and develop an effective rehabilitation plan. This enabled TRWD to develop a well-planned investigation and testing program and construction project that made the most efficient use of available funds, while satisfying dam safety requirements and minimizing adverse environmental impacts.   

Several aspects of the project were integral to success:

  • Accumulation and review of historic records - The first-ever comprehensive organization and review of TRWD’s files took place during the assessment. The fact that TRWD maintained these records and tasked PB to perform the review was invaluable.
  • The use of multiple, progressive investigation techniques - Investigations progressed from low-cost non-invasive surface surveys (geophysics) to more invasive investigations (CPTs, borings, pumping tests). Subsequent investigations provided additional data verifying findings and providing data for analyses.
  • The use of a test grout program during design - The test grout program verified effectiveness of the proposed solution and enabled development of grouting and monitoring procedures. As a result, risk of construction cost overruns, feasibility issues, or uncertainty in effectiveness of the grout program were reduced.
  • The use in-situ testing at the end of construction - This testing verified the effectiveness of the grout curtain cut-off.    

In addition to improving the safety of the dam, the closing of the seepage windows has also reduced the amount of water “lost” due to uncontrolled seepage under the dam. This creates an added benefit in an area that has been suffering drought conditions in recent years.

National Award of Merit: Colorado Department of Natural Resources Division of Water Resources

The Colorado dam safety staff, left to right, front row: Dana Miller, Mark Perry, Erin Gleason, Bill McCormick, Kallie Bauer, Jeremy Franz. Back row: ASDSO President Tom Woosley (Georgia), Garrett Jackson, Ryan Schoolmeesters, Jason Ward, and John Batka.
(Not present: John Hunyadi and Matt Gavin)

In  less than a week's time in September 2013, as much as 18 inches of rain - more than the state's average annual rainfall - fell along the densely populated front range of Colorado, from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins. The precipitation engaged five different tributaries and the main stem of the South Platte River, dumping more precipitation than would be statistically expected during one in a thousand storms. The thousand-year precipitation event devastated communities, isolating many due to the damage to roads, and prompted a federal disaster declaration. It impacted 207 dams, damaged 27 and caused nine low-hazard potential dams to fail due to overtopping. The challenge was entirely beyond the planned-for event of "a" dam or "a" basin emergency; it covered 140 square miles, five very urbanized mountain tributaries and a dozen communities.

Colorado Dam Safety Program Chief Bill McCormick and his staff of 11 dedicated dam safety engineers demonstrated courageous, innovative, and timely leadership both during and after the storm. Engineers on the dam safety team staffed three emergency operations centers, providing essential technical expertise to emergency managers. The team flew numerous helicopter sorties (the only way to access many dams as roads had washed away) to inspect reports of "dam failures" that turned out to simply be the activation of emergency spillways that residents in the high desert, normally dry climate had never seen operated. State dam safety engineers were deployed to a number of different areas to assist in the mitigation of imminent threats and worked with dam owners to facilitate a real-time stream of information. This service was invaluable to the emergency response process. As response transitioned to recovery, Chief McCormick was instrumental in mustering the services of more than 100 private dam safety engineers through a voluntary program overseen by the dam safety team to facilitate the emergency inspection of the 207 dams impacted by the rain event. While above and beyond the expectation of his statutory duty, such professional concern was key to arresting panic in communities located near dams and ensuring the safety of emergency personnel involved in recovery efforts.

Northeast Regional Award of Merit: Indian Lake Borough, Pennsylvania

Indian Lake Borough Council member Patricia Dewar with Northeast regional representatives Jim Gallagher (NH), Roger Adams (PA), and John Moyle (NJ)

Indian Lake Borough, Pennsylvania, located just over a mile from the Flight 93 National Memorial, is a community of about 612 homes and cottages. On 9/11, many residents volunteered with first response and cleanup efforts, and many now serve as volunteers at the Memorial. The community is anchored by a square-mile reservoir with 26 miles of lakefront property. The 71-ft high, 1000-ft long dam impounding the lake was built in 1964. An Emergency Action plan for the dam indicates that 750 people, ten businesses and a school would be at risk if the dam failed.

Cloudy seepage and irregular features on the downstream slope of prompted an investigation by Pennsylvania Dam Safety in 2003.  Their report, dated June 2003, indicated serious concerns about the dam and the design of its spillway, which could handle only 59% of the Probable Maximum Flood (PMF). Dam remediation planning began the following month with the enthusiastic leadership of Mayor Barry Lichty, who tirelessly delved into dam safety issues and design alternatives, and established a team effort between Indian Lake Borough Council and Roger Adams and his staff from Pennsylvania Dam Safety to seek the best solution. The project was divided into three phases, enabling the community to accomplish the major remediation during lean economic times.

  • Phase I started in September 2007 and was completed in January 2014 at a cost of $7 million. It involved lengthening the drawdown conduit, installing a valve on the downstream end and replacing the valve on the upstream end.
  • Phase II involved extensive foundation grouting, installing a comprehensive blanket and toe drain system and flattening the downstream slope.
  • Phase III involved raising the dam by 3.5 feet, moving a water line and widening the spillway approach channel - all needed in case of a PMF event. This phase required the difficult task of obtaining flowage easement from more than 500 lakeside property owners. This was accomplished under the leadership of Council member Paul Cornez, who was appointed the chairperson of the Dam Committee when Mayor Lichty passed away in June 2011. Building on the mayor’s plans, Mr. Cornez was instrumental in selecting the best design alternative for Phase III and worked tirelessly in coordinating the completion of the dam project.

Financing of the $7,000,000.00 project went through many stages during the remediation, from funding through the Borough's general fund in 2004-2007, to permanent financing through general obligation notes signed with two banks in 2012.

The success of the Indian Lake Dam remediation is a result of the dedicated and cooperative efforts of many, including past and present Indian Lake Borough mayors and Council members; Indian Lake Borough office manager Theresa Weyent; Borough Council’s employees; GAI Consultants, Sean Isgan and CME Engineering of Somerset; Indian Lake Borough Solicitor Dan Rullo; Howard Concrete Pumping and Geotechnical Services; Maust Excavating; PNC Bank; Somerset Trust Bank; 1st Summit Bank; staff of the Pennyslvania Division of Dam Safety; and Indian Lake Borough residents who voted for the tax referendum, signed flowage easements, and supported the project throughout.

Southeast Regional Award of Merit: Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission

Bob Fulmer of the GSWCC accepted the award from SE state representatives Tom Woosley (GA), Steve McEvoy (NC), Dusty Myers (MS)

The Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) has developed a successful method to fund dam rehabilitation projects in absence of NRCS Watershed Rehabilitation funding and has been effective in the strategy and execution of a dam safety program, enhancing public safety throughout Georgia.

The GSWCC is tasked with the huge job of maintaining Georgia's 357 NRCS Watershed Dams, approximately 189 of which are high-hazard potential structures. Limited funds were allocated to maintain and rehabilitate these aging dams, which were constructed with maintenance agreements between local sponsors and the local soil and water conservation district (SWCD). In some instances the local SWCD is the sole sponsor, a challenging situation as SWCDs have no authority for revenue generation.  Recognizing this challenge, the GSWCC allocated funds with the help of the state legislature in the late 1990's to bring watershed dams up to current dam safety design criteria. Over the next decade, the GSWCC partnered with the NRCS to assess and plan dam rehabilitations throughout the state. This effort resulted in the rehabilitation of six NRCS watershed dams and nearly $5 million in construction funds for the rehabilitation of three more dams in Gwinnett County.

Gwinnett County is the sponsor for only 14 of the 357 watershed dams in Georgia. The recession of 2009 impacted sponsors’ ability to fund cost shares for future rehabilitation projects. While the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 provided nearly $6.1 million to the state for rehabilitation of five NRCS watershed dams, the local sponsor cost share was not available for the remaining 35%. The GSWCC worked with the Georgia State Financing & Investment Commission and the Governor's office to develop a funding mechanism for watershed dam rehabilitation using revenue bonds, thus securing enough funding to comply with ARRA sponsor requirements. This unique funding mechanism resulted in the rehabilitation of four NRCS dams at a cost of $5.1 million, nearly $3.4 million of which was provided by ARRA funding. Four projects were completed in 2010.

Building on the success of selling revenue bonds to fund dam rehabilitations, in 2011 the GSWCC again procured similar funding for two more rehabilitation projects in Madison and Gilmer counties. These projects, which cost approximately $3 million, were completed in July 2014. The GSWCC is financing these construction projects without federal funds. In 2013 the GSWCC procured funding for three additional dam rehabilitations in Habersham County: Soque River Watershed dams No. 29, 34, and 36. These projects are currently being designed; estimated construction costs are approximately $5.5 million. The GSWCC is also financing these projects without federal funds.

In addition to these efforts, the GSWCC is removing woody vegetation and repairing erosion in plunge pools at 30 watershed dams, preparing them for future maintenance by the original sponsor. Furthermore, in an attempt to find additional funding sources to bring dams into compliance with Georgia Dam Safety Rules, the GSWCC commissioned a study on the conversion of NRCS watershed dams into water supply structures, an effort that may provide additional resources for potential project sponsors.

Midwest Regional Award of Merit: Missouri DWR Water Resources Center

Bob Clay of the Missouri DNR (center) with Midwest Regional representatives Jim Pawloski (MI), Jon Garton (IA), Paul Simon (MO), and Jason Campbell (IL)

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Water Resources Center (WRC) has made remarkable progress in improving the number and effectiveness of Emergency Action Plans for high-hazard potential dams in the state. There are over 470 regulated dams in Missouri with a high-hazard potential designation. WRC staff engineers develop inundation maps using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) topographic data, and present the maps along with EAP templates to dam owners and emergency management officials during regional workshops.

In 2012, the EAP project team received the Missouri Governor’s Award for Quality and Productivity. The project continues to be a success with a 100% compliance date expected in 2015.

West Regional Award of Merit: Oklahoma Conservation Commission

During the past ten years, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission (OCC) has become a national leader in efforts to assure that watershed dams meet current safety standards. This has resulted in the development of one of the nation’s largest and most effective operation and maintenance programs for dams, as well as the rehabilitation of 34 dams to current PMP standards with 18 more projects in planning and design.

Larry Caldwell (center) accepted the award for OCC. L to R: Yohanes Sugeng (OK), Charles Thompson (NM), Charlie Cobb (AK), Mike Johnson (AZ), Larry Caldwell (OCC), Michele Lemieux (MT), Emma Moradi (OK), Dave Marble (UT),Chris Stoner (OK-NRCS)

OCC assists local conservation districts with the operation and maintenance of 2,107 dams that were built with the assistance of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Watershed Program; 249 of the dams are classified as high hazard. All of the earthen dams provide flood control and 42 provide water supply and recreation for many communities. OCC has placed a high priority on establishing an outstanding O&M program.

OCC's exemplary program is made possible by the strong support of the Oklahoma state legislature to provide funding for O&M activities and local rehabilitation costs. Since 2004, OCC has obtained more than $23 million through state bond issues and annual appropriations to support dam safety activities involving O&M and rehabilitation of watershed dams. These state funds supplemented NRCS funding received for watershed rehabilitation projects and local conservation district funds for O&M.

In addition to providing strong support for dam safety in Oklahoma, OCC has made an outstanding contribution to national dam safety efforts. OCC has been a national leader in the NRCS Watershed Program since its inception in 1944. OCC has continued in this national leadership role by working closely with Oklahoma’s 3rd District Representative Frank Lucas who authored the first federal program to rehabilitate non-federal watershed dams. The national Watershed Rehabilitation program has received over $385 million in federal appropriations since its authorization in 2000. This has resulted in the rehabilitation of more than 130 watershed dams in 21 states with another 88 projects in planning and design. The $250 million authorized for rehabilitation projects in the 2014 Farm Bill has set the stage for taking these efforts to the next level. OCC will continue to support national dam safety efforts by leading national O&M and rehabilitation training for watershed sponsors, dam safety officials, and NRCS staffs, as well as educating elected officials on dam safety needs.

OCC has been recognized by the “Quality Oklahoma” program and received the Governor’s Commendation for flood hazard mitigation in 2012.

Joe Ellam President's Award: Paul G. Schweiger, Gannett Fleming, Inc., Camp Hill, PA

Each year, the outgoing ASDSO president recognizes an individual who has assisted the president or ASDSO throughout the year.  This year, outgoing ASDSO President Tom Woosley tapped Paul Schweiger for the 2014 President's Award.

Mr. Schweiger is a vice president of Gannett Fleming, Inc., and manager of the firm’s Dams and Hydraulics Section.  Paul received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of New Brunswick, Canada.  He has over 26 years of experience working on dams, flood control projects, and water supply systems.  Mr. Schweiger's technical specialties include hydrologic and hydraulic analyses for dams, conducting dam assessments, new dam designs, dam rehabilitation, designing fish passage facilities, and performing safe yield investigations for complex water supply systems.  Paul is an approved FERC facilitator for performing failure modes analysis exercises for dams and regularly conducts dam owner training and other seminars for ASDSO. 

On presenting the award, President Woosley thanked Paul for his outstanding contributions to ASDSO's technical training program as both a member of the training committee and an instructor, for his willingness to do whatever is needed to promote dam safety, and for his friendly demeanor.

"[Paul] is someone you can always count on. He clearly has a passion for dam safety and represents himself, his company, and this association. Not only that, he is a genuinely nice individual."

Special Recognition Award: Keith Ferguson, Former Editor of The Journal of Dam Safety

The ASDSO Board of Directors thanks Keith Ferguson for his efforts as former editor of ASDSO's Journal of Dam Safety. The Journal was first produced in the Spring of 2003. A total of 44 issues have been published with over 100 articles. The content of the Journal is leading edge peer-reviewed material of great benefit to the dam safety community, and one of the most valued products of ASDSO thanks in large part to the leadership of the Journal Editorial Committee.  Al Davis was the original editor of the Journal until September 2009, when Mr. Ferguson assumed that demanding role.  Through his leadership, the process for obtaining and reviewing articles became an effective streamlined process that ensures quality articles.  In 2013, when Keith assumed the presidency of the U.S. Society on Dams, he stepped away from his role as Journal editor, but his contributions to its success live on. 


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