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Fault found under Martis Dam

Sierra Sun staff reports
March 11, 2008

Recent study shows the likely existence of a recently active earthquake fault under the Martis Dam near Truckee.

The 36-year-old earthen-fill dam is located 3 miles east of Truckee in the Martis Valley and has been categorized as an “extremely high risk.”

Officials worry that water seepage could destabilize the dam. It is classified as one of the six riskiest in the nation.

But the Army Corps are keeping the water low to reduce the risks, and the water level as of March 6 was 793 acre-feet, compared to a total 20,400 acre-feet of capacity behind the dam, according to the report.

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Martis Dam risks still being studied

Remote control gates priority for flood control
Source: Greyson Howard, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza
February 17, 2008

Field work has temporarily halted on the Martis Dam until the snow melts, but the Army Corps of Engineers is still working to assess the risk the dam poses.

Located three miles east of Truckee in the Martis Valley, the 36-year-old earthen-fill dam has been categorized as an "extremely high risk" by the Corps for seepage issues.

Geologists blame the coarse glacial soil for the seepage that could destabilize the dam, making it one of the six riskiest dams in the nation.

The dam's ranking comes not only from the probability of failure, but also the consequences downstream, which in this case is the flooding of the Truckee River Canyon and a large part of Reno, said Ronn Rose with the Dam Safety Assurance Program last fall.

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Martis Dam risks still being studied

Remote control gates high priority for flood control
By Greyson Howard
February 7, 2008

Reservoir levels
20,400 acre-feet: Maximum flood control capacity
5,000 acre-feet: Water storage level
800 acre-feet: Fall 2007 level
786 acre-feet: Current level

Field work has temporarily halted on the Martis Dam until the snow melts, but the Army Corps of Engineers is still working to assess the risk the dam poses.

Located three miles east of Truckee in the Martis Valley, the 36-year-old earthen-fill dam has been categorized as an “extremely high risk” by the Corps for seepage issues. Geologists blame the coarse glacial soil for the seepage that could destabilize the dam, making it one of the six riskiest dams in the nation.

The dam’s ranking comes not only from the probability of failure, but also the consequences downstream, which in this case is the flooding of the Truckee River Canyon and a large part of Reno, said Ronn Rose with the Dam Safety Assurance Program last fall.

But as investigations continue, water levels are being kept at a minimum, so the dam poses no immediate threat, said the Corps’ Project Manager Veronica Petrovsky. According to a situation report issued at the beginning of the month, only 786 acre-feet of water are in the reservoir, or about 4 percent of the gross pool.

“Right now we are working on automation for the flood gates so we can remotely operate them,” Petrovsky said. “Now somebody has to do it manually at the dam for flood control so inclement weather or deep snow precludes us from getting to the gates — this will increase the level of safety. We’re excited about getting that in place.”

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Storm not a threat to Martis Dam

Sierra Sun staff report
January 10, 2008

The Army Corps of Engineers announced Wednesday that the Martis Creek Dam poses no current danger to downstream communities.

“This last storm had little impact on the dam because most of the precipitation fell as snow rather than rain,” said Veronica Petrovsky, a senior project manager with the Corps. “Consequently, there was very little increase in the depth of water behind the dam, so there is very little pressure on the dam and little or no danger to nearby residents due to flooding,” she added.

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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Fish Passage Program: Truckee River

Summary: 
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Fish Passage Program
Primary Contact: 
Rights: 
Unknown
Status: 
Ongoing

The Numana Diversion Dam was constructed in 1971 to divert Truckee River water for agricultural purposes to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Reservation. The dam is located about 12 miles upstream from the Pyramid Lake shoreline. The dam is a lowhead diversion and includes a fish ladder on the east abutment. On the opposite side of the river, water is diverted through a headgate and is filtered through three electrical powered revolving screens. This screen system is designed to prevent entrainment of adult fish and debris into the irrigation system, and conveys fish back to the river via a culvert. The fish ladder and screens were retrofitted in 1976 to facilitate fish passage. By 2000, the screens were badly corroded and not functional.

Project Status: In 2001, the Service partnered with the Bureau of Reclamation to assess the integrity of the screens. The structural frameworks of the screens were found corroded beyond repair and it was recommended to rebuild the screen system with stainless steel rather than high carbon steel. Currently, funds have been expended to replace a hoist, cables, and the trolley framework, and bids are being circulated to estimate the cost for complete renovation.

Benefits: Renovating the fish screens will maintain the endangered cui-ui lakesucker and threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout within 24 miles of its native habitat.

Study: Martis Creek Dam needs repair

WILLIAM ALBRIGHT, SPECIAL TO THE RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL
Posted: 11/26/2007

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is calling for immediate action to prevent the failure of Martis Creek Dam, which it considers one the of six most at risk in its entire 610-dam inventory.

In a conference call with reporters last week, a peer group of dam experts, hydrologists and engineers said they completely agree with the Corps findings.

Martis Creek Dam provides 30 percent of flood storage capacity for the Truckee River and ultimately Reno. Officials said failure of the dam might be catastrophic for downstream communities.

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