$8.1 million project improves flood control protection in Hays County
Officials Cut Ribbon for Plum Creek Dam 6 Improvements near Kyle
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – Hays County Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe and Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Jones joined officials from the Plum Creek Conservation District, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB), Hays County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Caldwell-Travis SWCD, and other partners on September 27 to officially open the newly improved Plum Creek Conservation District Site 6 dam on Goforth Road.
Noting the need for the dam to be upgraded, Jones said, “During one major rain event we had to warn residents in Commissioner Ingalsbe’s precinct that they might need to be evacuated because we were concerned the water would flood downstream, and now we no longer have to worry about that.”
Commissioner Jones thanked the area citizens and business owners for their patience while they were detoured around the site for some 16 months. Hays County’s Transportation Department assisted the contractor in determining the best rerouting of traffic during the project, which also allowed Goforth Road between High Road and Bebee Road to be realigned to improve safety and mobility for travelers in an area whose population is growing.
“The original dam was built in 1967, and the improvements increase the discharge capacity to meet current regulations and protect homes and businesses in the area and downstream in case of historic rainfall,” Johnie Halliburton with the Plum Creek Conservation District told the crowd.
Total project cost was approximately $8.1 million, funded by a combination of federal (NRCS, 65 percent), state (TSSWCB, 33.25 percent) and local sources (Plum Creek WCD, 1.75 percent). The NRCS developed the original concepts for improvements, performed quality control reviews during design, and oversaw construction of the project. Freese and Nichols, Inc., advanced NRCS’ concepts and completed the engineering design.
“We appreciate the efforts of everyone involved in completing this project,” NRCS Acting State Conservation Engineer Brian Wenberg said. “This is a happy day for us.” He noted that the NRCS constructed more than 11,000 watershed dams across the United States like the one at Goforth Road, and approximately 2,000 of them are in Texas. The NRCS relies on local groups such as soil and water conservation districts to acquire right-of-way for the projects and maintain and operate the dams when they are completed.
John Foster, TSSWCB intergovernmental affairs, told the crowd that the dam shows what “$8 million in taxpayer funding will do to protect a whole lot more than $8 million downstream.” He noted that the dam repair was not in the TSSWCB original plan from 2010, but that additional federal funding allowed them to match state and local funds to accomplish the repairs.
Left to right, front row, David Allen, Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Jones, James Holt, Sr., Kathryn Brady, Johnie Halliburton, and Dustin Mortensen. Back row, left to right, Donald Graham, Matt Parten, James Lipscomb, Billy Ray Buckner, Rich Steinbrink, Tomas Dominguez, John Hrebrik, Brian Wenberg, Tom Beach, and Steve Bednarz.