At Tuesday’s meeting of the Erath County Commissioners Court, Chairman Don Smart of the Cross Timbers Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) presented the annual report on the operations and maintenance status of Erath County’s flood control dams.
The evaluation rated the quality of each of the county’s 76 dams and found 14 to be “high hazards” or having design deficiencies, and the remaining falling in the standard operations and maintenance category.
Smart said that the hazard classification did not necessarily mean there were problems with the dams. Instead, he said the structures below the dams were constructed after the dam and presented potential hazards due to their locations.
“There are currently eight dam sites in the county that have been classified as high hazards,” Smart said. “High hazard means there is a dwelling or major road below the site.”
Those rated as “high hazards” are Northeast Tributary sites 13 and 14 and Upper Bosque sites 2, 3, 6, 7, 15 and 27.
Of the six sites categorized as having a design deficiency, Northeast Tributary site 20 and Upper Bosque site 10 have severe wave action erosion on the dam. The remaining four, Green’s Creek sites 5, 11 and 8 and Paluxy site 14 were found to have principal outlet erosion.
The total estimated cost to repair the six dams is $104,100.
Each of the remaining 62 dams fall in the standard operations and maintenance category and require simple fence repair, brush removal, mowing and clearing, with an estimated total cost of $108,700.
Smart said the yearly report is a status update on each of the dams of which commissioners maintain the right-of-way and the local SWCD performs routine maintenance using funds provided by each of the county’s four precincts.
He also said that each of the SWCDs in the state have been required to evaluate and report on the dams in their districts and deliver the reports to the office of the state board which will evaluate the findings.
“A lot of the dams across the state are 50 years old and their maintenance is slipping,” Smart said. “To make needed upgrades and repairs, funding is needed. Many of the state’s soil and water conservation districts have no money.”
Smart said that he believes based on conversation with a state official that the state board plans to take the findings before the state legislature in the upcoming session.
“I believe it is likely the state board will seek money for the repair and restoration of Texas dams,” said Smart.