Havre Daily News - News you can use

MSU-Northern civil engineering students visit BLM's BR-12 Dam

 

January 22, 2020

www.msun.edu

Tyler Youderian of Youderian Construction explained the use of GPS technology to cut accurate grades without continually re-surveying the project.

By Bureau of Land Management Havre Field Office Manager Ben Hileman, Rangeland Management Specialist Abby Hall and Montana State University-Northern Associate Professor Jeremy Siemens

The American Society of Civil Engineers Student Chapter from Montana State University-Northern observed Nov. 19 the construction of the BR-12 Dam north of Zurich.

Abby Hall, rangeland management specialist from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Havre Field Office took a group of civil engineering students and their professor out to the location of BR-12 Dam.

The group met Mike Montgomery and Brandie Folck, BLM civil engineers.  Montgomery explained the soil science, project location, drainage features and design elements of the dam. 

Each person received a set of drawings to review and use as a point of discussion. The group viewed the different areas of the construction site, and compared the drawings to the actual work being conducted on the site. 

Tyler Youderian of Youderian Construction explained the use of GPS technology during construction, which allows machinery to cut grade to sub-inch accuracy while eliminating the need to constantly re-survey projects. 

Topics of discussion between the entire crew included soil physical and chemical properties, moisture content and compaction, sand filters, toe and chimney drains, outlet basins and energy dissipation, and principle and auxiliary spillway size calculations relative drawdown requirements, and storm events. 

To conclude the tour, Montgomery invited the Northern group into his cargo trailer turned office/testing lab and showed and explained the type of real time moisture and density testing that goes on during construction.

Montgomery said that the BLM is a great place for engineers to gain experience in a wide variety of projects including buildings, roads, fences, pipelines and dams.

The visit lasted about an hour and the information shared by the BLM demonstrated several principles of civil engineering technology being implemented on site.

The BR-12 Dam had washed out during a storm in 2017. The dam is being replaced to protect residential and agricultural property downstream from future flooding. 

BR-12 is a reservoir that was constructed in northern Blaine County in 1936 as a Works Progress Administration project to provide flood control and livestock water.  

Recently, the BR-12 dam and reservoir was designated as a watchable wildlife area and is now grazed strategically to benefit riparian communities and wildlife habitat, and it functions as a premier waterfowl production area. Ample opportunities exist for viewing birds and other wildlife and the area has been frequented by outdoor enthusiasts, local schools, 4-H clubs, and the Boy Scouts of America for field activities. 

The BR-12 embankment was damaged and subsequently breached during severe flooding that occurred in northern Blaine County in 2011.  An environmental assessment was completed to reconstruct the embankment in 2013, but due to the high cost associated with large earthen hazard-class dams the final project design and funding were not in place until 2019. Reconstruction began in late September and is more than 85 percent complete and is scheduled to be finished by early spring 2020.

 

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