Archive

Archive for the ‘Civil Works’ Category

Corps helps communities recover and rebuild

February 16th, 2012

Corps of Engineers Quality Assurance Inspector Steve Hart (left) discusses the private property debris removal operation with QA Supervisor Glen Locke (right) June 21 at a home site near the Joplin High School, which can be seen in the background.

According to recent information from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2011 was a record year for weather/climate disasters, with the highest number of events exceeding $1 billion in damages since 1980. Last year there were three times more disaster declarations than in a normal year, including tornadoes and severe spring storms, significant flooding throughout much of the country, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.

This meant that it was also a year which tested the Corps’ disaster response capabilities, with personnel and teams responding to 22 events worldwide in 2011, the busiest year for the program since 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast. USACE spent approximately $1 billion on emergency operations this year.

In 2011, some 2,400 USACE personnel and 22 Planning and Response Teams (PRT) deployed in support of FEMA and the National Response Framework. Their missions included temporary power, debris removal, installation of concrete pads for temporary housing units, and temporary replacement of critical public facilities such as schools, health clinics and fire stations.

The districts in our Mississippi Valley Division and Northwest Division were also heavily engaged throughout most of the past year managing record high water levels along the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Red and Souris rivers, for a much longer duration than normal. Our flood risk reduction systems were operated at their maximum capacity, some for the first time ever. The systems performed as designed, and thousands of communities were spared. We are working now to make necessary repairs and restore these systems to their original operating capacities.

Whether operating in the aftermath of floodwaters, tornados, hurricanes or any other disaster, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is a vital part of the federal team helping communities recover and rebuild.

Civil Works, Emergency Response

Small businesses a vital part of the team

December 12th, 2011

Maj. Gen. Merdith W.B. (Bo) Temple addresses the audience at the 2011 SAME Small Business Conference in Washington, D.C.

Did you know that small businesses in the U.S. represent 99 percent of all employer firms, and employ about half of all private sector employees? Small businesses have generated 65 percent of the net new jobs over the past 17 years, and hire 43 percent of high tech workers, including scientists, engineers, computer programmers and others.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) understands the importance of small businesses. In Fiscal Year 2011, 42.5 percent of all USACE contract obligations were awarded to small businesses at a total value of $8.1 billion. I am very proud that our teams not only met but exceeded our assigned goals this year in every category, including awards to Small Disadvantaged, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned, Women-Owned and HUBZone businesses.

Recently, Corps leaders and our hard-working acquisition professionals, as well as their counterparts from other Department of Defense (DOD) agencies, participated in the Society of Military Engineers’ annual Small Business Conference for DOD Engineering, Construction and Environmental Programs. This event and others like it offer small businesses vital information and training to prepare them to work with the government, while allowing us to learn how their companies can help the Corps serve the military and the Nation.

If you take a look back at what the Corps has accomplished over the past year, you will see clearly the importance of our small business and industry partners. After five years of intense effort, we met our commitments to deliver $11 billion of Base Realignment and Closure projects to our military customers and provide 100-year risk reduction to the citizens of New Orleans with the massive $14 billion Hurricane and Storm Damage Risk Reduction System. Our teams were on the ground this year helping communities recover from tornadoes and hurricanes and managing historic flooding throughout much of the country. Where the Corps has served our Nation, small businesses have played a vital role. The same is true overseas, where we are reaching out and working with local contractors in Europe, Asia and Afghanistan to build Host Nation Capacity.

It takes the whole team – USACE and our federal partners, state and local agencies, tribal nations, special interest groups, academia and industry – to deliver sustainable engineering solutions and the Small Business community is a very important part of our success.

Afghanistan, Civil Works, Contingency Operations, Contracting, Emergency Response, Gulf Coast Recovery, Iraq, Military Programs, Partnership, Small Business

A Year of Helping People

November 9th, 2011

2011 was a busy year for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as we executed more than $40 billion and served the Army and the Nation, both at home and abroad.   To find out more about our work this year, check out this video featuring Acting Commanding General and Acting Chief of Engineers Major General Merdith W. B. (Bo) Temple.



YouTube DoDLive

 

Afghanistan, Civil Works, Contingency Operations, Gulf Coast Recovery, Iraq, Uncategorized

President Releases USACE Civil Works Budget

February 14th, 2011

President Obama released the 2012 Civil Works budget today, which outlines the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ non-military funded programs and projects for next year.

Click here for a state-by-state breakdown of the FY 12 Army Civil Works Budget: http://www.usace.army.mil/cecw/pid/pages/cecwm_progdev.aspx

This budget provides an effective pathway for us to help create jobs, support economic development and global competitiveness, and restore and protect critical and vital aquatic ecosystems. It also reflects the realities of our Nation’s fiscal status. As with other federal agencies across government, this year’s budget is less than in prior years, and it is up to us to ensure that we use the funds with which we are entrusted in the most efficient and effective ways possible…and we will!

The greatest percentage of our resources will be used on projects that provide the highest returns on the Nation’s investment. This includes Dam Safety projects that are in the greatest need of repair — we have 692 dams that we either operate or own — projects that will reduce the risk of loss of life, projects that will mitigate environmental losses and advance a number of our environmental missions, and on-going projects that we can complete or make significant progress on with these funds.

We have 92 construction projects in the FY12 budget. This includes 55 flood and storm damage reduction projects, 19 aquatic ecosystem restoration projects, 16 navigation-related projects, and two hydropower mitigation projects.

About 34 percent of the budget supports the nation’s inland waterways and coastal navigation network, which is particularly important when you consider that nearly $2 trillion worth of trade travels up, down, in, and out of U.S. harbors and waterways. The efficient and effective movement of waterborne cargo is a critical component of the national economy, because it reduces the costs of goods and services for American consumers and supports the global competitiveness. The budget also supports projects and studies for a number of significant aquatic ecosystems, including South Florida and the Everglades.

FY 2012 will be an exciting year in our efforts to provide valuable engineering services to our Nation. We are fully committed to supporting the President’s priorities to secure the homeland, revitalize the economy, and restore and protect the environment. We are proud to serve this great Nation, and we look forward to our continued mission of BUILDING STRONG.

Best,

Van

BUILDING STRONG®

Civil Works, Contingency Operations, Levees, Locks and Dams

Rebuilding the Everglades through Partnership

October 22nd, 2010

Kissimme birds fly around the Florida Everglades.

This week I’m in Florida at Phase II of the District Engineer Course. Much of the discussion centered around transparent communications and the value of partnerships with local communities, and state and federal leaders.  

One of the best examples of an open, quality partnership is here in Florida.  The Florida Everglades is one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. It is also the major fresh water source for southern Florida and key in the battle against flooding and drought. 

More than a century ago, the environmental benefits of the Everglades were mortgaged in favor of commercial and real estate development, destroying nearly half of the Everglades.  Now, the federal government, state and local authorities are joining together in the largest environmental restoration effort in history called the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP). 

This plan aims to enhance Everglades’ wetlands and associated lakes, rivers, and bays in the 16-county region of South Florida. CERP projects will capture and store much of the water currently lost to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, ensuring that the biodiversity of the Everglades can be preserved and expanded. 

CERP can’t happen without the cooperation of a variety of agencies and governments. The Corps actively works with the South Florida Water Management District, the Department of the Interior, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, the Everglades National Park Service, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management, just to name a few. 

Together, our partnership is working to restore the wetlands to the valuable natural landscape it once was through dozens of projects, including adding 55,000 acres of habitat to the Everglades system.  

Building a strong environment for our Nation through partnership…that’s a lesson worth learning! 

Van

Civil Works, Environment/Sustainability ,

Katrina: Five years later…and building strong!

August 26th, 2010

The Inner Harbor Navigation Canal surge barrier floodwall the Corps’ largest-ever design-build civil works project. At almost two miles long, this $1.3 billion project is being called the “Great Wall of Louisiana.”

Five years ago, communities along the Gulf Coast experienced devastating loss and damage as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  As the long road to recovery began for thousands of Americans impacted by this tragedy, the Corps was called upon to do their part to help rebuild, restore and reconstruct the Hurricane and Storm Risk Reduction System in the Greater New Orleans area. 

What was once a patchwork of levees, floodwalls and pumps before the hurricanes is becoming a true System that will provide 100-year level perimeter protection against hurricane storm surge to greater New Orleans. Today, the area already has the best perimeter defense in its history, and work continues at a record pace. We are driving hard to have in place a system that can defend against a 100-year storm by June 2011. 

We are working towards this goal by using the best science, technology and talent available, leveraging the knowledge and capability of our partners in industry, architect-engineer firms, members of academia and international counterparts.  Together, we are developing and applying state-of-the-practice engineering solutions to the Hurricane and Storm Risk Reduction System and across coastal Louisiana. 

With this scientific expertise, we were able to design and have nearly completed construction on the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Surge Barrier, the Corps’ largest-ever design-build civil works project. At almost two miles long, this $1.3 billion project is being called the “Great Wall of Louisiana,” and it is one of the key components in the Hurricane and Storm Risk Reduction System’s ability to defend against the effects of a 100-year storm.  Another key component of the system is the nearly $1 billion West Closure Complex, a gated surge barrier containing the largest drainage pump station in the world – now at 40% complete after only one year of construction. 

Other major work accomplished since Katrina includes: 

•     completion of all pump station repairs 

•     completion of one-third of pump station storm proofing projects 

•     raising the height of more than 15 miles of levees and 2.5 miles of floodwalls throughout the West Bank 

An unprecedented number of construction contracts has been awarded for this mission (more than 270), and more than $9 billion obligated.  What’s even more exciting is that about $2.3 billion has been awarded directly to Small and Disadvantaged Businesses, and more than 60% of these awards have gone to Louisiana-based businesses. 

We are committed to providing a system that will defend against the effects of a 100-year storm by June 2011.  But we aren’t done.  Work will continue beyond 2011 to complete other features of the system.  We will continue to use all available resources and Corps expertise across the Nation to deliver this essential system to the citizens of Greater New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana, and together with our state, local and federal partners, we will get ‘er done! 

Best, 

Van 

BUILDING STRONG®

Civil Works, Gulf Coast Recovery, Levees , ,

Navigation’s Value to the Nation

August 10th, 2010
LTG Van and COL Anderson look over the rail of a boat during a tour of the Chesapeake Bay.

Lt. Gen Van and Col. Anderson, commander of the Baltimore District, discuss navigation while touring the Chesapeake Bay on the Linthicum, a USACE survey vessel.

Last night I had the privilege to represent the 37,000 dedicated men and women of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in throwing out the first pitch before a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, a stadium which sits next to the city’s beautiful Inner Harbor.  And while I was honored to participate in this event, I was even more grateful to our Baltimore District for the opportunity to explore the area’s waterways earlier in the day and see first-hand an element of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that few know about, but from which nearly everyone benefits.

Nearly $2 trillion worth of trade travels up, down, in, and out of our Nation’s harbors and waterways.  Baltimore is one of 926 ports and harbors and leads to some of the 12,000 miles of our Nation’s federal channels.  The Corps is responsible for keeping those ports operational and those channels open so that we can provide safe, reliable, efficient, effective and environmentally sustainable waterborne transportation systems for movement of commerce, national security needs, and recreation.  By moving that commerce up and down our rivers, we are helping to reduce stress on land and air transportation systems, and on the environment.

Did you know that a 15 barge tow equals 216 rail cars and 6 locomotives or 1,050 semi-tractor trailer trucks?  Overall, this system of waterways handles over 544 million metric tons of freight annually, keeping this traffic off our overcrowded highways and railroads.  That’s getting ‘er done!

Keeping these rivers and harbors open is a team effort between the Corps and the communities along each mile of the waterway.  We work closely with our partners to ensure we’re operating and maintaining these waterways in the safest and most environmentally sound way possible.  And it’s just another way that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works to build a stronger nation.

Best,
Van

Civil Works, Navigation , , ,

Spring Flooding: So Far, So Good

March 24th, 2010

You may have seen the news that so far, the situation is stable in the Midwest, and we had a major flood with minimal damage in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota – despite extremely high water levels and lots of snow melt.  I’m really proud of the tremendous efforts we’ve had, alongside our state and local partners, in preparing for potential flooding in those areas.

Right now, we have 116 USACE personnel engaged in the Midwest; we’ve handed out 320,500 sandbags, 37 pumps, and a little over 5 miles of HESCO Bastion, which is a large metal and mesh structure used to temporarily make levees taller. We have also installed numerous miles of temporary levees, which are reducing the risk of flooding throughout North Dakota.

Here’s a video story that can help you understand what we’re dealing with in the Midwest right now:



All these emergency preparations were ironically underway right in the middle of Flood Safety Awareness Week, so I’d like to take a moment to share with you some important information about flooding – because it’s not just a Midwest issue, at all.

Flooding is the most common, costly and deadly natural disaster in the United States each year.  Because of an unusually wet and snowy winter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is anticipating particularly harsh spring floods for much of the country this year.  It’s important that you be prepared for possible flooding and do what you can to protect your family, home and property. Preparedness is important even if you don’t live in high-risk flood areas.     

There are a number of things you can do to better prepare for flooding and reduce your risks.  Check out this Web site – www.Ready.gov  – for some great, useful information.

Emergency Response, Levees

One Project at a Time…

September 25th, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, I posted about some of the progress we’re making with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (see “The Stimulus“). 
 
As a follow up to that, I wanted to share this newsclip that shows the money is being spent – wisely – and in some unbelievably important ways.
 
We are not just creating jobs, but repairing infrastructure in a nation that the American Society of Civil Engineers scores with a D-. Translation: we need a lot of this kind of work to reduce risk for our families and homes, and to secure our nation.
 
Check it out – click the link below, then scroll down the left side to “Tuttle Creek Dam Project” or search for “Tuttle Creek” in the search function.
 
Click here to see the story.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Corps Projects, Locks and Dams , , ,

A Diamond in the Rough; Celebrating 75 Years

July 28th, 2009

This week, I’m in Nebraska, honoring the 75th anniversary of our district office in Omaha. That’s pretty remarkable – 75 years. That’s the traditional “diamond” anniversary.

Next week, I’ll mark 36 years with my bride, and I sure hope we make it to 75! I remember my 50th birthday, we were getting ready to go out.  I looked in the mirror and  pulled a “Fonzi” (from the Happy Days TV show) – took out my comb and put it away without using it- like my hair looked perfect already.  I turned to her and said, “I just turned 50, do I look it?”

She said, “You used to.” That still cracks me up.

So this anniversary has me thinking about how much things change through the years. The Omaha District was originally established in 1934 as part of what was then known as “Missouri River Division” with a straightforward mission of navigation on the main stem of the Missouri, and nothing else. 

My, have times changed!  Now they do a little bit of everything… dams, levees, flood-fighting, military construction, environmental clean-up… and the list goes on.

Here’s a link to a story about some of the really neat things the Omaha District has done through the years – check it out.

It all boils down to people, though – and Omaha has some GREAT people. Since 2001, more than 100 employees of that small district office have volunteered for service in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and elsewhere. That’s America’s Heartland, right there.

People are like diamonds – you find out what they’re really made of when you put them under great pressure. The people who’ve made the Omaha District successful these past 75 years are diamonds in my book with all 4 C’s – my own 4 C’s: Character, commitment, Competency  and Chemistry!

Congrats, Omaha District!

Civil Works, Corps Projects, Locks and Dams, Navigation , , ,