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ARS Home » Plains Area » El Reno, Oklahoma » Oklahoma and Central Plains Agricultural Research Center » Agroclimate and Hydraulics Research Unit » Research » Research Project #438119

Research Project: Development of Engineering Tools, Design Guidance Documents, and Computational Software for Monitoring, Inspecting and Rehabilitating Aging Dams

Location: Agroclimate and Hydraulics Research Unit

Project Number: 3070-13000-014-005-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2020
End Date: Sep 30, 2024

This proposal includes six primary objectives: 1) develop and/or update guidance documents (e.g. NRCS Design Note #6, Stepped Chute Design, etc.); 2) develop and/or refine engineering tools (e.g. Stepped Chute Design Tool, Jet Erosion Test (JET)/mini-JET, etc.); 3) develop standardization plan for field data collection for dams; 4) explore instrumentation and automation for dam monitoring and inspection (e.g. water level recorders, remote embankment mapping, UAV, etc.) including but not limited to working with the USDA ARS AgCROS Data Innovations team to develop a cloud-based database network for the reservoir and levee monitoring data, update and expand WinDAM to use historical and near real-time data; and develop an AgCROS API that can be used to transfer monitoring data to WinDAM and other dam monitoring applications like DamWatch; 5) curriculum development for various engineering tools and guidance (e.g. webinnars, workshops, hands-on learning video for subject matters like WinDAM, SITES, stepped chute design, etc.), and 6) develop a communication plan between ARS, NRCS, and stakeholders to foster collaboration among the organizations. The focus of this work will be development of engineering tools, design guidance documents, computational software for monitoring, inspecting, and rehabilitating aging dams. The products from this proposal will be used by professionals involved in the design and/or rehabilitation of dams and other hydraulic structures.

ARS and NRCS have a unique partnership to ensure the success of the USDA Small Watershed Program and to carry out the objectives outlined in this agreement. ARS and NRCS will work to integrate ARS research results and developed technology by identifying the application needs of the NRCS and the ways in which the results of ARS research can be used to most effectively satisfy the identified needs. ARS is the worldwide leader when it comes to dam safety related issues and has a proven record of accomplishment for providing sound scientific expertise and knowledge in dam safety. NRCS often requests ARS to deliver training via workshops and hands-on learning demonstrations. NRCS also requests review of designs and calculations using ARS design approaches and software developed through research. ARS is adept at providing trainings through webinars, videos, and other avenues. Likewise, NRCS has successfully implemented ARS technology on the ground. For the continued success of the USDA Small Watershed Program and the rehabilitation of aging infrastructure, increased collaboration of ARS and NRCS is vital to improving the competitiveness and efficiency of American agriculture while protecting human lives, infrastructure, and agricultural production.