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    USACE collaborates with City of Gooding to reduce flood risk, improve safety

    USACE collaborates with City of Gooding to reduce flood risk, improve safety

    Photo By Marcy Sanchez | GOODING, Idaho – (From left) Lt. Col. ShaiLin KingSlack, commander, U.S. Army Corps...... read more read more



    Story by Marcy Sanchez  

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District

    GOODING, Idaho – Approximately 40 years ago, when Diane Houser first moved to the City of Gooding, Idaho, she noted deteriorating channel walls along the Little Wood River, a tributary of the Big Wood River in Idaho’s Magic Valley, which cuts through the small city.

    On March 28, representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, joined city officials to sign a project partnership agreement defining shared responsibilities and commitments for the joint rehabilitation efforts of the channel walls.

    The genesis of the canal dates to the 1930s when the Works Progress Administration, later renamed the Work Projects Administration, embarked on a project to realign the river to provide irrigation water and protect the community from flooding. This initiative, completed in 1941, involved the construction of channel walls from grouted and ungrouted hand-placed lava rock over the native lava rock riverbed.

    Over the years, the lava rock walls have deteriorated, usually resulting in sections of the channel walls falling into the channel, creating additional obstructions, and reducing conveyance capacity. During high flows and winter freezes, such obstructions, and other factors, have often resulted in flooding.

    “This is a momentous occasion for our community as we have been working many years towards improving the [channel] walls,” said Houser, who is now the mayor of Gooding. “It's going to be a blessing for the city not to have to worry about being flooded anymore.”

    The Gooding River Wall project was originally authorized by Section 3057 of the Water Resources Development Act of 2007. However, costs due to inflation began to exceed the original amount authorized, stalling the project. Section 8335 of WRDA 2022 authorized USACE to move forward with the project, authorizing the rehabilitation of the channel walls, five vehicular bridges, and three pedestrian bridges.

    “The federal government's investment not only addresses the immediate concerns [of deterioration], but also invests in the long-term resiliency, safety and the protection of the people and properties of the City of Gooding,” remarked Lt. Col. ShaiLin KingSlack, Commander of the Walla Walla District, USACE. “Our objectives here are two-fold - To reduce local flood risks and improve the canal’s long-term reliability and conveyance capacity.”

    Aside from reduced flood risk, another benefit involves increased safety for the residents of Gooding, particularly around Gonzales Park, a park adjacent to the channel separated only by thin fencing at collapsed areas of the channel.

    “Areas of the wall have fallen into the canal by our city parks, so we had to put up barriers on both sides of the parks where [children] play, so they don't wind up in the canal,” explained Houser. “It's been a long haul to get it done, but it's getting done now and it will be safer for our community all around.”

    Additionally, the project will enhance the channel’s aesthetics, a characteristic of the conduit consumed by overgrown shrubs, trees and collapsed channel walls which decrease conveyance capability.

    “It's an eyesore when you come to Gooding and you see the overgrown trees coming through the river wall, and it's hard to clean it out,” explained Hollye Lierman, a resident of Gooding for 19 years. “In the winters it is a big safety issue because of the ice jams. [Ice] sticks to the rocks, and when [floating ice] gets to the bridges it jams up.”

    Part of the project will address pinch points along the channel at bridge abutments, widening the passages, improving capacity during high water periods, and reducing public safety risks.

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has authority under Public Law 84-99 to supplement local efforts in the repair of both federal (USACE-constructed, locally operated and maintained) and non-federal (constructed by non-federal interests or by the Work Projects Administration) flood risk management projects damaged by flooding events.


    Date Taken: 04.03.2024
    Date Posted: 04.03.2024 13:38
    Story ID: 467685
    Location: GOODING, IDAHO, US
    Hometown: GOODING, IDAHO, US

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