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Texas State contracts engineering firm for Spring Lake Dam repairs

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
March 15, 2017

Texas State University has awarded Freese and Nichols, Inc. (FNI), one of the region’s leading water resource engineering firms, a multi-phase project to design repairs for the Spring Lake Dam following damage from the October 2015 flood.

The project is slated to begin within the next few months and will bring the dam into compliance with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s statewide standards for dam safety.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is actively working with the university as the lead federal agency on the dam project. Other agencies providing technical assistance include the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The first phase will involve removing debris and carefully placing riprap along the dam to provide short-term stabilization of the structure. Crews will leave the cypress trees in place, since their roots help stabilize the bank. The university plans to pursue disaster relief funds to implement the first phase of repairs that are expected to cost $2 million.

The second phase will incorporate interim stabilization measures from phase one into the long-term rehabilitation of the dam. Texas State and FNI are in the process of evaluating designs for the long-term fix, which will likely cost $5 million or more.

The dam has been modified and repaired on numerous occasions. The last major repairs happened in the summer of 2001 as a result of substantial damage caused by the October 1998 flood. Texas State contracted with FNI in May 2001 to design repairs to the existing concrete spillway and approximately 150 feet of the rock-crib dam. 

Originally built in 1849 to power a saw and gristmill, Spring Lake Dam is situated on the Texas State campus upstream from Sewell Park. It forms Spring Lake at the headwaters of the San Marcos River and is home to unique archaeological and biological resources, including several federally-listed endangered species. Crews will follow all federal, state and local regulations to minimize any negative impacts on the endangered species.

About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,849 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 170,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world.  Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities:  Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.

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