Oklahoma Hosts Advanced O&M Workshop

Advanced Watershed Project Operation and Maintenance Workshop Held in Oklahoma City, September 2009

Ninety people from nine states attended the Advanced Watershed Project Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Workshop in Oklahoma City, Sept. 15-17, 2009. The National Watershed Coalition, Oklahoma Conservation Commission and the Natural Resources Conservation Service sponsored the workshop. It was tailored for project sponsors and their employees, NRCS personnel and others involved in watershed projects.

Participants spent one and a half days in the classroom and one day in the field at a Bear Creek Watershed dam in Custer County.

“The workshop included presentations on a variety of subjects designed to provide the participants with information about the policies and responsibilities of all partners,” said Dan Sebert, executive director of the National Watershed Coalition (NWC). “The workshop also gave participants a chance to learn how different states are dealing with the growing challenges of operation and maintenance and to learn about new equipment and techniques.”

Some of the subjects covered in the classroom portion of the workshop included: watershed sponsor liability issues, dam safety, NRCS policies, legislative support for O&M, rehabilitation of aging dams, and the Incident Command System.

The field day provided participants with an opportunity to see various kinds of equipment used by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission and private companies to assist project sponsors with O&M, including pumps, siphons, mowers, and tree removal equipment. Participants received training in conducting dam inspections and how to identify existing or potential problems with dams.

This is one of several O&M workshops being held across the nation by the NWC. Workshops in Arkansas and Mississippi are scheduled in coming months.

In the photos below, from top, OCC Executive Director Mike Thralls speaks to workshop participants, followed by NRCS State Conservationist Ron Hilliard. Gene Peters (in red and white striped shirt) demonstrates a machine to fuse poly pipe when replacing spillway pipe. Participants examine a mower used on dam faces. Participants help assemble a pipe used to draw down water level in cases where the spillway gate is stuck closed.