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Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 000-92070; Lower Colorado River Authority
DSR ID# 73448,(24289); Wirtz Dam Impact Slab
Citation: FEMA-1179-DR-TX; Lower Colorado River Authority; DSR 73448(24289) - Wirtz Dam Impact Slab
Cross Reference: Impact Slab, Emergency Work, Mitigation, Improved Project, Maintained Natural Feature, Codes and Standards;
Summary: Flooding in the Texas Hill Country resulted in excessive flow through Wirtz Dam, which caused a scour hole in the granite riverbed just downstream of gates 6 and 8 of the dam spillway. The scour hole presented a danger to the dam's structural integrity. As a result, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) contracted to immediately fill the scour hole and restore the granite dam base with concrete. After an initial inspection, a FEMA contractor team with dam expertise was called in to inspect the damages, and prepared DSR 24289 for $1,412,000 to fill the scour hole and anchor it to surrounding bedrock with reinforcement. The DSR included $280,000 in mitigation for extra concrete and additional reinforcing of the bedrock anchors, and a separate mitigation measure for $1,845,000 for a 260-ft. by 60-ft. by 5-ft. thick reinforced concrete impact slab. The DSR and the two mitigation measures were ruled ineligible during DSR review, because the granite streambed was not considered an eligible facility. The $280,000 mitigation measure had been initially approved as cost-beneficial by Region VI, however, mitigation associated with a project cannot be eligible if the project itself is not eligible. The impact slab mitigation measure ($1,845,000) had been ruled not cost-beneficial. The LCRA submitted a first appeal of the denial stating that the completed repairs were needed to restore the foundation of the dam to its pre-disaster condition, and were emergency in nature. The LCRA further stated that the work eliminated an immediate threat to life and property, and were conducted on a sole source contract within six months of the disaster. In addition, the LCRA submitted maintenance records documenting improvements and regular maintenance of the granite streambed at the base of the dam. In its response to the first appeal, FEMA Region VI determined that the granite streambed had been an improved and maintained feature, and was an eligible part of the dam facility. The Regional Director, granted the appeal for $1,132,000, ruling however, that the repairs were eligible only as emergency protective measures as stated by the LCRA. Thus the $280,000 mitigation that had been previously ruled cost-beneficial, was denied because mitigation was not eligible on Category B DSR's. The impact slab mitigation measure also remained ineligible. In its second appeal, the LCRA requests reconsideration of the denial of funding for the mitigation measures, stating that "it was necessary to restore the foundation of Wirtz Dam to its pre-flood strength." The LCRA also states that the impact slab may have been an improvement, but it is eligible because Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) would have required it.
- Was the restoration of the Wirtz Dam base only eligible as Category B (emergency) work?
- Is the additional concrete ($280,000) mitigation measure eligible?
- Is the concrete impact slab mitigation measure ($1,845,000) eligible for FEMA funding?
- No. Although the applicant stated that work was conducted on an emergency basis, the repairs were eligible permanent restoration of an eligible facility (the maintained granite streambed).
- Yes. This mitigation was ruled to be cost-beneficial, and because the restoration of the dam base was permanent restoration (Category D), the mitigation measure is allowed.
- No. The impact slab significantly improves and changes the pre-disaster design of the facility for withstanding future floods, and is not specifically required by any codes or standards.
Rationale: Pursuant to 44 CFR 206.226, work to restore an eligible facility to its pre-disaster function is eligible for FEMA Public Assistance funding.