PITTSBURGH – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers informed Congress this week that its flood risk management efforts in the Upper Ohio River Basin in fiscal year 2014 prevented an estimated $143.9 million in flood damages.
The district operates 16 multi-purpose, flood risk management reservoirs and oversees 42 local flood protection projects such as channels, floodwalls and levees in the basin.
Berlin Lake and Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir in Northwest Ohio greatly contributed to reducing flood waters along the Ohio River during the fiscal year’s heaviest rain event in December 2013.
During that event, the northern half of the Upper Ohio River basin received two inches of rain over two days, Dec. 21 and 22. Rivers rose sharply, causing a peak event which passed the Point of Pittsburgh on Dec. 23. Flood elevations on the Ohio River were reduced by 4.8 feet at Pittsburgh and 8.2 feet at New Martinsville, West Virginia.
Total flood damages prevented by the district’s 16 reservoirs during the December 2013 event are estimated at $69.3 million. Of that total, Berlin Lake and Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir contributed approximately $46.3 million in flood damage reduction benefits.
The district’s 42 local flood protection projects prevented an estimated $4.1 million in damages during the December 2013 event. Of that total, Johnsonburg, Brookville, Reynoldsville and Buckhannon projects contributed approximately $2.3 million in flood damage reduction benefits.
The report states that Pittsburgh District experienced a typical year during fiscal 2014 with 38.9 inches of precipitation compared with an average of 38.2 inches. Annual amounts of flood damages prevented by Pittsburgh District projects have varied over the past 10 years from $22.8 million in fiscal 2006 to $794 million in fiscal 2011.
Pittsburgh District’s 26,000 square miles include portions of western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, eastern Ohio, western Maryland and southwestern New York. Our jurisdiction includes more than 328 miles of navigable waterways, 23 navigation locks and dams, 16 multi-purpose flood risk management reservoirs, 42 local flood protection projects and other projects to protect and enhance the nation’s water resources infrastructure and environment.