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Albemarle County Receiving State Funding for Dam Safety

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Hollymead Dam in Albemarle County Hollymead Dam in Albemarle County
Greg Harper Greg Harper
Hollymead Dam in Albemarle County Hollymead Dam in Albemarle County
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced that roughly $1.15 million in state grants will go toward upgrading dozens of Virginia’s dams.

The grants are to enhance public safety, reduce the risk of dam failures, and prevent property damage from flooding.

Albemarle County will get a little more than $85,000. The county operates and maintains six out of about 100 dams in the area.

"Some of the dams around here started out as being farm ponds, so a lot of the construction techniques maybe weren't that great," said Albemarle County Environmental Services Chief Greg Harper.

The state funds will help support 72 projects in the commonwealth. More than half of the dams receiving funding are classified as high hazard, meaning they pose the greatest risk to life and property upon failure.

Grants were awarded from the Virginia Dam Safety, Flood Prevention and Protection Assistance Fund, managed by the Virginia Resources Authority.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Release from Commonwealth of Virginia Office of Governor Terry McAuliffe:

RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced $1.15 million in state grants to help dam owners and Virginia localities enhance public safety, reduce the risk of dam failures, and prevent property damage from flooding. Grants were awarded from the Virginia Dam Safety, Flood Prevention and Protection Assistance Fund, managed by the Virginia Resources Authority on behalf of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

“Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Dam failures can be tragic for families and economically devastating for communities. These essential grants will help keep Virginians and their property safe and dry through successful and necessary preparation.”

Seventy-two dam safety and floodplain management projects were selected through a competitive application process requiring approval by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board. In addition to 50-50 matching grants to public and private dam owners whose dams are under state regulation, resources were provided to local governments to help with flood prevention and protection.

“More than half of the dams receiving funding are classified as high hazard, meaning they pose the greatest risk to life and property upon failure and are a priority for the Commonwealth,” DCR Director Clyde E. Cristman said.

“Effective preparation is what stops storms from becoming disasters,” said Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.“The Department of Conservation and Recreation is a crucial partner as we work to bolster Virginia’s resiliency and protect public safety.”

Projects were selected from more than a dozen categories ranging from dam design and analysis to emergency preparedness, education, and outreach. Other supported activities include engineering for dam rehabilitation and mapping potential downstream impacts associated with a dam failure in order to better protect the public during an emergency. The grants will also support dam hazard classification analysis, development of emergency action plans, and spillway capacity analysis.

“Improving the way we deal with water will protect our economies, ecosystems, and communities from catastrophe during extreme flooding events,”said Secretary of Natural Resources Molly Ward. “Investments in the crucial areas of dam safety and floodplain management will make the Commonwealth more resilient and secure in the face of rising tides and increasingly frequent storms.”

For a complete list of the grant awards click here.

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