DUNCAN, Ariz. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District dispatched personnel Sept. 17 to assist the town in southeast Arizona with its flood fighting efforts during a rain event there.
The State of Arizona’s Division of Emergency Management requested assistance from USACE under Public Law 84-99, the Flood Control and Coastal Emergency Act, which allows the Corps to supplement state and local entities in flood fighting in urban and non-agricultural areas. In response, the District mobilized to reduce Gila River flood threat conditions associated with Tropical Storm Odile. Initially, the District felt there could be danger to Duncan residents and potential damage to buildings and infrastructure in the town from failure of the non-federal levee there.
“They’re anticipating a large rain event and what is here wouldn’t hold,” explained Adam Johnston, the District’s construction representative, who was on site that evening. “So, we’re coming in and reinforcing with large [average 24 inches] stone riprap.”
The District received $700,000 in PL 84-99 funds that afternoon. Johnston said the District received the call around 1 p.m. and contacted their contractor within an hour. West Point Construction, the District’s contractor for the emergency project, deployed heavy equipment and materials to supplement Greenlee County efforts. By 8 p.m., the contractor and members of the District were on site in Duncan. West Point’s equipment included a bulldozer, a loader, and eight trucks. District members and the contractor worked through the night on Sept. 17 and through the following day to reinforce the levee.
West Point and the District placed riprap to a height of 15-18 feet up the slope above the water along the entire length of the construction zone before the rain reached dangerous levels. The contractor and subcontractor brought fill material to the site to level off the top of the berm.
By Sept. 20, the District, after a 3 a.m. call with the National Weather Service’s on-duty meteorologist, determined there was no forecasted rain that would cause any increase to the river stage height. District representatives notified state and county officials and wrapped up operations later in the day.