Crews from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District Operations and Maintenance branch began their annual clean-up and maintenance of the Mojave Dam in San Bernardino, California, March 24. The crews removed trash and debris from the dam and surrounding access roads.
“We come out annually for two weeks to carry out maintenance and regularly throughout the year to check on the condition of the dam,” said Louis Munoz, a supervisor with the District’s dam operations and maintenance section. “We remove graffiti, clean out trash and debris, and replace damaged staff boards which are used to monitor the amount of water that rises in front of the dam during rainfall.”
During the initial maintenance, crews used more than 25 gallons of paint to cover graffiti that vandals had placed on guardrails, gate posts, remote instrumentation facilities, staff boards and the dam spillway.
“I painted over this graffiti when we arrived and returned this morning [Saturday] to find that someone tagged the area again,” said Larry Brunson, a maintenance crew member who was repainting over graffiti that had been placed on the spillway.
Crew members dawned protective equipment and applied herbicide to grass and brush that have grown on the face and around the top of the dam.
“We apply herbicide to kill growth on the face and top of the dam to prevent the growth from rooting into the structure, which allows us to do better inspections,” said Munoz. “We add the blue dye to the herbicide to better identify the areas we applied the herbicide, and the herbicide we use is safe for the public and environment.”
Munoz further related that the removal of the growth helps during their inspection as it enables the crews to closely inspect and check for any damage that may have resulted from earthquakes and erosion due to rainfall.
The Mojave Dam is located on the Mojave River in San Bernardino County, California, approximately 14 miles south of Victorville and just downstream (north) of the confluence of the West Fork Mojave River and Deep Creek. The Mojave River Dam's drainage area consists of 215 mountainous square miles. This area is drained by two main tributaries, Deep Creek and West Fork Mojave River, which converge at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains to form the Mojave River. Construction of the Mojave River Dam was completed in May of 1971.
Although most of the Corps’ flood control basins and dams are recognized as major federal, water-based recreation areas, the dam basin and outlet works are restricted and closed to vehicular traffic.
“In the past we have had problems with people who vandalized our facilities, but we’re now experiencing an increase of off road vehicle traffic driving through the outlet works approach channel, concrete lined tunnel, and a concrete outlet channel,” said Munoz. “This unauthorized off-road activity is causing damage to the tunnel, and continuing abuse may degrade the concrete lining and limit flood control operations during periods of heavy rainfall.”
In efforts to keep vehicular traffic out of the tunnel and unauthorized areas, crews posted signage at the entrance of the tunnel and outlet which will remind visitors that vehicular traffic is prohibited.
“There has been extensive de facto off-road vehicle use on both upstream and downstream sides of the dam,” said Tomas Beauchamp-Hernandez, operations Branch Chief. “The Corps is working with other concerned agencies to mitigate the problem.”
The public is reminded not to trespass and use off-road vehicles in the area.
For more information, visit:
· U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: http://www.usace.army.mil/
· USACE Los Angeles District: http://www.spl.usace.army.mil/
· USACE News: http://www.army.mil/usace/