CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS: PA-8, 9
APPROPRIATION / PHASE: Operation & Maintenance, General
BUSINESS PROGRAM: Flood Damage Reduction
LOCATION: Confluence of Bear Creek and Lehigh River
DESCRIPTION: The project provides for multi-purpose development for water supply, recreation and flood control. The existing dam, completed under the 1946 Flood Control Act as a single purpose flood control project, is located on the Lehigh River, five miles above White Haven, Pa. This project has prevented over $245 million in cumulative damages between 1961 and 2020. Whitewater and fishing industries utilize dam releases and there is significant interest from the public, stakeholders and elected officials in these programs. Project lake operations continue to have a positive impact on the regional economy as well as producing environmental benefits.
STATUS: Whitewater and fishing industries utilize dam releases and there is significant interest from the public, stakeholders and elected officials in these programs. Project lake operations continue to have a positive impact on the regional economy and producing environmental benefits.
In Fiscal Year 2015, the District’s Planning Division completed a Federal Interest Determination concluding the need to conduct formal investigations to examine the feasibility of changing the congressionally authorized operation and/or making modifications to the existing dam or operations at F.E. Walter Reservoir to better meet present and future flood control objectives, in-lake and downstream recreational use, water quality, water supply, and environmental sustainability demands. Initial funding was provided in Fiscal Year 2019 to commence a study and develop a cost-share agreement with non-federal sponsors of New York City and Delaware River Basin Commission. In Fiscal Year 2020, alternatives were developed. Many concerns were raised by project customers and stakeholders at a 2020 public meeting, a 2021 PA legislative hearing and in comments. The study is currently on hold as USACE works with study sponsors to develop a path forward.
PROJECT GOALS: The purpose of this project provides for improvements including altering the spillway, increasing the height of the dam, extending the outlet tunnel, constructing new dikes and raising the height of existing dikes.
PROJECT MANAGER: Monica A. Chasten