RDEK shores up dam at Tie Lake

Roughly 1,000 sandbags in place to support dam structure, no reports of flooding yet.

Water levels have been rising out at Tie Lake due to rain and the spring snowmelt. The RDEK has laid 1

Water levels have been rising out at Tie Lake due to rain and the spring snowmelt. The RDEK has laid 1

The RDEK has been working to add extra protection to its Tie Lake Dam out near the community of Jaffray as lake levels continue to rise.

Stan Doehle, the Area B director for the rural region, says RDEK staff is monitoring lake levels out at the lake twice daily as it has risen due to recent rainfall and snowmelt.

“It was coming up half an inch a day, so it’s slowed down a bit,” Doehle said. “…When that spring freshet starts really rolling down, we’re not sure what to expect, but we’ve had so much moisture and snow content at the lower levels this year, so that’s the difference. We’re at a record high right now on that dam and it’s still a big concern.”

As of Friday afternoon, there have been no reports of flooding with higher lake levels, but there is potential that it could happen, added Doehle.

“We’re asking residents if they’ve had flooding in their basements or anything, so we’re looking for the residents to bring that forward if there’s anything,” Doehle said. “The good news, is if we can get through this here, which I’m sure we will, then there’s going to be a brand new dam going in there.”

However, the focus right now is preventing overtopping on the existing structure.

“We have laid 1000 sandbags around the weir and along the immediate shoreline and have just completed some rip rap on the dam and outlet culvert to prevent erosion of the dam during the high water run off,” said Brian Funke, the RDEK’s Engineering Services Manager, in a press release.

The RDEK has been monitoring the dam for the past three weeks.

“The past few nights have been cooler, so the rise in lake levels has slowed to approximately a quarter of an inch a day; however, for the ten days prior, it was rising half inch per day,” Funke said.

The water is currently measuring 15 inches through the weir and the sandbags and rip rap have provided added height and additional protection should water levels continue to rise.

The Dam had been scheduled for an upgrade and is one of the 2017/2018 priority projects adopted by the Board in February.

Following flooding in 2012, it was recommended by the Dam Safety Officer that the dam be assessed, particularly with respect to the lack of free board and the spillway capacity. In the summer of 2016, the RDEK commissioned Associated Engineering to complete an engineering assessment of the Dam and provide conceptual designs and cost estimates for any recommended or required upgrades.

The capital cost of the upgrade project is expected to be $325,000.  The RDEK has secured $260,000 in Community Works funding for the project and had already been planning a Tie Lake Dam Upgrade Information Meeting to discuss the project, detailed costs and tax impacts with the community prior to these high water levels.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, April 13th at 8:00pm at the Jaffray Community Hall, immediately following the Area B Official Community Plan Open House.

“Our immediate concern is to protect the dam from erosion and overtopping, which is why we are undertaking the sandbagging and other mitigation measures,” says Funke. “The long term goal is to move ahead with the proposed Tie Lake Dam Upgrade Project, which would help increase the carrying capacity of the dam for future high water events like we are seeing this year.”