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Army Corps of Engineers finds Lucky Peak Dam structurally sound

Posted at 4:14 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 18:14:12-04

BOISE, Idaho — The threat level of Lucky Peak Dam has been upgraded from moderate to high because of the growth of the Treasure Valley.

Every ten years the Walla Walla District of the Army Corps of Engineers does an assessment on all of their dams, they recently finished one on Lucky Peak Dam which was built in 1955.

"There has been no change in the structural integrity of Lucky Peak Dam," said LT. Col. Rick Childers. "There is no immediate danger that Lucky Peak Dam as a structure poses to the Treasure Valley."

The risk assessment was changed because of the additional people and property that would be affected in the event of a dam failure in an unprecedented flood.

"Another thing that we wanted to convey to the public is to differentiate the change of risk classification to Lucky Peak Dam with the more common risk of flooding," said Childers. "You will experience flooding, even substantial flooding while the dam works perfectly fine."

The Treasure Valley experienced this in 2017 after Snowmaggedon as the Boise River flooded, there have been 12 instances since 1982 where the river has reached flood stage.

The Army Corps of Engineers works with local, state and federal agencies to limit the impacts of flooding, they have estimated that one billion dollars in flood damage have been avoided because of the dam and these partnerships.

This partnership also works with other uses from the dam which includes irrigation, recreation and the dam also has three generators capable of producing 100 megawatts of electricity.

Lucky Peak Reservoir on November 3, 2021

"The Corps of Engineers' number one priority will always be public safety," said Childers. "Flood inundation maps have always been provided to emergency managers so that they know what the worst possible case looks like and they can make their hazard mitigation plans in accordance with those."

This fall those maps will be made available to the public and the Army Corps of Engineers will continue routine visual inspections.

We also learned how they have sensors to detect any problems caused by earthquakes.

At this point, the region is more concerned with drought than flooding but the Army Corps of Engineers put together a presentation so the region would also be prepared for the unlikely event of a catastrophic flood and what that would mean for the Treasure Valley.