By land and by air, team starts boom installation at Lookout Point Dam

By Graham Hilson, Willamette Valley Project and Amy Echols, Public Affairs Office

A CH46 helicopter was used to install parts of an anchor system to support a floating 1,400 foot boom barrier in the reservoir behind Lookout Point Dam. (Photo by Graham Hilson, Willamette Valley Project)

A CH46 helicopter was used to install parts of an anchor system to support a floating 1,400 foot boom barrier in the reservoir behind Lookout Point Dam. (Photo by Graham Hilson, Willamette Valley Project)

 

Rotor noise filled the sky around Lookout Point Dam on the Middle Fork Willamette River on Nov. 3 as contractors for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maneuvered a giant CH46 helicopter to install parts of an anchor system to support a floating 1,400-foot boom barrier in the reservoir behind the dam.

Four 6.5-ton anchors will be used to secure 1,400 feet of boom barrier at Lookout Point Dam. (Photo by Graham Hilson, Willamette Valley Project)

The contractor, Always Excavating of Hubbard, Ore., first established a landing zone boundary, removed and secured hazards that could impact ground personnel and the arriving aircraft. The crew rigged and staged two 6.5 ton anchors for lifting by the helicopter, and reviewed operational maneuvers and plans to lower the anchors into position. Safety briefs were given to all staff, including pilots, contactors and the Corps’ Lookout Point Dam staff.

The helicopter powered up and moved in to position, hovering over the first anchor, where the ground crew engaged couplings to lift the first anchor.  It took less than a minute for the aircraft to reach the drop-off point, marked with buoys. The helicopter then lowered the anchor into the water until it reached the bottom of the reservoir, a depth of 80 feet.  The anchor was released with 100 feet of rope and secured to the buoy above.  The helicopter placed the second anchor 25 feet from the first. These anchors, along with two others placed the day before, were secured by hand with steel plates, 18-inch bolts and epoxy.

Two 6.5-ton anchors were installed on land Nov. 2 and two more were installed in the Lookout Point Dam Reservoir Nov. 3. All four will anchor 1,400 feet of boom barrier to be installed during the spring of 2016. (Photo by Graham Hilson, Willamette Valley Project)

Two 6.5-ton anchors were installed on land Nov. 2 and two more were installed in the Lookout Point Dam Reservoir Nov. 3. All four will anchor 1,400 feet of boom barrier to be installed during the spring of 2016. (Photo by Graham Hilson, Willamette Valley Project)

“This is a pretty cool project. Securing the anchors was the first step in this boom installation operation,” said Erik Petersen, Operations Project Manager for the Willamette Valley Project. “The second part is planned for the spring of 2016 when pool levels are high enough to float the 1,400 foot boom into place.”

The boom is a heavy walled, impact resistant polyethylene barrier that will support temperature and fish passage studies at the dam by keeping logs and other debris away from the dam’s spillway gates and other infrastructure. The boom also creates a distinct boundary that meets federal boating safety requirements and will help keep boaters, kayakers, fishermen and others safe while recreating near the dam.

Booms already serve eight Corps reservoirs in the Willamette Valley and have successfully protected infrastructure from debris damage during high water flows. Logs and other trash can block dam spillway gates and impede the Corps’ ability to pass water through the dam or close its gates.

The Corps of Engineers operates 13 dam and reservoir projects in the Willamette Basin. Each dam contributes to a water resource plan designed to provide flood risk management, power generation, irrigation, water quality improvement, fish and wildlife habitat, recreation and navigation on the Willamette River and many of its tributaries. For more information, visit http://go.usa.gov/cY5DB.