Fifty-Year Development of Upstream Flood-Control Works Construction

by Charlie M. Moore, (F.ASCE), Sr. Civ. Engr.; Carter & Burgess, Inc., Fort Worth, Tex.; formerly, Chf. Design Engr. and Watershed Planning Specialist, Regional Technical Service Center, U.S. Soil Conservation Service, Fort Worth, Tex.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Construction Division, 1975, Vol. 101, Issue 3, Pg. 477-490

Document Type: Journal Paper


The upstream watershed protection program of the Soil Conservation Service, USDA, is traced from its beginning in the middle 1930's to the present time. The design and construction of floodwater-retarding structures and their effectiveness in reducing peak flow and flood damages in small upstream watersheds is examined. The design, layout, and effectiveness of vegetative earth spillways in combination with flood storage is pointed out. Criteria for dam and reservoir proportioning and application of the criteria is given. The number of structures built in small watersheds in the United States and their effectiveness under actual large scale storms is considered. Use of rock blankets on embankment slopes to utilize rock from required spillway excavation and to economize on construction of the dam is reviewed. The number and effectiveness of the planned systems of structures is mentioned. An analysis of results from the severe storms in l957, l964, and at other times is given. Channel improvement in lieu of dams in the small watershed program is often the only way to obtain the required degree of protection.

Subject Headings: Watersheds | Drop structures | Rivers and streams | Floods | Construction management | Hydraulic design | Spillways | Storms | United States

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