Mount St. Helens Recovery Project

by John Sager, Army Corps of Engineers, Portland, United States,
Chris Budai, Army Corps of Engineers, Portland, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Management in the '90s: A Time for Innovation


Work began immediately after the eruption of Mount St. Helens to restore Columbia River navigation, provide 100 year flood protection for the downstream communities located along the Cowlitz River, prevent deposition of sand and gravel into the Cowlitz/Columbia River Basin as far upstream as possible to minimize dredging, prevent Spirit Lake and others from overtopping debris barriers, and to minimize environmental impacts. More than 50 agencies plus approximately 50 contractors were involved with work that spanned ten years and cost a total of $507 million. Unlike other engineering projects, which are original actions - ingenious, beneficial, but not strictly necessary -the Mount St. Helens recovery project represents a human response to catastrophic events beyond human control. No choice existed about whether or not to respond, rather the choices lay entirely in how to respond.

Subject Headings: Rivers and streams | Project management | Ecological restoration | Gates (hydraulic) | Navigation (waterway) | Lakes | Debris | Human and behavioral factors

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