Meadow Valley Wash Damage Assessment & Remediation




Meadow Valley Wash Damage Assessment & Remediation/Bureau of Land Management, Ely Field Office

In January 2005, a severe flood event in Lincoln County closed nearly 120 miles of roads and washed out portions of the Union Pacific operated rail line within the Clover Creek and Meadow Valley Wash watersheds. The flood event and post-flood mechanical disturbance resulted in widespread impacts to the perennial Meadow Valley Wash that exposed and destabilized sediments and altered sediment transport patterns.

RCI provided Project Management for the BLM under a unique agreement with the Nevada State Office and the Ely Field Office. This extensive damage assessment project investigated potential damages and regulatory violations of concern to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and the Bureau of Land Management.

RCI completed three primary components of the damage remediation process: an Environmental Assessment, construction compliance inspection, and a damage assessment that included recommendations for additional rehabilitation.

At the onset of the project, BLM defined four large mechanically disturbed sites that required immediate restoration efforts. RCI was retained to write the Environmental Assessment (EA) of the impacts of restoring these four altered sites. RCI specialists in erosion control, geomorphology, stream condition, and stream restoration conducted a field examination of each of the four sites and reviewed plans that had been proposed for mitigation of the damages. The BLM needed the EA to be completed in approximately four weeks to initiate and complete repairs late in the construction season, prior to the upcoming runoff period. Working closely with the BLM, RCI was successful in meeting the time constraints.

Following the completion of the EA, BLM requested that RCI provide construction compliance inspection to ensure that the four disturbed sites would be repaired in compliance with environmental regulations that included: an EPA Order; an EA/DR/FONSI; a BLM ROW Grant; a Biological Opinion (for desert tortoise); a Nevada Working in Waterways Permit; and an Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 Permit. The RCI Inspectors were responsible for documenting and correcting observable non-compliance during construction. RCI also provided a Stream Restoration/Erosion Control Engineer and Revegetation Specialist as needed to coordinate with the compliance inspectors and participate with Union Pacific Railroad in field design decisions.

The third task was a request from the BLM to conduct a damage assessment of the entire 120-mile stream corridor to assist in making informed decisions on the need for additional stream stabilization and rehabilitation activities. Weather constraints and agency deadlines required experienced specialists in the fields of stream function and condition, geomorphology, stream stabilization and sediment control, and stream restoration to identify additional mechanically disturbed sites in need of restoration, develop conceptual remedial designs, and prepare a cost estimate for each recommendation.

The field reconnaissance was conducted for the entire 120-mile length of Clover Creek and Meadow Valley Wash from Barclay to Farrier in Lincoln and Clark Counties, Nevada. The RCI field reconnaissance team consisted of a Stream Restoration Engineer, a Reclamation Specialist, and a Fluvial Geomorphologist. The interdisciplinary team drove or walked the entire length of the project area. The team focused on areas that exhibited “change” from the 2005 flood as documented by aerial photographs. The changes were analyzed in terms of impact to stream functions and stability, habitat and other values, and potential for impacts to existing infrastructure.

Alternative solutions were developed using the BLM resource objectives as a guide in areas with excessive erosion or sedimentation and areas where physical stream alterations would result in additional resource damage. Findings and recommendations were drawn on basemaps and detailed in field worksheets. Each site was photographed and GPS located. The GPS data file was used to cross-reference to stream mile or railroad milepost.

Watershed tributary parameters were compiled and analyzed to determine if obvious trends or causative factors could explain repeated patterns observed in the field. Tributaries that played an obvious role in site damages were delineated for total area, relief ratio (elevation difference divided by basin length), weighted erosion factor (K factor from NRCS soils surveys), and percent of watershed burned in the 2005 fires.

The field notes and maps were digitized into GIS data layers. Spreadsheets were created from these GIS layers and used to calculate quantities for cost estimates. Standard quantity costs were obtained from RSMeans Building Construction Cost Data 2006 as well as past projects with similar treatments. The total estimated rehabilitation cost for each recommendation was calculated using the GIS layers and multiplied by unit costs.

RCI developed a matrix approach to process the qualitative data and prioritize treatment recommendations using a point-ranking system that assigned values for regulatory concerns, critical environmental factors, and infrastructure needs. The projects were then assigned to high, moderate, or low priorities according to the resulting score.

The final report disclosed the findings of the damage assessment with recommendations for natural resource reclamation and repairs to infrastructure. The full final report is available for download here.

Download Full Report

Full Report (PDF file, 169MB)

Download Parts of the Report

Report Body (PDF file, 5.5MB)

Appendix A (PDF file, 166KB)

Appendix B (PDF file, 124KB)

Appendix C (PDF file, 115KB)

Appendix D (PDF file, 1.7MB)

Appendix E (PDF file, 37.6MB)

Appendix F

Map Index (PDF file, 1MB)

Appendix F Photo sheets (PDF file, 34MB)

Map Sheet #12 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #13 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #14 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #15 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #19 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #20 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #21 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #22 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #23 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #29 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #37 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #38 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #39 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #40 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #41 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #42 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #44 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #46 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #47 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #48 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #49 (PDF file, 3MB)

Map Sheet #50 (PDF file, 3MB)

Map Sheet #51 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #52 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #54 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #60 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #61 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #65 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #69 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #70 (PDF file, 3MB)

Map Sheet #72 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #73 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #74 (PDF file, 2MB)

Map Sheet #75 (PDF file, 4MB)