Water Structures Meet Environmental Standards

by Kathy Landis.

  The 3500-acre Running Y Ranch, located six miles west of Klamath Falls, Oregon,  is Southern Oregon's only destination resort, consisting of a lodge, single and multi-family housing, and an Arnold Palmer-designed golf course. Jon Barkee, Running Y's Development Coordinator, admits to being stymied  when it came to one aspect of development. It involved the construction of a small boat channel for a boat basin into the Upper Klamath Lake.

    The project, conducted under the guidance of the Oregon Division of State Lands and the Army Corps of Engineers, had one significant pre-approval condition; the Running Y was required to provide a barrier to prevent silt and sediment from contaminating the lake during the excavation process. The requirement left Barkee stumped. He knew of no way to comply with the prerequisite until Pete Cartwright, project manager for Hap Taylor and Sons, Running Y's contractor, suggested AquaDams®.

In the early 1990s, Cartwright enlisted the help of AquaDams® for a project at Harriman Springs Resort, a property he owns near Rocky Point, Oregon.  Based on his positive experience with AquaDams®, Cartwright proposed using three of Water Structures Unlimited's bladder dams for the Running Y's project. His experience assured him that by using AquaDams® "we could block off the portion of the lake we needed, dig to depth, and get in and get out," Cartwright explains.

    "AquaDams® seemed like the only practical thing available in terms of having an environmentally sound system that we could install and remove without negatively impacting anything in the lake," says Barkee.  "That was also kind of an important feature."  Barkee adds that without something similar to an AquaDam®, it would have been difficult to contain the silt. "It would probably, at the very least, have increased our costs to do some other kind of system to contain that excavation," Barkee asserts.

    Because the lake water had a range of depths--from the shoreline out to four feet--Water Structures Unlimited installed a combination of three structures: one 6 foot x100-foot, one 4 foot x100-foot and one 4 foot x 50-foot, linked by collars. The Running Y Resort rented the AquaDams®, which were deflated and removed when the project ended was completed.

     "AquaDams® worked very well," says Barkee. "They met our requirements to contain sediment and silt from the lake, and they also allowed us to dewater the work area significantly which made it easier to excavate out there."