Jenny Leibel

NRCS and JCCD worked diligently on the Belvidere Dam to get it repaired and looking nice

Driving to work in Murdo one morning in May 2019 Ryan Willert of NRCS noticed damage to the Belvidere Dam after heavy snow melt and spring rains. Willert then contacted Kelly O’Connell the District Conservationist in Kadoka at the time, who in turn contacted Roy Boschee, engineer for NRCS in Rapid City.  NRCS sent out a team of engineers to inspect the site which showed there was excessive erosion around a pipe outlet, evidence the dam had overtopped in a low spot, a headcut causing erosion in the auxiliary spillway, and a large portion of the embankment were sloughing off on the backside. All these issues could have potentially led to a dam failure without repair. 
Roy Boschee, the head engineer on this project, suggested that the Jackson County Conservation District apply for the EWP (Emergency Watershed Protection) Program. The district agreed and signed on as a sponsor for the program providing administrative support, which included filing paperwork and looking for extra funding for the project.  The EWP Program provides engineering and cost assistance to projects to relieve imminent hazards to life and property. The project was approved for EWP funding in August of 2019 and NRCS began work to design repairs for the dam. The City of Belvidere qualified for 90% of the construction costs to be covered by NRCS. Needing to cover the other 10% the Jackson County Conservation District began looking for other partners in the project. 
One of the first to sign on was the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks. They agreed to cover the remaining 10% but asked the District to continue looking for other donors to help with the cost. Paula Holley, the Jackson County Conservation District manager called around to other organizations to find more dollars. Other contributors include: West River Water Development District, Ducks Unlimited, GoldenWest and the City of Belvidere. 
During this time the District also went in search of a contractor to do the work. The district board awarded the contract to NRCS out of Rapid City. NRCS was on site during construction to inspect work progress and quality. An unseasonably warm December allowed an organized and efficient construction crew to proceed very quickly and earthwork was finished by the end of December 2020. The full project was completed in February 2021. NRCS inspected the project and approved it to meet NRCS standards, and state requirements. NRCS and the Jackson County Conservation District want to thank all the contributors for making this project possible. The NRCS did an amazing job working diligently and rapidly, making it all look effortless. Everyone involved hopes that the City of Belvidere continue enjoying the dam for may years to come.

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
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