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Introduced Version - Originating in Committee Senate Concurrent Resolution 35 History

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S AGR SCR ORG1 3-26

SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 35

(By Senators Miller, Williams, Beach, Cann, Cookman, D. Hall, Laird, Tucker, Carmichael, Nohe and Sypolt)

[Originating in the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development]

 

Requesting the Joint Committee on Government and Finance study West Virginia’s aging watershed dams and channels to determine how to address the operation, maintenance, repair and ownership of the watershed dams to ensure they continue to provide flood control, water supply and recreational benefits to the citizens of the state.

    Whereas, The mission of the West Virginia Conservation Agency is to preserve West Virginia’s natural resources by working with partners to promote soil and water conservation; and

    Whereas, The West Virginia Conservation Agency, working with the state’s conservation districts and local governments, is responsible for the inspection, operation, maintenance and repair of 170 watershed dams and twenty-two channels throughout West Virginia, and is also responsible for the rehabilitation of the state’s aging watershed dam infrastructure; and

    Whereas, Of the 170 flood control dams, 169 have been classified as high hazard by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Dam Safety Office; and

    Whereas, A high-hazard classification means a failure would cause probable loss of life or catastrophic economic damage; and

    Whereas, Forty-two of the 170 dams have been in operation for more than fifty years, and by 2017 another forty-one will exceed fifty years of age; and

    Whereas, Based on an analysis by the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, 104 of the 170 dams do not meet current engineering design standards; and

    Whereas, The current method of financing the operation, maintenance and repair of the watershed dams and channels is inadequate to meet ongoing maintenance and repair needs; and

    Whereas, Common repair problems include seeps, deteriorated metal, broken drain gates, damaged concrete risers, erosion, plugged drains, inadequate spillways and encroachment; and

    Whereas, Due to federal budget constraints the Natural Resources Conservation Service is unable to assist in the rehabilitation of West Virginia’s watershed infrastructure; and

    Whereas, A number of the watershed dams are predominately on private land owned by farmers and state citizens and represent a danger of causing significant damage to agricultural land and, possibly, human life; therefore, be it

    Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance is hereby requested to study West Virginia’s aging watershed dams and channels to determine how to address the operation, maintenance, repair and ownership of the watershed dams to ensure they continue to provide flood control, water supply and recreational benefits to the citizens of the state; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the Joint Committee on Government and Finance report to the regular session of the Legislature, 2014, on its findings, conclusions and recommendations, together with drafts of any legislation necessary to effectuate its recommendations; and, be it

    Further Resolved, That the expenses necessary to conduct this study, to prepare a report and draft necessary legislation be paid from legislative appropriation to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.

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