Final M&N Newsletter Vol 6 Issue 2 - Moffatt and Nichol Engineers

Final M&N Newsletter Vol 6 Issue 2 - Moffatt and Nichol Engineers

T h e M o f f a t t & N i c h o l N e w s l e t t e r

Vol 6 Issue 2

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for the Future

Canal Expansion Calls for

New Look at Gatun Lake


expansion of the near-100-year-old Panama Canal, efficiently

managing the water resources that feed the canal's system of

existing and proposed locks is essential to a strategy that will

meet transit demands over the next 50 years. Since 1999, Moffatt &

Nichol has been working with the Panama Canal Authority on the

evaluation of alternatives and specialized studies related to these water

resource issues as well as widening and deepening of the canal.

Continued on Page 2


C r e a t i v e P e o p l e . P r a c t i c a l S o l u t i o n s .

Blaylock Engineering

Group Becomes Part

of Moffatt & Nichol

IN AN OPPORTUNITY to further develop our

marine engineering expertise, we have consolidated

our San Diego-based operations with Blaylock

Engineering Group — a nationally respected

marine structural engineering firm. Blaylock

enhances Moffatt & Nichol’s Waterfront Inspection

and Rehabilitation practice in the areas of marine

structural engineering, as well as facility inspection,

design and repair. Blaylock is especially

adept at developing repair schemes to extend the

useful service life of facilities.

Moffatt & Nichol Blaylock Principal Matthew Martinez inspecting

a concrete pile at Pier 4, Naval Station in San Diego.

Former Navy Pier Rehabilitation, home of the U.S.S. Midway -

San Diego, CA

The expanded services brought by Blaylock

boosts Moffatt & Nichol’s existing Waterfront

Inspection and Rehabilitation practice, helping us

to better serve our port, military, and transportation

clients. This practice will be headed by

Blaylock principals Matthew Martinez, SE and

Thomas Spencer, SE, who each bring more than

25 years of experience in the industry.

Our San Diego offices will be known as Moffatt

& Nichol Blaylock; this fall, we will relocate both

offices to a shared space. Perry Schacht, SE, will

continue to head our San Diego operations. To

learn more about work performed by Blaylock

Engineering Group visit

Moffatt & Nichol NEWS

Canal Expansion Calls for

New Look at Gatun Lake

...Continued from Page 1

KEY TO THE SUCCESS of canal expansion is

optimal use of the water resources from Gatun

Lake. The lake was formed when the Gatun

Dam was built across Panama's Chagres River during

construction at the Atlantic end of the canal from 1907

through 1913. The flooded valley that became Gatun

Lake was, at the time, the largest man-made lake in the

world. The lake represents a 33-kilometer stretch of the

isthmus crossing and serves as a reservoir for the water that operates the canal locks. The

dam's hydro-electric generating station generates electricity, which provides power for

canal locks and equipment, and the existing dam spillway channels water that would

otherwise inundate the existing locks and adjacent shorelines and infrastructure.

Existing Spillway

Most recently, Moffatt & Nichol completed a study

to evaluate the stability and capacity of the existing

Gatun Dam spillway to understand how expansion

will impact water resources essential to the canal's

operation. Project objectives included recommending

alternatives to provide additional spillway capacity

to meet international safety standards and to allow

for a potential rise in the maximum operating lake

level (MOLL). The potential rise in the MOLL is

needed to provide additional water resources for the

current and planned lock systems over the next 50

years as well as to reduce the incidence of draft

restrictions within the lake during dry periods. As

part of this study, environmental and socio-economic

impacts were also evaluated, and cost estimates

were provided for the rehabilitation or replacement

of impacted structures.


"Project objectives included recommending

alternatives to provide additional spillway

capacity to meet international safety standards

and to mitigate the potential for flooding…"

Another study that Moffatt & Nichol completed

was the conceptual design of water saving basin systems

for single, double, and triple lift alternatives for

the proposed locks. The study included the hydraulic

design of the proposed locks' filling and emptying

systems as well as sizing of the water saving basins

and their associated conduits and gates. The number

and size of conduits were varied to determine the

requirement for the Authority's transit throughput

goals. Combined filing and emptying times for the

locks and water saving basins given a range of lake

and tide levels were estimated using both the LOCK-

SIM (developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority)

and an in-house developed spreadsheet model.

The ambitious canal expansion project is expected

to double the canal's throughput capacity and permit

the passage of Post-Panamax vessels within new

locks on the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts.

C r e a t i v e P e o p l e . P r a c t i c a l S o l u t i o n s .

Creative Design Tackles

Flood Control Challenge

KNOWN AS "A FAMILY BEACH," the Town of Emerald Isle,

North Carolina, faced persistent flooding in the late 1990s

because of hurricanes, extreme rain events and an invasion

of the Southern Pine Beetle that together eliminated up to 20,000

groundwater-absorbing pine trees. After hurricanes Fran and

Bertha, portions of the vacation destination were underwater for

weeks. Since this nuisance flooding was occurring after every

persistent rain or when a significant storm came ashore, town

leaders sought feasible stormwater

solutions to mitigate flooding on the

island's western end. Moffatt & Nichol

was selected to assist in the design,

financing, and permitting of an

innovative solution to mitigate flooding

and optimize water quality benefits.

Moffatt & Nichol performed a complex

hydrologic and hydraulic analysis by developing

a dynamically coupled surface and

groundwater hydrologic model (MIKESHE)

to evaluate the sources and behavior of the

existing flooding, as well as to evaluate

alternative solutions to the stormwater

Pump Outlet Low Impact Park Developed Onsite

"During back-to-back tropical storms in 2006, with 20 inches

total rainfall, the town's new stormwater system worked very

well and eliminated stormwater problems [at key locations]

in a matter of hours…Moffatt & Nichol has been very responsive

to the Town's concerns."

- Frank Rush, Emerald Isle's Town Manager


Hurricane Fran Flooding

flooding problems. Developing stormwater solutions for the town were complicated

by the lack of available land, limited topographic relief, high groundwater

tables, minimal right-of-ways, and sensitive coastal wetland habitat.

Project partners reviewed several flood management options and ultimately the

Moffatt & Nichol-designed pump stations, which force both surface water and

groundwater through an infiltration pipe-feeding lift station, were implemented.

Pumping of groundwater allows the town to use the system proactively if heavy

rains are approaching by drawing down the groundwater table to provide additional

infiltration capacity. The innovative land-based infiltration treatment

system temporarily stores floodwaters in

shallow, vegetated pools. The pools allow

for uptake and removal of urban pollutants

washed from the adjacent landscape. The

site is designed with sufficient storage to

minimize adverse impacts to nearby

property owners.

The phased initiative is a cooperative

effort, involving several state and federal

agencies, including FEMA, the North

Carolina Hazards Mitigation Grant Program,

the Clean Water Management Trust Fund,

and the Town of Emerald Isle. Phase I of

the project was completed in 2005 and

Phase II is currently under construction.

Existing Pond

Moffatt & Nichol NEWS



IN RESPONSE TO FEARS surrounding the aftermath of Hurricane

Katrina, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a State of

Emergency for California's levee system in January 2005, commissioning

up to $500 million of state funds to repair and evaluate state

and federal levees. This declaration was a powerful motivator to

advance the process of evaluating and assessing major risks to the

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Sustainability of the Delta and Suisun

Marsh levees is critical, as the Delta is a source of drinking water for

about two out of every three Californians.

Initially Moffatt & Nichol became

involved in the program through work

as part of the levee risk assessment team.

This work included a risk analysis and

risk management strategy to address the

probability of levee failures under earthquake,

flooding, subsidence, climate

change, and normal operating conditions

and estimate the likely consequences

from those failures. Moffatt & Nichol

was specifically charged with the development

of an emergency repair and

response model capable of accepting a

range of failure scenarios and calculating durations for individual levee repairs,

overall island restoration, material requirements, and cost. The duration estimates,

developed on a probabilistic basis, were used to determine the impact to state

water supply.

The model also provided a stand-alone tool for the California Department of

Water Resources to run simulations of breaches as they occur, thus aiding in

identifying the appropriate repair strategy, repair material quantity estimates,

Moffatt & Nichol NEWS

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Risk assessments define

path for levee system to

protect water resources

cost, and in determining the time to return to normal operations. Moffatt &

Nichol Project Manager, Rick Rhoads does not view the firm's work at the Delta


individual projects, but rather a "broad range of involvement that has been able to

bring together our respective strengths in the areas of water resources analysis,

ecosystem restoration, construction methodology, and construction management."

Rhoads notes that this has allowed for improvements to be forged that reduce

the state's water supply and flood vulnerability attributable to seismic and other

risks, while enhancing the ecosystem, improving water supply reliability and quality.

Moffatt & Nichol's continued involvement in emergency preparedness has led

to measures now in place that will

enhance the state's ability to respond

following a catastrophic event.

Extensive studies in salinity reduction

measures will likely lead to improved

water quality and reliability of water

supply. Moffatt & Nichol's Walnut

Creek, California office, is providing

construction management services

and oversight of construction operations

associated with erosion protection

measures authorized by the governor

under contract to the

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

To bring the project into the present, while looking to Delta's future, the

Department of Water Resources and the Department of Fish and Game have

recently released a report to summarize progress on evaluations of potential

impacts, improvements, and options for fishery and water supply uses of the

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Moffatt & Nichol was recently awarded a contract

from the Metropolitan Water District to continue to provide engineering support

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Watershed Restoration in the Florida Everglades

Kissimmee River


levels in Florida's Lake Okeechobee and limit

further environmental degradation, Moffatt &

Nichol was called upon to conduct field investigations

and evaluate the feasibility of wetland restoration.

This effort was part of the South Florida Water

Management District's (SFWMD) Lake Okeechobee

Isolated Wetland Restoration Program, under an

open-ended environmental contract with the district.

Massive flooding from hurricane storm surges

from Lake Okeechobee devastated central Florida

in the 1920s and 1940s. Protecting citizens and surrounding

farmland became a priority. Projects to

harness the local waters through channelization of

the Kissimmee River and improvements to the lake's

Clean Beaches Benefit Tourism

IN THE 1950s, outfall pipes were introduced

along North Carolina's Outer Banks to drain

stormwater runoff from state maintained highways

and adjoining beach communities to the sea.

At the same time, tourists were just beginning to

trickle back to the beach after World War II,

turning quiet fishing villages into bustling family

vacation getaways. Today, the Outer Banks attracts

more than 7 million visitors a year, and the 50year-old

ocean outfall system must now drain

runoff from high density residential and commercial

areas. Even during dry spells, water flows through

the outfalls, and signs warning of contamination

at area beaches have become an unwelcome but

familiar sight to swimmers.

After heavy rains caused severe flooding in the

summer of 2004, the legislature of North Carolina

existing gates, channels and levees were initiated to

control drainage and stall future inundation. As the

massive effort neared completion in the late 1960s,

the main canal C-38 (with its gated pools, A, B, C, D

and E) was in place, impacts to the environment

were already apparent.

Channelization of the Kissimmee River and its

feeder canals effectively drained about 35,000 acres

of nearby wetlands. Changes in the natural flow of

water from the Kissimmee River disrupted the adjacent

wetlands' historic hydroperiods. Wetland

species vanished, and invasive foreign vegetation

took root. Furthermore, dredge spoil deposition,

agricultural ditching and draining also altered

natural drainage patterns and limited historical

phosphorus uptake of the natural wetlands leading

to the current phosphorus water quality issues in

Lake Okeechobee. Today's efforts seek to reverse the

trend, while maintaining a viable water management

and flood control system.

The project site at Pool E encompasses a 1,254-acre

parcel of SFWMD-owned land in Okeechobee and

Highlands counties along the C-38 bypass canal,

which includes a segment of the old Kissimmee

River. With previous studies in hand, Moffatt &

Nichol's planning services defined suitable locations

to construct wetland areas to impound water and

provide for vegetative uptake to reduce phosphorous

allocated $15 million to begin a pilot study to

clean up these outfalls and associated outlets. In

2006, Moffatt & Nichol was retained by the North

Carolina Department of Environment and Natural

Resources to implement this pilot study.

As part of the multi-year initiative, scientists

at the North Carolina Coastal Studies

Institute and the University of North

Carolina are working with Moffatt &

Nichol to determine what pollutants might

be in the stormwater runoff, where they

might be coming from, and how much water

flows through the system. Using this data,

Moffatt & Nichol is developing an extensive

coupled surface/groundwater model to examine

water quality, water quantity, watershed

behaviors and flood flows.


load concentrations. Field surveys and hydrologic

and hydraulic analyses were conducted to help evaluate

the effectiveness of each alternative in reducing phosphorous

loads. A matrix was developed to rank the

sites in terms of effectiveness, construction cost and

maintenance cost.

Building upon the success of the Pool E study, the

SFWMD has recently asked Moffatt & Nichol to

complete similar studies for 15 district-owned properties.

The focus of this study is to develop plans for

temporary wetland areas to be constructed over the

next few years that could ultimately be incorporated

into permanent, long-range solutions.

Existing Onsite Wetlands

Moffatt & Nichol's model will help identify, select and prioritize

potential methods of addressing both stormwater quality and

quantity at associated outfalls from Kill Devil Hills to Nags Head.

"The Outer Banks is particularly challenging

because the groundwater table is already high,

there is not much change in elevation to promote

drainage, and land for traditional stormwater

treatment facilities is scarce," observes Johnny

Martin, Moffatt & Nichol project manager.

The firm is looking at innovative

technologies and unique

combinations of

well-known techniques,

such as infiltration

and filtration, to provide

water quality improvements at

the ocean

outfall sites. "Once we figure out what

works," says Martin, "it will likely be applied

to outfalls all over the state."

Moffatt & Nichol NEWS





Los Angeles, CA

Permit No. 33

T h e M o f f a t t & N i c h o l N e w s l e t t e r

Cape Fear River

Corporate office: 3780 Kilroy Airport Way, Suite 750, Long Beach, CA 90806

P (562) 590-6500 F (562) 590-6512

High-Tech Tools Enhance Watershed Management

MORE THAN A QUARTER of North Carolina's

population depends on the Cape Fear River for

water supply, wastewater management, power generation,

navigation and recreation. Recognizing the need for

better water resources planning with respect to this critical

watershed, the North Carolina Division of Water Resources

(NCDWR), in conjunction with stakeholders

and local governments, contracted with

Moffatt & Nichol and the Danish Hydraulics

Institute to develop a hydrologic computer

simulation model to assist with long range

planning of the basin's water resources.

The hydrologic model simulates stream

flows, withdrawals and discharges (municipal,

industrial and agricultural), and operations

of the basin's major reservoirs over the last

75 years.

Moffatt & Nichol's initial modeling effort

encompassed approximately 5,255 square

miles from the headwaters of the Deep,

Haw, and Cape Fear rivers to U.S. Lock and Dam No.1, and

included Jordan Lake–a man-made lake and reservoir which

provides flood control as well as drinking water for several

nearby towns. This successful and user-friendly basin-wide

watershed model combined state-of-the-art river basin

modeling software with a geographical interface that was

easy to use and understand.

visit our website at :

unique and exciting areas of practice please

To learn more about Moffatt & Nichol and its

Building on the success of the original model, Moffatt &

Nichol collaborated with Hydrologics, Inc. to assist NCDWR

in updating the model after drought conditions during one

of the region's driest years on record caused significant water

quantity concerns. Another software package, OASIS, was

adopted for the updated study. Specifically, users wanted to

enhance the model's capability to help

with drought management.

"One of the most pressing issues,

because of growth and recent drought

conditions here, has been the quantity of

water available for current and future

use," says Don Freeman, former executive

director of the Cape Fear River Assembly.

The Cape Fear River Basin Hydrologic

Model is a powerful analysis tool. The

model has been used to evaluate the

potential impacts of proposed water

Cape Fear River Watershed withdrawal and discharge projects,

including interbasin transfers, on water

resources in the basin. Another useful feature of the model is

its forecasting capability. During a drought, the model can

be used to forecast a reservoir's elevation and water quality

pool. Moffatt & Nichol, in conjunction with Hydrologics, is

currently working with NCDWR to develop a similar model

for the Neuse River basin.

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Vol 6 Issue 1

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On the Cover...

Corporate Office

3780 Kilroy Airport Way, Suite 750

Long Beach, CA 90806

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