Ivins begins 4-month Red Mountain dams rehabilitation work

Red Mountain, the backdrop to Ivins City, Washington County, Utah, Feb. 13, 2015 | File photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

IVINS — Ivins City has begun rehabilitation work on the six flood control dams that circle the community’s iconic Red Mountain.

Map indicates the location of six flood control dams surrounding the Red Mountain in Ivins, Utah | Image courtesy of Ivins City, St. George News

“Over the years, we have seen some severe flooding in Ivins due to some big storm events,” city officials stated in a press release. “Believe it or not, the flooding could have been much worse, were it not for some long sighted vision by old time Ivins City officials who secured federal funding 41 years ago to construct six dam embankments.”

The city says these facilities are critical to mitigating flooding in Ivins. The dams are 10-30 feet tall and extend 2 miles around the base of the Red Mountain.

At the time they were constructed, they were protecting mostly farmland, but they now also protect residents’ homes. According to the city, the rehabilitation, which is being completed by Whitaker Construction, is needed to make the dams safe for many years to come.

The rehabilitation work is anticipated to continue into April in order to complete the following:

  • Emergency spillways will be improved on all six dams to varying degrees.
  • Old cages around the existing intake towers will be removed and replaced.
  • The back side of the detention basins will be armored with rock to prevent erosion acceleration.
  • The crests of the dams will be sloped toward the detention basins and regraded with an additional 6 inches of roadbase on top for improved stability.
  • Any vegetation taller than 30 inches will be removed from the dams to prevent formation of taproot into the dam embankment.
  • Accumulated sediment will be removed where necessary, primarily from dams No. 1, 2 and 6.

The city says most residents won’t experience much disruption during the project. Homeowners most likely to be affected are those living immediately adjacent to the dams.

The Toe Trail and associated trailheads will be closed for the duration of construction. For the safety of residents and construction crews, the city asks citizens to respect these closures.

In an effort to work sensitively in tortoise habitat, the project is being completed during the winter months while the tortoises are hibernating. The city is working with U.S. Natural Resource Conservation Service, Utah State Parks, Red Cliff Desert Reserve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and following all recommendations to keep impact on the tortoise population minimal.

The $1.6 million project is funded 65 percent by the U.S. National Resource Conservation Service and 31.5 percent by the state of Utah. All remaining funding is being provided by Ivins City.

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  • iceplant January 7, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Ahh yes… my tax dollars hard at work. I live at the base of Red Mtn near dams 3 and 4.
    While I’m not too happy about the trail closure, I know why they do this and it’s a good thing.

  • KR567 January 7, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    hopefully they won’t put in dams 3 and 4.

    • iceplant January 8, 2019 at 9:02 am

      Your thinly veiled wish for harm to come to me and my family has been duly noted.
      One word for you… karma.

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