A Walla Walla team has been awarded the 2020 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Levee Safety Team of the Year award.

Given by Corps Headquarters, it honors the best levee safety team in the nation for that year.

The Walla Walla District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers team was cited for its extraordinary efforts during historic flooding across the Walla Walla Valley in February 2020.

The team responded with an all-hands approach during the disaster, providing flood-fighting expertise and technical assistance to seven municipalities and selflessly working 12-hour days, seven days a week throughout the month of February, according to a release.

Of particular note, the team rapidly responded to two full levee breaches during the storm. Over a seven-day period, the team oversaw the completion of approximately 700 feet of emergency repairs to one levee breach, restoring immediate flood protection to 55 nearby homes. Additionally, the team oversaw the completion of another 800 feet of emergency levee repair within a three-week construction window.

After the flood and throughout the rest of 2020, the team oversaw nearly $11 million of construction contracts to restore damaged levees.

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The work included rehabilitating 12,000 feet of levee systems and constructing more than 1,500 feet of levees. All restoration and construction projects were completed before the 2021 flood season, a notable accomplishment, according to the citation.

About 20 employees are on the Levee Safety Team, specializing in geotechnical, hydraulic and hydrological engineering, economics, administration, readiness, contracting, planning and construction support.

The team works primarily with communities to inspect and identify technical deficiencies within their levee systems, to maintain their eligibility for the Corps’ levee rehabilitation program. The team also provides assistance in correcting identified deficiencies and restoring eligible levees after floods.

Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or 509-526-8313.