News Article | February 17, 2017
Six months before rushing water ripped a huge hole in a channel that drains a Northern California reservoir, state inspectors said the concrete spillway was sound. As officials puzzle through how to repair Oroville Dam spillway, federal regulators have ordered the state to figure out what went wrong. Earlier inspection reports offer potential clues, including cracks on the spillway surface that if not properly repaired could let water tear through the concrete. In recent years, construction crews patched cracks - including in the area where water burrowed a huge pit last week. Damage to the main spillway triggered a series of problems culminating with the first use of the emergency spillway, which quickly began eroding and threatened to unleash a torrent of water on cities downstream. On Tuesday, officials said the immediate danger had passed, and allowed nearly 200,000 residents to go home after evacuation orders scattered them for nearly two days. Inspectors with the state agency that both operates and checks the dam, the nation's tallest at 770 feet, walked the half-mile-long spillway in 2014 and 2015 and did not find any concerns. "Conditions appeared to be normal," the inspector wrote in reports from both years. Last August, a team of inspectors did not check the channel on foot but instead from afar, also concluding that everything looked fine. The inspection came as California was enduring a five-year drought, and the channel rarely was used to relieve pressure on Oroville Lake, which is about 70 miles north of Sacramento. An extraordinarily wet subsequent six months changed that. Dam managers were draining water from the fast-filling reservoir into the Feather River below when the pit appeared last week. Experts said problems like the cracks in the concrete spillway and spots in nearby areas where water seeped from the reservoir through a hillside were common issues with dams. What mattered, said John Moyle, New Jersey's director of dam safety and flood control, was whether dam operators dealt with the problems carefully - patching cracks so they were watertight, and dealing with spots where water was leaking through so they didn't grow to undermine the concrete. The Department of Water Resources declined to answer specific questions about the repair work, saying engineers were focused on ensuring public safety. Robert Bea, professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering at University of California, Berkeley, said it's "obvious those repairs didn't work." "We don't have details on the repairs, but they put cement into the cracks and troweled it over," Bea said. "I call it 'patch and pray.'" On Monday, federal regulators told the department it must enlist a group of independent consultants both to assess what went wrong and to recommend long-term fixes. Documents and interviews show that crews were patching cracks in 2009 and 2013. A water resources department spokesman said it was normal for maintenance crews to be troubleshooting cracks in the channel during dry summer months. One resident of the region said he saw crews in the spillway at least once a year for the past several years. "When they have four or five trucks down there, the only thing they have to do is fill cracks," said Don Reighley, a retiree and fisherman who several times a week drives past the channel to launch his boat into the reservoir. One of the state inspectors who went to Oroville Dam in August said authorities may never know exactly what destabilized the spillway. "Any type of evidence that might have been there is gone," Eric Holland of the water resources department's dam safety division said. "Everything has been washed away." You Might Also Like
News Article | February 16, 2017
Many exotic animals, including an albino kangaroo, are among the pets left behind by evacuees as they fled their Northern California homes near the Oroville Dam this week. California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers checking on abandoned properties following the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people this week were surprised to find animals, including kangaroos, mini deer and zebras. Watch: These 4 Steps Could Save Your Life If You're Caught in Your Car in a Flood "We never know what we'll discover out here. We hope life gets back to normal here real soon and that the owners are able to return to their properties," CHP North Sacramento wrote in a Facebook post along with photos of the temporarily orphaned critters. The CHP said the animals were taken in by "a kind stranger" outside the evacuation zone. "We are thankful for the random acts of kindness we find out in the community. Everyone seems to be coming together to take care of each other. This is what makes California so special." Californians who live downstream from the country's tallest dam were urged to flee early this week after damage to spillways — which were being used after unprecedented winter rains — threatened to send a 30-foot wall of water onto towns below. Those fears had ebbed by Tuesday, when the evacuation order was lifted. However, with uncertainties that a fix consisting of rocks and boulders piled onto the damaged spillway would hold as renewed rains threaten the area, officials warned the evacuation could be renewed. California's Department of Water Resources continued Tuesday to reinforce the emergency spillway. More than 125 construction crews worked around the clock placing 1,200 tons of material on the spillway per hour using helicopters and heavy construction equipment. The area is being continually monitored from the ground and by the use of drones. Watch: This $200,000 Lamborghini Drives Through Flood Waters Like a Boss "An evacuation warning means the immediate threat has ended but the potential for an emergency remains and therefore residents must remain prepared for the possibility of an evacuation order," Butte County Sheriff Kory L. Honea said. Watch: Horrific Crash During Bike Race, Including One Who Nearly Plunged Into Ravine
News Article | February 18, 2017
It's been more than a week since engineers at the nation's tallest dam noticed damage to its emergency spillway, launching a series of events that culminated with the threat of catastrophic flooding and the two-day evacuation of nearly 200,000 California residents downstream. Officials said Thursday that they are confident the lake behind Oroville Dam will keep draining despite storms expected to dump several inches of rain in the coming days. Here's what we know: Straddling the Feather River, the dam created Lake Oroville in rural Northern California in 1968. The reservoir is a major water supplier for farmers in the agricultural-rich Central Valley and residents in Southern California. There are two primary ways workers drain water from the lake. They can control the flow of water downriver by opening a gate to the dam's main concrete spillway or divert water through a nearby power plant. The dam also is equipped with an emergency spillway. The emergency spillway is an earthen structure — a big hill — with a 30-foot concrete wall on top. It is several feet lower than the main dam, and water will flow over it uncontrollably when the lake is over capacity. Water had never flowed over the emergency spillway until Saturday. Engineers noticed an odd flow pattern on the main concrete spillway Feb. 7 and shut off the water to investigate. They discovered a large crater in the bottom. Despite heavy rain and melting snow, engineers slowed releases later in the week after the hole grew. Compounding matters, concrete from the eroding hole clogged the power plant's exit channel and forced it to shut down. The cause of the hole remains unknown. A report prepared Feb. 11 by a CalFire official suggested heavy rain may have contributed. Engineers determined the hole couldn't immediately be fixed and decided to keep using the damaged spillway with reduced flows. The next day, it rained harder than expected, and a day later, water was flowing in almost twice as fast as it was draining. Water flowed over the emergency spillway at 8 a.m. Sunday when the lake reached capacity, but officials kept telling the public there was no threat until as late as noon Sunday. A few hours later, engineers determined the hillside was eroding faster than expected, undermining the concrete wall. Officials feared it was about to collapse and cause a catastrophic flood. Around 4 p.m., authorities ordered nearly 200,000 residents downstream to evacuate. Authorities turned nearby highways into one-way roads south. Still, massive gridlock occurred. Gas stations ran out of gas. Motels and hotels quickly sold out. Shelters swiftly opened. Officials flowed more water through the damaged concrete spillway in a frantic bid to lower the reservoir. Lake levels fell enough that water stopped pouring over the emergency spillway about four hours after the evacuation order. Crews worked to dump thousands of tons of rocks to shore up the damaged spillways. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea announced Tuesday afternoon that residents could return home after the repairs and the lake's lowered levels. He conceded the evacuation was "chaotic" but defended the decision as "better safe than sorry." "I'm not sure anything went wrong," Department of Water Resources acting chief Bill Croyle said of the near-failure of the emergency spillway. "This was a new, never-happened-before event." Environmental groups demanded 12 years ago that the hillside be paved with concrete to prevent erosion. But federal regulators decided against ordering the work after state water agencies argued it would cost too much for a structure that, at that point, had never been used. Croyle said he's confident the dam and primary spillway can handle rainfall from three storms rolling into the region this week. He said more water is leaving the lake than entering it and it can handle storm runoff and melting snow. The emergency spillway also has been repaired enough to handle any overflow, Croyle said. Officials identified three areas where erosion caused the most concern of potential flooding, including one spot that was completely fixed, he said. The others were partially repaired. The temporary fixes will last beyond snow melting this spring, and officials will then make long-term repairs, the water agency said. Nonetheless, the sheriff told residents to prepare for another evacuation if the situation worsens.
News Article | February 17, 2017
Lake Oroville and its dam in Northern California are critical components in California's complex water-delivery system. Damage to spillways that are used to drop water levels in the lake and relieve pressure on the dam prompted evacuation orders covering nearly 200,000 people. Here's a look at Lake Oroville and its place in California's water system Lake Oroville is the starting point for California's State Water Project, which provides drinking water to 23 million of the state's 39 million people and irrigates 750,000 acres of farms. It is the largest reservoir in the system, which was built in the 1960s and early 1970s to carry rain and snowpack from the Sierra Nevada mountains to parts of the San Francisco Bay area, Central Valley and Southern California. Lake Oroville, completed in 1967, is a cornerstone of the system of 34 reservoirs, lakes and storage facilities, built and operated by California's Department of Water Resources. It feeds into the Feather River - about 70 miles north of Sacramento - as well as the Sacramento River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. From there it travels south on the 444-mile California Aqueduct. Oroville's storage capacity of 3.5 million acre-feet of water is enough to supply urban California for up to six months, said Peter Gleick, president emeritus of the Pacific Institute, a water research organization based in Oakland, California. "The risk of losing Oroville is very, very low" he said. "The consequences would be catastrophic." When reservoirs get too full, their operators release extra water down long channels, or spillways, designed to carry it downstream in a safe, controlled way. Oroville Dam has a main concrete spillway that normally is used to release floodwaters into the Feather River downstream. A second spillway mainly made of earth serves as an emergency backup. It also was supposed to be able to handle high flows from the dam, but it had never been used before Saturday. The force of water siphoned from the lake has damaged both spillways. After five years of drought, a wet winter has strained the system at Lake Oroville, which is receiving runoff from melting snow in the Sierra Nevada as well as from the latest in a series of heavy storms. Dam operators noticed chunks of concrete in the main spillway on Feb. 7. When workers stopped releasing water to investigate, they found that concrete patches the size of football fields had washed out of the channel. With the reservoir nearing the top of the 770-foot-high dam, dam operators were forced to keep using the main spillway despite increasing damage to it from the rushing water. The dam reached capacity Saturday, sending water surging over the second, emergency spillway. Operators on Sunday noticed water was gouging a hole in the earthen emergency spillway as well. Fearing that the emergency spillway could fail and send torrents of water rushing downstream uncontrolled, authorities ordered the evacuation Sunday evening. The Central Valley Project, operated by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, irrigates more than 3 million acres of farms and provides enough drinking water for more than 1 million people. The system of 22 reservoirs was built from 1937 to the 1950s, extending about 400 miles from the Cascade Mountains near Redding to the Tehachapi Mountains near Bakersfield. It includes Shasta Lake, the only reservoir in California that's larger than Oroville. The Colorado River supplies 19 million urban dwellers in Southern California through a 242-mile aqueduct from Lake Havasu, Arizona, to the state's coastal regions that was completed by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in 1941. The Colorado also farms California's Imperial Valley - a major source of the nation's winter vegetables - through the 80-mile All-American Canal that hugs the state's border with Mexico. Other significant pieces of the state system include the Los Angeles Aqueduct, which carries water from Mono Lake to the city of Los Angeles, and the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park, which supplies the San Francisco Bay area. You Might Also Like
News Article | February 16, 2017
Graves are submerged in floodwaters at a cemetery downstream from a damaged dam Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, in Marysville, Calif. The Oroville Reservoir is continuing to drain Wednesday as state water officials scrambled to reduce the lake's level ahead of impending storms. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) OROVILLE, Calif. (AP) — Officials raced to drain more water from a lake behind battered Oroville Dam as new storms began rolling into Northern California on Wednesday and tested the quick repairs made to damaged spillways that raised flood fears. The three storms were expected to stretch into next week. Forecasters said the first two storms could drop a total of 5 inches of rain in higher elevation. However, the third storm, starting as early as Monday, could be more powerful. "There a potential for several inches," National Weather Service forecaster Tom Dang said. "It will be very wet." Nonetheless, California Department of Water Resources chief Bill Croyle said water was draining at about four times the rate that it was flowing in and the repairs should hold at the nation's tallest dam. About 100,000 cubic feet of water was flowing from the reservoir each second, enough to fill an Olympic-size swimming pool. Croyle said work crews had made "great progress" cementing thousands of tons of rocks into holes in the spillways. "We shouldn't see a bump in the reservoir" from the upcoming storms, he said. The reservoir has dropped 20 feet since it reached capacity Sunday. Croyle said officials hope it falls 50 feet by this Sunday. Still, officials warned residents who have returned to their homes that the area downstream of the dam remained under an evacuation warning and they should be prepared to leave if the risk increases. Some 200,000 people were allowed to return home Tuesday after being ordered to evacuate Sunday. Sandra Waters, 42, of Oroville initially fled her home with little more than the clothes she was wearing. Now, she's preparing for the possibility of another evacuation by gathering food, clothing and sentimental items like photographs. For more news videos visit Yahoo View, available now on iOS and Android. "You are always cautious when you live under a big dam, but we've always been pretty confident that it was safe and that it wasn't going to fail," she said. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said some homes in the evacuation zone had been burglarized and deputies had made arrests. He also called on private drone operators to refrain from flying their devices over the dam. Private drones can interfere with the repair work, which includes helicopters, he said. The 770-foot-tall dam is located in Oroville, a small Gold Rush-era town along the Feather River in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The region is largely rural, with its politics dominated by rice growers, orchard operators and other agricultural interests. It's dogged by the high unemployment rates endemic to farming communities. Dump trucks and helicopters dropped thousands of tons of rocks and sandbags to shore up the spillways over the weekend and avoid what could be a catastrophic failure and flood. The swollen lake reached its capacity over the weekend and spilled down an unpaved emergency spillway for nearly 40 hours, leaving it badly eroded. The problem occurred six days after engineers discovered a growing hole in the dam's main concrete spillway. Croyle said teams were working on plans for permanent repairs to the dam's main spillway that could cost as much as $200 million. As state officials puzzle through how to repair it, federal regulators have ordered California to figure out what went wrong. In recent years, construction crews patched cracks — including in the area where water burrowed a huge pit last week. If the past repairs were not done properly, water could infiltrate and eventually tear through the concrete. Inspectors with the state agency that operates and checks the dam went into the half-mile-long spillway in 2014 and 2015 and did not find any concerns, officials said. Late Tuesday, President Donald Trump ordered federal authorities to help California recover from severe January storms — a disaster declaration that also assists state and local officials with the dam crisis. Elsewhere in the state, officials say a reservoir in Santa Clara County is on the verge of spilling over for the first time since 2006. But unlike Oroville Dam, the Anderson Reservoir is not at risk of failure or causing major flooding, San Jose television station KNTV reported.
News Article | February 22, 2017
OAK BROOK, Ill., Feb. 22, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (NASDAQ:GLDD), the largest provider of dredging services in the United States and a major provider of environmental and infrastructure services, today reported financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2016. For the three months ended December 31, 2016, Great Lakes reported revenue of $213.4 million, net loss of $7.0 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $11.6 million. The following non-recurring items totaling $7.3 million negatively impacted results during the fourth quarter of 2016: a loss on an asset held for sale of $2.4 million for a vessel based in the Middle East; $2.3 million in losses related to the sale of assets in the Terra services business; and a $2.6 million loss related to the wind-down of the TerraSea joint venture. For the year ended December 31, 2016, Great Lakes reported revenue of $767.6 million, net loss of $8.2 million and Adjusted EBITDA of $72.0 million. In addition to the $7.3 million non-recurring items in the fourth quarter that adversely impacted results, the Company recorded the following non-recurring items previously in the year, positively impacting results: an $8.6 million reversal of liabilities related to the estimated earn-out and restricted stock units associated with the GLEI acquisition due to the expected failure to meet performance expectations included within the stock purchase agreement and a $2.0 million reversal of variable employee compensation. Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer Mark Marinko stated, “In 2016, the Company executed well on our domestic dredging contracts, particularly on our rivers & lakes projects. Our performance was offset by a major decline in international work due to a smaller market in 2016 that impacted the entire international dredging industry as well as the absence of the Suez Canal project, which contributed robust revenue and contract margin in 2015. We were pleased to have our internationally-based vessels utilized during the second half of the year, however the contracts were not at the margin of recent international projects. “Our Environmental & Infrastructure (E&I) segment’s operating loss was reduced by $21.7 million in 2016 compared to 2015. The sale of the assets associated with the service lines of Terra Contracting Services, LLC business was finalized, which we believe is a key component for returning this segment to profitability. For the year, this underutilized equipment and excess overhead associated with these divested assets, as well as a loss of $7.6 million on a project that the Terra business unit executed, adversely impacted the performance of our E&I segment. Excluding the Terra business, the E&I segment exhibited a positive performance during 2016, and backlog at December 31, 2016 does not currently include projects in a loss position. “At December 31, 2016, total assets and total liabilities on our balance sheet remained consistent with year-end 2015. During the year, we invested $54 million to finance the construction cost of our Articulated Tug & Barge (ATB) hopper dredge. As stated previously, we expect to continue to be deploying our free cash flow until construction of this vessel is complete in the second quarter of 2017. At the end of 2016, we were pleased to close a $250 million, three year revolving credit facility which has a structure that is designed to work well with our business. Going forward in 2017, we will continue to exercise fiscal prudence intended to ensure the best use of our capital.” Chairman of the Board Robert Uhler stated, “Last year was transformative for the Company. Operationally, we made significant progress repositioning the E&I segment by divesting the non-core assets that were not a strategic fit for the business. We expect the risk controls and other processes that were implemented in 2016 to make this segment well positioned as we move forward in 2017. We also expect the changes in leadership, including the recent additions to the Board, to enhance our ability to maximize shareholder value.” Mr. Marinko concluded, “The domestic dredging bid market in which we compete continued to remain at a healthy level in 2016 at $972 million. The total value of the market declined compared to the prior year, largely the result of fewer projects valued at over $50 million being tendered. Our dredging segment won 29% of our addressable bid market, which is below the average combined dredging bid market share over the prior three years during which we were awarded several large projects. Coastal protection projects account for $164 million of our awards, maintenance projects account for $68 million, capital work accounts for $27 million, and rivers & lakes awards account for $22 million. Subsequent to year-end, we received an $88 million award for coastal restoration work in the Gulf of Mexico that has been added to backlog. With a project already in backlog for it to execute, we look forward to the delivery of our new ATB hopper dredge, the Ellis Island, late in the second quarter of this year. We are tracking several potential opportunities and believe this addition to our fleet positions us well to capture work in 2017 and beyond. “Internationally, although the dredging market continues to experience softness, we are pursuing several opportunities, primarily in the Middle East. Due to market conditions, in 2016 the Company sold the Reem Island, an underutilized dredge which was based in the Middle East. Subsequent to year-end, we intend to sell its underutilized sister ship, the Noon Island, which is also based in the Middle East. We remain optimistic and believe that our presence internationally is strategically beneficial for the Company. “In Washington D.C., although Congress was unable to pass a budget for fiscal year 2017, we are pleased that it passed and former President Obama signed into law Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which includes the Water Resources Development Act of 2016. This comprehensive legislation authorizes many projects to address the needs of America’s harbors, locks, dams, flood protection, and other water infrastructure while also helping the U.S. Army Corps be more efficient in its oversight of these important projects. Finally, we are also encouraged by the new administration’s emphasis on investing in the United States’ infrastructure, including ports and waterways, and are hopeful that this focus will accelerate many of these much needed projects. “We are pleased at the significant progress that was made in 2016 to put the E&I segment on a path to profitability. Subsequent to year-end, we added $13 million in work to backlog in that segment and are experiencing a robust bidding environment. With the equipment spread and assets that we now currently have in place for this segment, we are comfortable that the current level of backlog positions the segment well for 2017. While we expect the business to experience seasonality in the winter months, we expect it to be profitable in 2017. Capturing projects with attractive margins and project execution will be key to our success going forward.” The Company will be holding a conference call at 9:00 a.m. C.S.T. today where we will further discuss these results. Information on this conference call can be found below. The Company will conduct a quarterly conference call, which will be held on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. C.S.T. (10:00 a.m. E.S.T.). The call in number is 877-377-7553 and Conference ID is 70966075. The conference call will be available by replay until Thursday, February 23, 2017, by calling 855-859-2056 and providing Conference ID 70966075. The live call and replay can also be heard on the Company’s website, www.gldd.com, under Events & Presentations on the investor relations page. Information related to the conference call will also be available on the investor relations page of the Company’s website. Adjusted EBITDA, as provided herein, represents net income attributable to common stockholders of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation, Adjusted for net interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization expense, debt extinguishment, accelerated maintenance expense for new international deployments, goodwill or asset impairments and gains on bargain purchase acquisitions. Adjusted EBITDA is not a measure derived in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("GAAP"). The Company presents Adjusted EBITDA as an additional measure by which to evaluate the Company's operating trends. The Company believes that Adjusted EBITDA is a measure frequently used to evaluate performance of companies with substantial leverage and that the Company's primary stakeholders (i.e., its stockholders, bondholders and banks) use Adjusted EBITDA to evaluate the Company's period to period performance. Additionally, management believes that Adjusted EBITDA provides a transparent measure of the Company's recurring operating performance and allows management to readily view operating trends, perform analytical comparisons and identify strategies to improve operating performance. For this reason, the Company uses a measure based upon Adjusted EBITDA to assess performance for purposes of determining compensation under the Company's incentive plan. Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered an alternative to, or more meaningful than, amounts determined in accordance with GAAP including: (a) operating income as an indicator of operating performance; or (b) cash flows from operations as a measure of liquidity. As such, the Company's use of Adjusted EBITDA, instead of a GAAP measure, has limitations as an analytical tool, including the inability to determine profitability or liquidity due to the exclusion of accelerated maintenance expense for new international deployments, goodwill or asset impairments, gains on bargain purchase acquisitions, interest and income tax expense and the associated significant cash requirements and the exclusion of depreciation and amortization, which represent significant and unavoidable operating costs given the level of indebtedness and capital expenditures needed to maintain the Company's business. For these reasons, the Company uses operating income to measure the Company's operating performance and uses Adjusted EBITDA only as a supplement. Adjusted EBITDA is reconciled to net income (loss) attributable to common stockholders of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation in the table of financial results. For further explanation, please refer to the Company's SEC filings. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation ("Great Lakes" or the "Company") is the largest provider of dredging services in the United States and the only U.S. dredging company with significant international operations. The Company is also a significant provider of environmental and infrastructure services on land and water. The Company employs civil, ocean and mechanical engineering staff in its estimating, production and project management functions. In its over 126-year history, the Company has never failed to complete a marine project. Great Lakes has a disciplined training program for engineers that ensures experienced-based performance as they advance through Company operations. Great Lakes also owns and operates the largest and most diverse fleet in the U.S. dredging industry, comprised of over 200 specialized vessels. Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking" statements as defined in Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act"), the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "PSLRA") or in releases made by the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), all as may be amended from time to time. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Great Lakes and its subsidiaries, or industry results, to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Statements that are not historical fact are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements can be identified by, among other things, the use of forward-looking language, such as the words "plan," "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "estimate," "project," "may," "would," "could," "should," "seeks," or "scheduled to," or other similar words, or the negative of these terms or other variations of these terms or comparable language, or by discussion of strategy or intentions. These cautionary statements are being made pursuant to the Exchange Act and the PSLRA with the intention of obtaining the benefits of the "safe harbor" provisions of such laws. Great Lakes cautions investors that any forward-looking statements made by Great Lakes are not guarantees or indicative of future performance. Important assumptions and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those forward-looking statements with respect to Great Lakes, include, but are not limited to: our ability to obtain federal government dredging and other contracts; potential changes in the spending priorities of the federal government; our ability to qualify as an eligible bidder under government contract criteria and to compete successfully against other qualified bidders; risks associated with cost over-runs, operating cost inflation and potential claims for liquidated damages, particularly with respect to our fixed cost contracts; the timing of our performance on contracts; significant liabilities that could be imposed were we to fail to comply with government contracting regulations; risks related to international dredging operations, including instability in the Middle East; a significant negative change to large, single customer contracts from which a significant portion of our international revenue is derived; changes in previously-recorded revenue and profit due to our use of the percentage-of-completion method of accounting; consequences of any lapse in disclosure controls and procedures or internal control over financial reporting; changes in the amount of our estimated backlog; our ability to obtain bonding or letters of credit; increasing costs to operate and maintain aging vessels; equipment or mechanical failures; acquisition integration and consolidation risks; liabilities related to our historical demolition business; impacts of legal and regulatory proceedings; unforeseen delays and cost overruns related to the construction of new vessels; our becoming liable for the obligations of joint ventures, partners and subcontractors; capital and operational costs due to environmental regulations; unionized labor force work stoppages; uncertainty regarding fiscal,tax, immigration, and other policies of the new U.S. Presidential administration; maintaining an adequate level of insurance coverage; information technology security breaches; inability to identify and contract with qualified Minority Business Enterprise or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise contractors to perform as subcontractors; our substantial amount of indebtedness; restrictions imposed by financing covenants; the impact of adverse capital and credit market conditions; limitations on our hedging strategy imposed by new statutory and regulatory requirements for derivative transactions; foreign exchange risks; changes in macroeconomic indicators and the overall business climate; and losses attributable to our investments in privately financed projects. For additional information on these and other risks and uncertainties, please see Item 1A. "Risk Factors" of Great Lakes' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015, and in other securities filings by Great Lakes with the SEC. Although Great Lakes believes that its plans, intentions and expectations reflected in or suggested by such forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from a projection or assumption in any forward-looking statements. Great Lakes' future financial condition and results of operations, as well as any forward-looking statements, are subject to change and inherent risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained in this press release are made only as of the date hereof and Great Lakes does not have or undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, subsequent events or otherwise, unless otherwise required by law.
News Article | February 15, 2017
With More Rain Forecast, Crews Work To Reinforce Oroville Dam In California, construction crews are trying to lower the level of Lake Oroville and repair emergency spillways at the Oroville Dam, about 75 miles north of Sacramento, to prevent catastrophic flooding downstream. A secondary spillway was opened Monday after the main spillway, which is supposed to safely release water when the lake level is too high, had developed a huge hole, as we reported. Rain is forecast for later this week in Northern California, and nearly 200,000 people who live downstream have been evacuated from the area. As NPR's Richard Gonzalez reported, "The good news is that the water level in the dam is falling and repair crews have been able to drop heavy rocks in key spots of the emergency spillway to prevent further erosion." For those who were evacuated, hotels in the region were filled to capacity on Tuesday and "evacuation centers are straining to keep up with the demand for shelter," Richard said. FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Ahsha Tribble said the agency is providing support to evacuated people, Ben Bradford of Capital Public Radio reported. "We are already moving commodities, and commodities being cots, blankets and water, given the number of people that were actually evacuated last night," Tribble said. "Officials say a new series of storms coming by Thursday prevents them from saying how long the evacuation could last," Richard reported. The Los Angeles Times published this diagram of what that catastrophic erosion could look like. "Meanwhile, local reports are emerging that environmental groups raised concerns about the dam's emergency spillway decades ago," Richard reported. The Times reported that the the emergency spillways were damaged by far less water than the maximum flow they are supposed to handle: "Earth and weak rock near the top of the spillway started to erode when peak flows were 12,600 cubic feet per second, compared with the designed capacity of 450,000 cubic feet per second, according to the Department of Water Resources. ... Bill Croyle, the acting director of the Department of Water Resources, said Monday that he was 'not sure anything went wrong. This was a new, never-happened-before event.' "But during 2005 relicensing proceedings for Oroville Dam, several environmental groups argued that substantial erosion would occur on the hillside in the event of a significant emergency spill. In a filing, they asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to order the state to 'to armor or otherwise reconstruct the ungated spillway.' "State Water Project contractors, including the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, were involved in the relicensing. MWD General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said Monday his agency deferred to the state and federal agencies on the matter." At 770 feet, the Oroville Dam is the tallest in the U.S. Although the structure hasn't suffered a catastrophic failure, the excess water dumped by a series of California storms and released through the spillways has nonetheless inundated communities in and around Oroville. Reporter Paige St. John of the Times tweeted a photo of a drowned cemetery in the town of Marysville downstream of the dam. An aerial photo shared by the Long Beach Fire Department, which was called in from the southern part of the state to assist local authorities, showed water carving channels through the hills downstream of the dam, carrying mud and debris with it.
News Article | February 20, 2017
By now we have all seen the spectacular images of volumes of water crashing down the Oroville Dam spillway in California and blasting upward into the air as they hit an enormous crater in the spillway floor, flooding down the adjacent hillside, threatening people in towns below. Those images reveal a big mistake: failure to update infrastructure to defend against climate change. The menacing floodwaters last week forced the emergency evacuation of 188,000 residents. Yet the impending disaster came as no surprise to officials in Butte and Plumas counties. The rural counties, which surround Lake Oroville, had challenged the state’s environmental review of dam operations in a 2008 lawsuit, arguing the state "recklessly failed" to properly account for climate change in its long-term dam management plan. The dam was built in the 1960s when temperatures were cooler and more precipitation was stored in a greater snowpack in the mountains of the Feather River watershed, which drains into Lake Oroville. Today warming temperatures are bringing more rain as well as melting the Sierra Nevada snowpack earlier in the spring. As the counties’ attorneys predicted, among the results is a rush of downhill water much faster than in the past. “We anticipated that this crisis might come about,” says Tony Rossmann, special counsel to Butte County. That's exactly what happened a week ago, leading to the crater. With the reservoir brimming over from rain and rapid snowmelt, and the spillway maxed out as the crater widened, officials activated Oroville’s never-used unpaved emergency spillway—a broad hillside a short distance from the spillway along the same dam wall. The combination of rocks, trees and floodwaters pummeling down toward the cities below the dam forced the mandatory evacuations. Hard rain is happening again today as new storms continue to deluge the area 150 miles north of San Francisco. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) owns and manages the Oroville reservoir as part of the State Water Project, a massive utility providing water to 23 million residents and farmers as far south as Los Angeles County. When its dam license expired in 2007, DWR applied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a 50-year renewal. The ensuing lawsuit by the two counties challenged the environmental review that was part of the renewal process. In response, DWR attorneys said their environmental analysis adequately considered climate change “based on the limited information available at the time.” They called specific information about climate change in the Feather River watershed “too speculative” to include. The hydrologic models DWR used are based on the colder decades of the 1940s and 1950s—“a hypothetical future that DWR knows to be dangerously false,” the counties responded. Ironically, the counties based their challenge on climate change science developed by DWR’s own scientists, Rossmann says: “They’re among the world’s experts.” He called DWR’s “stubborn refusal to consider 21st century science” particularly surprising for a state agency where the governor repeatedly touts preparedness for climate change. In 2012 Yolo County Superior Court Judge Daniel P. Maguire upheld DWR’s environmental review. The counties appealed to California’s 3rd District Court of Appeal, where the case has been sitting ever since. The on-going crisis at Oroville adds new urgency to concerns over the operation and physical integrity of the dam. In 2005 a motion filed by three environmental groups recommended lining the earthen emergency spillway with concrete. The improvements might have prevented the erosion that forced the evacuation of downstream communities, says Ron Stock, a senior policy advocate with Friends of the River, one of the plaintiffs. On February 13, the day after the Butte County sheriff issued the evacuation orders, FERC ordered California to convene a five-member board to assess how to reduce the risk of flooding and analyze what went wrong. The hydrological changes that provoked the Oroville crisis are likely to affect other dams throughout California and the West. Scientific models project a climate that is more variable, with hotter, longer droughts and bigger precipitation events—specifically, more rain and more intense rainstorms as well as less snowpack. Drought is driving one type of reservoir emergencies: low water. Lake Mead, on the Colorado River, has dropped to its lowest levels since the Hoover Dam was built in 1936. Heavy rainfall and melting snow are driving the other threat of reservoirs overtopping their walls and flooding communities downhill. The Feather River watershed, the lowest in the Sierra, is the first to exhibit the dramatic increases in precipitation and decreases in water stored in snowpack, says Michael Jackson, an attorney representing the Plumas County Flood Control and Water Conservation District. Isabella Dam, at 2,600 feet in the southern Sierra, and Shasta and Trinity lakes, in north-central California, may soon experience similar changes, he says. Most of the nation’s 84,000 dams were built between 1950 and 1980 and were not designed for the populations now surrounding them, or for today’s changing climate. Nearly 3,000 have no emergency plans, a 2013 engineering report found. Rossmann said dam managers throughout the West should be updating their scientific data to avoid crises similar to Oroville. “It’s irrational and risky to operate without considering modern” climate trends and the changes they could create in rainfall, snowpack, runoff and flooding, he says.
News Article | February 27, 2017
SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwired - February 27, 2017) - More than 130 local California water leaders will be in Washington, D.C. this week to meet with key members of California's congressional delegation and highlight the critical role of water infrastructure as part of the Association of California Water Agencies' (ACWA) annual DC Conference. ACWA members representing agencies from around the state will underscore the importance of water facilities in the wake of dramatic flooding and drought in California and make the case for water facilities and projects to be included in any infrastructure investment package that advances in Congress this year. Conference attendees also will hear from Trump Administration officials and get an update on 2017 legislative priorities. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-23) and U.S. Reps. John Garamendi (D-3), Doug LaMalfa (R-1), Jeff Denham (R-10), Jared Huffman (D-2), Ken Calvert (R-42) and Jim Costa (D-16) are among expected speakers. WHAT: ACWA's 2017 DC Conference WHEN: Tuesday, Feb 28 - Thursday, March 2 WHERE: St. Regis Hotel, Washington, D.C. 20006 ACWA is a statewide association of public agencies whose more than 430 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more information, visit www.acwa.com. ACWA also manages Save Our Water -- the state's official water conservation outreach program -- in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources. More information is at www.saveourwater.com.
News Article | February 15, 2017
Lake Oroville's water level has finally dropped below its record high, after residents scrambled to comply with an evacuation order Sunday.(Image credit: William Croyle/California Department of Water Resources via AP)