Washoe County started installing a new barrier, called a tiger dam, in a small section along the northwest bank of Swan Lake in Lemmon Valley.
The tiger dam is an inflatable tube filled with water and strapped to the ground to create a barrier.
“They provide the same protection level as the HESCO barriers do,” Director of Engineering for Washoe County Dwayne Smith says. “4,926 feet is about that level of protection we have around the lake.”
Smith says lake level dropped a lot in 2018, but with a wet winter, the lake started to rise in early 2019. They decided to add the tiger dam instead of a HESCO barrier because the ground is saturated.
“Lake levels climbed very fast, very quickly,” Smith says. “And we still expect the lake to come up a some additional inches before we get into summer when we see most of the evaporation occur.”
Residents we spoke with Wednesday say they talked about a tiger dam to Washoe County officials a long time ago.
Smith say they decided to go with the HESCO barrier in flooded areas in 2017. He says considering how much the lake dropped in 2018, it’s risen pretty dramatically in recent months.
“Until just recently this area hasn’t been that much of a problem,” Smith says. “The water levels were coming up and in certain areas it was already coming on private property. But our concern is how to protect the residences.”
Lemmon Valley resident Denise Ross says she saw Smith speak in front of the Washoe County Commissioners yesterday.
“They have been instructed to do what is necessary to protect homes and life,” Ross says about. “And he said this last night. So you know I’m grateful for that, that now they’re trying to make some kind of help for the residences.”
Inmates from the Nevada Division of Forestry made up most of the workforce installing the barrier.
Smith says they plan on finishing the dam by Friday, but says crews will work into the weekend if it’s not complete.
He says the dam will stay up as long as it’s needed, and they have the ability to drain the dam and move it to another location if necessary.