Choose one or more of our dynamic virtual workshops for dam and levee professionals.
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Leveraging PFMA to Perform SQRA (5-day webinar, 4.5 hours/day) 21 PDHs
It will cover review of the PFMA process and historically significant potential failure modes, TRGs, using the PFMA results to perform a SQRA (including additional required input and how to obtain it), estimating consequences including but not limited to life safety, assessing the results, and building the dam safety case. Click Here for more information and to register.
Instrumentation and Performance Monitoring of Dams (4, two-hour webinar Series) 8 PDHs
Presentations, exercises, and instrumentation equipment displays/demonstrations for improved insight, understanding, and effectiveness. Click Here for more information and to register.
Introduction and Overview of Rock Scour (4, two-hour webinars) . 7 PDHs
Provides knowledge and understanding of information needed for a scour assessment, current tools and methods available to perform a scour assessment, and case histories on the use and interpretation of scour analyses results. This workshop will be limited to the characterization, evaluation, analysis, and remediation of erodibility of rock scour. Erodibility of soils will not be covered. Click Here for more information and to register.
Understanding Potential Life Loss from Flooding - Shining a Light into the Black Box that is HEC-LifeSim (2, two-hour webinars) 4 PDHs
Provides an overview of dam and levee safety risk assessment activities and consequence estimates used within the decision-making process at all levels, specifically using HEC-LifeSim, a software tool for estimating economic damages and life loss. Click Here for more information and to register.
Introduction to Probabilistic Dam Breach Modeling 4 PDHs
As an introduction to the concept of probabilistic dam breach modeling and how it supports risk-informed decision making, attendees will learn the theory behind the Monte Carlo Method plus how it is applied to determining probabilities of flood from a dam breach event. Click Here for more information and to register.
Bureau of Reclamation's Consequences Estimating Methodology (RCEM) (1/2 Day Webinar) 4 PDHs
Provides an introduction to dam failure life loss estimation concepts with specific emphasis on the empirical RCEM approach. Attendees will come away with a basic knowledge of the use of the RCEM method, and the importance of life loss estimation in the dam safety risk analysis process. Click Here for more information and to register.
Regional Analysis Tools for Calculating the Magnitude of Extreme Floods (3, three-hour webinars) 9 PDHs
Three separate regional analysis techniques discussed in this workshop include Regional Flood Frequency Analysis (RFFA), Regional Precipitation Frequency Analysis (RPFA), and Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) analysis. Historical information collected by non-standard scientific measurement methods are also incorporated into the analysis. Novel methods of completing the analysis are presented using the results of studies completed in western US and Canada. Click Here for more information and to register.
Cancellation & Refund Policy
No registration is confirmed until full payment is received. Seating is limited and only those with paid status are guaranteed a workshop seat.
In order to take advantage of multi-webinar discounts, registration for more than one workshop must be made on the same date.
Cancellations must be received via email to email@example.com at least 2 weeks prior to start of workshop webinar, in order to receive a refund. Substitutions are accepted up until the day before workshop webinar.
Asphalt Core Embankment Dams (ACED) – Why, Where and How?
1- hour Webinar
Oct. 1, 2020 9:00 - 10:00 am MDT
Eligible for 1 PDH
Asphalt has been used in engineering to impound both liquid and solid substances for millennia. The secret to its longevity is its strength, impermeability and flexibility. These qualities make hydraulic asphalt (dense asphalt concrete (DAC)) an ideal material to produce impermeable lining systems.
Hydraulic asphalt has been vastly refined and improved, making it highly versatile and widely utilized around the world for dams, reservoirs, channels, lining landfill cells and for central core liners for large embankment dams. In this webinar you will learn:
- Why would you consider using DAC as core to an embankment dam?
- Where (and when), would you consider using asphalt in a HACED?
- How do you construct a HACED?
Owners, Construction Engineers, Students, Construction Sectors
Click Here for Bio
Registration and Cancellation Policy
No registration is confirmed until full payment is received. Seating is limited and only those with paid status are guaranteed webinar access. Cancellations must be received via email to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to receive refunds as stated below:
USSD 2020 Fall Workshop Series
Introduction to Probabilistic Dam Breach Modeling
Oct. 6, 2020 9:00 am - 1:00 pm MDT
Eligible for 4 PDHs
This webinar will introduce attendees to the concept of probabilistic dam breach modeling and how it supports risk-informed decision making. Attendees will learn the theory behind the Monte Carlo Method and how it is applied to determining probabilities of flood from a dam breach event. The course will focus on methods for preparing the HEC-RAS dam breach model for use with McBreach, selecting statistical distributions for dam breach parameters, as well as interpreting and evaluating McBreach results. Time will be spent demoing the McBreach software so that attendees understand how to enter data and view results. The attendees will be led through a workshop exercise that will provide an opportunity to run the McBreach software with a real dam breach dataset.
Upon completion of the course, attendees will:
The target audience is anyone interested in dam breach modeling, emergency action planning for dams and levees, and long-term risk-based studies for dams and levees. While anyone can attend and learn about probabilistic dam breach modeling, attendees will get the most out of this webinar if they have some experience with unsteady HEC-RAS models (and even better dam breach models), and understand basic probability theory.
Click Here for Bios
Christopher Goodell, P. E., inventor and lead developer of the McBreach software
No registration is confirmed until full payment is received. Seating is limited and only those with paid status are guaranteed a workshop seat. Cancellations must be received via email to email@example.com in order to receive refunds as stated below:
Understanding Potential Life Loss from Flooding - Shining a Light into the Black Box that is HEC-LifeSim
Two, 2-hour webinars
Oct. 7 - 8, 2020, 9:00 - 11:00 am MDT
Several Federal agencies, as well as dam and levee owners have made significant efforts over the years to better understand and quantify the risk of their dam and levee portfolios. The dam and levee safety community is relatively familiar with potential failure mode analysis and estimating failure likelihoods, but there is less familiarity with estimating the consequences of failure. Quantifying consequences can be done in varying levels of detail and there are several tools available to perform these estimates, one of which is USACE’s Hydrologic Engineering Center’s (HEC) LifeSim, which provides a detailed look at flood impacts and evacuation.
The workshop will highlight how HEC-LifeSim was developed to effectively support reduction of life-safety risks associated with flooding; evaluate existing and residual risks against tolerable risk guidelines; calculate life loss and economic damages; understand life loss dynamics associated with floods; and create or improve existing emergency action plans (EAPs).
The purpose of the workshop is to provide an overview of dam and levee safety risk assessment activities and consequence estimates used within the decision-making process at all levels, specifically using HEC-LifeSim, a software tool for estimating economic damages and life loss.
The workshop is designed for dam and levee owners and regulators, hydraulic engineers, consequence modelers, and young professionals to get familiar with the software and its uses.
Woodrow "Woody" Fields, P.E.
Joanna Leu, P.E.
Jason Needham, P.E.
Paul Risher, P.E.
Leveraging PFMA to Perform SQRA
Oct. 12 - 16, 2020
9:30 am - 2:00 pm MDT each day
Eligible for 21 PDHs
Despite the criticism that Potential Failure Mode Analysis (PFMA) has received following the Oroville Dam spillway incident, it has been viewed as a standard of care for dam safety evaluations in the U.S., and with some possible improvements to be more expansive, is expected to be so into the future. Many PFMA’s have been performed for state- and federally-regulated dams, and as a result of that investment, considerable knowledge has been obtained about vulnerabilities associated with specific dams. As the federal dam owners have embraced risk assessment as the next step in ensuring that dam safety risks are properly evaluated and managed, it is expected that private and state dam owners will benefit from following suit. Indeed, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has recently adopted Risk Informed Decision Making (RIDM) as part of their engineering guidelines. The intent of this training is to leverage and improve on the significant investment that has already been made in performing PFMA’s, and use this information to perform semi-quantitative risk assessments (SQRA) for individual dams or dam portfolios. These assessments can then be used as a screening tool to identify PFM’s and overall risks which are not likely to meet Tolerable Risk Guidelines (TRG) based on life safety, and as a prioritization tool for reducing risk, performing additional investigations or studies, or performing quantitative risk assessments. A simplified method for categorizing additional consequences such as those incurred at Oroville is also presented in this training.
The target audience for this training is dam owners and regulators who are familiar with the PFMA process, and are wanting to move these types of evaluations into the risk arena. This would include FERC licensees and their consultants; private, municipal, and state dam owners; and state and federal dam safety regulators.
This course will take place over five days and will cover review of the PFMA process, TRG’s, using the PFMA results to perform a SQRA (including additional required input and how to obtain it), estimating consequences including but not limited to life safety, assessing the results, building the dam safety case, and prioritizing risk reduction actions.
John W. France, PE, D.GE, D.WRE, M. ASCE
Bill Fiedler, P.E.
Gregg A Scott, P.E., F. ASCE
Mel Schaefer Ph.D. P.E.
In order to take advantage of early-bird prices, registration must be paid by 9/20/19.
Cancellations must be received via email to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to receive refunds as stated below:
· By 9/28/2020 - full refund
· After 9/28: no refund, however substitutions are permitted
Brought to you in part by:
Evaluating Complex Systems as Part of a Semi-Quantitative Risk Assessment
1- hour Webinar
Oct. 20, 2020 1:00 - 2:00 pm MDT
An important first step in understanding, and ultimately quantifying, the complexity system impacts can have on risks, is to be able to describe the physical interactions that operational components can have on risks. Then one must consider the role that human factors have in those same systems. This webinar will review an approach to evaluating systems and human factors within a semi-quantitative risk assessment.
Dam Levee Safety Engineers, Scientists, and other Professionals
This webinar is brought to you in part by:
What the f-N? Clarifying Misconceptions about Risk Plots
Oct. 21, 2020 11:00 am - Noon MDT
Risk analysis results for dam safety are typically portrayed graphically using the f-n plot (little f-n) and the F-N plot (big F-N). The f-n and F-N plots may look similar, but there are fundamental differences in their definition and meaning. The purpose of the webinar is to provide an overview of the plots and clarify some common misunderstandings. This webinar will cover five differences between the two plots. Developing a fundamental understanding of the nature and meaning of f-n and F-N plots is essential to making better risk informed decisions.
Risk Analysts and Decision Makers
Introduction and Overview of Rock Scour -
4, 2-hour webinars
10:00 am - Noon MDT over 4 days
Eligible for 8 PDHs
One of the many lessons learned from the 2017 Oroville spillway incidents was there is a poor understanding in the industry of assessing the erodibility (scour) of earthen (soil and rock) spillway chutes. There appears to be a general lack of knowledge in the information, tools, methods, and interpretation of the erodibility of earthen materials. This workshop will provide the knowledge and understanding of what information is needed for a scour assessment, what current tools and methods are available to perform a scour assessment, and provide case histories illustrating the use and interpretation of the results of scour analyses.
The workshop will be limited to the characterization, evaluation, analysis, and remediation of erodibility of rock scour. Erodibility of soils will not be covered.
Workshop will provide a general overview for the understanding of the factors that influence the erodibility of rock.
Novice to seasoned professionals will all benefit from the workshop. All sub-disciplines of civil engineering and engineering geology should attend.
Dr. George Annandale
Dr. Michael George
Instrumentation and Performance Monitoring of Dams
4-Part Webinar Series
9:00 - 11:00 am MST over 4 days
This Workshop will include presentations by panelists and instrumentation equipment displays/demonstrations, which all are intended to provide workshop participants with improved insight, understanding, and comfort with respect to instrumentation.
The Workshop series will consist of four sessions. The topics are 1) Planning an Instrumentation Program, 2) Installation of Dam Monitoring Instrumentation, 3) Threshold Values and Action Levels, and 4) Evaluation of Data. The presentations by the panelists will discuss both embankment and concrete dams with a focus on PFMA in defining monitoring programs, thresholds and action levels, and evaluation of data.
The panelists will consist of representatives from owners, regulators, vendors, and consultants who will provide their perspective with regard to dam safety and the four topics above. The workshop sessions will be organized to allow for both panelist presentations and ample discussion and questions between attendees and the panelists.
Fundamentally, the Workshop will seek to maximize the opportunities for educational discussions among the participants, presenters, and instrumentation equipment suppliers about real-world situations, and how they might best be addressed.
o Types of instruments and data collection alternatives
o Use of data as input for Potential Failure Modes Analysis (PFMA) and risk analysis
o Purpose of instrumentation with regard to construction monitoring, design verification, and general health monitoring
Workshop will discuss best practices for planning, implementing, and managing a dam safety program. Panelists will provide a general overview of the role of instrumentation in project performance monitoring and discuss the factors that influence the accuracy, reliability, and use of dam instrumentation data. Novice to seasoned professionals will all benefit from the workshop. Engineers, dam owners, geologists, and technicians involved in dam safety should all attend.
Instructors & Moderators
Georgette Hlepas, USACE
Brent Randall, Campbell Scientific
Bill Walker, USACE
Brandon Lanthier, Geosyntec
Josh Brown, Campbell Scientific
Pierre Choquet, RST Instruments
Rodolfo “Rudy” Saavedra, Durham Geo Slope Indicator
Will Brown, FERC
John Hynes, Stantec
Bruce Rogers, USACE
Brought to You in Part By:
Seismic Thresholds for Embankment Dams & Their Return Periods
90-Minute Webinar, 9:00 - 10:30 am MST
Eligible for 1.5 PDHs
The webinar will describe the process of developing seismic thresholds for 50 selected embankment/rockfill dams in the Western U.S. for post-earthquake notification and response. This work was extrapolated to approximate the return period of the permanent displacement failure for each dam. Seismic hazard curves for dams in low and high seismicity areas will be compared to evaluate whether a ‘levelized’ return period, e.g. 10,000 years, would provide the desired level of consistency and conservatism when evaluating ground motions for dam safety.
Geotechnical Engineers, Earthquake Engineers, and Dam Safety Professionals
Justin F. Smith, P. E.
Reclamation's Consequences Estimating Methodology (RCEM)
4 - hour Webinar
Dec. 8, 2020
9:00 am - 1:00 pm MST
Eligible for 4 PDHs
The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) Consequences Estimating Method (RCEM) is an empirically-based method for estimating life loss consequences from dam failure in support of dam safety risk analysis. This RCEM methodology considers the intensity of flooding and warning time to be the most important factors when selecting ranges of fatality rates for a given exposed population. The method is a simplified approach which relies on a data set comprised of dam failure, flash flood and other flood-related case histories as a basis for fatality rate selection. Consensus results are developed through a team approach to life loss estimation and confidence in life loss estimates are evaluated. RCEM is the primary method currently used by Reclamation to estimate dam failure life loss.
The attendee will learn the basics of dam failure life loss estimation for risk analysis, as illustrated through the application of the RCEM method.
The course agenda will cover an introduction to concepts regarding dam failure consequences estimation, discussion of dam failure case histories, interpretation of inundation modeling output data, warning and evacuation, and the estimation of downstream population at risk. The RCEM method will be introduced and discussed in some detail, and an example RCEM analysis will be conducted as a hands-on exercise for participants.
Dam Owners, Engineers, Geologists, All Involved with Dam Safety Risk Analysis
Bruce Feinberg, USBR
Dom Galic, USBR
Regional Analysis Tools for Calculating the Magnitude of Extreme Floods
Three, 3 - hour Webinars (9 hours total)
Dec. 9-11, 2020
9:00 am - 12:00 pm MST
Eligible for 9 PDHs
Government funded projects that analyze rainfall and streamflow data across an entire state can improve the defensibility and reduce the cost of flood analysis studies for individual reservoirs by improving the baseline information for calculating extreme flood events. Three separate regional analysis techniques discussed in this workshop include Regional Flood Frequency Analysis (RFFA), Regional Precipitation Frequency Analysis (RPFA), and Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) analysis. Historical information collected by non-standard scientific measurement methods are also incorporated into the analysis. Novel methods of completing the analysis are presented using the results of studies completed in western US and Canada.
The objective of the workshop is to provide attendees with an understanding of the methodologies and benefits of completing state-wide regional analysis utilizing different forms of data and information with the end goal of producing defensible extreme flood studies.
Engineers, geologists, hydrologists, hydrometeorologists, dam owners, government professionals and managers. The workshop should interest junior, mid, and senior level professionals.
Alyssa Hendricks Dietrich
K. Jane Watt, PhD., LL.D
Piotr Kuraś, PE, PEng, RPF
Joel Trubilowicz, PhD, PEng
Robert McLean, M.Sc, P.E
Just Go with the Flow: A Phased Approach to Understanding Your Spillway
2 - hour Webinar
Jan. 12, 2021
11:00 am - 1:00 pm MST
Eligible for 2 PDHs
Owners across the country are taking a phased approach to assessing and understanding their spillways in order to increase the reliability for performance during operation. The phased approach offers owners benefits from a cost and operational perspective along with limiting the amount of destructive examination that may be required to better understand the spillway and its subsurface conditions. The approach also provides owners with multiple spillways a means of initial screening (Phase1) and then prioritization of future assessments and/or maintenance (Phases 2 or 3). This presentation will cover all three phases.
To provide case histories that demonstrate how a phased approach is beneficial in planning, funding, and undertaking spillway condition assessments to enhance understanding of spillway conditions and performance. The goal is to communicate to owners how phasing assessments allow flexibility to navigate operational constraints, funding challenges, and address unexpected and problematic findings
Course Agenda - coming soon
Kenny (Kenwarjit) Dosanjh, PE
Sam Planck, PE
Safety, Security, and Emergency Response in the 21st Century
The USSD annual conference travels to beautiful Charleston, SC in 2021. Charleston is a world- class destination with an easily accessible airport, beautiful beaches, historic surroundings, highly acclaimed restaurants and lots of shopping.
The Southeastern U.S. has experienced numerous dam failures over the last several years, including numerous incidents in central and coastal regions of the Carolinas during historic flooding in 2015 and the failure of 25 dams from Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Next year also marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon. While no dams or levees were compromised during the attacks, the event resulted in large changes in the approach to infrastructure security nationwide.
Hotel and Registration Information Available October 1, 2020
Abstracts will be selected by members of the Technical Program Planning Committee based on scientific/engineering merit, relevance, and overall quality. Due to time and space constraints, it is possible that not all submissions will be selected for the conference.
Notification of acceptance will be sent by mid-September 2020. At that time:
All presenters will be expected to attend the Conference and pay the reduced registration fee offered to authors and co-authors.
USSD website: www.ussdams.org
For more information, contact: email@example.com, 303-792-8753
Technical Program Chair: Conrad Ginther (Black & Veatch)
Brought to you in part by our 2021 Conference Sponsors
United States Society on Dams
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