23-052 USACE to rehabilitate and improve Russel Creek Canal

Published Nov. 2, 2023

WALLA WALLA, Wash. – This winter, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District will begin a rehabilitation and improvement project on Russel Creek Canal. The canal, a part of the Mill Creek Flood Control Project, is located downstream of Bennington Lake and runs approximately one mile from the lake to Russel Creek.

Bennington Lake holds excess water during floods to decrease Mill Creek’s flow through the City of Walla Walla. A return canal is used to drain the water back into Mill Creek after a flood has receded. During a flood, Russel Creek Canal is used to drain the reservoir below this return canal.

Sealant in the expansion joints between the concrete sections of the Russel Creek Canal has begun deteriorating. This has allowed debris to enter the joints, preventing them from functioning properly and risking damage to the canal. Furthermore, the now unsealed joints have allowed runoff to flow under the concrete channel, causing erosion and adding additional damage risks to the canal. Additionally, earthen materials and associated debris from banks along the canal have been deposited over time, resulting in decreased water runoff capacity.

Rehabilitation work will focus on clearing debris from the canal, cleaning the expansion joints and applying new sealant, along with filling erosion holes with gravel to stabilize these areas. Improvements to the canal will include the expansion of a gravel access road on the east side of the canal to provide maintenance access along its entire length.

The west side of the canal will be graded and seeded with stabilizing grass to prevent natural debris from sloughing back into the canal and to ensure access along the west side of the canal for flood patrolling and general maintenance. Neither of these will function as public access.

Finally, power service will also be added to the nearby Mill Creek Dam lower valve house, along with security and flood monitoring lighting to increase safety for maintenance and flood response personnel.

This project is scheduled to begin work in December, with May 31, 2024 identified as the completion date.

For more information about Mill Creek Dam and Bennington Lake, visit https://www.nww.usace.army.mil/Locations/District-Locks-and-Dams/Mill-Creek-Dam-and-Bennington-Lake/ or find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/millcreekdam/


Release no. 23-054