Briana Heaney Published

Possible Federal Shutdown Risks Dam Operations 

A concrete dam with lake water to one side.
A look at the Grandview Lake dam, part of the national park system.
Eric Douglas/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A federal government shutdown is expected to begin on Oct. 1 and would have an impact on West Virginia’s dams. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for running the operations at nine of West Virginia’s dams. Since it is a federally run and funded agency, it would be a part of a federal government shutdown. 

Brian Maka, public affairs officer at the Corps of Engineers, said the dam will maintain a small staff to ensure the safety of the dam. However, he says there will be some things the Corps will not be able to do. 

“Over time, that means that other things are not being done,” Maka said. “If you’re just focused on the operations, that’s all we will be manned to do. Routine things that the staff would normally do would not be done.”

He says he is still waiting to hear what the plan is if there is a government shutdown and that it’s hard to say this early what his agency will or won’t be able to do during a shutdown.

“But it’s certainly not the full complement of your workforce,” Maka said. 

Recreational releases will continue at Summersville Dam for the Gauley whitewater schedule. 

“It’s an authorized purpose of the dam to support the whitewater operations. So those releases will be done as scheduled, unless ordered otherwise,” Maka said. 

The Corps says it is still working out the details of what a shutdown could mean.