North Fork Dam Improvements Public Communications – WithersRavenel

North Fork Dam Improvements Public Communications

About This Project

The City of Asheville North Fork Main Dam and Saddle Dam impound Burnette Reservoir, which provides high-quality drinking water to the City of Asheville and surrounding communities. The most concerning issue for the North Fork Dam is inadequate spillway capacity relative to the mandated design storm.

Even with the Flood Operation Plan (FOP) in force, the spillway cannot pass the design storm, which would ultimately lead to over-topping of the dam. The current spillway, which consists of three radial gates, has a capacity of 24,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). To meet NCDEQ requirements, the new spillway needs a capacity of over 87,000 cfs. Therefore, the primary focus of the project involves constructing a new spillway system that will have more than three times the current hydraulic capacity while maintaining normal operations and protecting water quality.

The City of Asheville selected Schnabel Engineering South, P.C. to provide professional engineering services related to the North Fork Spillway Upgrade Project. Schnabel asked WithersRavenel to provide public education and communication services in support of this large project.
WithersRavenel provided assistance to the City with public education and communication efforts, including the following tasks:

  • Creating a two-phased communications plan with deadlines
  • Creating information to put onto a project-specific page on the City’s website
  • Developing Frequently Asked Questions with answers
  • Supporting public information sessions and providing the Water Department Manager with talking points
  • Aiding with delivery of technical presentations at official regulatory public hearings
  • Providing support of local community meetings
  • Preparing exhibits for public information meetings
  • Preparing content suitable for public distribution