The Howard Prairie Dam.

The Howard Prairie Dam.

Courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

The dam that creates Howard Prairie Lake will get a seismic retrofit over the next year to boost its chances of surviving a large earthquake should one rock Oregon’s southern Cascades.

A Portland firm has won a $5.9 million contract to beef up a large portion of the 1,040-foot-long earthen dam that is not actually resting on bedrock like the rest of it does, according to its owner, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Those portions of the 100-foot-tall dam base sit on 10 to 14 feet of stream bed “that could liquify during an earthquake and all slide out,” said Chris Regilski, the bureau’s regional dam-safety coordinator.

“The overall risks are higher than we’d accept,” Regilski said.

Read the whole story at the Ashland Daily Tidings.