Mount Saint Helen's Grade Building Structures Pilot Project

Client: US Army Corps of Engineers
Location: Mount Saint Helen's, WA
Services: Value Engineering
Completion Date: 2010

Project Details:

Keville Enterprises was responsible for providing the Value Engineering (VE) Team facilitator (CVS) and for coordinating the entire VE effort, preparation of the Preliminary Report, Summary Report, Final Report and compiling the Final Disposition Form for US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) management.


The VE Team generated 37 initial ideas, of which seven achieved the required minimum score, and were selected for development and presentation to USACE management.  These ideas, which could potentially improve the performance of the project and/or reduce construction costs were then detailed and quantified.  The USACE management accepted three of the seven ideas with a combined cost avoidance of $4,180,000.


Below is a summary of the VE study benefits:

·         recommended VE Ideas – 7

·         accepted VE Ideas - 3

·         accepted Implementation Rate – 43%

·         total number of Design Suggestions – 14

·         VE Study Return on Investment (ROI) – 67:1


The pilot project for which the VE study was performed will involve the construction of a series of Grade Building Structures upstream from the Mount Saint Helens (MSH) Sediment Retention Structure (SRS) to increase sediment retention in the sediment plain. This pilot project has been proposed with several different configurations and includes features to allow close monitoring of the various measures and their effect on the river, natural habitat, sediment retention rates, and overall feasibility. In addition to the main purpose of retaining as much sediment as possible, the Grade Building Structures have been designed to consider the following sensitive issues: unobstructed upstream and downstream passage of both adult and juvenile Endangered Species Act (ESA) species, inundation of local tributaries and ESA species habitat, and unobstructed passage of debris common in the Toutle River.


Much of the design and configuration of this pilot project is based on expert geomorphologic and sediment transport advice as well as the study of historical photo images and ongoing internal research. It has been found that even though some theory and conventional thinking of river systems is applicable; this river system is extremely unique and does not abide by many of the existing conventional ideas. USACE determined that a pilot project, as opposed to computer modeling, will allow for observing several concepts of sediment retention in order to find and implement a system that best assists with retention of sediment while maintaining and restoring fish passage in the upper Toutle River.