San Francisco, California

United States Society on Dams
2014 Annual Meeting and Conference

April 7 - 11, 2014

Online Registration Form

Technical Program (PDF)

Conference Information and Registration Form (PDF)

Index of 2014 Conference Information

Conference Overview

San Francisco Sunset shore, courtesy San Francisco Travel AssociationThe 2014 USSD Conference theme is Dams and Extreme Events — Reducing Risk of Aging Infrastructure under Extreme Loading Conditions. The nation’s 80,000 dams are aging, and more than 75 percent of these facilities are more than 50 years old. However, the criticality of these facilities has increased over time as a result of the ever increasing demands for water, flood control and energy. In addition, many older low and significant hazard dams that were constructed to protect agricultural interests are now protecting people and personal property. As a result, the classifications of many of these structures have changed to high hazard, bringing new costly challenges for owners to retrofit or modify existing dams in response to the new role of the structure.

As dam owners are faced with the decision of either life extension or retirement of aging facilities, a renewed focus on dam safety risk reduction for extreme loading conditions through prudent economic investment is paramount to making wise decisions.

The theme for this 34th Annual Conference highlights the need for continued innovation in prediction and analysis of loading conditions from extreme events, and the need to apply these advances to make prudent investments to reduce risk and economically meet the ever increasing needs for responsible water resources, flood control, energy and mining projects.

The Opening Plenary Session on Tuesday morning will include several presentations addressing contemporary topics of interest to dam professionals, including issues especially relevant to California.

Five Concurrent Technical Sessions on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday, and a Poster Session Tuesday evening, will feature the presentation of more than 120 technical papers.

On Thursday, two morning workshops will take place, as well as two full-day workshops. An afternoon field trip will take participants to the Lower Crystal Springs Dam. The Friday field trip will visit Calaveras Dam and Los Vaqueros Dam.

The Tuesday lunch presentation will feature the young professional perspective; the Wednesday lunch presentations will focus on the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project. The Wednesday dinner speaker will be Steven L. Stockton, Director of Civil Works, Corps of Engineers.

The Wednesday Awards banquet will feature the presentation of the Outstanding Paper Awards, and awards for Excellence in the Constructed Project and Lifetime Achievement. Winners of the 2014 USSD Scholarships will also be announced.


San Francisco Public UtilitiesThe Host for the Annual Meeting and Conference will be the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, with support from other firms with a significant local presence.


The Conference technical program was organized jointly by several USSD Committees under the leadership of Daniel L. Wade, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Exhibition and Sponsorships

An exhibition featuring water resources related goods and services will be held during the Conference. The exhibition will open with a reception on Monday evening; continental breakfasts, lunches and breaks on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a reception on Tuesday evening will be held in the exhibit area to ensure maximum interaction with Conference participants.

Conference Exhibitors include the following organizations. All exhibit spaces have been sold. Several Sponsorships are available.

Conference Sponsors includes the following organizations. Additional Sponsors will be listed here, as they commit to participation.

Black & Veatch Corporation
Black & Veatch Corporation
CDM Smith
CEI Enterprises, Inc.
Gannett Fleming, Inc.
Dragados USA, Inc. | Flatiron West, Inc. |
Sukut Construction, Inc.
, Joint Venture
HDR Engineering, Inc.
Parsons Brinckerhoff
SAGE Engineers, Inc.
Tetra Tech, Inc.
URS Corporation
Worthington Products, Inc.
WEST Consultants, Inc.

  Thursday Tour to Lower Crystal Springs Dam
  Tuesday Lunch
  Monday Coffee Breaks
  Wednesday Coffee Breaks
  Tuesday Continental Breakfast
  Tuesday Coffee Breaks
  Proceedings -- abstracts book
  Friday Tour to Calaveras and Los Vaqueros Dams

  Proceedings -- electronic version, full papers
  Young Professional Reception
  Wednesday Reception
  Wednesday Dinner
  Tuesday Poster Session and Exhibition
  Wednesday Continental Breakfast
  Workshop on Seismic Design of Tailings Dams
  Monday Kickoff Reception
  Wednesday Lunch

Exhibitor and Sponsorship information.


The Conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport. Only 20 minutes from downtown San Francisco, the Hyatt Regency is just a short drive from San Francisco International Airport (SFO), with easy access to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). Recently updated, the hotel features a heated outdoor pool, a complimentary full service fitness gym and a café, deli and sports bar.

Young Professionals

To encourage Young Professionals to participate in the Conference, a discounted registration rate is offered to those age 35 and under. A Tuesday evening event following the Poster Session and Reception will provide an opportunity for additional networking. And, an Outstanding Paper Award will go to a Young Professional author.

Continuing Education Units

Colorado State University, Division of Continuing Education, will grant CEUs after successful completion of the Conference and/or a Workshop. CEU information will be available at the Conference.

USSD Committee Meetings

Committee Meetings, to be held on Monday, are an important part of the Annual Meeting. All Conference participants are welcome to attend the committee meetings. Committee Meeting Schedule.

Construction and Rehabilitation
Dam Decommissioning
Dam Safety and Dam Security
Embankment Dams
Hydraulics of Dams
ICOLD Congress Papers
Monitoring of Dams and Their Foundations
Public Awareness
Tailings Dams
Young Professionals

Annual Meeting of Members

All Conference participants are invited to attend the USSD Annual Meeting of Members on Monday afternoon. Following a brief review of current USSD activities, Members will have an opportunity to present their ideas and suggestions about USSD to the Board of Directors. The Annual Meeting will also include updates from other organizations involvd in dams and water resources in the U.S. and abroad.

Kick-Off Reception/Exhibition Opening

Each year, USSD Conference participants and guests look forward to the annual Monday evening reception to network, make new professional contacts and socialize. A highlight of this year's reception will be the opening of the Exhibition, featuring organizations offering products and services to the dam profession.

Thursday Evening Shuttle

Complimentary shuttle transportation will be available on Thursday evening, providing an easy way to experience the city of San Francisco. The shuttle service will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Hotel Reservations

The Conference and Workshops will be held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, 1333 Bayshore Highway, Burlingame, CA 94010, 650-347-1234.

The special rate for USSD Conference participants is $189 single or double, plus taxes. To make reservations, call 888-421-1442 and request the special USSD rate. Online reservations. A limited number of rooms are available at the prevailing Federal Government Per Diem.

The Hotel provides complimentary 24-hour shuttle service to and from San Francisco International Airport and BART at the International Terminal.

The room block rate is guaranteed only through March 21, or until the room block fills. Reservations after March 21 will be at the prevailing room rate, subject to availability.

Conference and Workshop Registration

The Conference Registration Fee for the Annual Meeting and Conference includes:

  • Conference Proceedings
  • Technical sessions
  • Monday evening kick-off reception
  • Continental breakfasts Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Lunches Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Tuesday evening reception
  • Wednesday reception and dinner
  • Thursday evening Shuttle Service
  • Thursday Field Tour and/or Workshop, with lunch
  • Friday Field Tour, with lunch

The fee is $995 for USSD Members and $1,095 for non-members, with a $100 early discount. A Young Professional Fee of $450 is available to participants age 35 and younger. To receive the Early Registration Rate, you must register by March 28. The Late Registration Fee applies to registrations received after March 28 and on-site registrations. The Registration Fee can be paid by check; VISA, MasterCard or Discover; or purchase order.

Cancellation Policy: To receive a refund, USSD must receive notice of cancellation by the end of business on March 31. All refunds are subject to a $25 processing fee. After March 31, the registration fee is not refundable, but substitutions are acceptable.

Online Registration Form


Four Workshops (two morning sessions and two all day sessions) will be held Thursday, April 10. Workshop attendance is included in the Conference Registration Fee. For those not attending the Conference, the Workshop fee is $320.

A buffet lunch will be served at 12 noon for those attending a workshop or the field tour.

Role of Human Error in Dam Incidents and Failures

8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon

Organized by the USSD Committee on Dam Safety and Dam Security

Points of Contact — Catrin van Donkelaar, McMillen-LLC; and Kim de Rubertis, Consulting Engineer

Workshop Summary

Next Generation Attenuation Relationships and the Estimation of Ground Motions for Dams

8:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon

Organized by the USSD Committee on Earthquakes

Points of Contact — Ross W. Boulanger, University of California, Davis; Joseph L. Ehasz, URS Energy & Construction, Inc.; and Yousef Bozorgnia, Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center

Workshop Summary

Case Histories in Dam Safety Risk Assessment

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Organized by the USSD Committee on Dam Safety and Dam Security, Risk Subgroup

Points of Contact — David S. Bowles, RAC Engineers & Economists and Utah State University; and Elena Sossenkina, HDR Engineering, Inc.

Workshop Summary

Seismic Design of Tailings Dams

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Organized by the USSD Committee on Tailings Dams

Points of Contact — José L.M. Clemente, Bechtel Power Corporation; and Christina Winckler, URS Corporation

Workshop Summary

Field Tours

Thursday Field Tour — Lower Crystal Springs Dam, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.

The tour will begin at 1 p.m. following lunch at the Hyatt. Lower Crystal Springs Dam, owned and operated by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, is a concrete gravity dam constructed on San Mateo Creek. The structure was completed in 1888 adjacent to the San Andreas Fault, and has survived numerous historic earthquakes. The dam recently underwent hydraulic improvements, including modifications to the spillway in conjunction with raising the parapet wall on top of the dam, and constructing a new and larger stilling basin at the base of the dam. The tour will also include viewing the current construction of improvements to the outlet structures and a new pump station for transmission of water to San Andreas Reservoir and the Harry Tracey Water Treatment Plant.

Friday Field Tour — Calaveras Dam and Los Vaqueros Dam, 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

The Friday Field Tour will include visits to Calaveras Dam and Los Vaqueros Dam.

Calaveras Dam, owned and operated by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, was the largest earth and rock fill dam in the world at the time of completion in 1925. Construction of the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project began in 2011. The existing dam will be replaced by a new earth and rock fill embankment dam, spillway and inlet/outlet works that will meet current seismic safety design requirements. The project also includes fish passage facilities and other environmental enhancements. Construction of the $620 million dollar project is scheduled for completion in Fall 2017.

Los Vaqueros Dam, owned and operated by the Contra Costa Water District, is an embankment dam constructed in the late 1990s to provide a reservoir with a capacity of 123,348,185 cubic meters. Construction for the Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project was completed in 2012, raising the height of the dam by 10 meters and increasing storage by 60 percent. This additional water storage ensures the customers of Contra Costa Water District are provided with high quality water, greater drought storage, and provides enhanced protections for Delta fisheries and the environment. The tour will include lunch and a stop at a local winery.

Guest Program
San Francisco Cable car, courtesy San Francisco Travel Association and Scott Chernis

Guests will have an opportunity to meet and mingle during a coffee reception on Tuesday morning. A representative from the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau will introduce guests to the city and its many attractions. This event will be an opportunity for guests to join others in activities or tours to be arranged on your own. Information on possible tours will be available at the Meet and Mingle event.

Guests will also enjoy the following Conference activities:

  • Monday evening Kick-Off Reception
  • Continental breakfasts on Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Tuesday morning Meet and Mingle Reception
  • Reception on Tuesday evening
  • Reception and awards banquet on Wednesday
  • Thursday Evening Shuttle to city of San Francisco
  • Field Tours and lunches on Thursday and Friday

The Guest Registration Fee is $325.

Guest Program Agenda

Monday, April 76:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.Kick-Off Reception
Tuesday, April 87:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.Continental Breakfast
 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.Meet & Mingle
 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.Reception
Wednesday, April 97:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.Continental Breakfast
 7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.Reception and Dinner
Thursday, April 1012:00 noon - 12:45 p.m. Lunch
 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.Field Tour
 5:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.San Francisco Shuttle
Friday, April 117:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.Field Tour and Lunch

Conference Planning Committee

  • Daniel L. Wade, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Chairman, Planning Committee
  • Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos, University of Michigan
  • John A. Bischoff, URS Corporation
  • Paul E. Booth, ARCADIS
  • Ross Boulanger, University of California, Davis
  • Richard Britzman, Corps of Engineers
  • Denise Bunte-Bisnett, Santee Cooper
  • Robert P. Cannon, Schnabel Engineering, Inc.
  • Kerry D. Cato, Cato Geoscience, Inc.
  • Jose L. M. Clemente, Bechtel Power Corporation
  • Kim de Rubertis, Consultant
  • Dean B. Durkee, Gannett Fleming, Inc.
  • Wayne D. Edwards, W.D. Edwards Consulting, LLC
  • Rodney Eisenbraun, Kleinfelder, Inc.
  • Joseph L. Ehaz, URS Corporation
  • William Empson, Corps of Engineers
  • Theodore B. Feldsher, URS Corporation
  • Keith A. Ferguson, HDR Engineering, Inc.
  • Gillian M. Gregory, GEI Consultants, Inc.
  • B. Alex Grenoble, HDR Engineering, Inc.
  • Tahereh Heidari, MWH
  • Susan Hou, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
  • Richard W. Humphries, Golder Associates Inc.
  • Frank Immel, Global Diving and Salvage, Inc.
  • C. Michael Knarr, Southern California Edison Company
  • Laura Ann LaRiviere, Kleinfelder, Inc.
  • James E. Lindell, MWH
  • Richard A. Millet, URS Corporation
  • Donald J. Montgomery, MWH Americas, Inc.
  • Chris Mueller, Black and Veatch
  • Matthew Redington, HDR Engineering, Inc.
  • Michael F. Rogers, MWH
  • Lawrence H. Roth, ARCADIS US, Inc.
  • Emily Schwartz, HDR Engineering, Inc.
  • Del A. Shannonn, ASI Constructors, Inc.
  • Paul F. Shiers, Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Mike Shiflett, Freese and Nichols, Inc.
  • Kenneth A. Steel, Consultant
  • John Stoessel, Southern California Edison Company
  • Manoshree Sundaram, MWH
  • Amanda Sutter, Corps of Engineers
  • Martin J. Teal, WEST Consultants, Inc.
  • Jason Thom, DOWL HKM Engineering
  • Eduardo Torrico, Black and Veatch
  • Jerry W. Webb, Corps of Engineers
  • Joe A. Welna, Barr Engineering Company
  • Stephen L. Whiteside, CDM Smith
  • John S. Wolfhope, Freese and Nichols, Inc.
  • Noel Wong, URS Corporation
  • Olga M. Zabawa, Parsons Brinckerhoff
  • Luyin Zhu, Pacific Gas and Electric Company

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