On June 11, 2016, an EF-3 tornado tore through the town of Baker, Montana. The storm touched down in a portion of one neighborhood which damaged 35 homes and surrounding property. Subsequently, as the tornado’s path ended up in the water it dumped pieces of homes, playground equipment, ATVs, and various debris in nearby Baker Lake .
With funding provided by FEMA, Montana Department of Emergency Services, and Fallon County, Brosz Engineering, Geum Environmental, and DOWL were hired to design and coordinate the clean-up and restoration of the lake and surrounding wetlands. Due to the complexity of the project, multiple contractors were utilized including Smith Contracting, Western Municipal Construction, Inc., Wyrick Construction, and Watershed Restoration Group, Inc. The clean-up and dredging phases were completed in November 2018 with the final wetland planting completed in June 2019.
Facts about the project:
- An EF-3 tornado has wind speeds between 136 and 165 mph.
- 31,200 truckloads of material was removed from the lake. (543,000 cubic yards of soil & 48 ton of large debris)
- The removed material could stack 300’ high over a football field.
- 350 million gallons of water was pumped from the lake.
- 56,000 potted wetland plants were planted.
- Baker Lake is 93.3 acres in size.
- Lake depth greater than 10 feet increased from 7 acres to 53 acres.
- Lake depth greater than 15 feet increased from 0 acres to 18 acres.
- Baker Lake’s volume nearly doubled.