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Restoring Habitat in the Great Lakes to Save Endangered Species

Posted by Nick Patterson, Regional Project Manager on November 19, 2020

The Interstate Island Avian Habitat Restoration Project is listed as one of the many Areas of Concern (AOC) projects within the Great Lakes. Interstate Island is a small parcel of land located within the Duluth-Superior Harbor along the St. Louis River Estuary. Due to rising water levels, the island has shrunk in size by half in recent years, and along with-it important wildlife habitat has disappeared. The need to restore the rare avian habitat on Interstate Island has been a priority for years, and it came to fruition in 2020.

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How We Installed a New Spillway Wall at a Private Hydropower Dam

Posted by Ian Radcliffe on November 16, 2020

102 years of lateral earth pressure and deterioration at Pisgah Dam caused its existing spillway wall to lean. Partnering with private dam owner Otter Tail Power Company, Brennan ensured their hydropower dam received necessary repairs. The project included concrete demolition and the replacement of the dam's north spillway wall over two years.

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Brennan Announces Achievement of Three ISO Certifications

Posted by Kimberly Walters on October 29, 2020

LA CROSSE, Wis., October 28, 2020 — J.F. Brennan Company (Brennan) announces certification in occupational health and safety management, quality management, and environmental management, in accordance with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

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How to Ace a FERC Hydropower Dam Inspection [NEW]

Posted by Rory Alsberg on September 01, 2020

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulates the transmission and wholesale sale of electricity in the United States. An important duty of FERC is to monitor conditions of the more than 1,700 non-federal, electricity-generating dams in the US. They also set standards that hydropower project owners must follow to ensure the safety of the general public. This includes mandating regular inspections of hydropower projects to certify they are in sound condition and comply with the Commission’s safety standards. Owners not in compliance with the Commission’s inspection standards risk losing their power generating license.

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Brennan Awarded Great Place to Work® Certification Despite Pandemic [NEWS]

Posted by Kimberly Walters on August 17, 2020

(La Crosse, WIS – August 12, 2020) – Specialty marine construction firm J.F. Brennan Company, Inc. (Brennan), announces its 4th consecutive certification from international research and analytics organization Great Place to Work®.

95% of its employees consider Brennan a great place to work, compared to just 59% of employees at a typical U.S.-based company. Brennan’s high-ranking status among other companies is compounded this year by the changes in safety, travel, and essential work protocol brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Successful Hydraulic Dredging Relies on Critical Velocity

Posted by Sam Crawford, Project Manager on August 13, 2020

As a leader in inland waterway dredging, J.F. Brennan Company (Brennan) serves as a success story for hydraulically dredging and pumping sediments over long distances and changing elevations. The goal of most dredging projects is to maximize efficiency, which means maximizing the average percent solids in the pipeline. However, there is a fine balance between maximizing percent solids and surpassing critical velocity to transport dredge slurry. Therefore, a dredge operator must understand the importance of critical velocity and how it varies as the material in the dredge cut changes.

Critical velocity, in this case, is the minimum speed at which sediment and water (slurry) must be pumped to prevent the sediment from settling and subsequently plugging the dredge pipeline. Plugging the pipeline is the bane of any dredging operation and one of the few things that will set a dredge operator trembling in their boots. After all, if a pipeline gets plugged, the dredge must shut down, which means the entire project stops.

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How to Avoid Catastrophe by Systematically Inspecting Your Slings

Posted by Tim Butz on June 30, 2020

In industries like marine construction, the penalty for skipping or rushing through “simple” industrial rigging inspections or “ordinary” storage practices can be catastrophic for all of our equipment and tools, but most importantly for the people involved. 

For example, Brennan uses endless and synthetic slings (straps or tie downs) to hoist and secure all kinds of materials: from piping and equipment, to dredges and other vessels. Reliable slings are critical to the work we do. We must ensure they are in excellent working condition before we use them and maintain them for our teammates who must safely use them next. Here are a few important questions we answer from curious customers and our own people.

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River Restoration: Small Dredges Prove Useful in Waterways

Posted by Paul Olander, Senior Project Manager on March 25, 2020

As the sun on the dredging season in the Midwest inland areas began to set, operations were starting to heat up on the east coast for J.F. Brennan Company (Brennan). For a third straight year, Brennan has had the opportunity to procure work in the milder maritime climate throughout New England during the winter months. These months are key for in-water work on the east coast as they provide opportunities to revitalize salt marshes, re-nourish beaches and restore navigation outside of the fish migration and spawning windows. Generally, this work has been undertaken in and near the coastal salt marshes adjacent to the smaller resort communities.

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Rural Dam Construction Areas Gain Access to Internet

J.F. Brennan Company, Inc. (Brennan) recently won a contract with AECOM Energy and Construction (AECOM) for remediation work on LaGrange Lock and Dam on the Illinois River. The contract required us to partake in major gate and concrete rehab while supplying wireless internet access not only to our own Brennan office trailers, but also to prime contractor AECOM and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the duration of the multi-year project.

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Dive Inspection Leads to Underwater Dam Repairs in Colorado

Posted by Adam Thorson on March 04, 2020

Through multiple successful projects, J.F. Brennan Company (Brennan) developed a great partnering relationship with the Midwest group of Xcel Energy® (Xcel). From Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) dive inspections and innovative dam repair projects to the implementation of amphibious equipment and helicopters for transmission line installation, we are always looking at ways of incorporating Brennan’s “can-do” attitude into all client interactions. This year, we got the opportunity to work with Xcel’s Western group.

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