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August e.Geo

August 2020

In this issue:

  1. Board Approves Dues Relief - Renewal now open!
  2. End of Year Recap and Value Report
  3. Free Job Postings Extended through August
  4. Site Specific Seismic Ground Motion Course Available On-line
  5. Seismic Analysis Of Embankment Dams Using FLAC®
  6. Project Award Spotlight: Southport Early Implementation Setback Levee
  7. Welcome New Members
  8. ICYMI: AGI's Ground Improvement Webinar
  9. Upcoming Events - the e.Calendar

Board Approves 10% Dues Reduction Relief

Renewal now open!

We are excited to announce that CalGeo's Board of Directors recently approved a 10% reduction of dues to all member firms renewing in the month of August. CalGeo’s rapid adaptation to online services and expense reduction has kept the organization in a financially strong position. As such, the Board felt it appropriate to pass on a small financial dividend from our shared success.

Through your support of CalGeo’s online meetings, webinars, and continued learning opportunities, we firmly believe that we are staying stronger together. CalGeo will continue to provide education, outreach and advocacy for our members in these changing times.

Let your Board advocate or Kelly know how we can continue to support you.

If you renew your membership in the month of August, you can deduct 10% off your membership dues for this year.

OR... donate your 10% discount to our general fund or student fund to help support CalGeo's efforts!

Options for renewal:

On-line: The KEY CONTACT of each member firm has received an auto-generated invoice and email. This is the full-price renewal. To get the 10% discount, you must re-take our membership form through our website by logging in as the key contact. Links and instructions will be provided in the renewal e-mail. Use the discount code: BEFORESEPT1 to save 10%!

If the online form is too cumbersome, feel free to call or email Kelly Cabal 949-391-2436 and we can adjust your invoice amount to easily pay online.

Old-school: We have mailed each KEY CONTACT a paper renewal form along with our Value Report. Choose the discount price and send in your payment via check before September 1st to qualify. Easy as pie!

*Please note that the discount does not apply to individual or student membership. All CalGeo student chapter members get membership for free!

Why should you renew?

Well, we think CalGeo is a great organization with amazing members and tons of benefits, but don't just take our word on it...

"The resources CalGeo has provided my firm have been invaluable, but its the relationships that I treasure the most." - David Hamilton, Hamilton & Associates

Benefits of CalGeo Membership:

  • Learning: Get a competitive edge over non-members with exclusive traning opportunities on a variety of topics
  • Have a voice: Gain a say in what happens in goverment through the advocacy efforts
  • Discounts: Members-only discounts and perks!
  • Credibility: Raise your reputation through membership
  • Visibility: Stand out and get noticed in our community through our Project Awards and volunteer and leadership opportunities
  • Networking: Even though we are all separated and events are post-poned, CalGeo connects you through our discussion boards, newsletters and surveys

Read on below and check out our Value Report for a short summary of everything CalGeo has accomplished this year.

End of Year Recap and Value Report

We hope you don't find yourself asking what CalGeo does all year, but in case you need a reminder, here is a short report detailing our 2019-2020 year.


Although our Annual Conference was unfortunately cancelled, along with events across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope that CalGeo was able to continue to provide educational and useful content and resources for you through the spring.

We were excited to launch our new On-line Learning Library to replace our Members Club webpage. Now its easy to find the resources and courses you need with searchable and easy to find topics such as Management, Technical, Emerging Professional and more. Almost all videos and materials are free to CalGeo members.

If you missed the Site Specific Seismic Ground Motion Hazard Analysis 6-week online course, not to worry! The recordings are all posted on the On-line Learning Library along with practice problems, spreadsheet resources, class slides and solutions. Learn at your own pace during the year and get access now >>

Free Job Postings Extended through August

If you haven't checked out CalGeo's job board, now is your chance! We've extended FREE JOB POSTINGS through the end of August.

Login with your CalGeo website email and password and just use the discount code: SUMMER20 to save 100% of the job-posting fees!

Site Specific Seismic Ground Motion Hazard Analysis On-line Course Available

If you missed our May & June 6-part webseries by Dr. Norm Abrahamson on Site Specific Seismic Ground Motion Hazard Analysis, do not fret! All the sessions were recorded and are available as a self-directed course through our On-line Learning Library!

Take your time and watch each 90-minute video segment. You also have access to PDFs of the slides from each of the six presentations. Make sure you really know the material by working through the included practice problems and check your answers with solution guides. Other spreadsheets and templates have been provided to make sure you have all the tools at your disposal.

After completing each of the 6 video segments, you will be able to download your completion certificate for 9-hours of Professional Development.

Too busy? Don't worry, you have a whole year of access to the course to take your time and revisit the lectures and materials.

Contact Kelly Cabal for group discounts if more than 5 employees from a firm have or plan to register for the course.

Member price $375, 5+ discount $300

Non-member price $750, Not a member? Join now!

Purchase the SHA On-line Course >>


Seismic Analysis Of Embankment Dams Using FLAC®

This virtual training course developed by Dr. Richard Armstrong and in partnership with ITASCA, will offer four days of hands-on instructor lead training using FLAC®. The course will run for two weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Visit Course Website >>

Schedule: (9:00 AM – 1:00 PM, Pacific Standard Time)
October 6  Module 1: Numerical and Constitutive Modeling and FISH
October 8. Module 2: Advanced Constitutive Modeling
October 13. Module 3: Two-Dimensional Analyses
October 15. Module 4: Seismic Analyses of Embankment Dams


Dr. Richard Armstrong is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at CSU, Sacramento and also serves as a Senior Engineer at GEI Consultants Inc. on an on-call basis. Dr. Armstrong specializes in geotechnical earthquake engineering with research and project experience in the seismic evaluation of dams and other water-resource structures. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in mechanics, computer programming, and geotechnical earthquake engineering; he also provides training in geotechnical modeling using FLAC® (Itasca Consulting Inc.). Dr. Armstrong is a member of ASCE, EERI, ASDSO, and USSD. He serves as a committee member on the USSD Earthquakes Committee.

Course Details:

AUDIENCE: Civil engineers with knowledge of geotechnical engineering, but with little or no experience with FLAC®

CLASS SIZE: Size capped at 10 participants to maximize student-instructor interaction

DURATION: 16 hours total of synchronous hands-on training separated over four days in a 1½-week period; instructor is available throughout instruction period for technical support and to answer questions

METHOD: Zoom video conferencing used for delivering presentations and providing computer-to-computer assistance during FLAC® modeling tutorials
Shared Dropbox used during course for storing presentations, modeling files, and references

A full FLAC 8.1 version will be available during the duration of the course (provided courtesy of Itasca Consulting Group Inc.)


$1500/pp (registration link will redirect to course website).

*Please note, this course is NOT offered through CalGeo and will be limited to 10-participants.

Register Now >>

Project Award Winner Spotlight: Southport Early Implementation Setback Levee, Blackburn Consulting

Well, another casualty of COVID-19 is that our amazing project award winners were not allowed to receive their awards in person this April. Instead, we have requested they all submit a short 5-10minute project summary video that will be available on our new On-line Learning Library.

Pro-tip: Access to our On-line Learning Library is through our home-page under the Quick Links menu bar or under the main navigation, Programs>On-line Learning

WINNER: Blackburn Consulting (Public Large Category)

Southport Early Implementation Project - WATCH YouTube Presentation

The Southport Early Implementation Project (Southport EIP) is the largest piece of flood improvements to the West Sacramento levee system to date. This West Sacramento Flood Control Agency (WSAFCA) project included about 6 miles of improvements to a 100-year-old levee along the Sacramento River to mitigate seepage and slope stability deficiencies. Blackburn Consulting provided geotechnical engineering, geo-environmental, and materials testing services on this unique project. This levee reach was the highest risk component to the flood control system surrounding West Sacramento, and the highest priority project to protect its 53,000 residents. The success of this project has opened up the possibility for creative use of locally available soils to significantly reduce the project cost and meet US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) design criteria.

Click the photo below to watch a short YouTube presentation about the project.

During design, Blackburn worked with the design team, WSAFCA, USACE, DWR, Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Reclamation 900, and a Board of Senior Consultants. Blackburn performed multiple geotechnical analyses and borrow site studies using local borrow sites to engineer a zoned levee combined with seepage berms and cutoff walls that met USACE seepage and stability criteria. This design could be constructed with available funds.

The Zoned Levee Solution

To maximize the use of the identified fat clay borrow site, while not restricting the Contractor, the design zoned levee included a 10’-wide fat clay core, inside an inner shell of lean- to fat clay and an outer shell of low plasticity soil. Blackburn allowed the use of fat clay to within 6’ of the surface to maximize the use of highly available fat clay located in the borrow site near the Southport EIP while mitigating potential desiccation cracking, softening, and surficial slumping. Blackburn worked closely with the design team to balance the zoning geometry with the type and quantity of soil that was locally available to reduce costly imported soils.

Blackburn performed multiple borrow investigations, a significant laboratory testing program, and many rounds of seepage and slope stability analyses to confirm the zoned levee would meet USACE slope stability and seepage criteria.

The mitigation measures included shallow and deep cutoff walls, independently and in conjunction with seepage berms. The shallow walls served as additional cost saving measures as they replaced the need for a construction inspection trench along the entire levee alignment.

Key Innovations / Key Challenges

The project was too expensive and could not feasibly be constructed if borrow soil had to be imported to the site. Therefore, Blackburn developed recommendations for a new setback levee and strengthening of the existing levee using local borrow soils and non-typical zoned levee detail. This approach was new to the USACE, and Blackburn led the geotechnical team to obtain approval from the regulating agencies.

New Members

The popularity of our SHA online course has sparked a mini membership boom. We are so pleased to welcome the following new company members and individual members. Click the logos below to visit each company's website.

New Individual Members:

David Nutakor, Rio Tinto
James Morris
Hon Fung Chan

New Organizational Members:

AGI is the premier design-build ground improvement and specialty piling contractor, by virtue of experience, quality of work, and commitment to clients. AGI specializes in challenging sites and difficult soil conditions. Partnering with AGI makes dealing with such problems easy.

From Concept-to-Completion (C-to-C), AGI works closely with the project’s engineers, architect, and construction managers to develop the most cost-effective and proven solutions for Foundation Support and/or Seismic Liquefaction, and Lateral Spreading Mitigation.

For over 30 years, the principals and key team members at AGI have been recognized as leaders in the engineering, research, and construction industries. AGI’s design-build services represent true value-added

Stantec's story is the story of our relationships with our clients. It's the story of how we've continued to improve the quality of life in communities around the world while working behind the scenes through our projects. We take pride in a long history of being part of the communities we serve. We started in 1954 as a one-person firm, and today, the Stantec community unites approximately 22,000 employees working in over 350 locations across 6 continents.

ICYMI: AGI's Ground Improvement Webinar

If you didn't catch the Emerging Professional webinar last Friday on Ground Improvement: Technology, Types & Applications, don't worry, we got you!

Members can access all pre-recorded webinars and presentation materials through our On-line Learning Library with their CalGeo login and password.

We had 150 attendees for this excellent 1-hr presentation and were unable to get to all the questions - thank you all for your interest! Please feel free to reach out to Patrick or Justin at AGI with further questions.

The e.Calendar & Online Learning Events - The Geo-Calendar

All in-person events are cancelled for the foreseeable future. We will notify you when we plan to hold a dinner meeting or Emerging Professional event.

August 5, 10-11am: Settlement Analysis of Embankments using RS2 & RS3, presented by Rocscience

September 18th: Save the date for a new 3-week web-series on Settle3 software with Rocscience.

October 6-15, 9am-1pm: Seismic Analysis of Embankment Dams using FLAC by Dr. Richard Armstrong, GEI & CSU Sacramento

If you missed any of the Tencate Geosynthetics webinars, they are all online HERE >>

Visit our COVID-19 Resources page for more information and tips for managing your business through this time of crisis.