Main content area

Lessons learned during 10 years of rehabilitating NRCS-assisted watershed dams

Caldwell, L. W., Hunt, S. L., Freeland, J. D., Locke, M. A., Moore, J., Burns, A.
In: Proceedings of the 12th National Watershed Conference 2011 v. no. pp. -
Agricultural Research Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, dams (hydrology), durability, floods, funding, issues and policy, laws and regulations, recreation, watersheds, wildlife, United States
The United States Congress passed the Watershed Rehabilitation Amendments to the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (Public Law 83-566) over a decade ago. This legislation authorized the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to provide technical and financial assistance to watershed project sponsors for the rehabilitation of their aging dams. Through the USDA Watershed Programs, NRCS, working with local project sponsors, have constructed more than 11,400 dams across the United States. Many of these dams are now reaching the end of their 50 year planned service life. Rehabilitation of these dams is required to ensure they continue to provide flood control, recreation, and wildlife benefits for another 50 to 100 years. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in support of the Watershed Programs has provided invaluable research that has resulted in more hydraulically efficient and safer dams. This paper documents the cooperative efforts that resulted in the enactment of the legislation, the development of the new program policy, the appropriations provided, program accomplishments, related ARS research efforts, and the lessons learned during the past 10 years of development and implementation of this dam rehabilitation program.