Spencer Dam Failure Investigation Report

The Spencer Dam Independent Investigation Panel has prepared their final report on the failure of the Spencer Dam that occurred in northern Nebraska on March 14, 2019. The report focuses on the physical causes of the failure, the human and organizational causes, and the lessons to be learned from the failure.

The investigation panel submitted the Spencer Dam Failure Investigation Report to the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, the regulating authority over Spencer Dam, and to the Nebraska Public Power District, the dam owner. It is now publicly available for download.

View or Download the Report (PDF)
View or Download the Appendices (PDF)
View or Download Full Report (ISSUU, Digital Publisher)
View or Download Abbreviated Resumes of the Panel (PDF)

The investigation panel was comprised of dam safety engineering experts with decades of specific experience in dam safety failure investigations, hydrology (including cold-weather hydrology), hydraulics (including cold-weather hydraulics), ice and debris flow, and hydraulic structures.

All work submitted by the investigation panel, as well as any conclusions and opinions presented, are the sole work of the team and completed without input or influence from Nebraska Department of Natural Resources or the Nebraska Public Power District.

ASDSO, a national non-profit organization serving state dam safety programs and the broader dam safety community, selected the investigation panel members and established the Spencer Dam Failure Investigation Oversight Group to oversee the investigation. ASDSO appreciates the in-depth work of the team and supports the release of this report.