Association of State Dam Safety Officials - April 2016 

New Federal Push to Create a Dam Rehab Program
On April 21, Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced S.2835, which would provide funding assistance to rehabilitate, repair or remove non-federal high hazard potential deficient dams. ASDSO worked closely with Senator Reed's staff and ASCE to help develop the legislation. 

On Thursday, April 28, the draft bill was reported out of committee along with the large Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) legislation. According to the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) website, U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), ranking member of the Senate EPW Committee, praised broad bipartisan support for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 at the Senate EPW markup today. The legislation was reported out of the committee by a vote of 19 to 1

In the last few days, Senator Graham from South Carolina has been added as a co-sponsor to the dam rehabilitation bill. There is broad, bipartisan support for this much-needed funding program.

Bill summary
Bill outline

Call to Action: ASDSO members should contact their Senators to recommend support for this important program. Please see ASDSO Support for Dam Rehab Bill for more information and talking points.

Submit your nominations by June 9 for ASDSO's 2016 awards:
  • the National Dam Rehabilitation Project of the Year, for exemplary design and adherence to professional standards in dam projects of any size. Project construction must be completed, and the project in full operation by April 30, 2016.
  • four Regional Awards of Merit, for contributions to dam safety on a regional level
  • the Danny McCook Medal, for achievements in geotechnical engineering
  • the Terry Hampton Medal, for achievements in hydrology/hydraulics. 
Nomination forms and additional information about the awards are available on the Awards Program page of, under "About ASDSO."

National Dam Safety Awareness Day

Promoting Dam Safety Awareness
Observed each year on May 31, National Dam Safety Awareness Day commemorates the tragic failure of the South Fork Dam in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1889, which took more than 2,200 lives.  Founded and sponsored by FEMA, National Dam Safety Awareness Day seeks to encourage and promote individual and community responsibility and best practices for dam safety, as well as steps that can be taken to prevent future catastrophic dam failures.

FEMA encourages communities, states, and private sector dam owners across the nation to help promote dam safety, and offers the following ideas:
  • Contact your local State Dam Safety Program
  • Organize an evacuation drill
  • Work with the school system to set-up a field trip to a local dam
  • Update your emergency action plan
  • Start an outreach campaign to raise dam safety awareness
  • Host a Dam Safety Awareness Day community event
  • Post information on your website
Additional activities are listed on the National Dam Safety Awareness Day page at

This time of year is also prime time for promoting awareness of safety around dams. Last year, at least 25 people drowned at dam sites. In order to prevent these tragic accidents, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a proclamation designating April 3-9 as Dam Safety Awareness Week.  ASDSO's Public Safety Around Dams web page offers tools to help raise awareness of safety hazards at dams, and a new ASDSO subcommittee is being formed to address the issue.


ASDSO Strategic Plan Update
With the assistance of a pool of dedicated member volunteers and ASDSO staff, the ASDSO Board of Directors is in the process of updating ASDSO's Strategic Plan, a task undertaken every five years. To help inform members about the plan and ASDSO's many activities, we are highlighting one goal per month in the newsletter, beginning last month with Goal 1. 

This month, our focus is Goal 2: 

Increase awareness of dam safety and its benefits to all stakeholders.

The team working on this goal consists of board members Paul Simon (MO) and Paul Schweiger (ASDSO Advisory Committee); volunteers Tony Fletcher (ME), Dan Osmun (HDR), Mark Baker (National Park Service); and staff representative Sarah McCubbin-Cain.

Within this goal, the following objectives guide yearly project development and implementation:

1. Identify stakeholders
2. Timely and targeted messaging
3. Media engagement
4. Engage policymakers
5. External coordination
6. Promote responsible ownership

Read more about Goal 2.

Log into your member portal on to read annual progress reports.

Looking Back at April
Looking Ahead to May

ASDSO held a webinar on Spillway Conduits -
More Than Just a Pipe Through a Dam.

ASDSO held a seminar on Seepage Through Earth Dams in Atlanta, GA.

ASDSO's Executive Committee met in Lexington, KY and participated in a virtual meeting with the full Board of Directors.

The National Dam Safety Review Board met.

Watch for ASDSO Member Survey

3-4  North Dakota Dam Safety Seminar

ASDSO Webinar: Strength Selection for Static Slope Stability Analysis

Infrastructure Week

  30th anniversary of the failure of Upriver Dam, WA

25-27  ASDSO Seminar: Inspection and Assessment of Dams, Omaha, NE

31  National Dam Safety Awareness Day

Infrastructure Week: May 16-23 , 2016
Infrastructure Week is a national week of events to elevate infrastructure as a critical issue impacting all Americans. "Infrastructure Matters" is the 2016 theme, focusing on the everyday impacts of infrastructure on all Americans.

Infrastructure Week is coordinated by a steering committee representing more than 100 affiliate organizations. ASDSO encourages members to use the tools provided at the Infrastructure Week website to spread the dam safety message.



Innovative Dam/Levee Projects

The American Society of Civil Engineers Committee for America's Infrastructure has created a website on "Game Changers" - innovations in planning, building, or funding infrastructure projects - and is soliciting examples of key game changers across the major infrastructure sectors (each ASCE Infrastructure Report Card area). ASDSO members are invited to submit examples of innovative dam and levee projects; if you are interested, please do so as soon as possible.  For more information, please visit the Gamechangers website.
ASDSO Training Calendar  

Dam Safety 2016 Technical Agenda

The Dam Safety 2016 national conference in Philadelphia will feature at least 34 technical sessions on a wide variety of important dam safety engineering and program-related topics.  This year's opening plenary session will focus on remembering the Teton Dam failure and understanding the impact of that event in shaping modern dam safety policy.  Concurrent sessions on such popular topics as hydrologic modeling, dam owner and regulatory issues, recent extreme storm events, seismic issues, failure modes, and dam assessments round out the three-day agenda.  In addition to the technical sessions, a host of networking activities are planned, including:
  • Kickoff reception at Philadelphia's historic Fairmount Water Works
  • Awards Luncheon
  • Dine-Around
  • Field trip to Holtwood and Conowingo hydroelectric dams on the Susquehanna River
  • And much more.
See the the Dam Safety 16 page of ASDSO's website for more info. Notice:  Exhibitor and Sponsor registration is underway; please sign up now to secure your preferred booth space or sponsorship level.  Hotel room blocks are now open, and attendee registration will open on or about May 9.  For planning purposes, please see the website for registration fee info.

Upcoming Training Events - Attendee registration is open for the following: 

Remember to Check Your Email   

Watch for ASDSO's Training & Education Newsletter,
sent on the 15th of
each month.
State Notes    

Alabama Research Competition Proposal - A team of students from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, UA in Birmingham, Auburn University, and George Washington University has entered a proposal for improving dam safety in Alabama in the Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge, a three-phrase competition that tasks teams with identifying a critical infrastructure problem, creating a solution, and implementing it. The Alabama team's project is one of ten finalists; a crowd vote that closes May 2 will determine the winner of a $2,500 phase one prize and the pool of entrants for a grand prize of $150,000.

Team UAH's proposal, entitled "One Crack Away from a Disaster: Dams and Water Infrastructure", involves using state-of-the-art sensing technology, unmanned vehicles, microrobots, a cube satellite, cloud services, and infrared and ultrasonic inspection techniques. Read more.

Arkansas Dam Owner Workshop  - More than 50 dam owners and operators attended the ASDSO-Arkansas Natural Resources Commission Dam Owner Workshop held April 25 in Little Rock.

Paul Schweiger (Gannett Fleming) taught the course, designed to provide practical solutions to the challenges of dam ownership. Mississippi Dam Safety Program Chief Dusty Myers and his staff demonstrated the installation of a portable siphon at a dam. 

Florida Dam Repair Partnership - The Crescent Lake Dam in Pensacola failed following flash floods in May 2015. With the help of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Escambia County was able to procure funding for the repairs.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection Dam Safety Group assisted the County in consultant selection, design review, and permits. The County was able to overcome various hurdles, including land issues, design and cooperation from homeowners. Today the project is nearly complete. 

A lakeside resident used a drone to take the pictures at right, which depict the scene before and during repairs. The bottom image shows articulated blocks being laid for the spillway in early April.

Indiana DIRT Workshop - ASDSO and the Indiana Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management, in conjunction with the Dam Safety Section of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, will hold a one-day Dam Information, Resources, and Training (DIRT) Conference for dam owners, operators, and local officials on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at Valle Vista Golf Club & Conference Center in Greenwood, IN. Details and registration information.

New Jersey Kids at Work
- On April 28th, the New Jersey Bureau of Dam Safety and Flood Control participated in "Take Your Kids to Work Day" with a dam safety program for school-aged children.  The program consisted of a presentation on dam safety and a model demonstration to show how dams work. The children then formed into groups and built their own embankment dams. This is the Bureau's ninth year presenting this program and approximately 40 children attended this year's event. Following the program, many of the children said that this was their favorite session of the day, and several even expressed an interest in pursuing civil engineering as a career. Pictured are the children of some of the Bureau's staff that participated in the event.  

North Dakota Dam Safety Seminar  - All seats are filled for a two-day Dam Safety Seminar to be held May 3-4 in Bismarck. This seminar, jointly presented by ASDSO and the ND State Water Commission, will provide engineers with instruction and guidance on sound design features for new dams and for rehabilitating existing dams to address common potential failure modes with an emphasis on embankment dams.

2016 ASDSO Exhibit & Sponsorship Opportunities
U.S. Capitol

Legislative Update     

Streamgage Program Funding Letters Sent to Congress

ASDSO recently joined with a number of other organizations in urging Congress to continue to provide adequate funding for the National Streamflow Network administered by the U.S. Geological Survey.  The Interstate Council on Water Policy has spearheaded this effort for several years, educating lawmakers on the need for and multiple uses of streamgage information. Read the letters sent to the U.S. House and Senate.

DRIFT Act Hearing

On April 13, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a legislative hearing to receive testimony on S. 2717; the Dam Repairs and Improvements for Tribes Act of 2016 (DRIFT Act), a bill to improve the safety and address the deferred maintenance needs of dams on tribal lands. Testimony and video of the hearing are posted here.

Federal Focus    

Competitions Aimed at Solving Issues of Fish Passage, Detection of Soil Movement within Earthen Dams, Canals and Levees 
On March 31, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Colorado, launched two prize competitions to seek new ideas and better methods for fish to move downstream past large dams and to detect the movement of soils within earthen dams, canals and levees. Through these prize competitions, Reclamation and its partners are seeking solutions from beyond the usual sources of experts that work in these fields. Up to $20,000 will be awarded to winners of each competition; both are open through May 10, 2016. Details.

Reminder: FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grant Applications Due June 15

FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation and Flood Mitigation Assistance grant programs help state, local, tribal and territorial governments reduce adverse impacts of natural disasters on communities. The Notice of Funding Opportunities at contains the key program priorities and application requirements for each program. Applications are due by 3:00 p.m. EDT on June 15, 2016.  

Frequently Asked Questions: Analyzing the Dam Failure Hazard in the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Program Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA)

Committee Notes     

Technical Training - The Training Committee is collecting ideas for the development of webinars to be presented in calendar 2017.  Webinars are broadcast on a monthly basis and are two hours long.  Topics can be technical or programmatic, and most are introductory or fundamental so that new or less experienced dam safety professionals will benefit.  The committee is committed to providing the type of training that ASDSO members need, and welcomes your input. If you have a suggestion for a webinar topic and instructor, please send via email to Susan Sorrell, Training Program Director Deadline: May 20.

Committee on Education Outreach - The committee recently chose the student paper competition finalists for Dam Safety '16.

Dam Owner Outreach Committee  - The committee is overseeing the formation of a subcommittee on safety around dams. Paul Schweiger (Gannett Fleming) has been appointed as the subcommittee chair. The subcommittee is discussing partnering opportunities with the USSD committee on safety and security at dams.


Publications and Resources  

ASDSO Survey: Anchor Reinforced Vegetated Matting
ASDSO frequently conducts informal surveys of state dam safety programs, primarily in response to requests from state program personnel. Responses to the following inquiry are now posted on the ASDSO Surveys page, in the Members Only section of

1. Has any State or Federal Agency approved the use of any "anchored reinforced vegetated matting system" on any dam for overtopping protection? If so, where and what are the details of the dam's configuration (height, slope, etc.), overtopping depth, duration of the overtopping and hazard class.

2. Has any State or Federal Agency approved the use of any "anchored reinforced vegetated matting system" for overtopping protection on a "High Hazard Dam" with potential loss of human life? If so, where and what are the details of the dam's configuration (height, slope, etc.), overtopping depth and duration of the overtopping.

3. If a State or Federal Agency has approved the above mentioned system for overtopping protection of a high hazard class dam; what design criteria was evaluated (Shear, Velocity, etc.)?  What factors of safety were acceptable compared to the maximum tested values obtained by the manufacture?

4. Would any State or Federal Agency consider the use of the above mentioned system for dam overtopping protection of a high hazard dam as "Standard Engineering Practices" in the Dam Safety profession?  

ASDSO Article on South Carolina Floods

Featured in the March 2016 issue of International Water Power and Dam Construction: "South Carolina Strives for Dam Safety After Disaster Strikes," by ASDSO Director Lori Spragens. The article gives an overview of the October 2015 floods which led to the failure of multiple dams and the need for state policymakers and regulators to be prepared for extreme events.

Hydraulic Engineering: Open-Channel Flow and Culvert Hydraulics Demonstration Series

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration has posted on YouTube a series of six videos showcasing the use of a portable flume to visualize open-channel flow and culvert design concepts. The specific topics covered in the videos are open channel flow concepts, grate inlets, culvert hydraulic concepts, hydraulic effects of culvert liners, aquatic organism passage design concepts, and culvert energy dissipators: FHWA Hydraulics Videos.

"Dam" - A Book of Photography

In his new book, Dam (Kerber Publishing, 2016), Utah State University Photography Professor Carsten Meier explores dams as utilitarian architecture representative of humans' relationship to nature. Meier photographed dams considered controversial across the United States and Europe, and, in his book, extracts the dams from the photos to show the dams without valleys and the valleys without dams.

Instructor: Joseph Monroe, P.E., Schnabel Engineering

Low-level conduits (pipes) through the base of a dam are the most common spillway for small earthen embankment structures.  However, the discontinuity caused by the presence of the conduit creates numerous issues that must be addressed during the design and construction of the low-level pipe.  This webinar presents general design and construction related issues that dam engineers and owners should be aware of when considering a low-level conduit in their earthen embankment structure.  Seepage control, structural integrity, and material life expectancy are also discussed.  In addition, the webinar discusses issues that occur after the impoundment is filled, items that need to be observed/monitored, and possible remedial actions once a deficiency is documented.

Member Price: $60.00
For additional dam safety resources, search 

Focus on Security     

Report Issued on Bowman Ave Dam Hack

On March 24, the U.S. Attorney issued an indictment against seven Iranians for hacking into the control system at Bowman Avenue Dam, a 20-ft tall structure located 20 miles from New York City, in 2013. The Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) issued the attached report on the incident.
Feedback on NIMS Invited by May 9

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work together seamlessly and manage incidents involving all threats and hazards-regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity-in order to reduce loss of life, property and harm to the environment. The NIMS is the essential foundation to the National Preparedness System (NPS) and provides the template for the management of incidents and operations in support of all five National Planning Frameworks.

FEMA is leading a community effort to review and refresh the NIMS.  Details.

Upcoming Dam Security and Protection Technical Seminar

The Dams Sector-Specific Agency is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the Dam Security and Protection Technical Seminar scheduled for May 24-25, 2016 at the Providence Emergency Management Agency in Providence, RI. Please register early, as seating for this free seminar is limited. To register:
Logistical and area information will be provided upon registration. For more information, contact Andy Ferreira, 703-603-5159.

Mark Your Calendar: Dams Sector Information Sharing Drill

The Department of Homeland Security Dams Sector Information Sharing Drill will be held June 27-30.  Details will be posted on ASDSO's website as soon as they are available.

Member News

Ross Boulanger, Ph.D., P.E., Professor and Director of the Center for Geotechnical Modeling at the University of California, Davis, was selected by the ASCE Geo-Institute as recipient of the 2016 Ralph B. Peck Award. He was honored in February at the Geotechnical and Structural Engineering Congress, where he presented a lecture on soil liquefaction assessment methodologies and seismic response of organic and fine grained soils.

Welcome New Members!

The following individuals joined ASDSO in April:

Jill Butler, River Science, LLC, Kosciusko, MS
Tim Dean, AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure, Inc., Carnegie, PA
Daniel Frechette, AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure, Phoenix, AZ
Jason Gosdin, Oasis Consulting Services, Roswell, GA
Jason Ivy, Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, Ridgeland, MS
Matthew Kammerdiener, CMJ Engineering, Inc., Fort Worth, TX
Garth Lawrence, The Haruspex Group, Surprise, AZ
August Martin, US Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington, WV
Christopher Norton, Barton & Loguidice, D.P.C., Liverpool, NY
Erin O'Brien, TN Department of Environment & Conservation, Nashville, TN
Shaikh Rahman, Dominion Resources, Henrico, VA
Caleb Rodgers, Santee Cooper, Moncks Corner, SC
Brandon Rut, Neel-Schaffer, Inc., Ridgeland, MS
Yanni Sodir, Hydro-Quebec, Montreal, QC, CA
Tim Truong, Yuba County Water Agency, Dobbins, CA
Leti Wodajo, University of Mississippi, National Center for Physical Acoustics (NCPA), University, MS
Amy Wright, St. Johns River Water Management District, Palatka, FL

News & Events of Other Organizations 


The Association of State Floodplain Managers and the American Planning Association are holding a free Planning Information Exchange (PIE) webinar, "Know Your Dam Risk," on May 6. Presenters are James Demby (National Dam Safety Program), Meg Galloway (Wisconsin DNR), Tom Roberts (Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation).

The Deep Foundations Institute Educational Trust is accepting scholarship applications through May 16 from undergraduate and graduate students studying geotechnical and foundation engineering. Details:

Stephens                   Guilford
The U.S. Society on Dams has hired a new Executive Director, Gene Guilford, to take the place of Larry Stephens, who has served USSD for the past 32 years. Guilford's background includes serving as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for International Trade and as CEO of two energy trade groups. Stephens has been named Executive Director Emeritus and will assist on special projects going forward as requested by the USSD Board.


The following positions are posted in the ASDSO Career Center:

Dam Inspector & Maintenance Coordinator
Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Little Rock, AR
Post Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Close Date:  When filled

Engineer II/III/IV
Denver Water, Denver, CO
Post Date: Thursday, April 14, 2016
Close Date: Saturday, May 14, 2016

Staff Engineer
Civil Dynamics, Stockholm, NJ
Post Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Close Date: Thursday, May 12, 2016

Water Resources Engineer
O'Brien & Gere (OBG)
East Norriton, Pennsylvania
Post Date: Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Close Date: Friday, May 6, 2016

Is your company looking for an intern or entry-level employee? Several students have posted their resumes in the ASDSO Career Center and would love you hear from you!

Visit the ASDSO Career Center to view student resumes, learn more about the positions listed above, or post career and internship opportunities.   



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Association of State Dam Safety Officials
239 South Limestone St.
 Lexington, Kentucky 40508
This newsletter is written and distributed by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials, 239 S. Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40508.  Contact ASDSO by phone (859.550.2788; toll-free: 855.228.9732), fax (859.550.2795), or email (

ASDSO 2015-2016 Board of Directors: Jim Pawloski, PE (President) - Michigan;  Dusty Myers, PE (President-Elect) - Mississippi; Jon Garton, PE (Treasurer) - Iowa; Roger Adams, PE (Secretary) - Pennsylvania; Tom Woosley, PE (Past President) - Georgia; Charlie Cobb, PE - Alaska; Shane Cook, PE - North Carolina; Jim Gallagher, PE - New Hampshire; Michele Lemieux, PE - Montana; Bill McCormick, PE - Colorado; Art Sengupta, PE - Florida; Paul Simon, PE - Missouri; Charles Thompson, PE - New Mexico; Hal Van Aller, PE - Maryland.  Advisory Committee Representatives: Eric Ditchey, PE; Paul Schweiger, PE
Association of State Dam Safety Officials, 239 South Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508
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