Association of State Dam Safety Officials - July 2016 

Dam Safety 2016, Philadelphia Dam Safety 2016 Highlights:
Lessons Learned from Teton   

ASDSO is pleased to announce that the Dam Safety 2016 national conference will feature two sessions on the impact of the Teton Dam Failure. These presentations, which are made possible through the leadership of the Bureau of Reclamation and facilitated by the ASDSO Dam Failures and Incidents Committee, are expected to be conference highlights.   
Monday, September 12
(8:30 am) Opening General Session: Forty Years Later: Remembering the Teton Dam Failure and the Launch of Modern Dam Safety Policy
Opening Remarks by James Pawloski, P.E., ASDSO President
Dam Safety - Evolution of a Program from Teton Dam Until Today, presented by Bruce C. Muller, Jr., Director, Security and Law Enforcement, Bureau of Reclamation

In the spring of 1976, Teton Dam was the site of the most significant failure of a Bureau of Reclamation project in the agency's history. Reclamation was the respected and world leader in dam building at the time. In addition to the technical reasons for the failure, hubris and centralization restricted the flow of information and contributed to the dam's failure. The failure of Teton Dam served as a catalyst for Reclamation's Dam Safety Program and a change for the Bureau of Reclamation. While Reclamation has always been concerned with the safety of its facilities, the failure of Teton Dam ushered in a new era of understanding and managing risk.
(2:00 pm) Concurrent Session: Teton in Depth: Technical Factors, Failure Mechanisms, Flood and Aftermath
Teton Dam Failure: A Review of the Technical Factors Contributing to the Failure, presented by Jeanne L. Major, Bureau of Reclamation
Teton Warning, Evacuation and Flood, presented by Nathaniel Gee, P.E., Bureau of Reclamation
Reaction and Investigation of the Teton Dam Failure, presented by Mark E. Baker, P.E., National Park Service

For additional conference details and training opportunities, see ASDSO Training News

Looking Back at July
Looking Ahead to August

ASDSO webinar held on 3D Influences on
Seepage Safety and Development of Seepage Failure Modes.

ASDSO leaders participate in a KY town meeting on safety at low-head dams.

Dam owner workshop held in Georgia.

ASDSO is represented at HydroVision.

ASDSO Webinar: The Practical Use of Geophysics to Assess Dam and Levee Safety

11  Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community Webinar

12  Last day to register for Dam Safety 2016 at the early-bird rate

19  Last day to make reservations at the Marriott Philadelphia Downtown Hotel at the Dam Safety 2016 group rate


ASDSO in the News

The InfrastructureUSA "Infra Blog" recently featured a conversation with ASDSO President Jim Pawloski, who discussed the need to invest in dams and to raise public awareness of dam safety. The interview is available in both text and audio format: Guest on The Infra Blog: [ASDSO President] Jim Pawloski.

Also appearing this month were the following articles, featuring comments by ASDSO Executive Director Lori Spragens:

America needs an upgrade. Sacramento Bee, 7/10/16. Editorial decries policymakers' lack of "will to pay" as evidenced by crumbling dams and other critical U.S. infrastructure. Investing in improvements is touted as a means to boost employment and improve the nation's standing in the global economy.

Learning historical dam safety lessons. International Water Power and Dam Construction, 7/25/16. A description of the Dam Failures and Lessons Learned website (, created by a Gannett Fleming project team authorized by FEMA and currently hosted by ASDSO.   

Safety at Dams

A town forum was held in Cynthiana, KY on July 11 to raise awareness of dangers posed by low-head dams. Harrison County Fire Department records include 28 documented drownings, 21 of which occurred at Robinson Dam, a low-head structure on the South Fork of the Licking River.

Speakers at the forum included Harrison County Search and Rescue Chief Re'Jeana Craft, who called the meeting; Indiana Silver Jackets representatives Ken Smith (IN DNR) and Jeff Frey (USGS IN-KY Water Science Center); Mike Turner (USACE Louisville District); and local resident Larry Sosbe, who was revived after going over Robinson Dam in 1969. Manuela Johnson (IN DHS and Silver Jackets) was on hand with a video crew from Indianapolis PBS station WFYI to capture footage for a documentary about the dangers of low-head dams, scheduled for completion this fall. 

Craft reviewed drownings at Robinson Dam and Smith explained regulatory aspects of safety of dams vs. safety at dams to an attentive crowd.

On a related note, the Indiana Water Resources Association (IWRA) recently recognized Johnson with its Charles H. Bechart Award for her Silver Jackets leadership, and a team from the Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Department of Journalism and Public Relations with the IWRA Outstanding Achievement Award, Academic Sector for development of an outreach plan to educate the public on low-head dam safety (including the #damdangerous Twitter campaign). Making up the team: Karissa Bash, Kenyari Keith, Allyse Turner, and Paige Williams. 

At least three drownings at U.S. dams occurred in the past month, in New Mexico, Kansas, and South Carolina. ASDSO has documented 26 drownings at dams in 2016.

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. This month, our focus is Goal 5:

Promote and facilitate a consistent approach to dam safety regulation and technical criteria in all states and federal agencies.

One of ASDSO's emerging roles is to advocate for increased consistency in dam safety throughout the nation.  ASDSO will promote and facilitate consistency within the dam safety community by providing peer review services, evaluating state programs, identifying threats/gaps to programs, providing opportunities for collaboration sharing best practices, education/training and promoting the adoption of risk-informed decision-making.
The team working on this goal consists of Michele Lemieux (MT), Eric Ditchey (ASDSO Advisory Committee), Roderick dela Cruz (Southern California Edison), Jack Byers (Byers Group LLC), and staff representative Brittany Lewis.

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

WRDA Bill Slows Down as Elections Take Attention

Senate Neglects WRDA Before Summer Recess, From This Week in Washington, 7/15/16
Despite efforts by stakeholders, industry groups, and his colleagues on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decided not to schedule floor time for S. 2848, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 before recessing for the summer. ASCE and other advocates [including ASDSO] had been asking Senate leadership to bring the important legislation to the floor for a vote for weeks. Other pressing issues such as reauthorizing the FAA and voting to send the first update to federal energy policy in nearly a decade to conference took priority. However, momentum did pick up in the House with Reps. Mark Sanford (R-SC) and Lois Frankel (D-FL) circulating a letter to their colleagues urging Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to bring the House WRDA bill H.R. 5303 to the floor before the end of the fiscal year in September.  




ASDSO Training News  Training

Dam Safety 2016 National Conference 

August 12 is the last day to register for the Dam Safety 2016 conference in Philadelphia. Save $100 off of the full conference registration, or $50 off the one-day fee by signing up now!

See the the 
Dam Safety 2016 page of ASDSO's website for details on the technical agenda, poster presentations, specialty workshops, field trip, and networking activities. Or download the Dam Safety 2016 Registration Packet in PDF format. Group room blocks are available at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown hotel and the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Reserve your room prior to the cutoff date to assure availability.
Looking to exhibit or sponsor at Dam Safety 2016? Booth spaces are going quickly! Download the Dam Safety 2016 contract today to reserve your space.  

Call for Abstracts

ASDSO invites all persons interested in the safety of dams and levees to submit abstracts of papers to be considered for presentation at the 2017 Southeast Regional Dam Safety Conference, to be held April 18-20 in Nashville, Tennessee. This conference is geared toward dam safety engineers and dam owners/operators in the Southeast. Both technical and non-technical topics may be included on the agenda. Presentations from a dam owner's perspective are especially welcome. Abstracts are due November 1, 2016.

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

Colorado-New Mexico Regional Extreme Precipitation Study

The Colorado and New Mexico state dam safety programs are sponsoring a Regional Extreme Precipitation Study. A recent kick-off meeting included the sponsors and study consultants; a workshop will be held August 2-3 in Denver to outline project responsibilities, processes, and data needs.

L to R:  David Twing (DNREC Dam Safety); Barry Benton (DelDOT); David Saveikis (DNREC Fish & Wildlife); Karin D'Armi-Hunt (Hearns Pond Assn.); State Rep. Daniel Short; and DNREC Secretary David Small. DNREC photo.
Delaware: Reconstruction of Hearns Pond Dam Begins

State officials recently held a public meeting to brief residents on a project to rehabilitate the aging Hearns Pond Dam and bring it into compliance with Delaware's Dam Safety Regulations. The dam is the state's top priority for improvements based on the risk to downstream communities. The project is the first total dam rehabilitation project by the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), and represents the culmination of more than 10 years of work to develop a comprehensive dam safety program for the state. DelDOT, DNREC begin reconstruction at Hearns Pond Dam, State of Delaware Presss Release, 7/25/16.

ASDSO Dam Owner Workshop in Georgia

ASDSO continues to reach out to more dam owners through a series of dam owner workshops held throughout the U.S. On July 12, the Georgia DNR Safe Dams Program held a one-day Dam Safety Workshop for Owners and Operators in Atlanta. The workshop, designed to provide practical, straightforward information on topics of importance to anyone who owns or operates a dam, was attended by 48 dam owners.

NOAA Provides Funding for Dam Removals in Maine, Massachusetts

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association is providing grants totalling $1.3 million for conservation projects in Massachusetts, including four dam removals. NOAA recently helped fund a dam removal in Maine. NOAA Providing Money to Remove Dams in Eastern Massachusetts,, 7/26/16.

Montana: Dam Rebuilt Thanks to Grant Funding

The new, 74-ft-high Flower Creek Dam was dedicated July 20. The dam was replaced after the original structure was determined structurally unsound in the event of an earthquake. Grants from USDA Rural Development, the state Board of Investments, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and Department of Commerce funded the $11.5 million project: City, residents praised at dam dedication event, The Western News, 7/22/16.

Oklahoma Workshops for Realtors
The Planning and Management Division of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB), in cooperation with the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission, held two full-day water rights seminars for Oklahoma's licensed realtors on July 14 and July 21. The goal of these seminars was to introduce water issues of interest to the real estate industry and present a broad view of the OWRB's jurisdiction and regulations. Dam Safety staff introduced several topics, including identification of deficient dams, inspection of high hazard-potential dams, emergency action plans, the importance of public awareness, the responsibilities of dam ownership, and how realtors can assist their clients in avoiding or easing those liabilities. The seminars were underwritten by the Oklahoma Real Estate Education and Recovery Fund.  

West Virginia: Dams Reduce Flood Impacts

Dams across the state have been credited with significantly curtailing flood damages. Since its completed construction in 1988, Stonewall Jackson Dam has prevented an estimated $268.5 million in flood damages. Read more.

2016 ASDSO Exhibit & Sponsorship Opportunities

Federal Focus  

Dalton Named Head of Civil Works for Corps

James C. Dalton has been named the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Director of Civil Works effective August 7, 2016, assuming the principal responsibility for executing a multi-billion dollar annual program involving thousands of USACE teammates and countless stakeholders.

Mr. Dalton has served with the Corps since 1978, most recently as Chief of the Engineering and Construction Division and as the Corps' South Atlantic Division Regional Integration Team (RIT) team leader, the South Pacific Division RIT Leader, the USACE Climate Change Adaption Committee Chair, and the lead for USACE on Resilience. He has also served as the Corps' Regional Business Director for the South Atlantic Division in Atlanta; Director of Business Management for the Gulf Region Division in Baghdad, Iraq; Deputy District Engineer for Programs and Project Management Division of the Alaska District; Office Engineer for the Utilities Resident Office in Saudi Arabia; Project Manager to support Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia and other projects for the Transatlantic Program Center; and Chief and senior in-country representative for the Corps' office in Egypt.

According to USACE Commanding General LTG Todd T. Semonite, "Mr. Dalton has demonstrated unparalleled dedication to our organization and the noble purpose we fulfill on behalf of the nation. For nearly forty years, he has steadily risen through our ranks to the very top, amassing a wealth of experience, credentials, and expertise along the way. Mr. Dalton represents the finest qualities of the public service ideal."

Center Hill Dam Team Recognized for Value Engineering

A team from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District received the 2015 Department of Defense (DOD) Value Engineering Award during a ceremony at the Pentagon June 28, 2016. DOD honored the district for significant fiscal year 2015 value engineering-related efforts that resulted in cost savings and quality improvements for the Center Hill Dam Safety Rehabilitation Project. Three value studies resulted in a combined cost avoidance and savings of $54.2 million with a total cost savings of approximately 21 percent for the construction project. Details.

Publications and Resources

New on the ASDSO Website

ASDSO Surveys: Tunnels in Dams, Dam Owner Fee Exemptions - ASDSO frequently conducts informal surveys of state dam safety programs, primarily in response to requests from state program personnel. Responses to inquiries regarding "Tunnels in Dams" and "Dam Safety Fee Exemptions" are now posted on the ASDSO Surveys page, in the Members section of

State Dam Safety Program Fees - This recently updated ASDSO document outlining state dam safety program fees is the latest addition to ASDSO's Selected State Dam Safety Program Policies and Standards page.

New Report on the 1889 Johnstown Flood

A report published in the June 2016 issue of the open-access journal Heliyon questions earlier, widely accepted findings on the causes of the South Fork dam failure: Dam-Breach hydrology of the Johnstown flood of 1889-challenging the findings of the 1891 investigation report, by Neil M. Coleman, Uldis Kaktins, and Stephanie Wojno (University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown).

Instructors: Keith Ferguson, HDR Engineering, Inc.

Key takeaways from this webinar include:
  1. Importance of 3-D effects on assessment of seepage safety
  2. Better understanding of internal erosion and related potential failure modes.
  3. Increased understanding of the history of seepage research
  4. Software for 2-D and 3D seepage evaluations
  5. Use of judgment in assessing seepage issues and risk assessment

Member Price: $60.00

Stability Analysis of Embankment Dams - CD (2016)

This CD contains material from the ASDSO technical seminar taught by John France (AECOM), John Rice (Utah State University), and Christina Winckler (AECOM) on June 28-30, 2016 in Austin, TX.  
The CD includes PDFs of all binder materials presented during the course, as well as 30+ reference documents from FEMA, USACE, USBR, and more.

Member Price: $72.00

For additional dam safety resources, search 

Focus on Security     

C3 Cybersecurity WebinarC3webinar

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community (C3) Voluntary Program is holding a series of webinars in 2016 aimed at educating critical infrastructure owners and operators about relevant cyber risk management practices, tools, and resources. Webinars will be held on a quarterly basis this year and will focus on a logical grouping of critical infrastructure sectors.  
The next webinar, on Thursday, August 11, 2016 from 1:00 - 2:30 pm ET, will focus on Cybersecurity in the Power and Defense Sectors: Defense Industrial Base, Government Facilities, Dams, Nuclear, and Chemical.  Leonard Jacobs, Xcel Energy will be representing the Dams Sector as a panelist. The webinar will include a facilitated discussion that will allow panelists to provide an overview of their cybersecurity efforts, as well as audience Q&A.

DHS Dams Sector Information Sharing Drill

State, federal and local agencies and dam owners participated in a Dams Sector Information Sharing Drill held June 27-29. Among the participants were ASDSO staff and personnel of the New Jersey Bureau of Dam Safety and Flood Control (Bureau).

The Bureau conducted a concurrent exercise involving the State of New Jersey's Critical Infrastructure (CI) Dams. All New Jersey CI dam owners and operators and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness participated in the exercise. As the Bureau received the drill notifications from DHS, they were evaluated by the Bureau and forwarded to exercise participants. The drill concluded with a conference call in order to review the exercise with the participants and solicit comments regarding the exercise or recommendation for future exercises. The drill allowed the Bureau to test its ability to disseminate critical security information in a timely manner to the CI dam owners and operators. In addition, the drill provided an opportunity for the CI dam owners and operators to internally test their standard operating procedures and determine whether operational changes or enhanced protective measures were warranted based on the available information and existing in-house security plans.

Law Enforcement Guidance for Suspected Unauthorized Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations

This year's Information Sharing drill had injects involving Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones and lengthy discussions about drones and protective measures. Following the drill, DHS forwarded to participants a Law Enforcement Officer Guidance Card and the following message from the FAA: 
All owners of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, must register their UAS with the Federal Aviation Administration's Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) registry. A federal law effective December 21, 2015 requires unmanned aircraft registration, and owners are subject to civil and criminal penalties if they do not register. As part of the registration process, UAS owners will be issued a Unique ID Number by the FAA that must be marked on their UAS. 
There is evidence of a considerable increase in the unauthorized use of small, inexpensive Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) by individuals and organizations, including companies. While the FAA retains the responsibility for enforcing Federal Aviation Regulations, including those applicable to the use of UAS, the agency also recognizes that state and local Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) are often in the best position to deter, detect, immediately investigate, and, as appropriate, pursue enforcement actions to stop unauthorized or unsafe UAS operations. The agency's Law Enforcement Guidance for Suspected Unauthorized UAS Operations is intended to support the partnership between the FAA and LEAs in addressing these activities. The reference card is printable and designed to be carried in the field to answer basic questions and provide FAA contact information, nationwide, to support LEAs.
Additionally, the DHS Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis recently issued an Emerging Risk to Critical Infrastructure from UAS infographic, which provides an overview of the emerging risk to critical infrastructure from Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).   

Focus on Levees      

Center for American Progress Urges Investment in Levee Safety

A new report by the Center for American Progress (CAP), An Infrastructure Plan for America, says that investing in infrastructure will "lay the foundation for prosperity, advance environmental goals, and rebuild the middle class." Among CAP's recommendations:
  • Require state participation with the Levee Safety Initiative and require that states identify and assess all levees within their borders by 2026
  • Replace the Levee Safety Initiative and Levee Rehabilitation Assistance Program with an $350 formula program to support levee assessment, rehabilitation, and improvement.

Levee Safety Addressed by California Grand Jury

2004 Jones Tract Breach. CA DWR.
The 2015-2015 Contra Costa Grand Jury has recommended actions to improve the safety of Delta levees, detailed in a recenty issued report, Delta Levees in Contra Costa County  [Report 1607]. Contra Costa County's Delta levees form a critical bulwark against flooding that could have disastrous consequences for the entire state. This 32 pp. report recommends focusing on three major areas: sharing of resources and knowledge among Reclamation Districts, education of residents of the Districts as to the reasons behind levee rules and regulations, and increased involvement and participation by the various entities that benefit from the protection afforded by the levee system. 


Welcome New Members!
The following individuals joined ASDSO in July:

G. Richard Bird, AECOM, Saint Louis, MO
Melanie Calvert, City and County of Broomfield, Broomfield, CO
Greg Jones, Flood Control District, Phoenix, AZ
Dorota Koterba, Tarrant Regional Water District, Fort Worth, TX
Walt MacPhee, AR Natural Resources Commission, Little Rock, AR
Erin Messner, City and County of Broomfield, Broomfield, CO
Alexander Michalchuk, New Jersey Water Supply Authority, Clinton, NJ
Ardalan Nikou, AECOM, Honolulu, HI
Kenyon Schur, Mercury, Taupo, NZ
Jonathan Simm, HR Wallingford, Wallingford, GB
Dan Smith, RIZZO Associates, Saint Louis, MO
Daniel B. VandenBerge, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN
Josh Waldroff, Dynegy Generation, North Bend, OH
Chris White, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Portland, OR


The following positions are posted in the ASDSO Career Center:

Associate Dam Safety Engineer
Southern California Edison, Rosemead, CA
Post Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Close Date: Thursday, August 4, 2016

Senior Dam Safety Engineer
Southern California Edison, Rosemead, CA
Post Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Close Date: Thursday, August 4, 2016

Research Civil Engineer (Hydraulics)
USDA-ARS Hydraulic Engineering Research Unit, Stillwater, OK
Post Date: Friday, July 1, 2016
Close Date: Friday, July 29, 2016

Deputy Chief Dam Safety
New York City Environmental Protection, Shokan, NY
Post Date: Thursday, May 19, 2016
Close Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Dam Inspector & Maintenance Coordinator
Arkansas Natural Resources Commission, Little Rock, AR
Post Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Close Date:  Until filled
Senior Geotechnical Manager
GEI Consultants, Carlsbad, CA
Post Date: Monday, March 7, 2016
Close Date: Wednesday, August 3, 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.   

Events of Other Organizations 
November 3-4, 2016 
Seattle, WA

ICOLD National Committees of the Americas (INCA) 
October 26-28, 2016 
Mexico City



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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; 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 S. Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508
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