Local communities in Georgia, with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) assistance, have constructed over 350 dams in since 1953. Many are nearing the end of their 50-year design life. Rehabilitation of these dams is needed to address critical public health and safety issues in these communities. In 1978, the Georgia General Assembly passed dam safety legislation in response to the 1977 Kelly Barnes Dam Failure at Toccoa Falls College, which resulted in 39 fatalities. The resulting Georgia Safe Dams Law exempted NRCS dams because of the agency’s superior design standards. In 1995, however, the Georgia General Assembly began to recognize that time would take its toll even on NRCS assisted project dams. The exemption was extended one last time and expired November 1, 2000. Through the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, NRCS can provide technical and financial assistance to communities for the rehabilitation of high hazard dams. Information presented in the reports below demonstrates progress toward rehabilitation accomplishments in Georgia.
For more information on the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, please click here.
Progress in Georgia
NRCS currently has 45 applications for dam rehabilitation projects in Georgia.
Hazard classifications have been or are are being performed on 16 of these dams. Failure of a high hazard dam can lead to the potential loss of life due to structures (homes) located downstream in the dam breach zone. The breach zones downstream of low hazard dams are free of such structures, and therefore represent a low risk to loss of life.
Watershed assessments are complete for five dam rehabilitation American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) projects (see links to reports below).
Construction is complete for rehabilitation of four watershed dams in Georgia.
Hazard Classification Map
Dam Rehabilitation Project Map
Click on maps below to link to larger maps
Click on photos to enlarge
Roller-compacted concrete spillway
Dam in highly developed area
Watershed dam with houses downstream
Watershed Protection and Environmental Assessment Reports