Watershed Rehabilitation Program

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
 Hazard Classification Map Dam Rehabilitation Project Map


Click on photos to enlarge

Picture of roller compacted concrete spillway over a watershed dam

Aerial view of rehabilitated watershed dam in a highly developed watershed

Aerial view of dam with houses immediately downstream

Roller-compacted concrete spillway Dam in highly developed area Watershed dam with houses downstream


Watershed Protection and Environmental Assessment Reports

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (recovery Act) Watershed Rehabilitation Factsheets

Watershed Plans

The following list of watershed plans are available upon request from the Assistant State Conservationist for Programs.

  • Little Sandy Creek
  • Marbury 22
  • Sandy Creek 15
  • South River 4H
  • Sandy Creek 23
  • Yellow River 3


For more information, contact:

Assistant State Conservationist - Programs

(706) 546-2272