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Sandy Creek

Watershed Rehabilitation

The Watershed Rehabilitation Program (REHAB) helps project sponsors rehabilitate aging dams that are reaching the end of their design life and/or no longer meet federal or state safety criteria or performance standards. Since 1948, NRCS has assisted local sponsors in constructing over 11,850 dams.


Dam Spillway repair


The Watershed REHAB program provides assistance to local project sponsors to:

  • rehabilitate aging dams that are reaching the end of their design lives; and/or
  • build or augment existing water supplies based on current and future water supply demands.

These rehabilitation efforts, authorized by Public Law 83-566 and 78-534, address critical public health and safety concerns should a dam failure occur. 

Since 1948, the Natural Resources Conservation Service has assisted local sponsors in constructing over 11,845 dams.


Across the Nation, watershed REHAB projects provide over $2.2 billion in reduced flooding and erosion damage while improving wildlife habitat, recreation, water quality and supply for an estimated 47 million people. These projects also provide economic growth and opportunity for rural communities.

Dams are silent protectors, located in remote locals, that protect lives and property downstream. All have a lifespan that requires consistent oversight to ensure they continue to meet state and federal design, safety, and performance criteria. NRCS Watershed REHAB Program provides local sponsors with technical and financial assistance to address concerns before they become a liability. 

Mill Canton Creek 08 - aerial view
Dam Safety

Dam Watch

DamWatch assists in monitoring dams across 47 states, including Puerto Rico, and provides web-based monitoring of dams during rainfall, snowmelt, or seismic events.

Sponsor Guide thumbnail

LOCALLY-LED Watershed REHAB Solutions

Watershed project sponsors represent interests of the local community in federally assisted watershed projects. Sponsors submit a request for financial assistance to NRCS. When funding is allocated, the sponsor and NRCS enter into an agreement that defines the roles and responsibilities of each party to complete the rehabilitation project.

A watershed plan is developed for each project to address environmental impacts, costs, benefits, planned conservation practices, and the responsibilities of involved parties. A variety of agencies and organizations can assist sponsors with developing a plan.

NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to sponsors and assists them with the planning, design, and construction of the projects.


For more information on Watershed REHAB Program, please contact your local NRCS office.

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Watershed REHAB Fact Sheet

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