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Watershed Rehabilitation

Local communities in Georgia, with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) assistance, have constructed over 350 dams since 1953. Many of these dams South River 4 spillway dumping into the spill pool.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. The following information provides background and case studies of rehabilitation needs of watershed dams across Georgia as well as progress toward rehabilitation accomplishments.

2014 Watershed Rehabilitation Update

The 2014 Farm Bill allocated $250 million available for watershed rehabilitation and planning for 151 dams in 26 states, including Georgia. These watershed projects provide an estimated $2.2 billion in annual benefits in reduced flooding and erosion damages, recreation, water supplies and wildlife habitat for roughly 47 million people. Projects were identified based on recent rehabilitation investments and the risks to life and property if a dam failure occurred.

Projects in Georgia include:

  • Dam Assessments for 63 watersheds throughout Georgia
  • Supplemental Watershed Plans for:
  1. Sallacoa Watershed Structure 77
  2. Little River Watershed Structure 25
  3. Palmetto Creek Watershed Structure 1

Progress in Georgia

NRCS currently is working with the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission to identify future watershed rehabilitation projects in Georgia.

• Hazard classifications have been or are being performed on 63 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.

• Construction is complete for rehabilitation of four watershed dams in Georgia under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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 Program Information

The following documents require Adobe Acrobat.

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

Little Sandy Trail Creek No. 1 (PDF) (629 KB)
Marbury Creek No. 22 (PDF) (349 KB)
Sandy Creek No. 15 (PDF) (349 KB)
South River No. 4 (PDF) (349 KB)

National Publications

National Watershed Program Manual (PDF) (80 KB)
National Watershed Program Handbook (PDF) (2.81 MB)

National Watershed Rehabilitation Program web page.

For more information, contact Georgia State Conservation Engineer.