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Watershed Rehabilitation

Local communities, with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) assistance, have constructed over 11,800 dams in 47 states since 1948. Many of these dams 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 the nation as well as progress toward rehabilitation accomplishments.

2014 Farm Bill and Watershed Rehabilitation

The 2014 Farm Bill made about $262 million available for rehabilitation of 151 dams in 26 states, including Massachusetts.  These watershed management 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.

SuAsCo Watershed dams

Plans have been proposed to upgrade six dams in the Sudbury-Assabet-Concord (SuAsCo) rivers watershed. Although the dams are still structurally sound and do not pose an imminent threat to public safety, today's increased land development has generated higher amounts of runoff than the dams were originally designed to handle.