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Watershed Rehabilitation

Local communities in South Carolina, with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) assistance, have constructed over 100 dams since 1954. 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 South Carolina, as well as progress toward rehabilitation accomplishments.

2015 Watershed Rehabilitation Update

Latest News

USDA recently launched DamWatch, a new
web-based application that provides real-time
monitoring of rainfall, snowmelt, stream flow
and seismic events that could pose potential
threats to dam safety. Learn more.

Hollow Creek Watershed Dam #1 in Lexington, SC
An alert was generated in the DamWatch system on 
October 4, 2015 of Hollow Creek Watershed Dam #1.

The picture depicts that the flood pool of the dam is full 
and the auxiliary spillway is overflowing. NRCS visited 
the site and determined that the flow of water was not 
damaging the structure and that it was performing as 

The 2014 Farm Bill allocated $250 million available for watershed rehabilitation and planning for 151 dams in 26 states, including South Carolina. 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 South Carolina include:

Dam Assessments for 11 watersheds throughout South Carolina, and 4 currently in progress since 2010.

Progress in South Carolina

• Hazard classifications have been reassessed on 106 dams since 2008, and 17 dams were upgraded to high hazard due to changes in the area downstream of the dam. 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.

For more information, please visit the National Watershed Rehabilitation page.

For more information in South Carolina, please contact:

Eric Fleming
State Conservation Engineer
(803) 765-5683