FEMA awards funds for dam safety

18 October 2022

FEMA has announced that over the next five years it is set to award $733 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in dam safety grants to states and territories to enhance dam safety and rehabilitate or remove aging dams in the US.

Its High Hazard Potential Dam Grant and the National Dam Safety State Assistance Grant programs has already awarded $33 million in grants in the fiscal year 2022 to 49 states and one territory for non-federal dams. This includes $15 million through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  The funding will provide technical, planning, design and construction grants for rehabilitating eligible high-hazard potential dams.

“Dams not only provide vital infrastructure to protect our nation from flooding events, but they also support the economic development of communities nationwide by creating jobs and increasing recreational opportunities for local areas,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “The critical funding provided by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help to rehabilitate our nation’s dams and make communities more resilient to climate change and extreme weather events.”

Studies have confirmed non-federal dams require significant rehabilitation. Dam failure can occur with little warning, and it is critical to take actions addressing dams that pose dangers to life and property.

Eligible non-federal dams are:

  • Located in a state or territory with a dam safety program.
  • Classified as ‘high hazard potential’ by the dam safety agency in the state or territory where the dam is located.
  • Have an emergency action plan approved by the state or territorial dam safety agency.
  • State or territorial dams, where the dam fails to meet minimum dam safety standards of the state or territory and poses an unacceptable risk to the public.

Approximately $22 million of the current $33 million being awarded is through the FEMA High Hazard Potential Dam Grant program, in which eligible applicants are limited to states that have a state dam safety program authorized by state legislation. Funding will provide technical, planning, design and construction assistance grants for rehabilitating eligible high-hazard potential dams across 18 states and Puerto Rico.  With nearly $11 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, this year’s funding almost doubles the $12 million awarded in the previous grant cycle. These funds were awarded to California, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma and Oregon for construction ready activities for dams.  

The other approximately $11 million, including $4 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds, is available through the National Dam Safety State Assistance Grant Program to establish and maintain effective state programs that ensure dam safety and protect human life and property.  Every state with a dam safety program and Puerto Rico will benefit from this funding.

In a state or territory with an enacted dam safety program, the state administrative agency or an equivalent state agency is eligible to apply. Each eligible state may submit only one grant application.



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