Dam Safety Program

Rock Island District
Published Oct. 1, 2021
Coralville Dam outlet structure in Coralville, Iowa.

Coralville Dam outlet structure in Coralville, Iowa.


Rock Island District, Nationwide


Dam safety is the art and science of ensuring the integrity and viability of dams such that they do not present unacceptable risks to the public, property or the environment. It requires the collective application of engineering principles and experience and a philosophy of risk management that recognizes that a dam is a structure whose safe functioning is not explicitly determined by its original design and construction. It also includes all actions taken to routinely monitor, evaluate, identify or predict dam safety issues and consequences related to failure, and to document, publicize and reduce, eliminate or remediate any unacceptable risks.

The purposes of a dam safety program are to protect life, property and the environment by ensuring that all dams are designed, constructed, operated and maintained safely and effectively. This is accomplished by routine inspections of projects, periodic assessments of risks of each project, emergency planning which includes exercises that involve stakeholders, agencies, local and state government and emergency responders, interim risk reduction measures, detailed technical evaluation of potential issues and instrumentation and performance monitoring.


“Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety” was first published in June 1979 with the most recent update in 2004. The purpose of these guidelines is to enhance national dam safety and to encourage high safety standards in the management procedures and technical activities of Federal agencies. The guidelines require the head of each Federal agency having responsibility for design, construction, operation and regulation of dams to establish a dam safety office (officer), which reports directly to the head of the agency. The Interagency Committee on Dam Safety (ICODS) was established in 1980 to promote and monitor Federal and State dam safety programs. The Corps of Engineers is the Department of Defense representative on ICODS.


The Rock Island District Dam Safety Program is administered and monitored by the District Dam Safety Committee, comprised of Division and Branch Chiefs including the Dam Safety Officer and Dam Safety Program Manager. The Rock Island District Dam Safety Program presides over 26 Corps and 8 Non-Corps structures. Dam failure hazard potential categories of the 26 federal locations are; 8 high, 17 significant, and 1 low. Of the 8 non-Federal locations, 5 are high and 3 are low hazard. The program is implemented by quarterly dam safety committee meetings to discuss and resolve issues at projects and is executed by District project delivery teams for all dam safety program deliverables. The Rock Island District has no authority to modify, improve or enforce repairs on dams outside of the Federal Dam Safety Program.

Additional Information


SI - Special Interest

Interagency Committee on Dam Safety (ICODS), WRDA 1996, Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety published June 1979, Executive Order 12148

Summarized Project Costs

Estimated Federal Cost

$ N/A

Estimated Non-Federal Cost

$ N/A

Estimated Total Project Cost

$ N/A

Allocations Prior to FY 2022

$ N/A

FY 2021 Allocation


FY 2022 Allocation


FY 2022 President’s Budget

$ 1,481,500

FY 2022 Total Capability

$ 1,481,500


Major Work Item Prior Fiscal Year

FY 2021:  The program moved forward with periodic assessments of Brandon Road Lock and Dam and Peoria Lock and Dam; periodic inspections of Lock and Dam 16 and Lock and Dam 20, dam safety performance monitoring and instrumentation for all district dams; emergency action plan updates for Locks and Dam 15, Lock and Dam 16, Marseilles Lock and Dam, Dresden Island Lock and Dam, and Starved Rock Lock and Dam; and dam safety tabletop exercises for Coralville Dam, Farmdale Dam, and Fondulac Dam.

Major Work Item Current Year

FY 2022:  If funded, work will proceed with periodic assessments of Red Rock Dam and Remedial Works and LaGrange Lock and Dam; periodic inspections of Lock and Dam 17, Lock and Dam 18; dam safety performance monitoring and instrumentation for all district dams; emergency action plan updates and tabletop exercises for Lock and Dam 11, Lock and Dam 12, Peoria Lock and Dam, and LaGrange Lock and Dam.