Policy and Responsibilities for Dam Safety

361 FW 1
FWM Number
361 FW 1, FWM 418, 01/31/03
Originating Office
Infrastructure Management Division

1.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter describes the policy and division of responsibilities for managing the Fish and Wildlife Service's (Service) Dam Safety Program.

1.2 What is the Service policy? Our policy is to:

A. Ensure that no dam creates an unacceptable risk to public safety and welfare, property, the environment, or cultural resources, and

B. Maintain high standards in the practices and procedures we use for planning, engineering design, construction, repairs, operation, maintenance, emergency preparedness, and evaluation of existing dams.

1.3 What are the authorities for the Dam Safety Program?

A. National Dam Inspection Act of 1972 (Public Law 92-367).

B. Executive Order 12148, Federal Emergency Management, July 20, 1979.

C. Water Resources Development Act, Dam Safety Act of 1986 (Public Law. 99-662).

D. Water Resources Development Act of 1996 (Public Law. 104-303).

E. Federal Guidelines for Selecting and Accommodating Inflow Design Floods for Dams, Federal Emergency Management Agency 97, Interagency Committee on Dam Safety, October 1998.

F. Recommended Guidelines for Dam Safety--Inspection of Dams, Corps of Engineers, 1974.

G. The Dam Safety Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-460).

H. Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety, Federal Emergency Management Agency 93, April 2004.

I. 753 DM, Dam Safety and Security Program.

1.4 Who is responsible for the Dam Safety Program?

A. The Director ensures there are resources and policy in place to implement our Dam Safety Program.

B. The Assistant Director – Business Management and Operations is responsible for the overall integrity of our Dam Safety Program.

C. Regional Directors are responsible for:

(1) The safety and operation of facilities in their Regions, including dams, dikes, levees, and other water diversion and control structures.

(2) Budget requests for maintenance funding for dams, including routine annual maintenance and correcting Priority 1 and Priority 2 deficiencies identified in the Safety Evaluation of Existing Dams (SEED) inspections.

(3) Appointing a Regional Dam Safety Officer.

D. The Chief, Division of Engineering is responsible for:

(1) Managing our Dam Safety Program,

(2) Developing and interpreting dam safety policy, and

(3) Appointing the Service Dam Safety Officer.

E. The Service Dam Safety Officer (SDSO)is responsible for:

(1) Developing and recommending plans, technical guidelines, standards, and procedures for our Dam Safety Program.

(2) Ensuring that our Dam Safety Program complies with applicable laws, policies, and technical recommendations governing Federal dam safety activities.

(3) Preparing technical guidelines and standards for and implementing the SEED inspection and rehabilitation programs by:

     (a) Performing periodic SEED inspections and notifying the Project Leader of the inspection findings,

     (b) Managing and maintaining an inventory and a comprehensive database on all Service dams, and

     (c) Serving as a liaison with other Service programs for dam inspections and rehabilitation.

(4)For high and significant hazard dams:

     (a) Preparing budget requests for:

     (i) Project planning,

     (ii) Engineering design,

     (iii) Analysis and studies,

     (iv) Construction management for emergency repairs, and

     (v) Safety rehabilitation and construction.

     (b) Developing Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Emergency Action Plans (EAPs) and updating them for major repairs or rehabilitation.

     (c) Project planning, design, and construction for new dams and for rehabilitation, modification, or emergency repairs to existing dams.

(5) For low hazard dams, providing independent review of project planning, engineering design, and construction management for dam safety rehabilitation and construction.

(6) Serving as the Service's representative on:

     (a) Dam safety technical committees,

     (b) Departmental working groups, and

     (c) As liaison with other Government agencies.

(7) Assisting Regional Dam Safety Officers in implementing SOPs and Emergency Action Plans.

(8) Performing periodic Emergency Action Plan exercises (see 361 FW 2).

(9) Providing technical engineering support and expertise to the Regions.

(10) Providing dam safety training to the Regions, Project Leaders, and dam operating staff.

F. At the discretion of the Regional Director, Assistant Regional Directors – Budget and Administration are responsible for providing advice and guidance to the Regional Engineers and the Regional Dam Safety Officers in their Regions in exercising their dam safety responsibilities.

G. At the discretion of the Regional Director and working through the Assistant Regional Director – Budget and Administration, Regional Engineers are responsible for:

(1) Implementation and oversight of the Region's Dam Safety Program and designation and supervision of the Regional Dam Safety Officer.

(2) Technical support and assistance to the Regional Director, Regional office supervisors, and Project Leaders for the operation and maintenance of dams within the Region.

(3) Assisting the Regional Dam Safety Officer in developing and implementing SOPs and Emergency Action Plans.

H. Regional Dam Safety Officers (RDSO):

(1) Must have experience in and knowledge of the planning, design, construction, safety inspection, and operation of dams.

(2) Are responsible for:

     (a) Providing technical support to the Regional Director to ensure that the Region's dam safety program complies with applicable laws, policies, and technical recommendations governing Federal dam safety activities.

     (b) Providing technical assistance to Project Leaders for dam operation and maintenance.

     (c) Assisting the Service Dam Safety Officer in developing and updating SOPs and Emergency Action Plans and assisting Project Leaders to implement them.

(3) Are the designated emergency planning officers, who:

     (a) Annually test, verify, update and certify Emergency Action Plans, and

     (b) Provide technical and decision-making support to Project Leaders during unusual or emergency events.

(4) Provide technical leadership and oversight of project planning, engineering design, and construction management for dam safety for low hazard inventory and non-inventory dam:

     (a) Rehabilitation,

     (b) Modifications,

     (c) Emergency repairs, and

     (d) New construction.

(5) Review observation and instrumentation data from dams, and contact the Division of Engineering and the Service Dam Safety Officer to request consultation.

I. Project Leaders are responsible for:

(1) Operating, maintaining, and keeping the dams for which they are responsible safe.

(2) Sending to the Regional Director funding requests for:

     (a) Routine annual and regular maintenance,

     (b) Operations and monitoring, and

     (c) Priority 1 and Priority 2 recommendations identified in SEED inspections (see 361 FW 2 for more information about SEED inspections).

(3) Ensuring operating staff are adequately trained on all relevant dam safety matters.

(4) Ensuring the safety of employees and visitors who may be impacted by dam failure or misoperation.

(5) Implementing Emergency Action Plans, security plans, and SOPs.

(6) Ensuring that all of the monitoring and recording of dam instrumentation data is complete and sent to the Regional Dam Safety Officer and the Service Dam Safety Officer in accordance with SOPs.

(7) Performing periodic informal inspections in accordance with SOPs.