Although the Federal Government owns or regulates only about five percent of the dams in the United States, many of these dams are significant in terms of size, function, benefit to the public, and hazard potential.
Since the implementation of the Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety in 1979, the federal agencies have done an exemplary job in ensuring the safety of dams within their jurisdiction. They accomplish this by sharing resources whenever and wherever possible to achieve results and improvements in dam safety. Many of the federal agencies also maintain very comprehensive research and development programs and training programs, and have now incorporated security considerations and requirements into these programs to protect their dams against terrorist threats.
To encourage individual and community responsibility for dam safety, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinates partnerships through two federal organizations:
- National Dam Safety Review Board
The Review Board provides the Director of FEMA with advice in setting national dam safety priorities and considers the effects of national policy issues affecting dam safety. Review Board members include FEMA, the Chair of the Board, representatives from four federal agencies that serve on the Interagency Committee on Dam Safety (ICODS), five state dam safety officials, and one member from the private sector.
- Interagency Committee on Dam Safety
ICODS, which was established in 1980, encourages the establishment and maintenance of effective federal programs, policies, and guidelines to enhance dam safety and security. ICODS serves as the permanent forum for the coordination of federal activities in dam safety and security. FEMA also chairs ICODS.
- Department of Agriculture
- Department of Defense, Army Corps of Engineers
- Department of Energy
- Department of the Interior
- Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
- Department of State, International Boundary and Water Commission
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- Tennessee Valley Authority