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Dam Safety Research

This page provides an overview of the importance of dam safety research and FEMA's efforts in support of that research. It is geared toward general audiences wishing to learn more about the topic of dams and their study.

Research is critical to the Nation's agenda for dam safety. Research funding under the National Dam Safety Program (NDSP) has addressed a cross-section of issues and needs, all in support of ultimately making dams in the United States safer.

To guide decisions on the funding of specific research projects, the National Dam Safety Review Board developed a 5-year Strategic Plan to prioritize research needs in dam safety. The goal in developing the Strategic Plan was to ensure that priority would be given to those projects demonstrating a high degree of collaboration and expertise, and the likelihood of producing products that will contribute to the safety of dams in the United States.

Over the past 6 years, research funds have been allocated to workshops in nine of the priority areas. Based on the workshop findings, research topics have been pursued and several topics have now progressed to products of use to the dam safety community, including technical manuals and guidelines. For future research, it is the goal of the Work Group to expand dam safety research to other institutions and professionals performing research in the field.

For information on the NDSP research program, visit Dam Safety Publications and Other Resources.

Drawing of an envelope Dam safety e-mail updates

National Dam Safety Program Research Workgroup


Sherry L Hunt - – Federal Co-Chair
Hydraulic Engineering Research 
Civil Engineering
Phone: (405) 624-4135 ext. 222 
Fax: (405) 624-4136 


Michael K. Sharp (GV-T)

3909 Halls Ferry Road
Vicksburg, Mississippi 39180


Steve Durgin

National Design Engineer

Engineering Division ‑ USDA/NRCS

1400 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.W.

P.O. Box 2890, Room 6136

Washington, DC 20013

Office: (202) 720-5858

Fax: (202) 720-0428


Michele Lemieux - Non-Federal Co-Chair

Section Supervisor
MT Dept. of Natural Resources & Conservation
PO Box 201601
Helena, MT 59620-1601
(406) 444-6613


Hal Van Aller

MDE Dam Safety Division

407 Race Street

Cambridge, Maryland 21613

(410) 901-4042


Robert Bezek
FEMA, Region IX
Mitigation Engineer

(510) 627-7274


John Ritchey
State of New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection Bureau

of Dam Safety and Flood Control
501 East State Street
P.O. Box 419
Trenton, New Jersey 08625

(609) 984-0859

Last Updated: 
09/06/2018 - 14:49