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Emergency Action Planning

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dam owner responsibilities

Dam Owner Responsibilities

USDA Resources

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) logo
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) logo

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service works with sponsors/owners of dams that involved NRCS cost-sharing programs. Many of these dams also fall under state regulation. NRCS has created guidelines and templates for EAPs. A fact sheet on EAPs is available, along with a NRCS EAP form that details a NRCS Directive that guides NRCS staff, dam owners, and emergency response authorities in completing an EAP. NRCS staff are available to help dam owners in preparing their EAP.

In addition to content, formats, and such essentials as a flowchart of emergency notifications, the NRCS document lists specific responsibilities:

  1. The sponsor/land user shall:
    1. Prepare and implement the EAP;
    2. Coordinate with the police, fire department, emergency management agency, and the state dam safety agency during all phases of the EAP preparation and implementation;
    3. Review and revise the EAP annually and exercise the EAP at least once every five years; and
    4. Assure training is provided for all persons with specific responsibilities so they can execute their duties in a timely manner.
  2. NRCS shall provide or review the following for all new or rehabilitated dams designed or constructed with NRCS assistance. For existing high-hazard dams, the following assistance may be provided if the State Conservationist determines resources are available:
    1. Provide technical data;
    2. Prepare or review breach inundation maps;
    3. Assist in the preparation or review of the EAP, if requested by the sponsor/land user;
    4. Determine that an adequate EAP is prepared prior to the execution of fund-obligating documents for construction of the structure;
    5. Participate in the annual review of EAPs and the testing of EAPs at least once every five years; and
    6. Encourage owners of existing high-hazard dams to develop EAPs.