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            Dam Mitigation & Safety


Communities around Iowa have embraced the idea that replacing high maintenance and failing dams with lower-cost, safer alternatives can also be great for the river and fishing, while better serving recreational needs of today’s Iowans. Iowa DNR’s dam mitigation team listens first to all concerned, and then assists communities to arrive at a project that best fits.  

Dam Mitigation Grants Available
The Iowa Legislature appropriated funds for fiscal year 2015 for the development of dam mitigation and water trail projects. A portion the funds are available competitively for dam mitigation cost-share grants. Dam owners and other eligible entities are encouraged to apply for cost-share assistance for projects that reduce recreational hazards and enhance aquatic species connectivity. For guidance on how projects might be approached, please read “Solving Dam Problems: Iowa’s 2010 Plan for Dam Mitigation” and/or “Developing Water Trails in Iowa.”

Application form: Dam Mitigation Grant Application
Application Form: Dam Mitigation Grant Application
Application post-mark deadline: December 15, 2014
Total amount available: $500,000


The Klondike Dam to Rapids Conversion

The Klondike Dam to rapids conversion project was completed in May, 2013. It involved removing the dam and construction a rapids that pools water to the same elevation of the dam to maintain water supply for a rural water system. The area is now safer, more accessible, and allows fish to pass upstream at  both low and high water.




Dam mitigation manual

Intro: Introduction and Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: The 2010 River Dam Inventory

Chapter 3: Dams and River Ecology

Chapter 4: Mitigation Alternatives 

Chapter 5: Strategies, Plan of Action, Bibliography, Appendices

A major new revision to our water trails and dams sign manual was released in the Spring of 2010. The old sign manual has been replaced on our Web site, and Iowa Prison Industries has replaced its catalog. The new manual addresses a number of issues, and includes a road wayfinding system that has been vetted and approved by Iowa Department of Transportation. Related, an access mileage/numbering system that will function statewide and simplify road, bridge, and access signage. Details for sign mounting methods are now included, as well as a completely revamped and carefully considered low-head dam sign warning system. The sign manual  contains guideline for the standard statewide water trails way-finding and informational signage system.

Technical assistance for dam mitigation:

For dam owners or their partners interested in reducing safety hazards and fish passage barriers at their dams, Iowa DNR offers assistance at different stages of a project. Examples include:

-       Dam warning signage system design (and in some cases, installation)
-       Community open house input
-       Concept development in the early phases of project
-       River channel survey
-       Assistance with developing RFPs, finding funding
-       River restoration design
-       Project management assistance
-       Permitting and regulatory compliance assistance
-       Bid document assistance

Please fill out the application form. Our staff will review it and contact you soon!
Application for Technical Assistance
Application for Technical Assistance