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Dam Safety Program


Dam Safety Program

The Iowa DNR is responsible for the state's dam safety program. The program involves the review and approval for the construction of new dams, maintaining an inventory of existing dams that meet minimum size criteria and the periodic inspection of dams that pose a significant risk to downstream life and property. Currently there are approximately 4000 dams on the state's dam inventory.

Recorded Webinars

May 6: Dams 101 and DNR Dam Safety Program 

Learn about how dams work, what are the critical parts and features, and how they are regulated in Iowa.  

May 13: How Dams Fail and How to Properly Maintain Your Dam.  

Learn about common ways that dams fail and how proper maintenance can reduce the risk of failure. 

May 20:  Dam Ownership, When and How to Hire an Engineer

When do you need to call in an expert?  We’ll discuss when and how to find and hire qualified engineers to help with repairs and design of dams.   

May 27: Dam Design and Permitting

This webinar will go into technical engineering design requirements and what’s needed to obtain a permit. We will also discuss upcoming changes to Iowa’s dam safety administrative rules.  

Listed below is information on when dams require permits, design references, and owner responsibilities.

If you have questions about an existing pond or dam, or are planning to construct a dam, feel free to contact us: 
Jon Garton (515-725-8360; Jonathan.Garton@dnr.iowa.gov OR
Casey Welty (515-725-8330; Casey.Welty@dnr.iowa.gov

Information about Safety at Low Head Dams and Low Head Dam Mitigation can be found on our Canoeing and Kayaking page.
Dam Safety
+ Dam Construction Permitting
+ Design Requirements and References
+ Dam Classifications
+ Dam Owner Responsibilities
+ Emergency Action Plans
Electronic Document Retrieval

Scanned Dam Files Index

Any person may submit their request to inspect public records by submitting their request via our our Iowa Information and Public Records Request Portal:

Request a Public Record

Iowa Online Dam Inventory

Iowa Online Dam Inventory

The dam safety program maintains a database of dams in the state the meet the thresholds for the National Inventory of Dams.  Click on the link above the access the database.