Legislative Advocacy

The Safety of Dams is a National Concern

ASDSO advocates for strong dam safety programs and you can too!

ASDSO's Priority Legislative Issues

  • Appropriations for the National Dam Safety Program (reauthorized in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014).
  • Appropriations for the National Dam Rehabilitation Act.
  • Appropriations to continue the success of the USDA Small Watershed Dam Rehabilitation Program.
  • Creation of a state dam safety regulatory program in Alabama (the one state remaining with no dam safety legislation on the books).
  • Support and appropriations for a National Levee Safety Program (strengthened in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014).

Federal Legislative Goals

  • Push for full funding of all federal laws that improve dam safety.
  • Coordinate an education and advocacy effort for all federal legislative initiatives including encouraging grass-roots lobbying.
  • Encourage alternative sources of funding for dam rehabilitation and repairs through federal/state partnerships or public/private partnerships.
  • Increase general dam safety awareness in Washington, D.C. to keep at the forefront the need for funding of the National Dam Safety Program and other federal programs.

State Legislative Goals

  • Increase network of support for states when dam safety programs are threatened.
  • Track all legislative changes and publish summaries. Provide benchmark data to states on dam safety policies.
  • Assist state dam safety agencies with legislative awareness to give them the tools/information needed when programs are threatened.
  • Encourage policies and provide tools at the state level to increase dam safety awareness.
  • Explore funding mechanisms for state dam safety programs and assist states in maintaining and increasing their budgets.


How Can You Participate in ASDSO's Advocacy Efforts

Find Your Legislator's Contact Info:
Senate Contacts
House of Representatives Contacts

Federal Advocacy
You can help support strong dam safety programs at the federal level by educating your Senators and Congressmen about the need for policies and resources that improve dam safety and, therefore, reduce the risks associated with dam failure.  ASDSO works with Congress, with key administrative staff and with other non-governmental organizations to improve legislation and regulations and to ensure that funding is appropriated for these programs. It is important that you stay informed and build our advocacy efforts. From time to time, we ask our members to contact your Congressional delegation to educate them about the need for strong dam safety programs at the federal level and to support specific legislation that will improve dam safety nationwide.

Watch this page for alerts and issue briefs or contact Lori Spragens at ASDSO to become a part of the Federal Legislative Advocacy Interest Group. lspragens@damsafety.org.

Federal Priority Issues:
Reauthorization in 2018 and FY19 appropriations for the National Dam Safety Program. Administered by DHS, FEMA. Authorized currently at $13.9 million a year. 

Reauthorization in 2018 of the National Levee Safety Program. Administered by the US Army Corps of Engineers and DHS, FEMA. Authorized currently at $54 million a year.

FY19 appropriations for the National High-Hazard Potential Dam Rehabilitation Program. Administered by FEMA through the National Dam Safety Program. The 2016 law authorizes the program at $10 million for FY18.

State-Specific Advocacy
ASDSO works with the state programs and with local stakeholders in developing state-by-state advocacy coalitions. If you would like to start advocating for strong dam safety programs in your state contact Mark Ogden, 859-228-9732 x 107 or mogden@damsafety.org.

Partners Increase Support for Dam Safety
Partnering with other organizations allows for a stronger voice in Washington. ASDSO is partnering with the American Society of Civil Engineers Government Relations office in Washington, DC.  Other partner organizations include the National Watershed Coalition (NWC) and the Interstate Conference on Water Policy (ICWP). ASDSO works closely with the NWC's to increase awareness about the need for rehabilitation of this nation’s 10,000 small watershed protection and flood control dams. ASDSO annually signs on to a joint letter written by the ICWP in support of continued full federal funding for the US Geological Survey's Streamgage Program. Go to these websites to learn more about these advocacy efforts.

Special thanks to our sustaining members