dams

Dam Registration Fees

Owners of dams capable of impounding more than 500,000 cubic feet of water are responsible for the payment of the annual fee based on the hazard class of the dam. The Dam Safety Program has an active program of dam safety inspections that will be supported with these fees in combination with general funds supported by all Vermont taxpayers. This will ensure continued service to the regulated community in Vermont and to fulfill DEC’s mission: to preserve, enhance, restore and conserve Vermont’s natural resources and protect human health for the benefit of this and future generations.

Before You Buy A Dam

It is important that the prospective dam owner gather as much information as possible about an existing dam before making a decision on acquiring it. The storage of large amounts of water is a hazardous activity. It exposes the owner to tort liability.  The owner’s best and only defense is that the owner has done all that could be expected in terms of operation, maintenance, routine inspection, and hazard mitigation including emergency action planning.

Vermont Watershed Grants

Conservation license plates Heavy equipment working on Wells River dam removalVermonters have an opportunity to protect and restore watersheds through the Vermont Watershed Grants Program. Half of the proceeds derived from the sale of the Vermont Conservation License Plate go towards funding the Vermont Watershed Grants Program.

Unsafe Dam State Revolving Fund

The Department administers an Unsafe Dam Revolving Fund, a special fund, pursuant to adopted Rules to provide funding to municipalities, nonprofit entities, and private individuals, for the reconstruction, repair, removal, breaching, draining, or other action necessary to reduce the threat of a dam or portion of a dam determined to be unsafe pursuant to section 1095 of 10 VSA Chapter 43.

Dam Removal

Dam SiteDam removal has in recent years been used as a tool to restore rivers while addressing the on-going problems of aging, and deteriorating, infrastructure. Of the 1,200 known dams in Vermont, many no longer serve a useful purpose and impose legal and financial burdens on their owners. In some cases, removal of these dams makes sense for economic, public safety, ecological or social reasons.

Hydroelectric Power

Dam Spillway

There are approximately 85 hydroelectric generation facilities operating in Vermont and on waters bordering other states. Under state law, the Agency of Natural Resources is charged with ensuring that these projects are operated so that the state's rivers and lakes - which are public trust resources - continue to meet Vermont's water quality standards

Streamflow Protection

Protection of instream flow is a critical aspect of managing our waters in a sustainable manner. While the benefits of flow regulation – hydroelectric power, flood control, water for numerous purposes – are obvious, the impacts often are not. In Vermont, we have focused much attention on maintaining adequate minimum flows to protect aquatic habitat and stream ecology, but other aspects of flow protection are equally important.

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