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DNR Question of the week: Reasons to remove old dams

Q: What are the reasons for removing dams, and what role does the DNR play in this process?

A: Some older dams no longer provide sufficient benefits to compensate for their public safety hazards, environmental damages, or repair and maintenance costs. In these cases, the state may provide grants for removal. Removing or altering these dams can restore stream function and stability, improve water quality, increase property values, and reduce drowning risks associated with the dams.

The DNR gets involved with permitting, project development and funding of dam removals, depending on who owns the dam. DNR engineers identify dams that pose a safety hazard, and DNR biologists identify dams that have a critical impact on fish and wildlife populations.


Jason Boyle, state dam safety engineer