This course introduces principles and practices of identifying problems in existing earthen dams that are the result of uncontrolled plant activity. Some common misconceptions concerning plant growth on dams will be presented. This course summarizes a comprehensive survey of plant impacts on earthen dams across the United States and outlines the steps necessary to protect a dam from potentially serious damage from the growth of trees and woody vegetation. The results of the survey indicate that there is too often a wide gap between the known best practices of plant management relative to dam safety and the perceived acceptable level of maintenance by many dam owners.
This course demonstrates that some animal activity can potentially damage earthen dams beyond repair, and emphasizes the concept that delayed control and repair of animal activity usually results in increased total costs of repair. There are about 77,000 dams in the United States. Many of them are nearing the end of their expected lives. Proper maintenance and control of problems associated with animals can extend the useful life of many dams.
This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end and is intended to provide 10 hours of professional development.
Course Content Author: FEMA – Federal Emergency Management Agency
At the conclusion of this course, the student will have learned or been exposed to the following:
Awareness of the characteristics and seriousness of dam safety problems associated with plant impacts on earthen dams
A higher level of understanding of dam safety issues associated with plant impacts on earthen dams by reviewing current damage control policies
State-of-practice guidance for remediation design considerations associated with damage associated with plant impacts on earthen dams
Rational and state-of-practice techniques and procedures for management ofdesirable vegetation on earthen dams
Useful statistics on dams damaged by plant growth
A collective view of state and federal dam safety officials
The different methods for repairing damage caused by plants
The recommended methods controlling different species of plants
How to recognize different species of plants
The use of construction methods for control of plant growth
The relationship between well compacted soil and plant growth
Some rules of thumb for analysis of dam safety conditions
The 5 safety inspection and evaluation zones
The pros and cons of regular maintenance versus long term remediation
The compounding affect of plant growth attracting undesirable wildlife
The compounding physical and economic effects of delayed maintenance
Guidelines for estimating costs of maintenance and remediation
The critical need to maintain plant growth in a timely manner