Given the failure of not one, but two, dams in Michigan this week, it seems appropriate to remind everyone that in Fiscal Year 2020 (FY2020), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was appropriated $10 million to continue its Rehabilitation of High Hazard Potential Dams (HHPD) Grant Program. And, that a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for this grant cycle is now available online at

The HHPD grant program, per FEMA, provides technical, planning, design, and construction assistance in the form of grants for the rehabilitation of eligible high hazard potential dams. Eligible high hazard potential dams are defined as non-federal dams:

  • located in a state or territory with a dam safety program;
  • classified as ‘high hazard potential’ by the dam safety agency in the state or territory where the dam is located;
  • with a current, approved emergency action plan by the state or territorial dam safety agency; and
  • located in a state or territory which determines either of these criteria – the dam fails to meet minimum dam safety standards of the state; and the dam poses an unacceptable risk to the public

There are now 90,000 dams nationwide, and a high number of them have received less than favorable Dam Safety Action Classification (DSAC) ratings from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). In fact, as of 2016, the federal government said there were approximately 15,000 U.S. dams classified as having high-hazard potential (HHP), meaning that their failure could result in loss of life.

If you’re associated with a state or territory with an enacted dam safety program and believe it could benefit from the HHPD grant, know that the State Administrative Agency, or an equivalent state agency, is eligible to apply. You/they can learn more by taking part in a FEMA-hosted webinar on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. The link to join can be found here.

Additional information about the HHPD grant program is available at:

And, information about the National Dam Safety Program, in general, can be found at: