Removal Steps


Every dam is different, but removal follows a generally predictable process that includes an initial assessment, community engagement, engineering design and permitting. Check out our "roadmap" below.

Basic Dam Removal Steps

  • symbolInitial Assessment: Is the dam a good candidate for removal?
    • Determine potential benefits of removal: reduce upstream and downstream flood risk, restore aquatic habitat, eliminate barrier to fish movement, etc.
    • Identify the dam owner and determine interest in removing the dam
    • Determine current and potential uses of the dam
    • Determine potential impacts to nearby infrastructure: roads, bridges and utilities
    • Assess community support for the project
  • symbolIdentify project partners and assemble project team
    • Identify partners who can provide funding and technical assistance or assist with permitting and community outreach
    • Select a project manager
    • Assemble a team that will guide the project
    • Determine if professional engineering assistance will be needed and hire an experienced engineer
    • Conduct a site visit
  • symbolGather information for preliminary project design
    • Gather existing information, complete site survey and mapping, identify any sediment management and historic preservation issues
    • Determine state and federal permitting requirements (most projects require a state permit issued by Vermont ANR and a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
    • Develop preliminary project plans and cost estimates
  • symbolHold stakeholder/community meetings
    • Widely share preliminary plans with people in the local community (especially neighbors) and other stakeholders
    • Meet on-site and individually with those most interested in the project
  • symbolDevelop final engineering design, apply for permits, identify funding sources
    • Finalize engineering design for sediment management during removal, infrastructure protection, channel restoration and dam removal
    • Work with your engineer to develop project plans and specifications, project sequencing, staging areas and site access
    • Develop an Engineers Cost Estimate for construction
  • symbolTake out the dam
    • Hire a contractor and schedule the removal
    • Contact local and regional media to cover the removal
    • Remove the damĀ 
  • symbolRestoration
    • Plant native trees and shrubs along the bank to reduce erosion and promote biodiversity
    • As the restored river reach stabilizes, revegetate as necessary
    • Set up photographic monitoring points below and above the dam to monitor the rivers change post-dam removal and collect data