• 13 Dec 2021
    • 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Online

    Infrastructure Bill Overview - Member Only Event (free)

      What does it mean for the dam and levee industry now that the $1,2 trillion infrastructure bill has passed? Join USSD on December 13th at 11am MT for a free, one-hour, members-only webinar with Jeff Leahey, Esq., Vice President of Strategic Marketing Innovations (SMI). Hear an overview of the bill, where the funding is going and impacts to dams and levees.

      Leahey worked extensively on the hydro grants programs of the bill (i.e. Sections 242, 243 and the new Section 247 programs for hydro production, hydro efficiency increases, and now grid resiliency, environmental improvements, and dam safety). These total over $750 million with another $800 million in the bill for dam safety and $800 million more for dam removal funding.

    About the Presenter

    Jeff Leahey, Esq. is an experienced government affairs professional, who has worked in Washington, DC for 20 years. With a background in energy, environment, and natural resource issues, he uses his experience, skills, and contacts to advance clients’ legislative and regulatory policy goals. He currently works as a vice president for SMI, a Washington, DC-based consulting firm that has been assisting organizations with government relations and strategy for over 25 years.

    Prior to joining the SMI team, Jeff served as the Executive Vice President for Governmental Affairs at the National Hydropower Association representing NHA before the Congress, Administration, and federal agencies on various matters including climate and clean energy policy, tax policy, R&D funding, and many others. Jeff has testified before Congress, drafted legislative policy, and developed comments on regulatory and administrative proposals. He has developed and implemented successful lobbying campaigns, led complex policy negotiations, and overseen public affairs messaging initiatives. As a senior staff member of the organization, Jeff also carried out management and programmatic responsibilities for the association.

    Jeff currently serves as a Board member of NHA and in leadership on the Board of the National Energy Resources Organization (NERO). He is an attorney and graduate of Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, MA. He is also a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, MO, with a BA in biology and political science.

    • 25 Jan 2022
    • 9:00 AM
    • 28 Jan 2022
    • 5:00 PM
    • Online

    Structural Behavior of Dams

    Online Workshop - 24 PDHs

    Bruce Brand’s “Structural Behavior of Dams” is a 4-day course on Dam Engineering.  It is at the same time very theoretical and very practical.  Theory is presented and then applied to real-world dam engineering situations.

    Bruce originally developed the course for FERC engineers, but now is offering it to the dam engineering community.  The target audience is experienced engineers - it would not be appropriate for novices.  Classes are small; no more than 12 students.


    Beam Theory with an emphasis on geometric non-linearities

    Safety Factor

    Loads on Dams

         Steady State Hydrodynamic


         Lateral Earth


         Follower Forces

         Seismic Loads

    Analysis Methods

    FEA Background




         Surge Tank Example

         Wave Radiating Boundaries

    Fracture Mechanics

    Rock Mechanics

    Case Histories

    Arch Dams

    Gravity Arches

    Slab and Buttress Topics

    In addition to instruction, Bruce provides the following software:

    2DSTAB               Gravity Dam Analysis

    TGRIB                  Tainter gate Analysis

    VF2D                   2 Dim. Non-Linear FEA

    ARVAR                3 Dim. Non-linear FEA

    DAMGEN            Gravity Dam Mesh Generator

    ARCHMKR          Arch Dam Mesh Generator

    For more information or to register click here: USSD's Learning Center. 

    • 07 Feb 2022
    • 9:00 AM
    • 11 Feb 2022
    • 3:00 PM
    • Online
    • 70

    Dam Safety Training

    Register on the Learning Center at


    Despite the criticism that Potential Failure Mode Analysis (PFMA) has received following the Oroville Dam spillway incident, it has been viewed as a standard of care for dam safety evaluations in the U.S., and with some possible improvements to be more expansive, is expected to be so into the future.  Many PFMA’s have been performed for state- and federally-regulated dams, and as a result of that investment, considerable knowledge has been obtained about vulnerabilities associated with specific dams.  As the federal dam owners have embraced risk assessment as the next step in ensuring that dam safety risks are properly evaluated and managed, it is expected that private and state dam owners will benefit from following suit.  Indeed, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has recently adopted Risk Informed Decision Making (RIDM) as part of their engineering guidelines.  The intent of this training is to leverage and improve on the significant investment that has already been made in performing PFMA’s, and use this information to perform semi-quantitative risk assessments (SQRA) for individual dams or dam portfolios.  These assessments can then be used as a screening tool to identify PFM’s and overall risks which are not likely to meet Tolerable Risk Guidelines (TRG) based on life safety, and as a prioritization tool for reducing risk, performing additional investigations or studies, or performing quantitative risk assessments.  A simplified method for categorizing additional consequences such as those incurred at Oroville is also presented in this training.

    Eligible for 22 PDHs

    Target Audience

    The target audience for this training is dam owners and regulators who are familiar with the PFMA process, and are wanting to move these types of evaluations into the risk arena.  This would include FERC licensees and their consultants; private, municipal, and state dam owners; and state and federal dam safety regulators.

    Content and Commitment

    This course will take place over a week and  will cover review of the PFMA process, TRG’s, using the PFMA results to perform a SQRA (including additional required input and how to obtain it), estimating consequences including but not limited to life safety, assessing the results, building the dam safety case, and prioritizing risk reduction actions.  

    For more information and to register,

    visit USSD's Learning Center.

    • 11 Apr 2022
    • 8:00 AM (PDT)
    • 15 Apr 2022
    • 5:00 PM (PDT)
    • San Diego, CA

    Join USSD and colleagues in beautiful San Diego at the Town and Country Resort, for what will be the first face-to-face conference in two years!

    The USSD Technical Program Committee is putting the finishing touches on an excellent program with over 100 technical sessions, two plenaries, a Legacy Lecture, and six workshops.  Stay through the week and register for an outstanding field tour being planned for San Vicente Dam and Lake Murray on Friday.

    New to the program is Women Who Give a Dam which showcases accomplishments of women in the industry, It includes a technical session followed by a luncheon with a keynote speaker.

    Don't forget to pack your workout gear and running shoes!  A 5k FUNds run/walk AND fitness classes are scheduled to raise funds for the USSD Scholarship Program.

    5k FUNds Run/Walk Registration

    Morning Fitness Registration



     Technical Program Chair:   Joe Goldstein, Geosyntec

     Technical Program Vice-Chair: Ed Toms, AECOM

     Conference email:

Past events

16 Nov 2021 Performance Based Earthquake Engineering and Fragility of Dams
08 Nov 2021 Role of Instrumentation in a Dam Safety Program
03 Nov 2021 Reviewing HEC-RAS 2-D Models: Pretty Colorful Animations are Not Always Accurate
26 Oct 2021 Probabilistic Flood Hazard Analysis
04 Oct 2021 Leveraging Potential Failure Mode Analyses to Perform Semi-Quantitative Risk Assessments
04 Oct 2021 2021 Fall Workshop Series
10 May 2021 2021 USSD Conference
22 Apr 2021 InSAR – Dam Safety Considerations and Applications
22 Mar 2021 2021 Leveraging PFMA to Perform SQRA Virtual Workshop
12 Jan 2021 Just Go with the Flow: A Phased Approach to Understanding Your Spillway
15 Dec 2020 Introduction to the Engineer of Record for Tailings Dams
09 Dec 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Regional Analysis Tools for Calculating the Magnitude of Extreme Floods
08 Dec 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Reclamation Consequences Estimating Methodology (RCEM)
18 Nov 2020 Seismic Thresholds for Embankment Dams & Their Return Periods
10 Nov 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Instrumentation and Performance Monitoring of Dams
27 Oct 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Introduction and Overview of Rock Scour
21 Oct 2020 What the f-N? Clarifying Misconceptions about Risk Plots
20 Oct 2020 Evaluating Complex Systems as Part of a Semi-Quantitative Risk Assessment
12 Oct 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Leveraging PFMA to Perform SQRA Webinar
07 Oct 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Understanding Potential Life Loss from Flooding - Shining a Light into the Black Box that is HEC-LifeSim
06 Oct 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series: Introduction to Probabilistic Dam Breach Modeling
01 Oct 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series
01 Oct 2020 Asphalt Core Embankment Dams (ACED) – Why, Where and How?
11 Sep 2020 Specialized Communication for Engineers - #3 The Business Skill of Likability
10 Sep 2020 Specialized Communication for Engineers - #2 Culture-building Conversations
09 Sep 2020 Specialized Communication for Engineers - #1 Crisis Communication
28 Aug 2020 Advanced Communication for Engineers- #3 Build Your Tribe
27 Aug 2020 Advanced Communication for Engineers- #2 Prepare for Difficult Conversations
26 Aug 2020 Advanced Communication for Engineers- #1 Executive Presence for Online Meetings
21 Aug 2020 Communication Fundamentals for Engineers- #3 Winning Presentations
20 Aug 2020 Communication Fundamentals for Engineers- #2 Be Heard!
19 Aug 2020 Communication Fundamentals for Engineers-#1 Communicate with Anyone!
02 Jun 2020 Professional Ethics Webinar
20 Apr 2020 Sponsor a Student at the Conference
20 Apr 2020 2020 USSD Conference and Exhibition
29 Oct 2019 Leveraging Potential Failure Mode Analyses to Perform Semi-Quantitative Risk Assessments
09 Jul 2019 Static Liquefaction Workshop
14 May 2019 FEMA National Dam Safety Program: Rapid Dam Break, Flood and Consequence Assessment: Preparedness, Response, Recovery and Mitigation Risk Assessments
08 Apr 2019 2019 USSD Conference and Exhibition
30 Apr 2018 2018 USSD Conference and Exhibition
20 Sep 2017 The Challenges of Dams in Cold Climates
14 Sep 2017 Lessons Learned from Recent Tailings Dam Failures: A Path Forward
07 Sep 2016 2nd International Seminar on Dam Protection Against Overtopping

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9975 Wadsworth Pkwy., K-2,145 • Westminster, CO 80021 - USA

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