Upcoming events

    • 04 Oct 2021
    • 8:00 AM
    • 11 Nov 2021
    • 5:00 PM
    • Lowry Conference Center, 1061 Akron Way Bldg 697, Denver, CO 80230


    2021 Fall Workshop Series - Denver, CO

    Due to the increasing COVID situation, workshops are transitioning to a virtual format. 

     Professional Development Hours (PDHs) available.

    Leveraging PFMA to Perform SQRA - Mon thru Fri, Oct. 4-8, 10:30 am - 3:00 pm MDT Eligible for 20 PDHs

    Probabilistic Flood Hazard Analysis - Tues thru Wed, Oct. 26-27, 9:00 am - 1:00 pm MDT, Eligible for 8 PDHs

    Performance Based Earthquake Engineering and Fragility of Dams - TBD afternoon Eligible for 4 PDHs

    Role of Instrumentation in a Dam Safety Program - Mon thru Thurs, Nov. 8-11, Eligible for 16 PDHs

    Reviewing HEC-RAS 2-D Models: Pretty Colorful Animations are Not Always Accurate - Wed, Nov. 3, Eligible for 4 PDHs

      Cancellations must be received via email to info@ussdams.org  at least 2 weeks prior to start of workshop webinar, in order to receive a refund. Substitutions are accepted up until the day before workshop webinar.
    • 04 Oct 2021
    • 9:30 AM
    • 08 Oct 2021
    • 2:30 PM
    • Online
    • 64

    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.  

    Registration and Cancellation Policy

    No registration is confirmed until full payment is received. Seating is limited and only those with paid status are guaranteed a workshop seat.  No refunds or credit if cancelled after 9/27/21


    • 21 Oct 2021
    • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Online

    Filter and Drain Design and Construction Details

    Eligible for 2 PDHs

    Guidance on gradation design of filters for dams is available from several Federal agencies and is widely used, although often not fully understood. However, successful design and construction of filters and drains is dependent not only on appropriate gradation design, but also on a number of practicalities – filter compaction methods and requirements; filter and drain zone dimensions and placement methods; material sources for filters and drains; filter fines content; drain pipe configurations; drain pipe materials; among others. Sources of definitive guidance information on many of these practicalities are more limited and less widely understood and applied. This presentation will cover best practices for these topics and how filter design and construction details can influence the evaluation of internal erosion risk.


    John W. France, JWF Consulting, LLC

    Moderated by Joels Malama, USBR

    Register Here

    • 18 Nov 2021
    • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    • Online

    Reservoir Sedimentation and Sustainable Management

    Eligible for 2 PDHs

    Ever wonder what happens when a reservoir reaches the end of its sediment design life? Ever thought about what it would take to replace the current water storage benefits of a reservoir? The problems and solutions to reservoir sedimentation will be described in the USSD webinar on reservoir sedimentation and sustainable management. This webinar is for dam operators, consultants, and decision makers who may not have expertise in sedimentation, but who are interested in sustaining reservoir storage capacity. In 2018, the USSD Board of Directors passed a resolution that “encourages all dam owners to develop long-term reservoir sediment-management plans for the reservoirs that they own or manage by 2030.” (https://www.ussdams.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Sustainable-Reservoir-Sediment-Management-Plan.pdf)

    All rivers naturally transport sediment (clay, silt, sand, and gravel) and reservoirs tend to trap this sediment, reducing water storage capacity. In addition, continued reservoir sedimentation will eventually threaten the reliable operation of dam outlets, reservoir water intakes, boat ramps and marinas. There are no early warning signs of sedimentation problems. The first symptom may be a dam outlet or water intake plugged with woody debris and sediment.

    Sustainable sediment management begins with monitoring, normally through repeat bathymetric surveys of the remaining storage capacity. Management solutions include reducing sediment yields from the upstream watershed, passing inflowing sediments through or around the reservoir, or removing previously deposited sediments from the reservoir. Economic analysis of reservoir sedimentation management needs to compare all costs and benefits associated with each alternative. Although some people assume that ignoring sedimentation is the cheapest option, the cost of sustainable sediment management can be less than the cost of upstream channel aggradation (increased groundwater and flood stage), downstream channel degradation (erosion of habitat, infrastructure, and property), diminishing reservoir storage capacity, eventual dam decommissioning, and the construction of replacement reservoir storage.

     2-hour webinar, including three 30-minute presentations, followed by a 30-minute question and answer session


    George W. Annandale, George W. Annandale, Inc.

    Gregory L. Morris, GLM Engineering

    Paul Boyd, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    Tim Randle, USBR ret.

    Register Here

    • 11 Apr 2022
    • 8:30 AM (PDT)
    • 14 Apr 2022
    • 5:00 PM (PDT)
    • San Diego, CA

    Call for Abstracts - Closed

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

    Technical Program Chair:   Joe Goldstein, Geosyntec

     Technical Program Vice-Chair: Ed Toms, AECOM

    Conference email:  2022conference@ussdams.org


    For More Information

Past events

26 Aug 2021 Instrumentation Data Analysis Tips and Tricks
22 Jul 2021 Data Acquisition and Visualization
24 Jun 2021 Underwater Inspection Technologies and Construction Techniques for Dams
10 May 2021 2021 USSD Conference
22 Apr 2021 InSAR – Dam Safety Considerations and Applications
25 Mar 2021 Low-head Dams: Explained, Purposes, and Inventory
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 Asphalt Core Embankment Dams (ACED) – Why, Where and How?
01 Oct 2020 2020 Fall Workshop Series
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
10 Apr 2019 2019 USSD Scholarship 5K FUNds Run/Walk
10 Apr 2019 Partner in Education Donor 1 Free 5K Runner/Walker Registrations Only
08 Apr 2019 2019 USSD Conference and Exhibition
01 Jul 2018 2018 ICOLD 86th Annual Meeting Vienna
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
03 Jul 2017 ICOLD 85th Annual Meeting
03 Apr 2017 USSD 2017 Annual Conference and Exhibition
26 Oct 2016 ICOLD National Committees of the Americas International Symposium on Safety of Dams
07 Sep 2016 2nd International Seminar on Dam Protection Against Overtopping
27 Jun 2016 Sixth International Symposium on Hydraulic Structures (ISHS 2016)
27 Jun 2016 International Symposium on the Mechanics of Internal Erosion for Dams and Levees

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