Implementation of a natural resources conservation service watershed dam program – Gwinnett County, Georgia
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The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Conservation Program constructed more than 11,000 flood control dams in 47 states since 1948. Three hundred fifty-seven (357) of those dams were constructed in the State of Georgia. Fourteen (14) of these dams were constructed in Gwinnett County between 1965 and 1980. Gwinnett County’s watershed flood control dams provide valuable resources such as flood protection in downstream floodplains, protect roads and bridges, increase property values, provide recreational opportunities, provide fish and wildlife habitats, improve water quality, and protect public utility infrastructure. However, development downstream of the dams has resulted in twelve (12) of the fourteen (14) NRCS dams in the County to be classified as high hazard Category I Dams. Gwinnett County recognizes that the flood control dams are a vital part of our Storm Water Management Program and have initiated a program to bring them into compliance with Georgia Safe Dams Program standards for Category I dams. Implementation of that program has helped Gwinnett County to understand that keys to making it successful are operation and maintenance procedures, understanding the problems and consequences, selecting qualified consultants, long range planning and budgeting, obtaining the support of elected officials, and working closely with the NRCS and cooperating agencies.