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Little dams, big problems: The legal and policy issues of nonjurisdictional dams

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Abstract Most of the United States' 2.5 million dams are not under the jurisdiction of any public agency. These small (under 6 ft [1.83 m] tall) nonjurisdictional dams, unregulated and not inventoried anywhere, endanger public safety and degrade riparian ecosystems. Their problems are increasing as structures age and storm events become more violent. Property owners can be held liable for problems at dams. Through several policy changes and legal actions, states can vastly improve the situation. States should consider expanded jurisdiction over small dams, a program of inventorying and mapping all dams in state waterways, owner education and outreach, and shared resources to allow for improved public safety and river restoration through best dam management or dam removal practices. This article is categorized under: Human Water > Water Governance Engineering Water > Planning Water Water and Life > Stresses and Pressures on Ecosystems

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Human Water > Water Governance
Water and Life > Stresses and Pressures on Ecosystems
Engineering Water > Planning Water

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