Information on Unsafe Conditions at Specific Dams Located on Federal Lands

Gao ID: RCED-83-209 August 1, 1983

In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on safety deficiencies identified at four dams on National Park Service and Forest Service lands, the status of agency actions to correct the identified safety deficiencies, and the reasons for failure to take corrective actions.

GAO found that, although Federal officials have been aware of the unsafe conditions at these dams for at least 4 years, only minimal corrective action has been taken to repair the dams. Interim actions have not been taken to diminish the dangers posed by the dams pending their repair. The Park Service has not taken this action because, while it agrees with the assessment of the danger the dams present, it does not believe that the conditions justify immediate repair.Furthermore, it does not believe that interim action, such as lowering the level of the lake, would diminish the dangers enough to justify reducing the benefits provided by the dams. The Forest Service has not required the private owner of one dam to take all of the recommended actions because the regional forester decided in 1980 that it would not be fair to hold owners responsible until Federal or State funding became available to prove the extent of the unsafe conditions. Forest Service officials agreed to review the adequacy of this decision after GAO brought it to their attention.

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