Dam Safety Program: Iowa

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Paul District
Published April 9, 2024
Updated: April 9, 2024


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Dam Safety Program can be traced to the National Dam Inspection Act of 1972 (Public Law 92-367). This has been updated numerous times, including the National Dam Safety Program Act of 2020 (PL 116-260) and is found in 33 USC 467. Most elements of the program still closely abide by the Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety (1979), with the most notable development in the last decade related to risk assessments to better prioritize actions and communicate the safety status of dams. The overlying purpose of dam safety is to ensure the integrity and viability of dams such that they do not present unacceptable risks to the public, property, and the environment.


The cornerstone of the Dam Safety Program revolves around inspections and risk assessments. Inspections include a routine program of surveillance and monitoring that includes soundings, surveys, special instrumentation, diving, and camera inspections. Most dams owned and operated by the Corps have been inspected on 5-year intervals. The inspections and risk assessments inform and help prioritize repair and rehabilitation needs.


The locks and dams are in the process of a series of programmatic upgrades that include new miter gates with related anchorages in the operating locks, sheetpile crossings in the auxillary locks, grouting of below water rock cribs in the guidewalls with upgrading the tow haulage rail, and adding end cells at some of the guidewalls. At Lock 10, sheetpile was installed in the Aux lock in 2022. The miter gates are already fabricated and scheduled for installation in 2024. Lock 10 was dewatered for maintenance in 1991 and 2011, with next dewatering tentative for 2031. Painting the spillway gates is considered for future budget requests.

Dams in St. Paul District Portfolio

Federally authorized, operated and maintained:

Mississippi River – Lock and Dam 10 (Guttenberg, Iowa)

Also see the National Inventory of Dams for more information at: