Remove a Dam

​Decommissioning (removal) of dams is appropriate and preferred when the dam no longer provides value to the owner or users. Each dam removal project is unique and can involve multiple stakeholder groups and require authorizations or permits from multiple programs within the Department as well as other local and federal entities and coordination with community stakeholders. The Dam Safety Division has developed Dam Safety Policy Memorandum #6 – Dam Decommissioning​  to provide general concepts to be considered when planning and executing a dam decommissioning project. 

Dam repairs, and removals can be costly. The Department encourages dam owners to develop a Financial Action Plan (FAP), including a rainy day fund, to ensure that owners are prepared for long-term maintenance costs, significant repairs, or removal of dams. Currently there are no State funding sources specifically dedicated to removal of dams. However, a number of State and National resources exist that may provide financial assistance to dam owners if the proposed project aligns with the funds objectives. 

State Resources

Organization Program Name Link
Maryland Water Quality Financing Administration

Water Quality Revolving Loan Program
Bay Restoration Fund/Grant Program
Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund

Chesapeake & Coastal Service Funding Opportunities (Various)
Chesapeake Bay Trust Grant Programs  
Maryland Sea Grant College, University of Maryland Maryland Watershed Restoration Assistance Directory (Various)
Sustainable Maryland Grants Portal (Various)
Environmental Finance Center at University of Maryland Various resources for financial and technical training​

National Resources

Organization Program Name Link
Federal Emergency Management Administration High Hazard Potential Dams Grant Program
Natural Resources Conservation Agency Water Finance Clearinghouse
Environmental Protection Agency Green Infrastructure Funding Opportunities (Various)
Water Finance Clearing House
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund

The United Stated Society on Dams published the Guidelines for Dam Decommissioning Projects​ in 2015. This document provides dam owners, dam engineers, and other professionals with the information necessary to help guide decision-making when considering dam removal as a project alternative. These Guidelines may also help in the development and execution of a successful dam decommissioning project, which would include all necessary activities associated with the removal of a dam and restoration of the river, from project planning through design and implementation.

The non-profit organization American Rivers has developed the following documents that pertain to dam removals across the United States:


Contact Information

For more information, you may call us at (410) 537-3623 ​​​or reach us at our mailing address:

Dam Safety Program
Water and Science Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment

1800 Washington Boulevard, Ste. 440
Baltimore, Maryland 21230-1708


Human Trafficking GET HELP

National Human Trafficking Hotline - 24/7 Confidential

1-888-373-7888 233733 More Information on human trafficking in Maryland

Customer Service Promise

The State of Maryland pledges to provide constituents, businesses, customers, and stakeholders with friendly and courteous, timely and responsive, accurate and consistent, accessible and convenient, and truthful and transparent services.

Take Our Survey

Help Stop Fraud in State Government

The Maryland General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Audits operates a toll-free fraud hotline to receive allegations of fraud and/or abuse of State government resources. Information reported to the hotline in the past has helped to eliminate certain fraudulent activities and protect State resources.

More Information