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Dams Sector Overview

The Dams Sector comprises dam projects, navigation locks, levees, hurricane barriers, mine tailings impoundments, and other similar water retention and/or control facilities. Dams are vital to the nation’s infrastructure and provide a wide range of economic, environmental, and social benefits, including hydroelectric power, river navigation, water supply, flood control, and recreation. There are more than 82,000 dams in the United States; approximately 65% are privately owned and more than 85% are regulated by State Dam Safety Offices.

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The Dams Sector-Specific Agency

The Dams Sector-Specific Agency (SSA) is responsible for coordinating activities related to preparedness, protection, and resilience for the dam projects, navigation locks, levees, hurricane barriers, mine tailings, and other industrial waste impoundments, as well as other water retention and control facilities that comprise the Dams Sector. There are more than 82,000 dams, more than 100,000 miles of levees, and roughly 1,500 mine tailings and other industrial waste impoundments in the United States, the vast majority of which are privately owned. In addition, the inland waterway system includes 236 federally owned locks.

The Dams SSA Publications, Training and Resources website provides a detailed description of the resources that are available.

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Dams Sector Partnership Model

Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC)
The Dams Sector operates under the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC) framework, which facilitates effective coordination between federal infrastructure protection programs and infrastructure protection activities of State, local, tribal, and territorial governments, and the private sector. CIPAC provides a forum that allows government and private sector partners to engage in a broad spectrum of activities to support and coordinate critical infrastructure protection. The CIPAC framework consists of a Sector Coordinating Council (SCC) and Government Coordinating Council (GCC).

Dams Sector Coordinating Council
The Dams SCC serves as the private sector interface with the federal government on issues related to the security of dams, locks, and levees. Its primary purpose is to determine the nature of risks posed against sector assets so that appropriate and timely information as well as mitigation strategies can be provided to the entities responsible for the operation and protection of those assets. The SCC also serves as the principal asset owner interface with other critical infrastructure sectors, as well as with the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, other government agencies, and the GCC.

Dams Sector Government Coordinating Council
The Dams Sector GCC acts as the government counterpart and partner to the SCC to plan, implement, and execute sector-wide security programs for the sector’s assets. It comprises representatives from across various levels of government (federal, state, local, and tribal), including federal owners and operators, and state and federal regulators of sector assets. The Office of Infrastructure Protection within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as the Dams Sector-Specific Agency, serves as the GCC Chair. Its primary activities include

  • Identifying issues that require public-private coordination and communication
  • Bringing together diverse federal and state interests to identify and develop collaborative strategies that advance critical infrastructure protection
  • Assessing needs and gaps in plans, programs, policies, procedures, and strategies
  • Acknowledging and recognizing successful programs and practices
  • Leveraging complementary resources within government and between government and industry.

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Dams Sector Information Sharing Environment

The Dams Sector Information Sharing Environment (ISE) is comprised of trusted and vetted sector partners. Dams Sector ISE members include owners and operators, trade associations, government agencies, and companies. Member entities designate trusted agents as their official representatives within the ISE.

An important aspect of the Dams Sector ISE is the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN). HSIN is an information- sharing network that allows Dams Sector partners to collect and disseminate information among Federal, State, and local agencies, and the private sector.

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To obtain more information or to become part of the Dams Sector ISE or HSIN, please contact the Dams Sector-Specific Agency at:

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