Dams are an important part of the infrastructure of Minnesota. They maintain lake levels and impound water for flood control, power production and water supply.
There are more than 1,250 dams in Minnesota; 800 are public dams, and the state owns over 430 of the public dams. Most of the public dams are more than 50 years old and require ongoing or emergency repairs and reconstruction to maintain their structural integrity. Through state bonding, the DNR spends approximately $1 million annually on repairs and reconstruction. An estimated $114 million is needed over the next 20 years to assure public dams remain in a safe and usable condition.
Dams fail due to improper operation, inadequate maintenance and design and unusually large floods.