Minnesota Statutes, Section 103G.511, authorize a state dam safety grant program. Grants to local units of government may be made for dam repair, reconstruction, or removal. Funds used for these grants come from state bonding appropriations through legislative action. In each odd-numbered year, the DNR submits a priority list of dams in need of repair, reconstruction, or removal to the legislature.
Some older dams no longer provide sufficient benefits to compensate for their public safety hazards, environmental damages, or repair and maintenance costs. In these cases, the state may provide up to 100% grants for removal.
Among the initiatives of the Ecological and Water Resources Division is stream restoration. Removal or modification of dams and restoration of stream function and stability are designed to eliminate safety hazards and improve property values, fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, water availability and recreational value.
What projects are eligible?
Eligible projects are dam reconstruction, repair, and removal.
Who may apply?
Applications may be made by cities, counties, townships, and watershed districts.
What is given priority in the grant process?
Priority is given to 1) the improvement of important or hazardous dams and 2) the removal of abandoned and nonfunctional dams.
How much money is available in a grant?
Grants may be given for reimbursement of costs of up to 50% for repairs and up to 100% for removals. Amounts have ranged from $25,000 to $1,000,000.