Debris Dam Survey; Inventory and Characterization

The 1884 Sawyer decision mandated that mining activities had to build debris dams in the Sierra waterways to contain materials discharged during mining. These debris dams are now backfilled with sediment and debris that is likely contaminated with mercury; metals and toxins. The condition and level of contamination of these dams is unclear. This project will locate and characterize all existing dams within the Upper Feather River watershed allowing for prioritization for removal.
In addition to the existing dams; former dam sites will also be cataloged; where available; and characterized as potential remediation projects depending on prioritization levels and residual impacts.
The evaluation tool will be developed in collaboration with the partners listed above. Samples will be taken from the dam sites for contamination testing. Scoring will be used to identify the sites which could produce the greatest negative impact from a dam failure. Once identified; the prioritization list of existing and failed dam sites will be utilized to guide the remediation of these sites.
Sponsoring Agency
Trout Unlimited
Primary Contact
Mike Caltagirone
Contact Email
Project Number
Matching Funds
None listed
Total Cost
DAC Benefit
DWR Resource Management Strategies
Conveyance - regional/local, Drinking water treatment and distribution, Ecosystem restoration, Flood management, Forest management, Groundwater remediation/aquifer remediation, Pollution prevention, Sediment management, Surface storage - regional/local, Water-dependent recreation, Watershed management
Project Objectives
Address water resources and wastewater needs of DACs and Native Americans, Coordinate management of recharge areas and protect groundwater, Effectively address climate change adaptation and/or mitigation in water resources management, Improve efficiency and reliability of water supply and infrastructure, Protect, restore, and enhance the quality of surface and groundwater resources, Restore natural hydrologic functions, Work with DWR to develop strategies and actions for the operation of SWP facilities
Project Status
Potential Benefits
Assist the region in adapting to effects of climate change, Disadvantaged Communities, Drought Preparedness, Environmental Justice, Native American Tribal Communities
Project Owner

To the owner of Debris Dam Survey; Inventory and Characterization

1 resource

  • FMW-19 1 file Added 27 Aug 2016 Debris dam survey, inventory and characterization