Impacts and guidance for plants & animals on earthen dams

One of the most frequent maintenance tasks of earthen dam ownership will be managing plants and animals on the dam crest, embankments, and spillways.

The dam crest, embankments, and spillways should be kept free of all woody vegetation and trees. The dam crest and embankments should have a covering of grass or rock to prevent erosion. Grass needs to be kept trimmed to ankle length.

Burrowing animals can also impact earthen dams. Keeping the dam vegetation well maintained will discourage burrowing animals, as they do not have cover from predators. If you find burrow holes, backfill them with compact soil and reseed if necessary. Burrow holes need to be backfilled regularly to discourage animals and to maintain the integrity of the dam.

Complete guidance on the impacts of plants and animals on earthen dams can be found in the following technical manuals: