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Review of the Devastating Impacts of Woody Plants on Earthen Dams

Jeffrey Havelin, PE

Damage to earthen dams and dam safety issues associated with tree and woody vegetation penetrations of earthen dams is all too often believed to be a routine maintenance situation by many dam owners, dam safety regulators, and engineers. Contrary to this belief, tree and woody vegetation penetrations of earthen dams and their appurtenances have been demonstrated to be causes of serious structural deterioration and distress that can result in failure of earthen dams.

The purpose of this course is to provide the inspector, dam safety regulator, engineer, landscape architect and consultant with the fundamental understanding and technical knowledge associated with the potential detrimental impacts of tree and woody vegetation growth on the safety of earthen dams. The objective of this course is to raise the knowledge level of detrimental effects of trees and woody vegetation growth on the safety of earthen dams. This course will also provide an understanding of the methods, procedures, and benefits of maintaining a growth of desirable ground covering vegetation on the embankments of earthen dams.

Dam safety engineers and consultants can utilize material presented in this course as a reference for recommendations for proper maintenance of desirable vegetation growth, control of undesirable vegetation growth, and remediation dam design associated with the removal and control of trees and woody vegetation growth on earthen dams.

This course is based entirely on the Technical Manual for Dam Owners-Impacts of Plants on Earthen Dams as published by the FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, publication number FEMA 534 dated September 2005.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.