The DES Dam Bureau regulates the repair, reconstruction, maintenance, and operation of existing dams, reviews design plans and issues decisions for the construction, operation, and maintenance of new dams. By reviewing applications for constructing and reconstructing dams in New Hampshire, the Dam Bureau serves a pivotal role in balancing the interests of all parties between preservation/protection of the natural resource and stimulation/sustenance of New Hampshire’s vibrant economy.
The Dam Bureau is also responsible for regulating the retention and/or release of stored water to support a variety of uses (e.g., hydropower generation, autumn lake drawdowns to make room for spring runoff, flood flow management and mitigation, fisheries and water quality protection) for both public and private purposes. At times these various uses can be in direct conflict with one another.
The Dam Bureau attempts to ensure that the multiple interests using surface waters for boating, fishing, power generation, wastewater assimilation, aesthetics, irrigation, and water supply do not exhaust the availability of the resource or create an imbalance in favor of one use over the others. In addition to supervising certain water resources, the Dam Bureau oversees the development of hydroelectric power generation at state-owned dams. This helps to expand the New Hampshire’s clean renewable energy initiative.
DES has created a dam removal process that combines the dam safety program with the wetlands program to identify, evaluate, and (when warranted) remove unwanted or unneeded dams along New Hampshire’s rivers and streams.
The Dam Bureaus activities are governed by RSA 482 and NH Code Admin. Rules Env-Wr 100-800.
You may contact us by telephone at (603) 271-3406 or [email protected].