Senate Passes Infrastructure Bill: Enhances River Restoration, Dam Safety, and Hydropower

Published 8/10/2021  |  Hydropower Reform Coalition, American Rivers

American Rivers * National Hydropower Association * Association of State Dam Safety Officials * Hydropower Reform Coalition *American Whitewater * American Society of Civil Engineers * World Wildlife Fund * Low Impact Hydropower Institute * The Nature Conservancy


 Provides $2.3 Billion for rehabilitation, retrofit, or removal of America’s 90,000 dams

August 10, 2021

The above organizations released the following statement today in response to the U.S. Senate’s passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes over $2.3 billion to accelerate river restoration, improve dam safety, and modernize hydropower. Specifically, the bill provides $753 million to encourage grid resilience and environmental enhancement in the existing hydropower fleet. It includes $800 million for the rehabilitation of high hazard potential dams and safety projects to maintain, upgrade and repair dams. And, it includes $800 million for river restoration through the removal of dams and in-stream barriers with the consent of the dam owner.

“Passage of the infrastructure bill represents a vital down payment to bring our nation’s dams into the 21th century, and we applaud the Senate’s bipartisan leadership. Dams are critical infrastructure, and we encourage the U.S. House to move swiftly to pass this bill to revitalize river ecosystems, improve public safety and enhance hydropower’s ability to optimize generation efficiency and output.

“While this infrastructure bill brings us closer to realizing the rehabilitation, retrofit, and removal of America’s dams, our work isn’t done. Conservation groups, dam safety organizations, and the hydropower industry worked together with Congress to develop the bipartisan Twenty-First Century Dams Act, which makes a $25.8 billion investment in enhancing the safety, grid resilience benefits, and power generating capacity of America’s existing dams while also providing historic funding to remove dams that are no longer necessary. We urge Congress make this bill a priority, as it will greatly contribute to climate resilience and stronger, safer communities.”

Organizations supporting today’s funding package were brought together by Stanford University in 2018, to develop a comprehensive approach to the 3Rs for the nation’s dams.



Amy Kober, American Rivers, (503) 708-1145

LeRoy Coleman, National Hydropower Association, (202) 750-8405

Shannon Ames, Low Impact Hydropower Institute, (339) 970-9337

Katelyn Riley, Association of State Dam Safety Officials, (859) 550-2788 ext. 104