The United States Society on Dams (USSD) is dedicated to advancing the role of dam and levee systems and building the community of practice.  As the United States member of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), USSD provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experiences and is charged with leading the profession of dam and levee engineering.

USSD is led by a Board of Directors representing all sectors of the industry, including consultants, contractors, owners, and academia.  USSD members are encouraged to actively participate in committees which work to address current technical issues for dam and levee engineering.

President's Message

President’s Message Spring 2021

As I write this message to USSD members, my final one as President of the Board of the Directors, the FEMA National Dam Safety Program Technical Seminar has just ended. The 2021 theme was Risk Informed Decision Making and Benefit Cost Analysis for Dam and Levee Projects. In the introductory remarks, FEMA acknowledged USSD was instrumental in identifying speakers. This acknowledgement is a tribute to the USSD members who are industry leaders on these topics and were willing to share their expertise to advance Risk Informed Decision Making as a tool to improve decision making and improve the safety of the nation’s dam infrastructure. More importantly, it reinforces our values to be known as the premier, valid, reliable, and unbiased research-based resource.

During the past year we have shared our progress on the development of our new Strategic Plan (Plan). You have provided valuable input to develop strategies to achieve our objectives, and now I can announce the Board of Directors finalized the Plan at our winter board meeting. This is an important step forward, and we will present the final Plan to you in the next few weeks.

Even as a draft, the Plan was instrumental in helping us look upward and outward to guide our actions this past year for Education and Professional Development  with an expanded training catalog and establishment of the Education and Training Committee;  in Advocacy and Awareness by encouraging our members to provide comments to FERC’s proposed improvements to dam safety guidelines and supporting coalitions aligned with USSD’s mission and values; and, in our Community and Connections:  to Strengthen and promote our connection to ICOLD.  To meet this objective, the USSD Board is undertaking several actions to grow USSD’s presence with our international partners.

– Renewed MOU with Canadian Dam Association in 2020 and continue to develop strategic partnerships with other ICOLD members

– Expand USSD relationship with INCA, the ICOLD regional club for the Americas, by advocating for John Wolfhope, past President, in his candidacy to serve as INCA Vice-President. John has provided significant support to INCA leadership to strengthen the organization and guide planning for regional events.

– Continue USSD’s leadership role in ICOLD by advocating for Dean Durkee, past President, in his candidacy to serve as Vice President At-Large. This is an effort to provide continuity for USSD leadership following the path of Mike Rogers, past USSD President and current ICOLD President.

It has truly been a privilege to serve USSD, beginning with committee membership through a leadership position on the Board of Directors. I am excited about the future of our organization to continue building on the foundation we have laid, and I look forward to continued involvement and opportunities to advocate for our organization and our industry.