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Compilation of cost estimates for dam removal projects in the United States

June 1, 2023

This dataset provides cost estimates for 668 dam removal projects occurring in the United States. Cost estimates were obtained by searching the internet for sources of information that mention the cost of dam removal projects listed in the USGS Dam Removal Information Portal. When cost data were not available for a dam removal but contact information was, then personal communications were used to acquire additional cost information. The accuracy of estimates is not known but we assume that most estimates represent close to the total cost or the minimum financial cost, with overestimates being rare. Total cost information could include component costs related to project planning, dam deconstruction cost, and several categories of mitigation for dam removal, such as sediment removal, water diversions, water treatment plants, revegetation, and bank stabilization efforts. We tracked cost estimates and project details from several types of source material, including technical reports, books, newspaper articles, web pages including blog posts, and presentations. The original cost estimate and the year in which the cost estimate was made (most often the same date as dam removal) was used to calculate the cost in 2020 dollars adjusted for inflation using RS Means, an inflation calculator that is used in the construction industry. Information about each dam includes the purpose, size, and construction material, and reason for removal. Additional geographic information about the location of the dam, the river the dam occurred on, and watershed characteristics were obtained from the National Hydrography Dataset Plus (NHDPlus version Version 2.1). Finally, we collected source material about the presence of 32 different categories of cost drivers that could explain the overall cost of the dam removal project. This data release contains a CSV file of the core cost database, a JSON file with citation information for sources used to develop the cost database, and a PDF file of evidence that serves as a backup in cases of URL failure for internet sourced material. For usability of dam removal cost source information, a zotero citation collection is also available at

Publication Year 2023
Title Compilation of cost estimates for dam removal projects in the United States
DOI 10.5066/P9G8V371
Authors Jeff Duda, Rachelle C Johnson, Benjamin L Jensen, Ella J Wagner, Kyla B Richards, Daniel J Wieferich
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC)