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Impacts of Animals on Earthen Dams

COURSE NO: C08-016
Impacts of Animals on Earthen Dams
Course Highlights

This online engineering PDH course provides a fundamental understanding and technical knowledge of potential detrimental impacts of nuisance wildlife on the safety of earthen dams and methods of controlling and/or removing the listed animal species.. It will introduce you to the principles and practices of identifying problems in existing earthen dams that are the result of animal activity. Some common misconceptions concerning animal activity on dams will be presented. This course will also give you an introduction to the steps necessary to protect a dam from potentially serious damage from nuisance wildlife.


The purpose of this manual was for FEMA to provide a comprehensive survey of animal impacts on earthen dams across the United States. The results of the survey indicate that there is too often a wide gap between the known best practices of animal activity relative to dam safety and the perceived acceptable level of maintenance by many dam owners.


This 8 PDH online course is intended for use by engineers, dam owners, maintenance contractors, operators, inspectors, dam safety regulators, consultants and landscape architects interested in gaining a better understanding of the impacts of animals on earthen dams.

Learning Objectives

This PE continuing education course is intended to provide you with the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Awareness of the seriousness of dam safety problems associated with animal impacts
  • Understanding of dam safety issues by reviewing current damage control policies
  • Understanding of the habitat of common nuisance wildlife
  • Understanding of the range and behavior of common nuisance wildlife
  • Understanding of the habitat of common nuisance wildlife
  • Learning about the descriptions and range of common nuisance wildlife
  • Analyzing biological data to determine which specific nuisance wildlife inhabits the dam
  • Methods of proper identification of common nuisance wildlife
  • Understanding remediation design considerations related to dam damage from animals
  • Learning about procedures for management of desirable animal activity on earthen dams
  • Learning useful statistics on dams damaged by animal activity
  • Understanding the collective view of state and federal dam safety officials
  • Learning about the different methods for repairing damage caused by animals
  • Knowing the recommended methods controlling different species of animals
  • Learning how to recognize different species of animals and their activity
  • Learning about the use of construction methods for control of animal activity
  • Understanding the relationship between well compacted soil and animal activity
  • Learning about the rules of thumb for analysis of dam safety conditions
  • Identifying the five (5) safety inspection and evaluation zones
  • Understanding the pros and cons of regular maintenance versus long term remediation
  • Understanding the compounding affect of smaller animals attracting larger predators
  • Understanding the compounding physical and economic effects of delayed maintenance
  • Learning about the guidelines for estimating costs of maintenance and remediation
  • Understanding the critical need to maintain animal activity in a timely manner
Course Document

In this professional engineering CEU course you will need to review the FEMA Publication titled, "Impacts of Animals on earthen Dams", FEMA 473, September 2005.

To view, print and study the course document, please click on the following link(s):
Impacts of Animals on Earthen Dams (5.50 MB)
Course Quiz
Once you complete this course review you will need to take a multiple choice quiz of forty five (45) questions to earn 8 PDH credits.  The quiz will be based on this FEMA Publication.


The minimum passing score is 70%. There is no time limit on the quiz, and you can take it multiple times until you pass at no additional cost.
Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of the quiz, print your Certificate of Completion instantly. (Note: if you are paying by check or money order, you will be able to print it after we receive your payment.) For your convenience, we will also email it to you. Please note that you can log in to your account at any time to access and print your Certificate of Completion.

To buy the course and take the quiz, please click on: