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Find where to go with your dam or floodplain question!

Contact information
DNR Dam Safety
DNR Dam Safety Program WT/3
101 South Webster Street
PO Box 7921
Madison WI 53707–7921

Emergency action plan (EAP)


An EAP is a major step an owner can take to protect downstream lives and property, protect his/her investment and reduce potential liability. It is a formal document that identifies potential emergency conditions at a dam and prescribes procedures to be followed to reduce the likelihood of the loss of life and to minimize property damage.

The development of the EAP must be coordinated with the local community and emergency management agency and then submitted to DNR Dam Safety staff for review and approval.


An EAP is needed for three reasons.

  1. In Wisconsin, "It’s the law!" Wis. Admin. Code, Chapter NR 335.07 requires an adequate emergency action plan for all new and existing dams that meet the large dam criteria or pose a threat to life or property.
  2. To plan the coordination of necessary actions by the dam owner and the responsible local, state and federal emergency organizations and provide for timely notification, warning and evacuation in the event of an emergency at the dam.
  3. To eliminate the loss of life and reduce the risk of property damage in downstream areas which may result from a dam failure. Unique situations do sometimes develop that might result in dam failure. Therefore, it is necessary for a dam owner’s engineer to identify conditions that could lead to a failure and recommend emergency measures that could prevent or minimize the consequences to life and property.

The following documents will also be useful in writing the Emergency Action Plan:

  1. Guide to writing emergency action plans [PDF]provides the dam owner with a simple, standard process for developing an emergency action plan.
  2. EAP Template [PDF].
  3. Sample flow charts [PDF].
  4. To obtain an editable template please request one from your local DNR dam safety engineer or email DNR Dam Safety.
  5. For more information on or assistance in writing an EAP, contact DNR Dam Safety or your regional water management engineer on the regional contact list.
Last revised: Friday June 21 2019