The Failure of Lawn Lake Dam - Big Impacts from a Small Dam Breach

This event qualifies for 2 PDHs

Lawn Lake Dam, located in Rocky Mountain National Park failed suddenly and catastrophically on a sunny day in July 1982, and resulted in over $30 million dollars in damage and the loss of 3 lives. This webinar will explore the history of the dam, construction features responsible for the failure, the failure event and emergency response, the long legal process to assign liability for the failure and the overall impacts to the Town of Estes Park and its citizens, the Colorado Dam Safety Branch, and the National Park Service.


Five Learning Objectives Of This Course:

  • Internal Erosion Potential Failure Modes (PFM's)
  • Latent Physical Conditions at dams that results in PFM's
  • Dam Failure Investigations and Forensic Reporting
  • Preparing State and Federal Dam Safety Programs to pro-actively mitigate PFM's
  • Learning from the dam failure experiences of the past to be better prepared for the future

Speaker and Presenter Information

Bill McCormick
Colorado Division of Water Resources
Chief of Dam Safety

Bill McCormick holds a bachelors degree in Geology and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Geological Engineering. He is a licensed Professional Engineer and a Professional Geologist in the state of Colorado. He has over 28 years of professional experience as geologist, engineering geologist and civil engineer involved with design, construction and regulation of water projects in Colorado and Nevada. He has been with the Colorado Division of Water Resources for the past 14 years and as Chief of the Colorado Dam Safety Branch since 2011. Bill and his award-winning team of dam safety engineers have responsibility for developing and executing a comprehensive dam safety risk management program for all dams in the state of Colorado in the interest of public safety. Bill currently serves as Secretary of the ASDSO Board of Directors.


Mark Baker
US Department of Interior, National Park Service
Dam & Levee Safety Officer


Mark Baker is a registered professional engineer and manages the risks to national parks posed by dams, levees, dikes and canals. He led teams to develop risk methodologies/products, including: the BIA Comprehensive Review, Low hazard dam risk screening, and levee risk screening. He has 25 years of dam safety experience including 18 years with the Bureau of Reclamation. Mark authored the DOI Blueprint for Dam Safety Programs and the 2004 Department of the Interior Manual for Dam Safety. He is founder and co-leader of the Washington DC Silver Jackets Flood Risk Management Group. He is founder and co-chair of the ASDSO Dam Failures Committee. In addition to the Lawn Lake failure, he has performed extensive primary research, authored a technical paper, and presented 19 times the Fontenelle Dam incident of 1965. He was project manager for the peer review of six DOI agencies and a team member of the TVA dam safety program peer review. He was a member of the team that selected the Oroville Dam Incident Independent Forensics Review Team.


Relevant Government Agencies

Army, Dept of Agriculture, Dept of Energy, Dept of Homeland Security, Dept of the Interior, Other Federal Agencies, State Government, County Government, City Government, Municipal Government, FEMA, Federal Government, State & Local Government, Foreign Governments/Agencies



Event Type
On-Demand Webcast

This event has no exhibitor/sponsor opportunities


Member:  $99.00
Non-Member:  $130.00

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Association of State Dam Safety Officials

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