History

The Miami Conservancy District was born as a direct result of the Great 1913 Flood.

Flooding was somewhat common in the Dayton region even before the Great Flood. As early as 1805, Dayton was inundated by the Great Miami River. The river overflowed its banks somewhat regularly, with flooding documented in 1814, 1828, 1832, 1847, 1866, 1883, 1897, and 1898. But the Great 1913 Flood was like no other, killing 360 people and causing more than $100 million in damages.

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People who survived the devastation were determined to contain the Great Miami River once and for all. Soon after the flood, residents raised enough money to hire a young engineer named Arthur Morgan to develop a solution. MCD was officially formed in 1915. Our staff built the flood protection system of five dry dams, 43 original miles of levees, and channel improvements between 1918 and 1922. An additional 12 miles of levee were built later.

Flood protection has always been and remains our core mission. And, over the years, MCD has branched out to tackle emerging water issues to meet the region's needs.

 


 

History of the Flood Protection System

Careful attention to planning, financing, legislation and implementation resulted in the most comprehensive flood protection system in the nation. More than 2,000 men worked to build the dams and levees simultaneously. The integrated flood protection system includes  five storage basins created by five earthen dams: Germantown, Englewood, Lockington, Taylorsville and Huffman. Downstream, levees were constructed in the cities of Piqua, Troy, Tipp City, Dayton, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Franklin, Middletown and Hamilton. Channel improvements were also made in the cities. Much of the land between the cities remained undeveloped floodplain.

At that time, the Miami Conservancy District system was the largest public works project in the world. It cost more than $30 million to complete - that would be about $649 million in 2023 dollars. 

Several decades after the original construction, communities asked Miami Conservancy District to build additional levees. New levees were built at Miami Villa in Huber Heights, along the Stillwater River near Wegerzyn Center in Dayton, Miami Shores in Moraine, Coleman Plat south of Miamisburg, Middletown addition upstream of Route 122 in Middletown, and Excello downstream of Middletown. The residents of these areas and local government agencies paid for these construction projects.

More recently, Miami Conservancy District acted as the local sponsor for the Holes Creek local flood protection project constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in West Carrollton. The project included channel improvement and a levee and was completed in 2014.

 

 


 

History of the Aquifer Preservation Subdistrict

The Aquifer Preservation Subdistrict was created in 1997 to develop and maintain an ongoing, watershed-wide program to support comprehensive protection and management of the Great Miami River Watershed’s water resources.

The goals and projects of the Aquifer Preservation Subdistrict are guided by stakeholders to ensure that local and regional needs are addressed throughout the watershed.

The Aquifer Preservation Subdistrict includes all, or portions of, nine counties including Butler, Clark, Greene, Hamilton, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby, and Warren counties.

 


 

EXPLORE MORE HISTORY...
Great Flood of 1913
A Flood of Memories book - 100 years after the Flood 
Historic Headquarters Building
MCD Founders
The Conservancy Act
Historic Photo Database