Flood Protection System

  • Miami Conservancy District

    Construction at Taylorsville Dam in 1920

  • Miami Conservancy District

MCD built the flood protection system between 1918 and 1922. The original system includes the five retarding basins created by the earthen dams: Germantown, Englewood, Lockington, Taylorsville and Huffman. Downstream of the dams, levees were built in Piqua, Troy, Tipp City, Dayton, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Franklin, Middletown and Hamilton. Channel improvements were made in the cities as part of the flood protection system. Much of the land between the cities was undeveloped floodplain.

More than 2,000 men worked to build the dams and levees simultaneously. The flood protection system was the largest public works project in the world at the time and cost more than $30 million (about $500 million today). Careful attention to planning, financing, legislation and implementation resulted in the most comprehensive flood protection system in the nation.

At the end of 2021, the retarding basins collectively had stored floodwaters 2,085 times since the original system was completed in 1922.

Several decades after the original construction, communities asked MCD to build additional levees. Most were in areas that had been undeveloped in 1913.

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.

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

View more MCD historical photos.