The Conservancy Act

MCD was instrumental in the passage of the law that allowed for conservancy districts, even before it was an organization.

Arthur Morgan, who’d been hired to build a flood protection system for the region, realized early on that the solution would require working across city and county boundaries. The problem was Ohio law didn’t allow for that kind of flexibility. A new law was needed. Dayton attorney John McMahon drafted the language for the Conservancy Act. Representative Victor Vonderheide introduced the act in the state legislature.

In February 1914, the Ohio General Assembly passed the Conservancy Act of Ohio. The act allowed the creation of regional agencies to provide flood protection for communities within the state. Governor James Cox, owner of the Dayton Daily News, signed it into law.

Shortly after the law passed, community leaders in the Miami Valley petitioned to organizeThe Miami Conservancy District. Opposition to the law delayed MCD’s formation for more than a year. MCD organized on June 28, 1915, and is among the oldest conservancy districts in the state.

As political subdivisions under state of Ohio law, conservancy districts can form at the initiative of local landowners or communities for various purposes including:

  • Solving water management problems, usually flooding. 
  • Conserving and developing water supplies.
  • Treating wastewater.

The law allows using conservancy district lands for recreation.

Chapter 6101 of the Ohio Revised Code authorizes the formation of conservancy districts and provides the framework for governance and funding of conservancy districts.