Oklahoma leads the nation in the number of small flood control dams. These dams are specifically engineered to hold back storm flows and to slowly release the water back into the streams preventing millions of dollars in damage annually from flood waters and sedimentation. The small flood control program began in the 40’s. By the 1960’s, construction of dams was averaging 2 dams every week for 15 years. To date, Oklahoma has 2,107 regulated flood control dams, 20% of the total for the nation.

The dams were built on private property with perpetual easements held by the local conservation district. The majority of easements are older than 40 years which gets missed often by petroleum companies’ title work. Thus usually resulting in complications in the construction phase of projects.

This presentation will introduce the industry to: the history and function of these dams; how to recognize them; GIS tools to help identify issues for routes, locations, and seismic testing; who to contact; and how to navigate the government system in the planning phase rather than having expensive redesigns during construction.

Primary Author/Conference Presenter:
Janet Stewart
General Counsel
Oklahoma Conservation Commission
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

website: www.ok.gov/conservation

Chris Stoner, USDA-NRCS, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Tammy Sawatzky, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma