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Special Collections & Archives

Flood Menace Opposition to Act

A long political battle followed the passing of the Vonderheide Conservancy Act. Farmers in the counties to the north of Dayton whose rich agricultural lands were to be flooded by the dams rigorously opposed the plan. They challenged the constitutionality of the Act in the courts and attempted to amend it with the Garver-Quinlisk Bills. They argued against the plan based on the following issues:

In a book published in 1915, Reasons Why the Garver-Quinlisk Bill Should be Enacted, the opponents to the Conservancy Act wrote, “The Dayton people exhibited no picture of any work on their part by way of cleaning out the channel or removing obstruction; neither did they show, nor can they show, any picture of a Detention Reservoir used to back up water on fertile lands for protection of their land, and while we do not wish to intimate that our neighbors in the city of Dayton, by enactment of the above prevision, or by authority conferred by said section, hope to reap some benefit from the erection of dams and reservoirs in the Miami and Mad River Valleys, by the utilization of the water for power in their municipalities, and at the expense of the property owner about said dams, and included in any such district, yet such is possible, for by the provision of said Act they would clearly have the right to utilize said water, so impounded, for purposes other then protection against flood.” In the same book they wrote, “The Act, as it stands, should be entitled; ‘An Act to prevent floods in one part of the country by producing floods in another part: and, in order to accomplish this, to deprive the people of the locality of all voice in the matter.”