The Conservancy Act
Conservancy districts in Ohio can be created in accordance with a section of Ohio law – Section 6101 of the Ohio Revised Code, which also is known as “the Conservancy Act.”
This code section authorizes how conservancy districts are formed, how they are governed, and how they operate. The law has been amended on numerous occasions by the Ohio General Assembly since it was adopted in 1914.
The law was developed in response to the Great Flood of 1913 in Ohio, which is the state’s greatest natural disaster. Approximately 500 people died in the flooding, and in the aftermath, legislators in the state government developed and adopted the Conservancy Act.
Dayton attorney John McMahon and then Gov. James Cox drafted the language for the Conservancy Act legislation and lobbied for its passage.
As political subdivisions of the State of Ohio, conservancy districts can form at the initiative of local landowners or communities to solve water management issues, including flooding.
In addition to flood reduction and protection, other approved purposes of conservancy districts include conserving and developing water supplies, treating wastewater, and providing recreational opportunities.