What is the MWCD?

The Muskingum River Watershed

The Muskingum River Watershed is the largest wholly contained watershed in the State of Ohio. 

Muskingum Watershed Map

Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District

Spanning all or portions of 27 counties, the watershed covers more than 8,000 square miles and includes the area that drains into the Muskingum River and its tributaries. As the largest drainage system in Ohio, the 16 dams and reservoirs provide flood reduction and water conservation benefits for the property owners and residents of the region. The watershed covers approximately 20 percent of the State of Ohio.

The Muskingum River Watershed is comprised of three major subwatershed regions - the Tuscarawas River Watershed in the northeast, the Walhonding River Watershed in the northwest, and the Lower Muskingum Watershed in the south. The Tuscarawas and Walhonding rivers flow in a southern direction, intersecting at Coshocton, forming the Muskingum River. The Muskingum River eventually empties into the Ohio River at Marietta in Washington County. 

The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District

MWCD is a political subdivision of the State of Ohio organized in 1933 to develop and implement a plan to reduce the effects of flooding and conserve water for beneficial public uses under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 6101 (commonly called the Conservancy Act).

The MWCD mission statement reads as follows: Responsible stewards dedicated to providing the benefits of flood reduction, conservation and recreation in the Muskingum River Watershed.

The MWCD is the largest conservancy district in the state and led the effort to construct 14 dams and reservoirs. Two others were built later and the system of dams and reservoirs has been credited by the federal government with saving an estimated $10 billion worth of potential damage from flooding since its original construction in the 1930s.

The MWCD is a partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in the operation of the system of dams and reservoirs in the watershed - the USACE operates the dams for flood reduction and the MWCD manages most of the reservoir areas behind the dams.

The MWCD has jurisdiction for its operations in all or portions of an 18-county area (over 6,000 square miles). The 18 counties wholly or partially contained in the MWCD jurisdiction are Ashland, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Holmes, Knox, Licking, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Richland, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, Washington, and Wayne.

The MWCD contains several subdistrcits that are provided for in state law.  

Click here for MWCD History Video

Click here for MWCD Timeline