In 1935, Congress passed Public Law 46 (PL-46) to protect land from flood damages. Twenty-two dams were built with funds from this bill in Douglas County and are credited for saving much of the agricultural land during the devastating 1965 flood.
The primary purpose of the dams is for flood prevention and to protect property within the Franktown-Parker and Cherry Creek Watershed project area from floodwater, sediment, and erosion damage. It is the responsibility for the safety of these dams that the owner or operator, who should take every step necessary to prevent damages caused by leakage or overflow of waters from the reservoir or floods resulting from a failure of the dam. This responsibility is enforced by the Colorado Division of Water Resources, Dam Safety Branch. Maintenance and rehabilitation falls under the approved operation and maintenance agreement of the sponsors. The purpose of maintenance and rehabilitation is to meet the current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Colorado Dam Safety and engineering standards and maintain the present level of flood control benefits.
Local sponsorship by Douglas County and the Douglas County Soil Conservation District was agreed upon by a resolution in the late 1950’s. and are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the twenty-two dams located within the Franktown-Parker and Cherry Creek Watershed Project area. The lifespan of the watershed dam is approximately 50 years and are exceeding their lifespan. Some of the dams are requiring minor to major maintenance, with maintenance needs increasing each year. View current dam projects.
The County and the District want the public to be aware of the existence of these dams, and the service they provide to all the landowners within the watershed and downstream. View the County’s Disaster Preparedness Guide.
To find out if a dam is located on your property, and is one of the twenty-two watershed flood control dams, please contact the Douglas County Soil Conservation District at 303-218-2622 or [email protected] If a watershed damn is located on your property learn about the do’s and don’ts.