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Home / Flood Control Collection

Flood Control Collection

Citrus orchard damaged by deposition of two feet of sand and silt during Southern California flood of March 2, 1938.


The Flood Control Collection contains materials on the subjects of flood events, flood
control, erosion by water, and storm water management. The materials span the years 1910
to 1979, with the bulk produced between 1938 and 1953. The materials are in fair to good
condition. Researchers may use the collection without restrictions.

The National Agricultural Library’s Special Collections received the materials in Box 1
from an unknown source prior to 2002. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
(NRCS) office in Portland, Oregon transferred additional materials to Special
Collections in 2017. The original collection was arranged and described by Jennifer Wang
in 2002. The addition was incorporated into the collection in 2018 by Diane Wunsch.

Historical Note

On April 27, 1935, Congress established the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) as a
permanent agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The creation of the
agency highlighted the efforts of Hugh Hammond Bennett to inform the public about the
problem of soil erosion. Bennett was appointed the first Chief of SCS.

Watershed planning became an important part of the agency’s mission in the 1930s.
Bennett recognized that successful soil and water conservation needed to begin at the
watershed level. SCS organized its early demonstration projects on a watershed

A series of laws formed the basis of SCS erosion control programs. The Flood Control Act
of 1936 authorized SCS to study methods for erosion control and flood prevention. The
Flood Control Act of 1944 enabled the agency to begin work on its first 11 watershed
projects. Passage of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 1953 authorized 63 more
projects. Congress enacted the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act in 1954.
With this law, SCS gained permanent watershed planning authority.

In 1994, SCS was renamed the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Scope and Content Note

The Flood Control Collection contains reports, publications, correspondence, notes,
photographs, audio recordings, maps, and data regarding floods and flood control in the
United States. The USDA Soil Conservation Service produced most of these items. There
are a few pieces authored by other individuals and agencies. The collection also
includes articles and addresses written for professional organizations, such as the
American Society of Agricultural Engineers and the Society of American Foresters.

Container List

Flood Control Collection. 5 boxes.
Box Title/Description Date(s)
1 Correspondence from Harold B. Elmendorf to Robert V. Boyle concerning control of Phreatophytes 1947
1 Reports on flood control and erosion control 1910-1958
1 Community forests, lists by state Undated
1 Translation of “Pressure Flow of Ground Water Carrying Fine Sandy and Clayey Particles” by A. N. Patrashev 1936
1 Articles on floods and flood control 1937-1972
1 Flood Regulation and Silt Control on the Silver Creek Floodway 1936
1 An Evaluation of Small Upland Reservoirs for Flood Control Purposes Undated
1 Graphical Flood Routing and Related Mechanical Analogs 1955
­­­1 Hydraulics of Miami Flood Control Project 1920
1 Strip Planting for Flood Control” 1940
1 Forest Water Yield Management Opportunities 1965
1 Notes from “A National Plan for American Forestry.” 73rd Congress, 1st Session. Undated
1 A Comparison of Lysimeter-Derived Potential Evapotranspiration with Computed Values, with related correspondence 1970-1971
2 Los Angeles County Flood Control District report on flood of March 2, 1938 1938
2 Special Report on Flood of March 2, 1938, in Region 10, Southern California 1938
2 Flood Control Work Plan, Area A7, Santa Ynez River, California 1946
2 Partial Report of Survey on Run-off and Waterflow Retardation and Soil Erosion Prevention for Arroyo Seco Watershed, Los Angeles River Drainage Undated
3 Preliminary Examination Report, Santa Ynez River 1940
3 Santa Ynez River Watershed, California Flood Control Work Plans, Area A3b 1948
3 Appendix I (of two) Special Flood Control Report: Los Angeles, San Gabriel, Santa Ana Rivers, California 1938
3 Field Trip through Flooded Areas of Sacramento Valley 1940
3 Pictures Relating to Flood Conditions in Southern California 1938
3 Santa Ynez River subwatershed flood control work plans 1947-1953
4 San Gabriel River reports 1940-1953
4 Preliminary Examination Report, Kaweah-Tule River Group, Tributary to Sacramento and San Joaquin River Valleys 1939
4 Las Posas Project Monograph 1939
4 Special Storm Report, Los Angeles River Watershed 1952
5 Annual Runoff in the United States 1949
5 Summary Report of the Snow Investigations: Snow Hydrology 1956
5 News clippings about Duchesne River (Utah) flood 1963
5 Reports and map of flood in Southern California, March 1938 1938
5 Voices of Conservation (phonograph records and audio compact disc) 1971-1979, undated