In 1997, floodwaters spilled over the Pawnee Creek bank and overtook the creek crossing on Highway 14 and 6 causing over $20 million in damages to the City of Sterling, the Town of Atwood and Logan County. The flood also damaged 1,400 residences, 200 businesses and over 14,000 acres of agricultural land. In response to this catastrophe and in order to explore and eventually develop strategies and projects to mitigate future anticipated floods in the region, Logan County Water Conservancy District (LCWCD) was created in 2002 by decree of the District Court, specifically to mitigate flooding in the Pawnee Creek drainage area of Logan and Weld Counties which historically has occurred on a catastrophic level on a 30+ year cycle.
The original efforts of the LCWCD were focused on a proposed dam 131 feet high and 6,800 feet long across the Pawnee about a mile north of where the creek passes under Colorado Highway 14, 11 miles west of Sterling. The proposed plans for the dam would hold back approximately 90,000 acre-feet of water.
While the proposed dam is still part of the considered master plan the LCWCD is proposing to begin evaluating and working on smaller projects in the district’s boundaries that will mitigate flooding in the future.
LCWCD is directed by a board that is made up of court appointee’s who serve single three-year terms. LCWCD receives a mill levy of one mill for capital projects, flood planning and more to help mitigate the effects of costly floods in Logan County.