Flood Control

Mill Creek Flood Control Zone District Information

Brief History

Major floods have occurred on Mill Creek in March 1931, December 1964, and February 1996.
The images below are from the 1931 flood in Walla Walla. 
For more images go to: http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/


1931 Flood Photo-0001
1931 Flood Photo-0002
1931 Flood Photo-0003
1931 Flood Photo-0004
1931 Flood Photo-0005
The 1931 flood was particularly destructive and caused Mill Creek to flow through the streets of the City of Walla Walla.  The 1931 flood started the concept behind the construction of the Mill Creek Project through Walla Walla, for the purpose of flood control to protect the city from another devastating flood.

In the 1930s, a man named Virgil B. Bennington, helped to start a petition to get federal funding to build flood control devices in and along Mill Creek. In 1992, through the Water Resource Act, the Mill Creek Reservoir was renamed “Virgil B. Bennington Lake” in honor of him.

On August 26, 1935, Walla Walla County made application to the Works Progress Administration for allotment of funds to construct a flood control reservoir, with diversion works at Mill Creek, a channel to the reservoir, a ditch from the reservoir to the division works on Mill Creek at the headwaters of Garrison and Yellowhawk, a rock filled wire revetted channel to the City of Walla Walla, a concrete channel through the City and a rock filled wire revetted channel below the City. The entire project was estimated to take 15 months at a total cost of $1,037,969.

On June 28, 1938, the Flood Control Act was passed in Congress, which called for two projects to be built in the Walla Walla Valley: the Mill Creek Flood Control Plan and the Mill Creek Channel.

The Army Corps of Engineers completed the Mill Creek Flood Control Plan in 1943.

On July 16, 1948, the Commission approved the boundaries as modified by the committee, established the name of the district as the "Walla Walla County Mill Creek Flood Control District" and ordered the Director to call an election for the creation of the flood control district.

On February 25, 1974, the Mill Creek Flood Control District was dissolved and the "Mill Creek Flood Control Zone District" was organized.

In February of 1996, there was a large flood event that hit Walla Walla County. The images below to show the area in the 1996 flood.

Flood1996 Normal

The Mill Creek Channel is inspected annually by the Army Corp of Engineers who looks for issues that need to be corrected. Various issues are corrected every year to help insure the Mill Creek Channel will be able to handle a flood event.

Recently, there has been an effort by several organizations to work on improving the fish passage through the Mill Creek Channel.