American Society of Civil Engineers

History of the Pick-Sloan Program

by Paul Johnston, (Public Affairs Office, Northwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 12565 West Center Road, Omaha, NE 68144 E-mail:
Section: Past, Present, and Future of the Pick-Sloan Program, pp. 1-3, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: World Environmental and Water Resource Congress 2006: Examining the Confluence of Environmental and Water Concerns
Abstract: Congress passed the Flood Control Act of 1944, the Pick-Sloan Plan. It was a marriage of two plans developed by Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Pick of the Army Corps of Engineers and W. Glenn Sloan of the Bureau of Reclamation. The Sloan plan called for irrigating millions of acres of land with water impounded behind dams on the Missouri and numerous tributary rivers, thereby providing construction and farming jobs to encourage people to return to the upper Midwest following years of drought and war. The Pick plan emphasized flood control, navigation, water supply and hydropower generation primarily from reservoirs on the main stem of the Missouri. Signed by President Roosevelt on December 22, 1944, the act authorized the construction of five large dams on the Missouri River to be built and operated by the Corps. In addition, there were numerous tributary structures and giant irrigation projects to be built and operated by the Bureau. In all, it authorized eight purposes: flood control, navigation, irrigation, hydropower, water supply, water quality, recreation and fish and wildlife.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Missouri River
Economic factors
Political factors