The Farm Creek Flood Control Project was authorized in 1944 with an estimated cost of $3,017,900. Originally, a five reservoir plan was proposed. However after further study, only two reservoirs and channel improvements were deemed necessary. Fondulac Reservoir, built by Central Engineering Company of Davenport, Iowa, was completed in 1949. The larger Farmdale Reservoir was completed in 1951 by Acme Construction Company of Cleveland, Ohio. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Illinois Waterway Project Office in Peoria, Illinois, has operational responsibility for Farmdale and Fondulac Reservoirs. The remainder of the project is maintained by the City of East Peoria.
Behind each dam, the Corps of Engineers owns the land that is subject to flooding. These areas will normally be empty of standing water. Farm Creek and Fondulac Creek flow through a culvert in the respective dams. When the flow in the creek exceeds the capacity of the culvert, water starts to back up into the reservoir area. The stored water is then released at a slow rate through the outlet culvert. One advantage of the dry reservoir concept is there are no moving parts. The water is held back and released automatically, without the need to close or open gates.
The Corps of Engineers owns a total of 973 acres of land in the Farm Creek Projects. The large majority of this land is available to the public for low-impact recreation use.