Page images


DISTRICT The Scioto-Sandusky Conservancy District was organized under the Conservancy Act of Ohio 6828-1 upon petitions of more than 500 freeholders. The district was established December 4, 1934, by order of the conservancy court of 17 common pleas judges, representing the following counties: Sandusky, Seneca, Wyandotte, Marion, Delaware, Crawford, Morrow, Union, Madison, Fayette, Highland, Franklin, Pickaway, Ross, Pike, Vinton, and Scioto.

The objects of the district are: preventing floods; conserving flood waters for beneficial uses; regulating streams channels by changing, widening, and deepen. ing the same; reclaiming and filling wet and overflowed lands; providing for irrigation where it may be needed; regulating the flow of streams; diverting, or in whole or in part eliminating, water courses ; to build reservoirs, canals, levees, walls, embankments, bridges, or dams; to maintain, operate, and repair any of the construction herein named, and to do all other things necessary for the fulfillment of the purposes of the proposed district, such as forestation, the building of check dams, and other control works to prevent soil erosion and the consequent clogging of stream channels.

The district employed Prof. C. E. Sherman, of Ohio State University, who, in 1935, presented a report contemplating the building of reservoirs throughout the entire district, affecting, among other communities, the cities and towns of Fremont, Tiffin, Upper Sandusky, Bucyrus, Marion, Mount Gilead, Delaware, Columbus, Chillicothe, Circleville, Waverly, Jackson, and Portsmouth.

These proposed reservoirs were: (1) Above Tiffin ; (2) The Summit Level Diversion Reservoir; (3) Delaware; (4) Bellepoint in Delaware County ; (5) Central College on Big Walnut Creek, which is about 10 miles north of Columbus ; (6) On the Big Darby below Harrisburg; (7) Deer Creek, 13 miles west of Circleville; (8) Paint Creek, 5 miles southwest of Chillicothe; (9) Salt Creek, 12 miles southeast of Chillicothe.

The plan as a whole was rejected by the Army engineers during the time tbat. the Flood Control Act of Congress permitted only the benefits from flood control to be computed by the engineers, for the reason that the necessary ratio of 1 to 1 fi. e., $1 benefit for every dollar expended) could not be reached. Since that time the Flood Control Act has been amended so that in addition to benefits from flood control, special benefits, particularly water usage, (an be used in computing the benefits as against costs.

Under this new formula, the Army engineers have already approved portions of the so-called Sherman plan, in that the projects contemplated at or near Delaware, on Big Darby, Deer Creek, Paint Creek, and in addition a project on Rocky Fork which flows into Paint Creek, have been approved. The Delaware Dam project is now in the process of construction.

What might be termed the back-bone of this entire conservancy district project is the Summit Level Diversion and Reservoir. This will not only afford flood protection for almost the entire Scioto-Sandusky Valley running from the Great Lakes to the Ohio River but will provide special benefits for many of the communities both north and south of this proposed project. It will insure a continuous, dependable water supply for Fremont, Tiffin, Marion, Columbus, Circleville, and Chillicothe. Some of these special benefits may extend as far south as Portsmouth, Ohio.

The Army engineers are undertaking a resurvey of this Summit Level project. As we understand it, their survey will be made from the flood-control angle. The Scioto-Sandusky conservancy district has employed an engineer whose duties it will be to prepare and submit to the Army engineers an estimate on special benefits flowing from this Summit Level Reservoir. We confidently believe that a fair appraisal of both general and special benefits will result in a finding that the benefits from this proposed Summit Level Diversion and Reservoir will equal or exceed the costs and that the communities which will profit by and pay for these benefits will find that their share of the project can be done much more economically in conjunction with the Army engineers than should they attempt the same or similar projects on their own. We feel confident that after this survey has been made, the Army engineers will approve of this major project and will want to include it in their plans for next year, and it is with this thought in mind that we of the conservancy district urge that sufficient funds be au

thorized at this time to permit the Army engineers, if their report is favorable, to select the Summit Level Diversion and Reservoir project as one of those to be included in the over-all increase in authorization which will shortly be considered by Congress.

The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions from the committee? Evidently there are none.

Fork thra little story abgo they starte hou


The CHAIRMAN. This embraces both basins ?
Mr. BEARCE. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. It is authorized by the courts of Ohio, under the court of common pleas?

Mr. BEARCE. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. It was a similar district that constructed the first dams that were constructed in the United States along the Miami River following the great flood of 1913, it was the first of the floodcontrol dams? Mr. BEARCE. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed, sir. If you have a statement, you may file it and give us the high points of that statement.

Mr. BEARCE. I just wanted to make a few remarks, Mr. Chairman, and I only want to take a little time with the committee.

Chillicothe, Ohio, is a town of 25,000 inhabitants and Ross County has about 45,000. The Paint Creek that comes down through Rocky Fork through Bainbridge and Bourneville to Chillicothe, I wish to tell you a little story about that: South of the Chillicothe corporation line about 10 years ago they started to build up a community and they built up about 60 families and 60 houses there. The men of the community tried to get some control over the excessive floods that were continually running through that country and washing them out, without success.

The ladies then took the situation up and decided they were going to do something about it. They developed this petition without anyone telling them to do it. It is a petition of about 600 names. They did not know what to do with this petition after they got it. They piled in some cars and went to the State highway department and presented it to Mr. Perry Ford, the head of the State highway department. Mr. Ford was very courteous to them and told them he would do everything he could. They finally agreed they would repair the levee temporarily, following which they had a mass meeting of the people. I was invited to attend the meeting and to give my views of it. These people were continually talking about levees and the highway department's responsibilities. I finally told them probably with some authority, that their only hope of getting rid of their difficulty was to have the development at Rocky Fork and upper Paint Creek which would control the flash floods and keep them from washing out lands and washing out their highways which it had a habit of doing annually, or twice annually. At one time it washed a hole in route 23, which is a national highway, about 10 feet deep.

In addition to these people in this particular area, the flash floods on Paint Creek also menaced the lower part of the city of Chillicothe,

backing up into the streets a distance of about 300 yards and flooding them, and also flooding the two paper mills. These paper mills have an investment of something like $25,000,000 or $30,000,000. It not only means a damage each year to the mills but also means a loss in production and employment.

The CHAIRMAN. What do you make paper out of? Mr. BEARCE. They make it out of wood pulp. The CHAIRMAN. Where do you get your wood? Mr. BEARCE. We buy some from the west coast, Canada, and the State of Maine and wherever we can get it. We get some southern wood, Mr. Chairman. Any kind of wood we can get, we use.

In addition to the damages that accrued as a result of these annual floods and the residents of this district and the paper mills, we have a very rich agricultural area between Bainbridge, which is about 10 miles north of Chillicothe. It is a very rich agricultural land. These annual floods have a habit of flowing over these lands and taking this top soil down to your territory, Mr. Chairman. We are very jealous of it and we want to keep it.

The CHAIRMAN. I wish you would. Mr. BEARCE. Paint Creek has a drainage area of 808 square miles at this point. It is interesting to note that in 1937, the maximum flow in that area was 49,700 second-feet and the minimum is only 6.7 second-feet, which indicates that we are losing our water all at once. We would like to conserve that water and hold it for a more uniform flow of the creek that will be of great benefit to the whole district.

The CHAIRMAN. As I recall, along the Scioto, and if I am not correct, you correct me for the record, the local people there through the years have constructed levees for protection, have they not?

Mr. BEARCE. They had a proposition up to construct the levee. Pending some developments on the upper Scioto which would hold back the flash floods, we have postponed it. In 1913 the water broke through to the north end of the city and washed the whole city out. In 1937 it came within 3 feet of doing the same thing. However, we are trusting on the development of the Olentangy and certain other developments on the Scioto River north of the city to prevent us putting a flood wall around for the simple reason that a flood wall could not be built that would protect the whole city.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you have some that protect your rural lands along that stream? Mr. BEARCE. We have nothing whatever.

The CHAIRMAN. We are glad to have had your statement. Are there any other matters you wish to emphasize, except with respect to the topsoil and the other matters you mentioned?

Mr. BEARCE. I believe that is all, including the protection from the flash floods.

The CHAIRMAN. You will have to take up all these matters again when the reports come in.

Mr. BEARCE. If you would be interested in seeing this conglomeration of signatures, we will leave the document with you.

The CHAIRMAN. You may leave it with the clerk of the committee. Is there anyone else here?

· Mr. Dillon. I am Mr. Dillon and I am pinch hitting for Congressman Vorys.

The CHAIRMAN. Where is Mr. Pretzman?
Mr. PRETZMAN. I am here, sir.

Mr. Dillon and I are partners and I happen to be secretary of the district.

Mr. DILLON. I would like to introduce, if I may, Mr. David C. Warner who is the water conservation consultant of the Department of Public Works of the State of Ohio, who has been wholeheartedly and selfishly interested in this project for many, many years, and is well acquainted with it.

The CHAIRMAN. If Mr. Warner will please approach the table, we will be glad to have his statement at this time.


SULTANT IN THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS Mr. WARNER. Mr. Dillon has spoken of my experience. In Ohio, they call me “The dam crank”-a crank on dams. With reference to my experience, I do not want to go back over 40 years, although it goes back over 40 years, of the promotion of the idea of flood control by headwater reservoirs.

In 1912, it was my privilege to write the amendment to the Constitution of the State of Ohio on the morning of March 20, 1912, that makes possible and makes constitutional in the State of Ohio the making of laws for the conservation of our natural resources, the conservation of water and the organization of conservation districts. That proposal for the amendment to the Constitution of the State of Ohio was introduced by Fred Leath, of Ironton, Ohio, the delegate from Lawrence County, on the morning of March 21, 1912. That was just 1 year and 2 days before the 1913 flood that took 300 lives in Dayton, and 100 lives in the city of Columbus. Since then, in company with many other men in the State of Ohio, I have been helping to work out the laws of the State of Ohio that make possible the work that we are now doing for water conservation in Ohio that has been copied by many other States.

Mr. Chairman, it was my privilege to go down to St. Louis in 1932 and 1933 to visit the Mississippi Valley Association. I tried to get them to talk about flood control and water conditions or water conservation. They very plainly told me “We are not interested. We are interested in navigation.” I went down there 2 weeks ago last Saturday night and spent 3 days. This time, Mr. Whittington, they were talking about nothing else but flood control and water conservation, and even soil conservation.

In our work in Ohio, that work has been progressing to a point that we now have conservancy districts all through the State. As Mr. Whittington said, the first conservancy district was organized in the Miami Valley where five reservoirs—simply detaining reservoirswere built.

The CHAIRMAN. I wish you would explain, if I might interrupt you there, and I would like the committee to keep that in mind, because they are a little different than these reservoirs we are building now. What is the construction of the detaining reservoir? The detaining

throne charmi consente Muski

reservoir provided for just a normal low water flow to go right through the dam, did it not?

Mr. WARNER. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. And still it would retain the floods above the normal flow, is that right?

Mr. WARNER. The dam is built across the valley with a hole in the bottom of it or a flume that permits the flood to pass the dam banked full through the city of Dayton.

The CHAIRMAN. Are there any gates? Mr. WARNER. There is no gate in the bottom. It is simply a hole in the bottom of the dam that permits a certain amount of water to pass through. The balance of the flood piles up behind the dam.

The CHAIRMAN. The series of reservoirs of any consequence following the Miami conservancy reservoirs built following the flood of 1913 were built in the Muskingum Watershed conservancy district. Do those reservoirs cover the same pattern or did the engineers insert in those natural openings or holes, as you call them, gates, so they could cut off the water ?

Mr. WARNER. When we started to build the Muskingum Conseryancy District, we got the appropriation from the Public Works Committee on December 4, 1933.

The Army engineers started to work on the 1st of January 1934. I was executive secretary of the Water Conservancy Board of the State of Ohio. I insisted that there be control gates at the bottoms of the dams so that we would be able to control any reservoirs at any time that the intensity of the storm on any part of the water

The CHAIRMAN (interposing). You were in agreement with the Corps of Engineers on the installation of gates and you feel that is an improvement on your original reservoir ?

Mr. WARNER. We got together on that anyhow, and the fact is today that our reservoirs are controlled reservoirs. I wanted water in the bottoms of the reservoirs. I was interested in my ground water restoration. I felt that we should be able to control a very small percentage of the floodwaters in the bottom of each one of our reservoirs. There is no water conservation in the Miami Conservancy District. It is all drainage, pure and simple. However, in the Muskingum Conservancy District we are trying to put a complete water-conservation program on, and because of that the Army engineers have put in the basins of 11 of the reservoirs in the Muskingum Conseryancy District, 11 of what we call conservation pools.

The CHAIRMAN. That is different from the dry situation that obtains where you just have a hole, as in the Miami? Mr. WARNER. It is altogether different. The CHAIRMAN. You believe that that is an improvement? Mr. WARNER. The improvement is this: Out of those 11 reservoirs, in the Muskingum Conservancy District, just from one item of income, the item of income from recreation alone, is paying the running expenses of the Muskingum Conservancy District today, from those lakes that were established by the Army engineers.

The CHAIRMAN. May I ask you this: Is it not true that these reservoirs have reduced the floods at Portsmouth, Ironton, and other places; that the policy of flood control adopted first in 1936 and the authorized projects at Ironton as well as authorized projects in Ports

« PreviousContinue »