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The CHAIRMAN. How far is Mount Clemens by river from the mouth?
Colonel HERB. About 10 miles, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, from the point where you begin, it is about 2 miles to Lake St. Clair?
Colonel HERB. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the character of the land along that river between Mount Clemens and the mouth, and what sort of improvements are there at present?
Colonel HERB. Mount Clemens is mainly a health-resort town. It also has a beet-sugar refinery and large greenhouse establishments.
The CHAIRMAN. You mean Mount Clemens ?
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir. It is a health-resort town outside of Detroit, noted for its mineral waters.
The CHAIRMAN. Along this river there, what is the type of the land, and what is the topography of the valley through which it runs?
Colonel HERB. The drainage basin has rolling hill country in the northwest and level, flat lands in the southeasterly section where it drains into the lake. It rises in rolling country and flows through flat land near the mouth.
The CHAIRMAN. How far is it from the mouth of the proposed diversion to the mouth of the river?
Colonel HERB. It is about 6 miles along the lake shore from the mouth of the river. The diversion starts in Mount Clemens, which is about 10 miles from the mouth of the river. · The CHAIRMAN. And the proposed diversion is about 2 miles long?
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the type of the area through which this diversion runs?
Colonel HERB. It is a flat country, sir.
Colonel HERB. No, sir; in general it is sparsely settled subdivided property.
The CHAIRMAN. Is it improved, and do people live along this proposed diversion?
Colonel HERB. People live in the vicinity of the proposed diversion, but its construction would require the evacuation of only three dwellings.
The CHAIRMAN. What works have been done locally in an effort to provide for flood control either for the protection directly at Mount Clemens or the floodwaters that accumulate there at the confluence of these tributaries forming the Clinton River?
Colonel HERB. Local interests have spent a large sum of money in trying to correct this problem-about $242,000, mainly to improve the drainage conditions. Also the Works Progress Administration participated in part of this work, spending a sum of about $6,000.
The CHAIRMAN. There is an airfield somewhere in that area, is there not?
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir; it is known as Selfridge Airfield. A dike has been built around that airfield to protect it against high water.
The CHAIRMAN. From what high water?
The CHAIRMAN. Is there really a flood problem and has it done any damage?
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir. The floods in this basin occur in the late winter or early spring and cause an estimated average annual damage of about $23,500 in and below the city of Mount Clemens.
The CHAIRMAN. And you propose to construct a cut-off or new channel substantially 25 feet deep and 74 feet wide at the bottom from deep water in Lake St. Clair to Mount Clemens?
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And the estimated cost of that project to the Federal Government is approximately $378,000, and the cost to the local interests is approximately one-half of the total, or $330,000, the local interests being required to provide the right-of-way for the proposed channel and maintain the channel, and the Government to pay for the actual cost of construction. Is that correct?
Colonel HERB. That is correct, sir. The estimated cost of $330,000 to local interests also includes the cost of bridges and access road.
The CHAIRMAN. And the project, according to your report, is economically justified in that the benefits will be in excess of the proposed cost ?
Colonel HERB. No, sir; the cost to benefit ratio is 1 to 0.82. The Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors in studying this project made this statement:
The project is considered meritorious and necessary for the general welfare of the communities affected.
The CHAIRMAN. In recommending the project the board also considered the large local contributions as being sufficient to warrant. Federal participation in the project?
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir.
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir; with respect to the large local participation and the benefit to the general welfare of the community.
The CHAIRMAN. Colonel Herb, in the project under consideration, for the record, I will ask you if it is fair to assume that the usual procedure was followed? Were the local interests notified of any investigations or hearings so that those who advocated or opposed the project could be heard ?
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And before the submission of this report, as I understand you, the local interests signified their agreement to complying with the local contribution, which is approximately 45 percent of the total cost of the project?
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. In view of that large contribution and in view of the flood damages, and the definite flood hazard, you have recommended favorable consideration of this report by the committee?
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir.
Colonel HERB. Yes, sir. Also the Governor of Michigan has' endorsed this project.
The CHAIRMAN. Any questions by members of the committee? If not, for the moment, you may stand aside, Colonel.
The report of the Chief of Engineers with the views of the Governor of Michigan are as follows:
Washington, April 8, 1946.
1. I submit for transmission to Congress my report with accompanying papers and illustrations on preliminary examination and survey of Clinton River, Mich., authorized by the Flood Control Act approved June 22, 1936, as amended by the Flood Control Act approved August 28, 1937.
2. Clinton River is formed by the confluence of its South, Middle, and North Branches at “The Forks” and flows easterly 101/2 miles to empty into Anchor Bay, an arm of Lake St. Clair, 20 miles north of Detroit. It will pass flows of 5,000 cubic feet per second without flooding low areas providing Lake St. Clair is not extraordinarily high or the river mouth is not blocked by ice jams. Red Run joins South Branch from the southwest 5 miles above “The Forks." The drainage basin comprising 760 square miles is rolling to hilly in the northwestern section and level to undulating in the southeastern section. Mount Clemens, 1 mile east of "The Forks," with a 1940 population of 14,400, is the largest city affected by floods in the basin. It is a resort noted for its mineralwater baths. It has a beet-sugar refinery, large greenhouse establishments, an automobile house-trailer factory, a pottery factory, and boat works.
3. Under a navigation project authorized in 1886, Clinton River has been improved to provide a channel 8 feet deep and 50 to 60 feet wide from deep water in Lake St. Clair to Mount Clemens. No maintenance work was performed between 1916 and 1938. However, during the latter year dredging of shoals at the mouth of the river restored the 8-foot depth throughout that section. Vessel traffic is limited to light-draft scows, tugs, fishing boats, and recreational craft. No improvement for flood control of Clinton River or its tributaries has been authorized by Congress. Since 1878, local interests have expended $242,250 in improving the channels of Midle Branch, Red Run, and Bear Creek, a tributary of Red Run, for drainage purposes. The Works Progress Administration participated in a part of this work to the extent of $6,290. A dike has been constructed to protect Selfridge Field, a United States Army airport on the north side of Clinton River near Lake St. Clair.
4. Floods occur in the late winter or early spring and cause an average annual damage estimated at $23,500 in and below the city of Mount Clemens. The flood of February 1938 produced a peak discharge of 14,500 cubic feet per second at the Moravian Drive Bridge one-half mile west of Mount Clemens city limits and caused damage principally to residential areas in the city estimated at $50,000. The flood of May 1943 produced a peak discharge of 15,000 cubic feet per second at the Moravian Drive Bridge, damaged the homes of 2,500 residents of Mount Clemens, and inundated 1,000 acres of land below the city.
5. Local interests desire flood protection along Clinton River and suggest improvement of the river channel and the lower reaches of its principal tributaries. They also suggest a cut-off channel to extend from the city limits of Mount Clemens to Lake St. Clair at a point about 3 miles below the present mouth of the river. Responsible county and city officials state that in their opinion if a project is adopted by Congress, local interests will be willing to meet the requirements of local cooperation.
6. The district engineer finds no justification for flood-control improvements above the city of Mount Clemens as flood damage there is small. He finds that the most practical plan for the protection of Mount Clemens and vicinity consists essentially of a cut-off canal and appurtenant structures extending from a point on Clinton River about 1,500 feet below Gratiot Avenue Bridge, directly
southeastward about 12,500 feet to Lake St. Clair. Weirs would be installed at the ends of the cut-off canal, the one at the upper end to assure proper division of the floodwaters between the river and the canal, and the other at the lower end to reduce velocities below the scouring stage. The canal would have a bottom width of 74 feet and a discharge capacity of 11,000 cubic feet per second which, together with a flow of 4,000 cubic feet per second safely discharged by the river, would result in a total discharge capacity of 15,000 cubic feet per second.
7. The first cost is estimated at $708,000, of which $378,000 is Federal for construction and $330,000 is non-Federal for lands and rights-of-way, bridges, and an access road. The total annual carrying charge is estimated at $32,500. The annual benefits are estimated at $26,600, of which $23,500 is prevention of direct and indirect flood losses and $3,100 is property enhancement. The ratio of costs to benefits is 1.0 to 0.82. The district engineer states that the improvement would provide protection against a repetition of the highest flood of record. He believes that the project is meritorious and necessary for the general welfare of the communities affected.
8. The district engineer recommends that flood-protection project be provided on Clinton River, Mich., at' and in the vicinity of Mount Clemens, generally as described above, at an estimated first cost to the United States of $378,000 for construction provided that local interests give assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of War that they will (a) provide without cost to the United States all lands, easements, and rights-of-way (including the removal of buildings) necessary for the construction of the project; (b) bear the expense of all necessary highway bridges and access roads thereto; hold and save the United States free from claims for damages resulting from construction of the works; (c) establish and enforce regulations satisfactory to the Secretary of War and designed to prevent encroachments on the improved and existing channels; (d) and maintain and operate the cut-off canal after completion in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of War.
9. The division engineer states that since 1938 there have been three major floods on the Clinton River at and in the vicinity of Mount Clemens, Mich. In addition to causing large direct damages, these floods have seriously endangered the general welfare and social security of the inhabitants of the locality. Responsible officials have indicated the vital importance that the community attaches to the improvement by stating that local interests will participate in the improvement to the extent recommended by the district engineer, at a total estimated first cost of $330,000, or 46 percent of the total cost of the project. He concurs in the recommendation of the district engineer.
10. The Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors finds that the elimination of the expense and inconvenience to residents who are compelled temporarily to abandon their homes when floods impend, constitutes a benefit of considerable magnitude which, when considered with the tangible benefits and with the will. ingness and desire of local interests to bear approximately 46 percent of the cost of the improvement, is sufficient to warrant participation by the United States in the undertaking. The Board concurs in the recommendation of the division engineer.
11. After due consideration of these reports, I concur in the views and recommendations of the Board. The improvement would provide protection for Mount Clemens and vicinity against floods equal to those of record, and is fully warranted. I therefore recommend adoption of a flood-protection project at and in the vicinity of Mount Clemens, Mich., generally in accordance with the plans of the district engineer and as shown on the accompanying drawings, at an estimated first cost to the United States of $378,000, subject to the provision that local interests give assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of War that they will (a) provide without cost to the United States all lands, easements, and rights-of-way, including the removal of buildings, necessary for construction of the project; (b) hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction works; (c) bear the cost of all necessary highway bridges and access roads thereto; (d) establish and enforce regulations satisfactory to the Secretary of War and designed to prevent encroachments on the improved and existing channels; and (e) maintain and operate all the works after completion in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of War.
R. A. WHEELER, Lieutenant General, Chief of Engineers.
STATE OF MICHIGAN,
Lansing, March 18, 1946. Lt. Gen. R. A. WHEELER, Chief of Engineers, United States Army,
War Department, Washington, D. C. DEAR GENERAL WHEELER: You sent me a copy of the proposed report on a preliminary examination and survey of Clinton River, Mich., together with the reports of the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors and of the district and division engineers on this project.
You submitted this report in accordance with section 1 of Public Law 14, Seventy-ninth Congress, and requested my comment.
Because of the benefit it would bring to the residents of the vicinity whose property is flooded annually, I agreewith the engineers' recommendation and approve of the proposed improvement. Sincerely,
HARRY F. KELLY, Governor.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM C. HARPER, DRAIN COMMISSIONER FOR
MACOMB COUNTY, MICH. Mr. HARPER. My name is William C. Harper. I am the drain commissioner for Macomb County, Mich.
The CHAIRMAN. And what county is Mount Clemens located in? Mr. HARPER. In Macomb County.
The CHAIRMAN. In what county and through what county does the Clinton River from Macomb to the Anchor Bay arm of the lake flow?
Mr. HARPER. The Clinton River flows through at least two counites, but it is the natural drainage basin for four participating counties, covering an area of approximately 760 square miles.
The CHAIRMAN. As indicated in this report?
The CHAIRMAN. The names of those four counties are what, Mr.
The CHAIRMAN. Through what counties or county does the proposed cut-off or canal or channel flow?
Mr. HARPER. Solely in the township of Harrison and in the county of Macomb.
The CHAIRMAN. You say you are the drain commissioner? Or do you have a board of commissioners? Mr. HARPER. I am drain commissioner for the board of supervisors.
The CHAIRMAN. You have heard the statement of Colonel Herb, of the Office, Chief of Engineers, both with respect to authority for the report and the high points of the report, together with the recommendation of the Chief of Engineers? Mr. HARPER. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I will ask you to give us your qualifications. Are you an engineer or businessman ?
Mr. HARPER. I am the drain commissioner and I retain engineers for Macomb County.
The CHAIRMAN. What is your place of residence?