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The committee will stand in recess until 9:30 tomorrow morning,
(Whereupon, at 10:30 a. m., the committee adjourned to Wednesday, April 17, 1946, at 9:30 a. m.)'
(April 19, 1946) The CHAIRMAN. In connection with the Whittier-Narrows project, there has been transmitted to the committee for the record the following telegrams which I am inserting:
Los ANGELES, CALIF., April 18, 1946. Hon. WILLIAM M. WHITTINGTON, Chairman, Flood Control Committee, House of Representatives,
House Office Building, Washington, D. C.:. Understand from press Congressman Voorhis has urged withdrawal of authorization for Whittier Narrows project. Cancellation of this authorization would leave millions of dollars of property and several hundred thousand people without flood protection. Even if action was temporary, delay would be extremely expensive, because of rising land values in reservoir area. Request committee delay action until those interested can be heard. No need for hasty decision since Congress has made no appropriation for construction.
W. S. ROSECRANS, President, Conservation Association.
Los ANGELES, CALIF., April 18, 1946. Congressman WILLIAM M. WHITTINGTON,
House of Representatives, House Office Building, Washington, D. C.: Have tried 2 days to reach you regarding news stories pertaining to Whittier Narrows Dam. Stories indicate possibility dam authorization may be rescinded; urge that'no action adverse to Whittier Narrows Dam construction be taken before all sides have opportunity to be heard.
WM. A. SMITH, Board of Supervisors, County of Los Angeles.
LONG BEACH, CALIF., April 18, 1946. Hon. WILLIAM M. WHITTINGTON, Chairman of Flood Control Committee, House Office Building,
Washington, D. C.: Informed Congressman Voorhis has requested your committee to recommend withdrawal of authorization of Whittier Narrows Dam, House Document 838. We protest any such withdrawal and must have adequate flood-control facilities to protect lives and property of approximately one-fourth million people.
SAMUEL E. VICKERS,
(May 3, 1946)
SALINAS RIVER The CHAIRMAN. We have before us, General Wheeler, the report of the Chief of Engineers on the Salinas River, Calif.
Will you make a statement or do you desire Colonel Herb to do so!
General WHEELER. I would like Colonel Herb to make the statement, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Colonel Herb, give us the authority for this report, the flood problems involved, the recommendations of the Chief of
Engineers, and your report as to the character of the improvements, requirements of the local interests, and the benefits as compared with the costs? Where is the Salinas River located ? STATEMENT OF COL. E. G. HERB, ASSISTANT CIVIL WORKS
DIVISION, OFFICE, CHIEF OF ENGINEERS Colonel HERB. The Salinas River rises in the Coast Range mountains in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., and flows 168 miles northwesterly through San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties to Monterey Bay.
The CHAIRMAN. What flood problem is there generally along that river?
Colonel HERB. There have been 21 floods since 1900. The largest flood of record occurred in 1938 and had a peak discharge of about 75,000 cubic feet per second..
The Salinas River has a drainage area of about 4,200 square miles. The river channel within the valley is wide and shallow with poorly defined, generally unstable banks, and its capacity varies from about 20,000 to 42,000 cubic feet per second.
Agriculture and processing of agricultural products are the predominant occupations in the basin, with the farming concentrated in the alluvial valleys along the river.
The CHAIRMAN. Does it debouch into a plain ?
Colonel HERB. No, sir, the river sort of meanders through the valley between the Santa Lucia Range and the Diablo Range to Monterey Bay.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the average width of the valley ? Colonel HERB. It varies in width from about 10 miles near Monterey Bay to approximately 2 miles at San Ardo about 85 miles above its mouth.
The CHAIRMAN. What local improvements have been made by the local people for their own protection?
Colonel HERB. Local interests have spent over $1,000,000 in constructing retaining, walls, jetties, revetments and other types of bank protection works on the river. There are no Federal flood-control projects in this basin.
The annual flood damage in the basin is estimated at $164,000.
The plan of improvement provides for the correction and stabilization of the lower 93 miles of the river channel, and about 1 mile of the channel of Arroyo Seco which enters Salinas River at mile 45.
There are five prominent tributaries of this river, three coming in from the west and two from the east. This Arroyo Seco comes in from the west.
The plan provides for clearing the channels of vegetation; protective planting of willows, baccharis and other native vegetation on the banks and along the back of the training works; and constructing about 80 bank miles of channel training works, 60 bank miles of bankprotection works, 12 bank miles of light bank revetment, and about 10 miles of earth dikes; excavation of about 1.5 miles of pilot channel.
The entire project is one of channel stabilization and rectification to increase the capacity of the channel.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the estimated cost?
Colonel HERB. The estimated Federal cost is $1,905,000, and the non-Federal cost for providing easements is estimated at $55,000, making a total first cost of $1,960,000, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the requirement of the local interest?
Colonel HERB. The usual local requirement, sir; that is provided without cost to the United States, all lands, easements, and rights-ofway necessary for completion of the works; hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction works; and maintain and operate all the works after completion in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of War.
The ratio of costs to benefits is 1 to 1.14.
The CHAIRMAN. And you say that project is one primarily of channel stabilization and of local protective works?
Colonel HERB. That is correct.
Colonel HERB. Reservoirs were considered in this plan too, but no recommendation was made because it takes further study by the Bureau of Reclamation. If the reservoirs are ultimately built the plan that we propose here will fit into the ultimate development of this basin.
The CHAIRMAN. What are the principal products in this valley?
Colonel HERB. Agriculture is the principal industry. In the lower part of the valley lettuce, sugar beets, beans, carrots, and artichokes, are grown, while almonds, walnuts, and deciduous fruit orchards predominate in the upper valley. They also raise some truck produce and livestock
The CHAIRMAN. What cities, if any?
Colonel HERB. Salinas is the most important city, sir. It had a population in 1940 of about 11,500.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the population of the valley?
Colonel HERB. The population of the entire valley in 1940 was estimated at 53,000.
One other statement might be of interest to the committee. The Governor of California, by letter dated April 6, 1946, recommended that the improvements as proposed by the Chief of Engineers be approved and be authorized by the Congress for immediate construction; and at the appropriate time, full consideration be given the matter of classification of costs for maintenance incurred after the 5-year period of construction, properly chargeable to experimental work, as a Federal obligation. The Secretary of the Interior, in a letter dated April 12, 1946, commenting on the Salinas River report, recommended that the proposed plan be authorized, recognizing that it is only a part of an ultimate plan, in which the irrigation reservoirs and conservation works of that Department will play an important role.
(The report of the Chief of Engineers, together with the comments of the Department of the Interior, are as follows:)
Washington, April 29, 1946.
1. I submit for transmission to Congress, my interim report with accompaning papers and illustrations on premilinary examination and survey of "Salinas River in Monterey County,” authorized by the Flood Control Act approved June 22,
1936, and of "Salinas River, Calif.," authorized by the Flood Control Act approved August 28, 1937. It is devoted to consideration of channel improvement for flood control along the main stem of Salinas River. The advisability of comprehensive improvement of the Salinas River Basin for flood control and allied purposes will be covered in a subsequent report.
2. Salinas River rises in the Coast Range mountains in San Luis Obispo County, Calif., and flows 168 miles northwesterly through San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties to Monterey Bay. Its major tributaries are Estrella and San Lorenzo Creeks entering from the east and Nacimiento and San Antonio Rivers and Arroyo Seco entering from the west. The drainage area of 4,218 square miles is mostly mountainous with elevations rising from sea level to above 5,000 feet. The principal valley lands are contained in Salinas Valley which extends inland along the river to mile 93 between the towns of San Ardo and Bradley. This valley near the coast is a fertile alluvial plain 10 miles wide, from which it narrows gradually to two miles in width at San Ardo. The valley floor slopes at a fairly even gradient from an elevation of 50 feet at the city of Salinas, 12 miles above the river mouth, to an elevation of 450 feet at San Ardo. The river channel within the valley is wide and shallow with poorly defined, generally unstable banks, and its capacity varies from about 20,000 to 42,000 cubic feet per second. Average rainfall over the Salinas River Basin is 16.5 inches. The population of the basin is estimated at 53,000, the principal city being Salinas which had 11,586 inhabitants in 1910.
3. Agriculture and processing of agricultural products are the predominant occupations in the basin with the farming concentrated in the alluvial valleys along the river. Practically all of the better grade farm land in Salinas Valley is irrigated by pumping from wells, with double cropping and in some instances triple cropping, the normal practice. Principal crops in the lower valley are lettuce, sugar beets, beans, carrots and artichokes, while almond, walnut, and deciduous fruit orchards predominate in the upper valley. Cattle, sheep, dairy products, poultry, and eggs are also important commodities and some minerals are produced in the basin. Rail and highway facilities are available to the area.
4. Flooding has occurred along Salinas River in 21 years of the 45-year period since 1900, as a result of general rains over the watershed. The flood of February 1938, the largest since 1900, had a peak discharge of 75,000 cubic feet per second at the Spreckels gage, 121/2 miles above the river mouth. This flood caused damage estimated at $761,300, of which 48 percent was from inundation, 39 percent from bank erosion and damage to bank protection works, and the remainder from damage to roads, bridges, railroad property, and public utilities. Approximately 93 percent of the total damage occurred in the Salinas Valley below San Ardo. Other recent damaging floods occurred in 1935, 1936, 1937, 1940, and 1941. Average annual flood damage in the basin is estimated at $164,000, of which $149,000 is direct and $15,000 indirect. Of these amounts, $139,000 direct damages and $12,000 indirect are attributed to Salinas Valley. Local interests have constructed retaining walls, jetties, revetments, and other types of bank-protection works on the river at a cost of over $1,000,000, including annual maintenance, during the past 45 years. About 3 miles of channel-clearing work near Spreckels was accomplished with Federal funds at a cost of $5,146 under the provisions of the Flood Control Act of August 28, 1937.
5. Local interests desire preparation of a comprehensive water-supply plan for the drainage basin, construction of water-conservation and flood-control works, channel improvement, and prevention of land destruction by bank erosion. They believe that the improvement of the channel should take first place in any orderly plan of development and in accordance therewith, have constructed at their own expense two demonstration installations in Salinas Valley to assist in the study of effective bank stabilization and channel-improvement methods. The majority of riparian owners have expressed willingness to participate in a channel-improvement project by furnishing the necessary local cooperation.
6. The district engineer finds that the most practicable plan of improvement for initial development in Salinas Valley consists of correction and stabilization of the lower 93 miles of the river channel and about 1 mile of the channel of Arroyo Seco' entering Salinas River at mile 45. He finds that such channel improvement is a necessary part of any plan for ultimate development of multiple-purpose reservoirs. The plan provides for clearing the channels of vegetation; constructing about 80 bank-miles of channel training works, 60 bank-miles of bank protection works, 12 bank-miles of light bank revetment and about 10 miles of earth dikes; excavation of about 1.5 miles of pilot channels; and protective planting of willows, baccharis, and other native vegetation on banks and back of training works. The proposed improvement is patterned on the existing demonstration installations and would be accomplished over a 5-year period by intermittent construction during low-water seasons. First cost of the improvement is estimated at $1,960,000, of which $1,905,000 is Federal cost of construction and $55,000 is non-Federal cost of rights-of-way. Annual charges are estimated to total $95,100.
7. The district engineer states that construction and maintenance of the improvement would accomplish permanent stabilization of the river channel in a location satisfactory to riparian owners and would increase the channel capacity enabling it to carry floods of 50,000 cubic feet per second without damage to the flood plain. He estimates that the prevention of bank erosion and the partial protection from floods afforded by the improvement would provide annual benefits of $108,500, of which $85,900 is from prevention of direct flood damages and $22,600 is relief of average annual bank protection expense to local interests. The ratio of estimated costs to benefits is 1 to 1.14; therefore the district engineer concludes that the plan of improvement is economically justified and recommends its construction subject to certain conditions of local cooperation. The division engineer concurs.
8. The Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors is of the opinion that the benefits from prevention of bank erosion and other flood losses are sufficient to warrant the improvement. It concurs in the recommendations of the district and division engineers.
9. After due considertaion of these reports, I concur in the views of the Board. The proposed improvement will provide needed protection in the Salinas Valley and is justified by the prospective benefits. The channel-improvement program will be a necessary part of any plan for the comprehensive development of the water resources of the basin. I therefore recommend construction of channelimprovement works along the lower 93 miles of Salinas River and the lower 1 mile of its tributary, Arroyo Seco, in accordance with the plans of the district engineer and as shown on the accompanying drawings, and with such modifications thereof as in the discretion of the Secretary of War and the Chief of Engineers may be advisable, at an estimated cost to the United States of $1,905,000, subject to the condition that responsible local interests furnish 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 necessary for construction of the works; (b) hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction works; and (c) maintain and operate all the works after completion in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of War,
R. A. WHEELER,
Chief of Engineers.
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
Washington, April 12, 19.46. Lt. Gen. RAYMOND A. WHEELER,
Chief of Engineers, War Department. MY DEAR GENERAL WHEELER : I have reviewed your proposed Interim Flood Control Survey Report, Salinas River, California.
The report recommends for authorization a program for alinement and stabilization of 93 miles of the Salinas River Channel below San Ardo and about 1 mile of the channel of Arroyo Seco which joins the Salinas River at mile 45. The plan presented consists entirely of channel improvement in the form of channel-training and bank-protection works, supplemented by channel clearing, low dikes, pilot channels, protective planting, and adequate maintenance during and after construction. The proposed construction will be prosecuted in the light of experience gained in the initial stages, and will be carried on during a 5-year period.
While a peak discharge of 75,000 second-feet has been observed in the river near Spreckles, the channel will be designed for a capacity of 50,000 seco:d-feet with a 16-percent chance of overtopping the banks under existing conditions of river control. On the other hand, the chances of overtopping are likely to be reduced eventually, if plans which the Bureau of Reclamation has under consideration for the construction of certain storage and diversion works are carried out.