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I may also say that at a hearing for the consideration of the proposal before the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, there appeared at that hearing, recommending this proposal and urging its approval:
Mr. Joseph Holtgreve, representing the parish of Jefferson; Mr. Rene F. Clerc, representing the Governor of the State of Louisiana; Mr. Francis Williams, representing the mayor of New Orleans; Mr. Deal Lanstaff, executive director, representing the Mossaire Airport, the largest international airport in this country, which, by the way, will suffer considerably if we should ever have a flood; Dr. S. S. Lewis and Dr. Rolanc C. Steib, representing the civic bodies of the parish of Jefferson; Mr. William J. Guste, representing the Young Men's Business Club of New Orleans. In addition, the chief engineer of the Orleans Levee Board, advises that this project is needed, and the president of the Lake Pontchartrain Levee Board recognizes its need with the statement that it is a Federal responsibility as this spillway is controlled by the Federal Government.
All of these witnesses fully realize the great need for this project and they all realize that it is a Federal Government obligation. There have been some questions raised by the Director of the Budget as to the justification of the economical value of the project. In this respect we believe that there is more than sufficient value that will be protected by this undertaking than is needed to justify its economical value and in respect to that question, I should like, Mr. Chairman, to include a copy of a letter from the United States engineers addressed to the Director of the Budget on the subject but in addition to the question of the justification of the economical value, we believe the problem to be one of flood protection. As the situation exists today, it is a menace to the lives, health, and property of those beyond the shore line. (The letter referred to is as follows:)
Washington, April 1, 1946. Hon. HAROLD D. SMITH,
Director, Bureau of the Budget, Washington 25, D. C. DEAR MR. SMITH: Reference is made to your letter dated February 19, 1946, in which you request certain additional information concerning the proposed report of the Chief of Engineers on Lake Pontchartrain, La. Your letter was referred to the Chief of Engineers for his consideration with the request that he supply the information desired by the Bureau of the Budget.
The Chief of Engineers informs me that, although prevention of damage to be expected from recurrence of actual past floods is the usual basis for estimating the annual benefit of flood-control improvements, the improvement recommended in the report on Lake Pontchartrain is essentially preservation of a inajor drainage improvement and provides for protection from permanent flood. ing that would result from the failure of the existing lake-shore embankment with attendant destruction of improved urban property with an appraised value in excess of $6,000,000.
The area to be protected in Jefferson Parish has been reclaimed by the Fourth Jefferson Drainage District which utilized an abandoned highway embankment as the lake-shore levee Flood protection for this area has been dependent upon the effectiveness of the levees and drainage works provided by the Fourth Jefferson Drainage District. The entire area that would be protected by the proposed project is subject to local flooding incident to excess rainfall during tropical storms, the removal of which depends upon pumping operations. · The operation of the drainage district to improve swamplands by means of levees and artificial drainage involved the lowering of the water table with attendant consolidation and subsidence of muck soil. A considerable portion of the property in this area is now below lake level and is subject not only to temporary flooding from direct rainfall and run-off from adjoining areas but also to submergence by the lake in case of failure of the lake-shore embankment.
The existing lake-shore embankment has deteriorated, and continued erosion of the embankment by wave wash will result in a breach, or breaches, of the embankment, permitting tidal inflow from the lake in excess of the pumping capacity of the drainage works. In the event of the recurrence of the stages of Lake Pontchartrain observed between 1915 and 1943, the existing embankment in its deteriorated condition can be expected to fail. Flooding would then occur at the frequencies indicated below:
Areas at and under elevation 2.5 will be submerged so frequently that improvements appraised in excess of $6,000,000 will be valueless,
Areas between elevations 2.5 and 3 will be flooded once in 8 years.
Areas between elevations 3 and 4 include the Moissant Airport with a
valuation of $12,000,000. The average annual flood damage resulting from lake inflow which would be prevented by the recommended improvements during an assumed life of 40 years is estimated at $220,000. Annual charges for the improvement recommended are estimated at $77,000, as shown in our report
The removal of precipitation and run-off from within the area protected by the project has been accomplished in the past by the operation of the facilities of the fourth Jefferson drainage district. Since no improvement of the drainage system was requested by local interests, the plan of improvement presented in the report presupposés continued maintenance and operation of these facilities by the drainage district. Sincerely yours,
-, Secretary of War. Mr. MALONEY. This condition has been positively caused by the construction of the Bonnet Carre spillway. Our greatest moments of anxiety in fighting the water along the shore line has been when the spillway was open. So, therefore, we believe that this project is amply justified from both viewpoints. The past several years, on account of the war, we did not urge the necessary legislation. However, the war is over, we are gradually getting back to normalcy, the surveys have been completed, the reports have been made, and now is the time for us to obtain the necessary legislation. We believe that there should not be any delay as no one can ever tell when and what the Mississippi River will do. We in any year can have another rise in the Mississippi that would require the use of the spillway that could cause incalculable damage.
So, gentlemen, the interested groups that I have mentioned, and myself, will feel very grateful for your kind and favorable consideration for the necessary legislation to put into effect the recommendation of the United States engineer.
Mr. ALLEN. We have here from Alexandria, La., Mr. Homer H. Harris, Mr. Fred C. Barksdale, Mr. Harry Henderson, Jr.; and from Natchez, La., Mr. J. E. Bailes; and froń Shreveport, La., Mr. V. V. Whittington, Mr. Edgar W. Fullilove, Mr. Lane H. Mitchell, and Mr L. R. Matthias.
The CHAIRMAN. Senator Overton, we are delighted to have you present Do you desire to make a statement ?
Senator OVERTON. No, thank you.
Mr. ALLEN. I would like for the record to show the presence of General Tyler. I would like to state that we in the Mississippi Valley
think a great deal of General Tyler. We know that we have had no better friend than General Tyler.
The CHAIRMAN. Off the record.
(Thereupon, at 10:45 a. m., the committee adjourned until Thursday, April 18, 1946, at 9 a. m.)
FLOOD CONTROL BILL OF 1946
THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 1946
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The committee met at 9 a. m.. pursuant to adjournment, Hon. Will M. Whittington (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order.
The President of the Mississippi River Commission, General Crawford, was on the stand when the committee adjourned yesterday. General Crawford, you may proceed and complete your statement, with any observations you may care to submit in addition to those you have already brought to the attention of the committee.
STATEMENT OF MAJ. GEN. R. W. CRAWFORD, PRESIDENT,
MISSISSIPPI RIVER COMMISSION General CRAWFORD. In connection with the estimates, the rise in cost of construction which I mentioned yesterday afternoon, I merely wanted to add that that increased cost of doing work applies in the same manner to maintenance work as it does to construction work.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, for the record, just repeat substantially the additional costs that you are encountering.
General CRAWFORD. We have reestimated the cost of completing the authorized portions of the project in the light of present costs, and find that it represents an increase of approximately 37 percent; in other words, the total of $479,725,000 instead of the $350,776,000 still unappropriated under our initial authorization.
The CHAIRMAN. I refer more particularly to the percentage increase. General CRAWFORD. Approximately 37 percent over all. The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed. General CRAWFORD. I wish to mention too, for the record, some trouble we have had with roads, particularly across the Arkabutla Reservoir where we had provided funds to reconstruct county roads, and has constructed State roads, and as a result of the very high water that we experienced this year those roads all suffered damage that we had not foreseen which will require some remedial action and possibly, some additional authority for the repair, in view of the fact that we had a closed case with those agencies and had paid under agreement for the construction of these roads.
The CHAIRMAN. In that connection, and in that regard, the same situation would probably obtain in other reservoir areas? General CRAWFORD. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. That was largely due to what we call wave wash?