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The Bayou Macon, in Desha County, is one of the main arteries of said drainage system for carrying off the storm waters and is known as ditch No. 19; the others are ditch No. 43 and ditch No. 81 (Boggy Bayou and Cypress Creek). The Boeuf River and Bayou Macon in Arkansas and Louisiana provide the only outlet for the storm waters of this area, and the improvement of those streams will definitely benefit this area, in that the drainage will be facilitated through the increased rate of flow, thereby lowering the height of the storm waters in Bayou Macon and all other ditches of the system, which are tributary. Therefore our theme is: “Lower the flood level in the main streams and drains to the point where adjacent land will not be overflowed and which will permit outlet for lateral drainage.” The lowering of the flood plane from rain water will release thousands of acres to annual cultivation, which are now inadequately drained, and after heavy rainfall the water will move out quickly, lessening the possible resultant damage. The drainage of the whole system is no better than its outlet
We desire to point out more specifically that the work authorized and completed by the Cypress Creek drainage district, was for the purpose of aiding in the construction of the main stem of the Mississippi River levee in the vicinity of Cypress Creek.
Prior to the completion of these main drainage canals, the gap between the end of the Red Fork levee and the Desha County levee was approximately 2 miles wide, and the act creating this drainage district, not only provided for the expenditure of funds for ditches, but also made it the duty of the drainage board to actually close the gap between the two levees, but this gap could be closed only in accordance with the orders and specifications of the United States engineers.
Cypress Creek drainage district was authorized to construct drainage canals to draw off the surface waters that formerly entered into the Mississippi River through Cypress Creek. These ditches were dug and paid for by the property lying within the confines of the district, though a large area extending almost to Pine Bluff was drained, and the property to the south of the district was protected through the closing of the Cypress Creek drainage gap; all of which was done at the expense of the property lying within this drainage district.
The drainage work was done under the plans and specifications of the engineers of the United States Department of Agriculture (Bulletin No. 198–1915), and was done to the satisfaction of the Army engineers in charge of the Mississippi River levee system.
The property owners were advised that these canals would be adequate, and that the gap could be closed when canals had been completed with sufficient capacity to carry the storm waters which formerly emptied through Cypress Creek. After the canals had been commenced the district suffered a disastrous flood in 1916; thereby impairing the works already completed. The flood of 1927 caused all of the canals to be silted up to the point where their efficiency was impaired, and canal No. 43 was damaged to the extent that it ceased to function for the purposes intended.
The outlet of all the drains of this system, ditches No. 81, No. 43, and No. 19 and Bayou Macon, in Northern Chicot County, has been impaired by silting until the flow has been greatly restricted, and especially is this true as to No. 81 (Boggy Bayou), the main drain
on the east side of the area, which formerly had its outlet into the river. Ditch No. 19 on the western side of the district, and carrying water from the Kersh Lake (Gould) area, annually overflows its banks and floods hundreds of acres in the Pickens-Dumas-Gould area. This ditch and its outlet through Bayou Macon to the intersection of the other drains in north Chicot County should be improved so that the surface water will flow out without flooding the lands.
Silting and erosion in ditch No. 43, due to the 1927 crevasses in the Arkansas River levee, so obstructed the flow as to largely destroy the effectiveness of said ditch, and it has been necessary for the district recently to expend over $6,000 in improvement of approximately 14 miles of said ditch south of Amos Bayou.
The people now in Cypress Creek drainage district are faced with the problem of reconstructing these ditches, which were greatly damaged by the 1927 flood, or inducing the Government to assume the restoration of these drains as a part of the flood-control program.
Stating it another way: Unless large sums of money are expended in restoring the ditches, there are sections within the Cypress Creek drainage that are and will be greatly damaged by these impaired drains.
A careful examination of the facts will show that Cypress Creek drainage district stands in a different position from any other drainage area; in that its creation was necessary in order that the levee system could be completed.
The burden of restoring these ditches falls upon a limited area, while a large amount of the west side Delta south of the Arkansas River enjoys the benefits derived from its creation and the closing of the gap. Unless this burden of restoring these canals is assumed by the National Government, then a limited number of property owners must bear the burden of carrying the storm waters away from the levees, which formerly flowed into the river through Cypress Creek.
In this statement we have stressed what we think is the moral obligation to relieve the people of Cypress Creek drainage district from the necessity of reconstructing these storm water drains.
This district lies in the heart of the west side Delta. Nature has done a splendid job in making these lands suitable for agriculture, when the main canals for carrying off the storm waters have been made completely effective; and may we call attention to the fact that this district is required to handle much water that falls to the north and west and beyond its boundaries.
The area of the Cypress Creek drainage district is just now developing into rich, productive farms. The merchantable timber has been removed, and the lands invite cultivation. The district is well served by highways and railroads.
Reference to the Census Bureau will show that this county has, since the abandonment of the Jadwin flood-control plan, increased rapidly in population. During the 10-year period from 1930 to 1940 the population of Desha County increased from 21,814 to 27,160 and during which time about 64,000 acres of wild land were cleared and placed in cultivation.
A careful study of this case will show that these lands bear a very heavy tax burden to pay for the construction of levees before the national program was put into effect and that it will be many years to retire the bonds outstanding.
All of the lands lying in the Cypress Creek drainage district are also included in a part of the southeast Arkansas levee district. The act creating Cypress Creek drainage district imposed upon it the obligation to construct that part of the levee system which is known as the Cypress Creek Gap.
Not only the lands lying within the Cypress Creek drainage district are benefited by the closing of this gap, but all of the lands lying south through Arkansas and Louisiana in the drainage basin are benefited equally, or to a greater degree, by reason thereof.
*A careful examination of the equities of the various drainage districts, for national aid, will in our opinion place the claims of Cypress Creek drainage district above all others for the reasons hereinbefore stated; and for the additional reasons that these lands are as promising in national income and wealth as any other lands; double taxation is required of these lands for flood control and drainage; and because these ditches have deteriorated by reason of national floods to the extent that they must be restored or many thousand acres be given up as wastelands.
The Cypress Creek drainage district will furnish rights-of-way for any work the Government shall undertake on the drains of said district and will maintain the works after completed.
We summarize the cost of drainage to date in the areas of the Cypress Creek system in Desha and Lincoln Counties, as follows: Cypress Creek drainage district..
-----$2, 170, 000.00 Drainage district No. 5--------
147, 443. 97 Kersh Lake drainage district--
269, 000.00 Cummins drainage district---
84,500.00 Drainage district No. 4.-----
------ 2, 967, 443.97 Wherefore the board of commissioners of Cypress Creek drainage district respectfully urges approval of the recommended project and its enactment into law."
The CHAIRMAN. Your people are prepared to furnish the local contribution required ?
Mr. PoE. We are prepared to furnish rights-of-way and guarantee maintenance.
The CHAIRMAN. You have the local agencies prepared to make the cooperation?
Mr. PoE. That is correct.
Mr. Chairman, I have some statements here from people in that district which I would like to file for the record. They are very short statements.
The CHAIRMAN. That may be done.
(The statements referred to are as follows:) The HOUSE FLOOD CONTROL COMMITTEE,
Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: It is my understanding that you have before you a proposed proj. ct for the dredging and enlargement of Beouff River and Bayou Macon in Chicot County, Ark., and continuation thereof into Desha County, Ark., and I have been asked to make statement to be filed with you in connection therewith.
I owned more than 500 acres of land situated on what is known as the Jerome Road, approximately one-half to a mile and one-half west of Beouff River drain
age canal and through which also was constructed a drainage ditch with 20-foot bottom by the War Relocation Authority, which runs from property owned by
p ps owned as the Alluvial Farms, Inc., and the United States of America property just east the Alluvial Farms Ine and the United States
A of Jerome, Ark.
I purchased this land and improved it extensively, building a large number of houses and barns thereon and putting most of it in cultivation with the thought that I would have excellent protection from flood water coming down the ditch constructed by the War Relocation Authority and the main ditch No. 1 of the Chicot County drainage district, and would be able to properly drain same. Then the rains came, the ditch of the War Relocation Authority ran over, and the main ditch No. 1 of the Chicot County drainage district ran over. The water from the main ditch No. 1 of the Chicot County drainage district ran across the land in a westerly direction and over my place, and, of course, over the ditch constructed by the War Relocation Authority, greatly damaging my property and the growing crops thereon. In order to avoid this, I constructed a levee around my place which I used as a road, but found that while this kept the water from the main ditch No. 1 of the Chicot County drainage district from running over my land, the water in the War Relocation ditch continued to run over, and I was unable to construct ditches which would take the water off my property.
This flooded condition covers an area some 7 or 8 miles long north and south, and 4 or 5 miles wide east and west, in this immediate territory along the main ditch No. 1 of the Chicot County drainage district.
The construction of the ditch by the War Relocation Authority greatly aggravated the conditions of the main ditch No. 1 of the Chicot County drainage district and caused water to back up in its ditch for more than 4 miles. Respectfully submitted.
LAKE VILLAGE, ARK., April 12, 1946. The FLOOD CONTROL COMMITTEE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN : I wish to express my views on the proposed drainage system in Chicot County, Ark. In my opinion, the drainage problem in this county will greatly be solved by the widening and cleaning out of Beouff River and Bayou Macon. There are twelve or fifteen thousand acres of cleared fertile land in the southern part of Chicot County which is almost useless without drainage but will be of great value with proper drainage. With a greater trend and need toward agriculture, proper drainage of this district will allow desirable farm land for many farm families. There are also several thousand acres of uncleared land in this vicinity which could be developed into very desirable farm land with proper drainage. Poor drainage in this area also retards a fastgrowing livestock program in this county, but which will be greatly relieved with proper drainage.
Recently a large ditch was constructed by the War Relocation Authority which empties into the main ditch of the Chicot County drainage district, and this also caused the flood condition of Beouff River and Bayou Macon to become worse. .
As FSA supervisor of Chicot County, Ark., I sincerely hope the residents of this county can be relieved of this bad situation. Very truly yours,
BEN C. CARTER, County FSA Supervisor.
APRIL 11, 1946. The FLOOD CONTROL COMMITTEE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: I am a trustee of the Sam Epstein estate operating a farm, ginning and mercantile business in Lake Village, Ark., and covering land along Bayou Macon and Beouff River. Several times each year these streams overflow from water coming into them from the north and covering some 500 acres of property in my control, decreasing it greatly in yalue and ruining any crops that might have been planted. That happens quiet frequently during the spring and early summer months.
This land is all very productive when the water can be removed from it.
APRIL 11, 1946. The FLOOD CONTROL COMMITTEE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: I am a farmer owning land on Beouff River just north of where Highway No. 82 crosses Beouff River. After a good rain I am unable to get to a large portion of my property except by boat, due to the overflowing of Beouff River, and if I could get there I would find very little of it out of water and something needs to be done to remedy this situation. Respectfully submitted.
ED L. DAVIS.
The FLOOD CONTROL COMMITTEE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: I have been asked to make a statement in regard to the proposed Beouff River and Bayou Macon enlargement and improvement in Chicot County, Ark.
I am a farmer and ginner living at Montrose, Ark., just over the line from Chicot County, Ark., but owning and operating property in Chicot County, Ark., and serving a large number of farmers in the area of Chicot County in my ginning and furnishing operations, and of course, am well familiar with the drainage and flood conditions along the above streams.
Since the construction of the ditch by the War Relocation Authority which begins close to Jerome, Ark., and runs into the ditch No. 1 of the Chicot County drainage district about 142 miles north of Highway No. 82. I have seen more water in that ditch than has ever been in it before, in fact, it has overflowed repeatedly since that time and covers an area some 7 miles wide, 12 miles long, and backs ups all streams from Bayou Bartholomew east, as Beouff River is the only outlet we have in this territory, resulting in an untold amount of damage.
This land is as fertile as you will find in any section, but on account of the inadequate drainage, price is very cheap, and the retarding factor in settling this area is the flooded condition, since the only complaint you have from a prospective farmer in the area is the lack of drainage. With adequate drainage it would be open for settlement for a large number of farmers. Respectfully submitted.
SAM J. NELSON.
APRIL 11, 1946. THE FLOOD CONTROL COMMITTEE,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN: I live on Bayou Macon approximately a mile north of where Bayou Macon goes into the main ditch No. 1 of the Chicot County drainage district. Whenever there is a lot of water in Bayou Macon it runs over my land and has damaged 'me each year more than $1,500. This condition prevails all along this bayou and the main ditch No. 1 of the Chicot County drainage district. Respectfully submitted.
DESHA COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION,
McGehee, Ark., April 13, 1946. Mr. DE WITT POE, Chairman, Southeast Arkansas Drainage
Protective Association, McGehee, Ark. DEAR SIR: I am the county supervisor of schools for Desha County, Ark., and by reason of the position I hold, am acquainted with all sections of the county and know of some of the hindrances which prevent children in some areas from attending school regularly.
There are several school districts in the county where attendance by pupils is prevented when the roads go under water and the busses are unable to get through ; during the rainy season the drainage system is inadequate to carry away the water and large areas are flooded. There are others who are prevented from attending regularly on account of the flooded conditions who do not ride a bus, but walk or provide their own transportation.
Improved drainage in this area will be a marked benefit to the public schools of this county. Yours very truly,
J. C. RAPP, County Supervisor.