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other projects, refer to the testimony and submit your responses as to the investigations made by you as to all other alternatives before you submit your report. General CRAWFORD. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And whether or not there are any facts that have been brought out either in these hearings or otherwise that would warrant, in your opinion, recommendations for further consideration of the committee with respect to those two matters—the Chattanooga matter and the Dillon Dam matter-and other matters where we have had testimony before the committee.
I think this concludes, General Crawford, all matters that the Members of Congress have brought to our attention. General CRAWFORD. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You may remain, if you will, please—you and your assistants and we will hear now the representatives of the Department of Agriculture.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
For the record, please give the reporter your name and your official position, and tell us how long you have been in charge of this work. And I remind the committee that in the Flood Control Act of 1936 and the amendments of that act prior to December 22, 1944, there were authorizations and following those authorizations there have been appropriations that authorized and empowered the Department of Agriculture, including the Soil Conservation Service and the Forestry Service, to make examinations and to submit reports with respect to · soil conservation, erosion, and forestry problems involved in all projects subsequently considered by the Congress. They have submitted reports from time to time and authorizations have been made for their works.
In this connection, it is also proper to say that in the act of 1938, in addition to the studies and the reports and examinations which have been made by the Department of Agriculture, there is provision made for reports by the Federal Power Commission and for the in.stallation of penstocks. And in the act of 1944, as the committee well knows, further provision is made that before any projects are submitted by the Chief of Engineers there is to be a review and comments by the governors of the States interested, by the State agencies, and by the other Federal agencies, including the Department of the Interior. · Now, we are glad to have you, sir, and will you give your name for the record and official position? STATEMENT OF GEORGE R. PHILLIPS, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Mr. Phillips. My name is George R. Phillips; I am in the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture. : The CHAIRMAN. What is your official position; what do you have to do with floods?
Mr. PHILLIPS. I am a staff assistant to Mr. Charles F. Brannan, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, and, under him, have to do with the flood control program of the Department.
The CHAIRMAN. And you have a statement for consideration by the committee?
1944.s approved the waterworks are
Mr. PHILLIPS. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Give us the high spots of that statement, please, giving the authorizations, some 11 that have been made, and the appropriations that have been made, the money that is available, and your recommendations for any increased projects. And have you any report that has been submitted to us for increased projects? Mr. PHILLIPS. No; we do not have any at this time.
The CHAIRMAN. In other words, the committee approved in the act of December 22, 1944, all projects on which reports have been transmitted by you, and since that time no funds have been made available, and you have done no work, on account of the war? Mr. PHILLIPS. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. Now we will be glad to have the high spots of your statement that you want to bring to our attention.
Mr. PHILLIPS. By its forward-looking action during the war period the Congress set the stage for early postwar commencement of works of improvement on the watersheds of certain rivers for runoff and waterflow retardation and erosion prevention in the interest of flood control. These works are prosecuted by the Department of Agriculture on the watersheds of 11 rivers in accordance with programs approved therefor by the Flood Control Act of December 22, 1944. The total cost to the United States is estimated to be $87,782,000 and to local interests some $30,000,000.
The heavy war and postwar demands for food and forest products have resulted in the overuse of some lands, the cropping of some fields that would be better off in grass or other permanent cover and the overcutting of certain forest areas. Such use has undoubtedly resulted in accelerated erosion and sedimentation and more rapid run-off from exposed slopes. Return of these areas to uses in harmony with their use capabilities and application of good-management practices is a part of a necessary broad conservation policy and in keeping with the objectives of our watershed treatment program in the interest of flood control.
Now that we can turn from winning the war to winning the peace, it behooves us to work with nature, with vigor and dispatch, to stabilize our watersheds in order that soil may be kept in place and the run-off of floodwaters retarded and reduced to the extent that watershed treatment measures can bring about.
The Flood Control Act of June 28, 1938, provided authorization for appropriations for watershed works of improvement in the interest of flood control in the amount of $10,000,000. Appropriations made against this authorization total $6,100,000, including the $2,100,000 item in the Department of Agriculture appropriation bill for fiscal year 1947 as passed by the House and now being considered by the Senate. The unappropriated balance of the 1938 authorization is, therefore, $3,900,000.
The Flood Controí Act of 1941 provided an additional authorization of $5,000,000 for appropriations for watershed works of improvement with a limitation that it might be used for carrying on works of improvement "which the Department is not otherwise authorized to undertake.” We have carefully considered how this authorization might be used but have concluded that this authorization for appropriations is not usable for prosecution of the works of improvement authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944 unless the limitation is removed, because the work approved is in some respects similar to work carried on by the Department under other authorizations.
The survey reports on the 11 areas approved by the Flood Control Act of 1944 were prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Flood Control Act of 1936 and recommended the most practical and feasible program of works of improvement that could be devised and economically justified at the time they were prepared. Various of the recommended and approved watershed works of improvement are similar to those which may be carried out under other authorizations of the Department, but, in general, they differ in such features as the rate and intensity of installation, the design of certain works, and public participation in the cost thereof.
Section 8 of the Flood Control Act of 1936 provided in part that, the authority conferred by this Act and any funds appropriated pursuant thereto for expenditure are supplemental to all authority and appropriations relating to departments or agencies tconcerned.
Our reports were prepared in accordance with the provisions of the 1936 act. The act thus gave recognition to the fact that watershed works of improvement in the interest of flood control might be similar to those carried out under other authorizations for conservation work. It also took into account that such watershed works of improvement would be designed to serve a waterflow retardation and erosion prevention objective on a watershed or subwatershed basis rather than an individual farm basis and that the design, rate of installation, and public contribution to the cost thereof under the flood control program might vary from installations under other programs.
We are expecting to utilize all available funds that have been appropriated and those which we expect will be provided by the 1947 Agricultural Appropriation Act for works of improvement during the fiscal year 1947.
In order to complete installation of authorized works of improvement in accordance with the rates called for in the 11 approved reports, it will be necessary to proceed with operations at an expenditure rate of some $8,000,000 in fiscal year 1948, $9,000,000 in fiscal year 1949, $9,000,000 in fiscal year 1950, and at about the same rate per year for several years thereafter.
From this it will be seen that the costs already incurred for work done, plus estimated costs of carrying on work now in progress or contemplated with funds to be provided by the pending appropriation bill for 1947, plus a part of the scheduled expenditure for fiscal year 1948, would commit all of the present usable authorization for appropriations. There would not be enough to meet fiscal year 1948 needs and none would be available for subsequent fiscal years.
As has been indicated above, the authorizations thus far granted in the Flood Control Acts have provided only for the initiation and partial accomplishment of approved programs for watershed works of improvement. The authorizations are a great deal less than the total estimated costs of the approved programs. An increase in money authorization is therefore required if the Department is to proceed on schedule with the installation of authorized and badly needed watershed treatment measures in the interest of flood control.
Following is a tabulation showing the present status of approved areas:
H. Dọc. 574, 78th Cong. 2d sess..
87, 782, 000
29, 947, 187
1 The Flood Control Act of 1941 provided an additional $5,000,000 of authorization which carried a limitation that makes it unusable to carry out the work authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944.
2 Of which $2,100,000 is expected to be provided in the Department of Agriculture appropriation bill for fiscal year 1947, which has passed the House. 3 Total includes $121,778 allotted for use on 5 emergency projects to which local contributions totaled some $175,000 additional.
Progress in installation of works of improvement on these watersheds is necessary at the rate required to provide for completion in the number of years called for by the approved plans if the work is to be as effective as expected and if the job is to be done with the amount of work contemplated by the plans. The greater the delay, the more difficult it is to do the job, the more it will cost and the less effective it will be.
The foresight of Congress in authorizing advance planning of authorized watershed programs has facilitated development of plans for work so that operations can get under way with a minimum of delay. We are mindful, in this regard, of the desires of Congress, as expressed in section 13 of the Flood Control Act of December 22, 1944, that following the cessation of hostilities the projects authorized by the act should be initiated as expeditiously and prosecuted as vigorously as may be consistent with budgetary requirements. Some work is now being done in each of the 11 approved areas and we expect to expand these activities this summer.
We, of course, are faced with the problem of increased costs of materials, equipment and labor, but it does not as immediately affect our total work installation costs as in the case of the Corps of Engineers because our authorized programs of work are scheduled to extend over a period of several years in each watershed. As a result it will be some time before we can finally check our estimates against actual total costs. In the meantime, we are going ahead to accomplish as much of the job as we can as economically as possible, in accordance with the approved programs, so long as it remains clearly sound and within the scope of the authorizations.
We have no additional survey reports to present to the committee for its consideration at this time. Our preliminary examination and survey activities have been suspended for some 3 years and are just now in process of being resumed.
The CHAIRMAN. Representative Butler, of New York, has submitted an amendment to the adopted project in the Buffalo area, in the following words:
The program on the watershed of Buffalo Creek and its tributaries authorized in section 13 of the Flood Control Act of December 22, 1944, is hereby modified to authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to include and prosecute works for the stabilization of stream banks such as described in House Document Numbered 574, 78th Congress, second session, at an estimated ultimate additional cost of $1,842,400.
Are you familiar with the subject matter of this proposed amendment?
Mr. PHILLIPS. In general; yes.
The CHAIRMAN. What would you say to the committee with respect to his suggestion; what would be your recommendation?
Mr. PHILLIPS. Recent observations made by our field people who are now in the area developing work plans for authorized operations which are to start next fiscal year indicate that the rate of stream bank erosion on Buffalo Creek and its tributaries has accelerated during the past 5 years since the survey was completed. Gravel and sand bars are being deposited which further restrict the flow of the stream and deflect the current to undermine valuable agricultural land bordering the stream.