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· Stream-bank erosion is an important source of sedimentation damage and also results in loss of high value valley bottom farm lands because of bank undercutting and caving.
The survey report on the Buffalo Creek watershed indicates that, at the time the survey was made, stream-bank erosion contributed 80 percent of the sediment annually dredged from Buffalo Harbor.
There are sufficient total benefits, as indicated by the report, to justify stream-bank control work in addition to the other authorized activities. The ratio would be $1.69 of benefit to $1 of cost for all approved activities if the stream bank erosion control work were also authorized at an additional estimated cost of $1,842,400.
The CHAIRMAN. If you have not a copy of that amendment, I am passing the communication and statement of Representative John C. Butler to the reporter, with his proposed amendment, for insertion in connection with your testimony, and I would thank you later on to bring to our attention your suggestions in regard to this proposed amendment in connection with any other language you feel and recommend should be included in the bill.
Mr. PHILLIPS. We believe the suggested amendment submitted by Congressman Butler would accomplish the objective he desires.
(The matter submitted for the record by the chairman is as follows:)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C., April 18, 1946. Hon. WILLIAM M. WHITTINGTON,
House of Representatives, Washington, D.O. MY DEAR COLLEAGUE: I have been requested by the people of West Seneca, N. Y., to include in the annual flood control bill an authorization to reexamine the Buffalo Creek watershed, New York, for the purpose of determining the practicability of adding stream-bank-erosion control to the original authorization.
I have been further advised by the solicitor that it is not legal to do stream bank work under the original authorization and no funds are authorized. The stream bank problem is more severe than at the time of the survey. A large silt load comes from stream banks and the people are anxious that the stream bank work be done.
This project was included under amendment to House Document 574, Seventyeighth Congress, second session. Authorized in House Document 534, passed December 22, 1944. '
Any consideration you may be able to give this work by including the enclosed clause as a part of the legislation now pending before your committee will be greatly appreciated. Sincerely yours,
John C. BUTLER. SEC. — 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 amended 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, Seventy-eighth Congress, second session, at an estimated additional cost of $1,842,400.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions by members of the committee? If not, we are delighted to have your statement. I am wondering, before you leave, if there is any question in the mind of the Solicitor of Agriculture as to the amount of the authorizations that remain unexpended. I ask you that for this reason: My recollection is that there was an appropriation that was made before the act of 1941. Am I correct in my recollection?
Mr. PHILLIPS. It was 1938, I believe.
· The CHAIRMAN. Before the act of 1938 was actually signed by the President. But the Senate and the House having passed the bill and the Committee on Appropriations having made appropriations based upon that authorization, it strikes me that appropriation is properly chargeable against the authorization and it was made by the Congress on the theory that Congress had authorized it. You might keep that in mind in your further recommendations for additional authorizations.
Mr. PHILLIPS. Technically I believe, Judge Whittington, our Solicitor has the feeling, because the appropriation of $4,000,000 was actually made on June 11, 1938, before the authorization of June 28, 1938, was passed, that it would not necessarily have to be charged against the authorization, but we appreciate the apparent intent of Congress, and our presentation to you indicates we consider it a charge against the authorization.
The CHAIRMAN. I thought it fair to make that statement to the committee; because, while technically you may be correct, we try to get at the substance and intent behind the language.
Now, are there any of your associates here either from Soil Conservation or the Forest Service who desire to supplement your statement?
Mr. PHILLIPS. There are representatives here to answer questions propounded by the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Who is the representative from Soil Conservation? Mr. PHILLIPS. Mr. Homer M. Wells is here from the Soil Conservation Service.
STATEMENT OF HOMER M. WELLS, CHIEF, WATER CONSERVATION
DIVISION, SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Wells, are you experiencing any difficulty in securing thus far, with the limited appropriations that have been available, lands under the terms of the act of 1944, where you are authorized to acquire them, and upon the terms of that act? Mr. WELLS. We have planned to acquire no lands this year.
The CHAIRMAN. Until the next fiscal year?
The CHAIRMAN. Your appropriations as presently carried in the appropriation acts now pending in the Congress do not contemplate the actual acquiring of any lands? Mr. WELLS. That is right.
The CHAIRMAN. But generally where the States have passed enabling acts to comply with what we call the Weeks law, those States can qualify and cooperate with you when necessary to acquire eroded lands for the purpose of soil conservation and erosion work?
Mr. WELLS. That is right, for watershed protection in the interest of flood control.
Mr. PHILLIPS. In addition, I might point out that the State of Oklahoma has given specific authorization for acquisition of lands as authorized by the approved Washita watershed report.
The CHAIRMAN. Specifically? Mr. Phillips. Yes, sir.
States 1, thoro ero
The CHAIRMAN. As a matter of common knowledge and from statements made from time to time by Senators and Representatives in the discussion of matters involving the acquiring of other lands, whether for reforestation or soil conservation, flood control, or other public purposes, there is a tendency, that may find expression in statutes, of undertaking, for purposes not constitutionally authorized, the taxing of lands acquired by the Federal Government, and my thought is in connection with your program and the forestry program that it is well enough to keep that in mind and keep the committee advised, so that if you need any additional language to fortify, permit, and promote soil-conservation work, erosion work, and stream work that you are doing under the terms of the act, we would be glad to have your recommendations from time to time.
Mr. PHILLIPS. In that regard, Mr. Gordon R. Salmond, of the Forest Service, is here and that Service does contemplate some acquisition in fiscal year 1947.
The CHAIRMAN. We will be glad to have your statement, Mr. Salmond.
Give the reporter your full name and official position.
STATEMENT OF GORDON R. SALMOND, CHIEF, DIVISION OF
WATERSHED MANAGEMENT, FOREST SERVICE
Mr. SALMOND. My name is Gordon R. Salmond ; I am Chief of the Division of Watershed Management of the Forest Service.
The CHAIRMAN. During what we are pleased to call the depression, or what we do, whether we are pleased or not, the Government has acquired millions multiplied by millions of forest lands, have they not, in the various States of the country? · Mr. SALMOND. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And those lands in a measure—and I use that term advisedly–have been removed from the tax rolls of the local jurisdictions.
Mr. SALMOND. That is correct, but the national forests pay 25 percent of their gross revenues to the counties in lieu of taxes.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you any statement in connection with further acquisitions of lands or of prohibitions by States or other subdivisions that you would like to submit to the committee?
Mr. SALMOND. With respect to the acquisition of land under the Flood Control Acts, the Forest Service has contemplated purchasing 10,000 or 12,000 acres of land in Mississippi in the Yazoo and Little Tallahatchie areas during the fiscal year 1947.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you contemplate purchasing anywhere else? Mr. SALMOND. No, sir; only in the two areas in Mississippi in the fiscal year 1947. The Flood Control Act provides where lands are purchased that there shall be paid 1 percent of the purchase price annually to the counties in which the purchases were made. At the present time, there is some question as to whether or not the Forest Service will be able to proceed with its purchase program in Mississippi because Mississippi has recently repealed its consent to Federal land acquisition.
We do not intend to proceed with the acquisition of land under the flood-control program until it is clear that the State has consented to it.
The CHAIRMAN. Under the present appropriations, do you intend to
acquire any lands in any other States on any of the other adopted projects? Mr. SALMOND. Not with the pending appropriations; no sir. The CHAIRMAN. I am talking about the pending appropriations. Mr. SALMOND. No, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there any forestry lands or forestry work to be done on any of the other adopted projects? Mr. SALMOND. Yes, sir; in 8 of the 11 approved areas.
The CHAIRMAN. Are you encountering any difficulties in the proposed acquisition of lands for forestry work in any of the other States?
Mr. SALMOND. No, sir. I might say, in addition to the law which has been enacted by Oklahoma, the State of California has enacted a law which will specifically permit the Federal Government to acquire lands for flood-control purposes in the two areas in which it is authorized by the 1944 act.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the type of lands that would be acquired ? Are they of any actual value at present—the lands you propose to reforest? Why is it necessary for you to acquire those lands if cooperation can be worked out with the owners and local subdivisions ?
Mr. SALMOND. The type of land proposed for acquisition was that which had been so badly gullied and eroded that it appeared to be uneconomic to retain in private ownership because we felt that the cost of the measures necessary to rehabilitate it by erosion-control measures and works could not be borne by private owners because of the expense involved.
The CHAIRMAN. Take Mississippi-you referred to that StateOklahoma and California. Are there any other works to be done there except where you are doing work under the present appropriation as part of the program? Mr. SALMOND. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. You heard the statement that no lands were to be acquired in any of the States during the current fiscal year? Mr. SALMOND. During the current fiscal year; that is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. The land you propose to acquire for reforestation, then, would be lands you have under consideration for the next fiscal year? Mr. SALMOND. Correct.
The CHAIRMAN. But under the pending current appropriations, no lands are to be acquired. I think that has been the understanding with respect to the matter in Mississippi, and I assume elsewhere.
Mr. SALMOND. We have proposed to acquire lands in Mississippi under the current pending appropriation in the fiscal year 1947, but not in the present fiscal year, assuming we can clear the matter with the State.
The CHAIRMAN. Take, for instance, in Mississippi-and that area is entirely outside the area and district I personally represent–the current appropriation provides they may be acquired with the cooperation of the local taxing units. Mr. SALMOND. That is correct.
The CHAIRMAN. And you are not prepared to say that will not prevent your acquiring them?
Mr. SALMOND. No, sir:
The CHAIRMAN. You may submit any other observations or recommendations you care to submit.
The Reclamation Service has been heard with respect to the Missouri Valley project, and, as I understand, has submitted the statements they desire to submit. Is the Director of Reclamation here?
Mr. STRAUS. Yes, Mr. Chairman; I have a statement I would like to submit, and I would like to make it for the record, if I may.
The CHAIRMAN. We will be glad to have it.
Mr. STRAUS. Mr. Chairman, my name is Michael W. Straus; I am Commissioner of Reclamation. I would like, if it pleases the committee, to make a brief statement not for the purpose of extolling or criticising any of the number of projects before you, but for the purpose of bringing up a more general matter that will permit ourselves, and I hope the Congress, to continue this work in a way that would avoid confusion or controversy.
The CHAIRMAN. In that connection, we will be glad to have your statement. We have undertaken to have the statements of the Bureau of Reclamation, first, in connection with the statements of the Office of Chief of Engineers, with respect to the so-called Missouri Valley project. The representatives of your office have been in attendance, as they have advised me, during the hearings and there were no projects reported in the Central Valley of California area that were gone into by the engineers and, as I recall, your representatives stated there was no occasion for them to go into that matter; but I understood there was a request you wanted to make a statement with respect to the Red River project. Am I right or wrong about that?
Mr. STRAUS. No, sir; my statement is not in respect to the Red River.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, am I right about your representatives having stated that? I want to get straight on that.
Mr. Dixon. That statement was made yesterday, sir. I think you were out of the chamber at the time.
The CHAIRMAN. I had to go to answer a roll call of the House. I did not know whether it was made or not, and I wanted to be sure your request was complied with. Mr. Dixon. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. So you have put a statement with respect to the Red River project in the record ?
Mr. Dixon. We did not put the letter into the record.
The CHAIRMAN. What did you put in the record ?
The CHAIRMAN. And in connection with that oral statement, you would like to put in what?
Mr. Dixon. A copy of a letter from the Secretary of the Interior to the Chief of Engineers.
The CHAIRMAN. Is that in the report submitted by the Chief of Engineers ?
Mr. Dixon. It will be in the report, but I do not think the report has actually come out yet.