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Major General SCHLEY. Well, the Atchafalaya is for the towns of Atchafalaya and Morganza and in the Atchafalaya River proper, all three.
Representative WHITTINGTON. It is merely a substitute for the east Atchafalaya?
Major General SCHLEY. A substitute for what I used to look on as east of Atchafalaya.
Representative WHITTINGTON. That remains at the 1914 grade, does it not?
Major General SCHLEY. I am not sufficiently familiar with the details of that to answer that question.
Representative WHITTINGTON. In general the act of 1928 provides, and so does the act of 1936, that the fuse plug between Morganza and Atchafalıya shall remain at the 1914 grade. The water did not get over that in 1937, did it? It is 3 feet lower than the levee that has been raised from there down to New Orleans?
Major General SCHLEY. I do not get the full weight of that question.
Representative WHITTINGTON. If the levee at Atchafalaya, the east floodway, is at the 1914 grade, and the levee from Morganza on south is at the 1928 grade, approximately 3 feet higher, then Atchafalaya had a free board and did not overflow at the fuse plug on the east in 1937; did it?
Major General SCHLEY. The fuse plug on the east? East of the Atchafalaya River?
Representative WHITTINGTON. That is right.
Representative WHITTINGTON. Now, General, assuming that the sill remains at 49 feet, corresponding to Angola at Morganza, and remains at 51 feet, corresponding to Eudora, under the terms of the act of 1936 neither one of these floodways would have been brought into operation in the 1937 flood, and no relief would have been given either at Morganza or Eudora, inasmuch as the statement set forth is that if the water may be carried between the levees they will not be brought into play?
Major General Schley. Because they were not needed in that flood.
Representative WHITTINGTON. Now, General, if there is to be any relief for either the Morganza or Eudora from the backwater of the Red River, or for Arkansas and Louisiana from the Mississippi at Eudora, there must be a change, as you have stated, so as to authorize the construction of these floodways below the heights fixed in the adopted project?
Major General Schley. No; I do not think that follows from what you have said before, because a flood is conceivable which will
Representative WHITTINGTON (interposing). I mean the 1937 flood.
Major General SCHLEY. If the 1937 flood is repeated, no relief would be needed because the river carried it in the 1937 flood.
Representative WHITTINGTON. Then there would have been no relief from the 1937 flood to the backwater areas of the Red River or the Yazoo or of the Arkansas?
Major General SCHLEY. No; because they did not function and they were not supposed to function in the 1937 flood.
Representative WHITTINGTON. There would have been no relief to Natchez and to Vicksburg in the 1937 flood?
Major General SCHLEY. No relief to them?
Representative WHITTINGTON. That is right; because of the reduction of water heights to backwater.
Major General SCHLEY. They were not needed otherwise. Representative WHITTINGTON. Except as to backwater? Major General SCHLEY. That is right. Representative WHITTINGTON. I am obliged to you, Mr. Chairman. I have a good many more questions, but they will come at a later date. My whole thought, if I may say so, is that merely divorcing this is not going to solve the problem. We have got to change the law to make it function so as to be of benefit in any major flood.
Senator OVERTON. General, getting back to the bill under consideration, the Secretary of War makes this report, and I desire to know whether you, as Chief of Engineers, concur in it. Reporting on the bill, S. 3354, the Secretary of War states (reading]:
The report of the Chief of Engineers of February 12, 1935, recommending the modifications of the Mississippi flood-control project, embodied in the act of June 15, 1936, contemplated that the Morganza and Eudora floodways would each be constructed independently as and when the land rights of each floodway had been secured. The Department therefore has no objection to this bill permitting independent construction of said floodways.
Do you concur in that?
Major General Schley. Yes. The Corps of Engineers concurs in that statement of the Secretary of War.
Representative WHITTINGTON. What is your statement as to the amount that must be diverted in that middle section, through what we term "the Eudora," before we reach Morganza?
Major General SCHLEY. Something in the magnitude of a million.
Representative WHITTINGTON. And provision must be made for that diversion if that area is to have security and protection?
Major General Schley. Yes, sir.
Representative WHITTINGTON. Just as for five hundred thousand lower down?
Major General SCHLEY. It may be less than that now, but it was originally in round numbers conceived of as a million. The effort was to make the main river carry more water so as to decrease that to the extent to which it is accomplished.
Representative WHITTINGTON. Thank you, General.
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. HARLEY B. FERGUSON, PRESIDENT,
MISSISSIPPI RIVER COMMISSION, VICKSBURG, MISS.
Senator SHEPPARD. General, will you state your name for the record.
Brigadier General FERGUSON. My name is Harley B. Ferguson; I am president of the Mississippi River Commission.
Senator SHEPPARD. Will you comment on this bill, or would you rather have questions asked you?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. Perhaps questions would be preferable, sir.
Senator SHEPPARD. Senator Overton, do you wish to ask the general some questions?
Senator OVERTON. General, I will propound to you the question that I just propounded to General Schley before he left the stand, and that is this. The Secretary of War, in reporting on the bill now under consideration, made this statement (reading]:
The report of the Chief of Engineers of February 12, 1935, recommending the modifications of the Mississippi River flood-control project embodied in the act of June 15, 1936, contemplated that the Morganza and Eudora floodways would each be constructed independently as and when the land rights of each floodway had been secured. The Department therefore has no objection to this bill permitting independent construction of said floodways.
I shall ask you, as president of the Mississipri River Commission, whether you conci'r in that view and in that report.
Brigadier General FERGUSON. Yes, sir.
Senator (VERTGN. How long have you been president of the Mississippi River Commission?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. About 5 years.
Senator OVERTON. Were you connected with flood-control problems in the alluvial valley before you became president of the Mississippi River Commission?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. No, sir.
Senator OVERTON. It is a fact, then, General, that as president of the Mississippi River Commission you never did recommend that the Morganza and Eudora floodways should be linked together under any option formula or otherwise?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. No, sir. The report of the commission makes no mention of such union, and it never occurred to us.
Senator OVERTON. Is there any engineering reason why the Morganza should be linked up with the Eudora?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. No, sir; I do not think so.
Senator OVERTON. Have all the floodways in the Mississippi Valley that have been constructed been constructed as separate and independent units?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. Yes, sir.
Senator OVERTON. Was the Boeuf floodway authorized as an independent unit, or was it dependent on the construction of any other floodway?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. I do not think it was dependent on anything else. It was never built. That was before my time.
Senator OVERTON. The east Atchafalaya was authorized to be constructed as an independent unit and not dependent on the construction of any other floodway?
Brigadier General Ferguson. Yes, sir. As I understand it, each one was named--New Madrid Floodway, Bonne Carre, east Atchafalava and west Atchafalaya; and that was all. There was no connecticn. The work was carried on independently of each other, taking into account the possible damage by the flood; that is, the number of people to be protected, and in general throughout the valley work was given preference where a certain amount of work would protect the larger number of people and the greater amount of propert'. That was ordinarily given preference in construction. But there was nothing in the law that specified any priority:
Senator OVERION. If, as president of the Mississippi River Commission, having execution of the flood-control program in the lower Mississippi Valley, you were given the option to proceed on either the Eudora first, or the Morganza first, what would you as an engineer recommend should be built first, the Morganza or the Eudora?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. As an engineering proposition, the Morganza, I think, would come first. As General Schley says, everyone is entitled to his own opinion, and some people might take exception; but if you will notice on that map, what we now call Morganza has perhaps 80 percent of it already completed, and it was formerly called East Atchafalaya floodway. It is almost finished, and for a small amount of money and by perhaps 6 months' work we could make a side levee that would allow us to spill today there half a million second-feet, whereas the other problem, running into $100,000,000; under our original plan, would be divided into at least a 6-year period and another appropriation of half the original estimate annually, and would make it a 10 or 12-year period. So that as a matter of getting some kind of result prior to the next flood, the lower one, in my opinion, would be preferable.
Senator OVERTON. According to my recollection the estimated cost of the construction of the Eudora, as given in your report as president of the Mississippi River Commission, in 1935, and as given by General Markham, Chief of Engineers, was $103,000,000?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. As I recall, that was the original estimate. An additional estimate covering the procurement of land in fee simple added perhaps to that; but it was somewhere over $100,000,000.
Senator OVERTON. The $103,000,000, as I understand it, was based on the estimated cost of acquiring flowage easements?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. Yes, sir; that is in the bill as adopted.
Senator OVERTON. And in the event that fee simple was acquired, there would be an additional cost?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. Yes,
Brigadier General Ferguson. Speaking from memory, the estimate is somewhere around $20,000,000 for the floodway bridges and the whole project.
Senator OVERTON. That is, the whole of the Atchafalaya Basin?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. No; that is for the Morganza. I will put the correct figure in, if I may. It is about $20,000,000, sir. The bridges run about $10,000,000. There are three railways and two highways. The first step that we had in mind was emphasized by last year's flood as it approached the top of the levees down there. It was a question of what we might do should the water continue to rise. The levee on the north of this floodway, from about Batchelor to Atchafalaya, above Melville, would perhaps be the first step. That would confine the flood, then, to the area authorized for the Morganza floodway and protect the remainder of the basin from floods, leaving the railways and roads to take the flood.
Senator OVERTON. General, will you state what is the advantage of and the necessity for construction of the Morganza floodway?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. The river below Angola is deficient in capacity to carry the floods.
Senator OVERTON. Now, for the record, please state what is the position of Angola relative to Morganza?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. Angola is north of Morganza perhaps 30 miles, and is the point where the old mouth of Red River existed.
At the present time a connecting river, which we call Old River, flcws from the Mississippi River to the Atchafalaya at Angola. The Atchafalaya capacity is about half a million, now. The main river's capacity is about a million and a half. That is not sufficient to carry these floodwaters. The law authorizes the enlargement of the Atchafalaya, which is in process, and authorizes the Morganza floodway under the conditions named, and the West Atchafalaya floodway. I would not want to go into technical details, but this may give a picture of the conception of carrying that water to the Guif.
We have a certain capacity as we come down the river. If the lower hundred miles has a little more capacity than the next hundred miles above, and so on, upstream, it is evident that the river will empty itself more promptly and that the floods can in that way be lowered. We find that the gage at Angola last year, with a very low Red River exceeded the gage at Vicksburg. But our whole effort is not so much in quantities as in the relative carrying capacity of the river being greater at the lower end successively upstream; and this is a restricted locality.
Senator OVERTON. What area will be protected by the construction of the Morganza?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. All the area south.
Brigadier General FERGUSON. Yes, sir; what we call the Plaquemine area between the Atchafalaya River and the Mississippi River; and of course it will lessen the hazard to the west, making less frequent the necessary use of the west floodway. It will lower somewhat the backwater in the Red River, the backwater area, and it will also lower the whole river floodway if built so as to operate in all floods of any considerable magnitude. We could actually, of course, turn the whole river through that locality in the course of time; but the first step would turn through, in a major flood, about 500,000 secondfeet. That would cause the water above in the river to fall. They figure it in various ways. You could get an idea by some computations we made concerning the effect of breaking the levee below Deer Park. That is about halfway between Morganza and Natchez. The result as computed gives a drop in the flood at Natchez of about 3 feet. That is the immediate effect on the particular flood during which the break was made. The ultimate effect will extend upstream so far as the other work of enlarging the river continues. Five hundred thousand second-feet would mean a lowering of the gage above the outlet by 500,000 divided by about 70,000 or 80,000; that is, if you lowered the river about 6 feet at Angola, and that, in the course of time, would be carried on upstream.
Senator OVERTON. How far upstream?
Brigadier General FERGUSON. As far as you desired to continue the work on the river bed. The slope of that river is definitely fixed, and with a certain depth it takes a certain slope. That is rather startling, but it is true. We have now the outlet at Angola that undoubtedly lowers the river up above Natchez. If you take out 80,000 second-feet at Angola it lowers the river in very high stages up beyond Natchez by almost a similar amount. Not that particular year, but as it wears down its bed. So at Angola the Morganza outlet is a definite part of any plan for lowering the flood plane of the river.