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The Chief of Engineers recommends an investigation.
Mr. LARCADE. We will now hear from Congressman Barden from the State of North Carolina in support of these two projects.
Congressman Barden. STATEMENT OF HON. GRAHAM A. BARDEN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA Mr. BARDEN. Mr. Chairman, at this time I would like for Colonel Gillette, who served as District Army Engineer and Division Army Engineer and recently retired, and is now connected officially with the State of North Carolina~I would like for him to make the statement in connection with these two projects. He is very familiar with every foot of the ground and knows the benefits that will result from the two projects. Mr. LARCADE. We will be very glad to hear from Colonel Gillette.
STATEMENT OF. COL. G. W. GILLETTE Colonel GILLETTE. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, my name is Col. G. W. Gillette, executive director, North Carolina State Ports Authority, Wilmington, N. C.
I make my appearance here today to lend the knowledge that I have had over these matters and also to support the State of North Carolina, and the three Congressmen here today who represent districts which these projects are in.
The one that Congressman Barden referred to, or Colonel Moore, previously, Marshallberg, is the first one and is a proposal for a basin there to take care of boats in storm periods where the people have been almost entirely dependent on fishing for a living, and sometimes we have pretty severe storms in that area. There were many thousands of dollars of fish and equipment tied up in there in the boats, in the seines, and so forth. This is one that is more greatly exposed than most of the others and one in which there is no protection whatever for them during stormy periods.
Also, increase in the depth of water to permit what is gradually taking place, and increase in the depth of boats—this will make provisions to take care of those boats in that area that are now greatly exposed to the elements during the stormy periods.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Is that same thing true with respect to Taylors Creek largely?
Colonel GILLETTE. No, sir, in connection with Taylors Creek, the present project is 7 feet; the project depth of the inland waterway is 12 feet. The boats that operate in those waters today are drawing around 10 feet; 10 to 11 feet. The only way they can get in is on extreme high tides, frequently grounding, and the result in loss of equipment and damage to the boat, and also loss of their cargo.
Now, the proposal is to deepen this to 12 feet and to make it the same depth as the inland waterway so that both it and the inland waterway traffic could get through to Taylors Creek to these factories. Incidentally, they represent, both areas, the menhaden industry of the country. The products and by products that go out from the plants along Taylors Creek there represent about one-third of the entire menhaden industry of North Carolina. So it is really more than a million dollars.
Mr. BARDEN. It is not just one-third of North Carolina. It represents more than that, does it not?
Colonel GILLETTE. One-fourth of the entire menhaden industry
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Mr. Chairman, with your permission, while it may not be essential for safety from storms, I judge it is necessary for safety of navigation because the connecting channel is 12-feet deep and this is much less.
Colonel GILLETTE. That is right, sir. Taylors Creek, by deepening it to 12 feet, then, it will conform to the depth of the inland waterways where boats of that draft are used. The boats are around 11 feet now and it is practically impossible for them to get in there to factories with loads.
There are 33 boats that operate and serve those fisheries. Fifty. percent of those are drawing 1012 to 11 feet.
Mr. LARCADE. Are there any questions? Mr. Pickett?
Mr. Barden, do you have any witness present that you desire to be heard?
Mr. BARDEN. No, Mr. Chairman; I would like to make a statement about this project.
Mr. LARCADE. You may make a statement now and file a written statement later, if you desire to do that and we would be glad to have you do so.
Mr. BARDEN. Thank you, sir. I will try to make it brief.
With reference to the Marshallberg project, I want to say to you gentlemen that Colonel Gillette was of the same opinion when he was district engineer and division engineer relative to those small projects, that he is right now. He has always realized the great importance and value of those projects.
Now, near this Marshallberg project, for instance, is the small town of Atlantic just a few miles up from Marshallberg. That town is 35 miles from a railroad and the hard surface comes right up to the edge of the water. The harbor was put there at a cost of approximately $20,000. On the first day the harbor was open, there was more fish landed on the dock than the entire project cost, and from that day until this there has simply been a marvelous development and industry has moved in.
Now, with reference to Marshallberg project, you have to kind of get a vision of how the North Carolina coast is constructed. There is an outside bank and then there is the sound waters, and then the mainland.
The Marshallberg project, while they figure some 30 or 40 boats, there is no way to estimate the number of boats. There are literally thousands of those small fishing boats. I might say that the great fishing industry carried on down there in that particular county in which this project is located, is I believe the record showed, more than any other county from Delaware to Texas. It probably excludes part of Texas. I would not ever make the statement that there is anything in North Carolina greater than in Texas.
Mr. PICKETT. The gentleman is always accurate.
Mr. ANGELL. Mr. Borden, you take in a lot of territory when you take in Texas.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. As long as you do not get over to Oregon, you will be all right.
Mr. BARDEŃ. These are just small projects which serve literally thousands of those small boats. They are more or less spur tracks from the main Federal projects up and down the sound.
Now, you say, well, a 6-foot project does not amount to much. I expect 95 percent of the fish caught off that coast and in sound waters are caught in boats that draw less than 6 feet. I am referring now to the edible fish.
Mr. DONDERO. Let me say to the gentleman, Mr. Chairman, that these small projects do not serve those boats any better than the gentleman from North Carolina serves his district.
Mr. BARDEN. That is very generous of the gentleman from Michigan.
In this particular Marshallberg project it means that it is a spur track, so to speak, and furnishes anchorage for these boats, and when you see these men with every bit of investment they have in these boats and they run into trouble every time a storm comes up and every time a southwester begins to whip in there, you can readily understand why they should be so much interested in this.
Now, there is another little project right in here, and there is not a real way to get the history of information on it. The engineers had to reach their conclusion mostly from estimates. It is a little cut at Cape Lookout that only costs about $17,000 to make, and yet in one November, which is certainly not a representative month from the standpoint of traffic through there, in one November I happen to know the engineers checked the boats and there were over 3,200 boats that went through there in that month.
Well, now every time one of those boats went through there, they were saving cargo; they were saving miles and miles of travel, and they were saving wear and tear on their equipment and on themselves.
So these small projects, I have found on my district, per dollar, produced the greatest returns of any improvements that I know the Federal Government makes.
So I am not going to dwell so much on the Marshallberg project. I think you gentlemen are perfectly in accord with the views that I have expressed. I want to say something about the Taylors Creek project.
The Taylors Creek project comes up from Beaufort and it is approximately 2 miles long. Originally, the little town of Beaufort put up $10,000 and raised it by bonds to help build that canal there originally.
Now, those fish factories are there. Their boats draw more water than they have depth. That is all there is to it. The canal is just simply too shallow.
Now, this Taylors Creek ties right in with the Beaufort inlet which has 30 feet of water, and the Beaufort inlet ties right into Moorehead City harbor, which is just a few hundred yards distant, has 30 feet of water and does considerable business. So you can see just how this little spur is tremendously important.
The gentleman from Michigan cooperated with me beautifully last year and was most helpful, and I was trying every way in the world to get it through. The men even had to borrow the money to put it up, because they had their boats there that were just dragging the bottom, and they were losing cargoes and everything else.
The return on Taylors Creek, in my opinion, will be one of the finest investments we have ever made in a little strip of water. There
are other plants that want to go there. They are now holding up on the purchase of boats and equipment because there is no need of buying any more 10-foot-draft boats to travel in 7 feet of water. It just will not work, and the tide sometimes does not come in in time for them to save their cargoes.
Gentlemen, I could submit to you a pile of telegrams as high as this table from people down there who are perfectly familiar with it. Colonel Gillette here is familiar with every inch of the water. He vas raised down there on that coast and he knows it from one end to the other. He has given you a very brief and definite statement as to the benefits down there.
Now, mind you, the State of North Carolina is not asleep on the value of these projects. The last legislature has just appropriated $7,000,000—isn't that right, colonel ?
Colonel GILLETTE. Seven and a half million dollars.
Mr. BARDEN. For use in connection with the ports, and Colonel Gillette is to administer that. We have found that they serve the coastal people and that they serve the State generally, and so I think that is a very fine gesture on the part of the State of North Carolina to join in and say: We, too, want to help improve these things. So I would greatly appreciate it if you gentlemen see your way clear to take favorable action on these two projects. I have no hesitancy in vouching for them in every way. I know they are sound economically, and I know they are sound every other way.
Thank you very much.
Mr. LARCADE. We also have another Member of Congress from North Carolina who has much seniority in the Congress, and at this time we will take up project of Congressman Bonner, Norfolk to Beaufort Inlet, inland waterway at Fairfield, N. C.
INLAND WATERWAY FROM NORFOLK, VA., TO BEAUFORT INLET, N. C..
(H. Doc. No. 723, 80th Cong.)
Colonel MOORE. Mr. Chairman, the report on inland waterway from Norfolk, Va., to Beaufort Inlet, N. C., in the vicinity of Fairfield, N. C., as published in House Document No. 723, Eightieth Congress, is submitted in response to a resolution adopted November 28, 1944, by the Committee on Rivers and Harbors of the House of Representatives.
The inland waterway from Norfolk, Va., to Beaufort, N. C., in the vicinity of Fairfield, N. C., consists of a land cut 12 feet deep, 90 feet wide, and 20.4 miles long, connecting Alligator River, tributary of Albemarle Sound, on the east, with Pungo River, a tributary of Pamlico River, on the west. Water elevations in the land cut average 0.48 foot above mean sea level near the ends and 0.26 foot at Fairfield Bridge, near the center. The town of Fairfield is 4 miles south of the land cut.
The land cut of the inland waterway and Alligator and Pungo Rivers isolate from the mainland a flat area about 60 miles long and 12 to 18 miles wide north of and bordering on Pamlico Sound. Land elevations in this area decrease from a few feet above mean sea level
to 1 foot below. Mattamuskeet Lake, covering an area of 65 square miles when the lake elevation is at mean sea level, is a shallow natural body of water in the center of the isolated area.
Hyde County had a population of 7,860 in 1940, and Fairfield Township had 936 inhabitants in the same year.
Farming is the chief occupation.
The improvement authorized by Congress provides for an inland waterway 12 feet deep between Norfolk, Va., and Beaufort Inlet, N. C., 197.91 miles; for the construction of a tidal lock in the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal at or near Great Bridge, Va.; for the protection of the canal property in the vicinity of the lock against flooding by storm tides through construction of necessary dikes and appurtenant works; and for the construction, operation, and maintenance of a suitable bridge across the waterway near Fairfield, N. C. The land cut between Alligator and Pungo Rivers was completed in 1928.
Shortly after 1920, local interests constructed a project to drain the lands via canals and ditches into the lake from which the water was then pumped and carried by a canal to Pamlico Sound. In addition to draining the adjoining farm land, this process permitted the cultivation of 12,000 acres of lake bottom. The project was abandoned after the crop season of 1931, or three crop seasons after completion of the Alligator River-Pungo River section of the inland waterway.
Some of the canals have recently been blocked to keep water from the inland waterway out of the area.
Sea water can also enter the lake from Pamlico Sound. The principal canals north of the lake are the Fairfield and Carter canals, which originally emptied into Alligator River but are now tributary to the inland waterway, and the Swindell, Florida, Burris, Baum, and Boundary canals, some of which are very shallow and incapable of carrying much water. In the area north of the lake herein under consideration there are 12,400 acres of land, of which 5,000 acres were cultivated in 1944 and 4,500 acres in 1946. Except for 2,000 acres of excellent farm land, the cultivated area is marginal land which is increasingly being abandoned except for pasture. The remaining 7,400 acres either have never been farmed or have been abandoned for some time. Available information indicates that relatively large areas have subsided as a result of operation of the drainage project.
Local interests claim that the inland waterway has impaired drainage to the extent that crops have become progressively smaller, farm land is constantly being abandoned, and lumber can no longer be removed from swamps which have become boggy. They also claim that their land is being damaged by salt-water intrusion. They desire corrective measures.
The district engineer states that available information indicates that the major hindrance to crop production is inadequate drainage. Data indicate that salt water comes from Pamlico Sound through Pungo River and the inland waterway, and is responsible for some of the crop damage in recent years.
He proposes as the best plan of improvement the following: One, the construction of a dam, pumping plant, and control gates on Fairfield canal near the inland waterway; second, the construction of dams in Carter canal north of Boundary canal, in Boundary canal