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munity. It is a meritorious project and I think with a clear understanding by your committee there is no doubt in my mind but that you would report it favorably.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. What is the next item, please, sir?
Mr. BONNER. Far Creek. On Far Creek I do not want to get into an argument with Mr. Barden about the productivity of the Morehead City area with respect to sea food. Far Creek is the only port for the shrimp industry in Pamlico Sound, and there are 500 boats that have to stand out and take turns in getting into Far Creek to unload their shrimp products, and the question is, as Colonel Gillette has said, to make it conform with the inland waterway and give it more facility in the creek for unloading larger shrimp catch, in my opinion, and which the record will show, on the Atlantic coast.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. We will be glad for you to return, gentlemen, -at 9:30. The colonel, under Mr. Larcade's direction, will give us the report on these two other projects, followed by any statement that Mr. Bonner and Mr. Carlyle would like to make. The committee stands adjourned until 9:30 a. m., Monday. (The committee then, at 10:15 a. m., adjourned.)
RIVERS AND HARBORS AUTHORIZATIONS, 1949
MONDAY, MAY 2, 1949
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 9:30 a. m., Hon. Henry D. Larcade, Jr., acting chairman, presiding.
Mr. LARCADE. The meeting will come to order.
This is a continuation of the hearings of the Rivers and Harbors Committee of the Public Works Committee considering various projects. The first two projects which will be considered are those carried over from the hearing of April 29, Far Creek, N. C., House Document No. 770, Eightieth Congress, second session, and Cape Fear River at and below Wilmington, N. C., House Document No. 87, Eighty-first Congress, first session.
Colonel Moore, are you ready to proceed?
FAR CREEK, N. C.
(H. Doc. No. 770, 80th Cong.)
Colonel MOORE. Mr. Chairman, the report on Far Creek, N. C., as published in House Document No. 770, Eightieth Congress, is in response to a resolution adopted June 27, 1945, by the River and Harbor Committee of the House of Representatives.
Far Creek is a tidal stream, 4 miles long, which flows east in Hyde County, N. C., and enters Pamlico Sound on the Atlantic coast. This extensive sound is separated from the ocean by a long narrow barrier beach, including Cape Hatteras about 30 miles southeast from Far Creek. The head of navigation on Far Creek is 200 feet below a highway crossing in the town af Engelhard, N. C., about 2.3 miles above the creek mouth.
About 200 square miles of agricultural and forested lands are commercially tributary to Far Creek. In 1940 the population of the area, including 600 at Engelhard, was about 2,660.
Farming and the taking of fish, shrimp, and oysters from adjacent waters are the most important occupations. Engelhard, the principal shipping point, is dependent upon highways and the improved creek for transportation as the nearest railroad connection is 47 miles distant.
The existing Federal project for the creek, completed in 1931, provides for a channel 7 feet deep and 60 feet wide from Pamlico Sound to a point about 200 feet below the bridge at Engelhard with a small turning basin at the head. Water routes are available from the creek through Pamlico Sound and connecting channels to the federally improved Intracoastal Waterway which has a depth of 12 feet and is located 15 miles northwest of Engelhard.
Cost to the United States to June 30, 1946, for the inprovement were $34,500 for new work and $65,382 for maintenance. The latest approved estimate for annual cost of maintenance is $2,000.!.
The tidal range is small but winds cause fluctuations in water surface elevations of as much as 3 feet.
Commerce on the creek increased from 3,690 tons in 1930 to 18,620 tons in 1940 but averaged only about 4,300 tons annually during 1941 to 1945, inclusive. The district engineer attributes the decline in commerce during those recent years to war conditions, including lack of channel maintenance, and regards it as temporary. Major items of commerce in 1940 were receipts of road-building materials, petroleum products, sea food, and fertilizer, and shipments of agricultural and timber products.
Vessels with drafts of 3 to 7 feet made 1,076 round trips on the creek in 1940. Daily freight and ferry service between Engelhard and Hatteras on the barrier beach, which was discontinued for a time, has been restored. The larger vessels regularly operating on Pamlico Sound draw up to 9 feet and hence cannot enter Far Creek. Also the narrow project channel is difficult to navigate at night and in windy weather.
At the peak of the shrimping season some 300 vessels use the harbor at Engelhard, and the resulting crowding in the turning basin creates vessel delays and fire hazards.
Terminal facilities at Engelhard consist of eight wharves, including two bulk-oil terminals, all privately owned.
Local interests desire that the project channel from Pamlico Sound to Engelhard be deepened to 12 feet and widened to 100 feet.
They point out that adequate navigation facilities are very important to the economic life of the region, since the only alternate transportation is by highway. The North Carolina State Highway and Public Works Commission advises that the improvement would be of considerable benefit in connection with receipt of materials for highway improvements.
The district engineer's preferred plan for further improvement provides for a channel 12 feet deep, 100 feet wide from deep water in Pamlico Sound through the wide section of the creek, a distance of 11,300 feet; and thence 80 feet wide for 2,700 feet to, and including, a turning basin 12 feet deep and about 900 feet long with maximum width of 200 feet at the site of the existing basin at Engelhard.
The district and division engineers recommend that the existing project be modified to provide for further improvement substantially in accordance with the plan described in the district engineer's report, subject to certain conditions of local cooperation.
The Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors concurs generally in the views of the reporting officers. Adequate navigation facilities are important to Engelhard and vicinity as the community is a long distance from a railroad shipping point and also because commercial fishing is one of its principal sources of income. The existing turning basin and project channel are inadequate for the needs of commerce. In the opinion of the Board, the plan for further improvement recommended by the district and division engineers is suitable. Prospective benefits through elimination of delays to the fishing fleet and reduction in transportation costs to shippers justify the expenditures required for the work.
Accordingly, the Board recommends modification of the existing project for Far Creek, N. C., to provide for a channel 12 feet deep and 100 feet wide from water of that depth in Pamlico Sound along the general alinement of the existing channel through the wide section of the creek and thence 12 feet deep and 80 feet wide to a point about 200 feet below the highway bridge at Engelhard and for enlargement at the existing turning basin to form a basin 12 feet deep with maximum width and length of about 200 and 900 feet, respectively
In accordance with existing law, a copy of the Chief of Engineers' proposed report was furnished the Governor of North Carolina for comment. He stated that the project will be a real benefit to the affected portions of North Carolina.
In accordance with section 4 of Executive Order No. 9384, the report was submitted to the Bureau of the Budget for information as to the relationship of the proposed report to the program of the President. The Bureau of the Budget advised that there would be no objection to the submission of the report to Congress.
Mr. Chairman, the district engineer, as it frequently is customary, considered two plans of improvement. One plan would provide 10foot depths and the other plan would provide 12-foot depths. Both plans are economically justified. He recommended the 12-foot depth because he is of the opinion that if the channel is further improved, the depth should be 12 feet at mean low water to conform to the project depth of the Intracoastal Waterway and to enable tankers and other vessels of 9-foot draft to use the creek when the water surface is lowered by wind effects. The Board concurred in the district engineer's opinion. The Bureau of the Budget in their consideration of the reports commented on the larger ratio of benefits to costs for the 10-foot plan in comparison to the 12-foot plan.
The Chief of Engineers after due consideration of these reports concurs in the views and recommendations of the Board.
The improvement is recommended provided that local interests (a) furnish free of cost to the United States all necessary rights-ofway and suitable spoil-disposal areas for the new work and subsequent maintenance, when and as required, (6) set aside suitable space for a public landing and (c) hold and save the United States free from any damages resulting from construction and maintenance of the improvement, including the furnishing of releases from damages to oyster grounds.
The cost to United States for construction is estimated at $80,600. The cost to local interests for lands and rights-of-way is estimated at $6,250. The total estimated cost is $86,850. The annual carrying charges are estimated at $9,655, including $6,000 for increased Federal maintenance.
The evaluated benefits amount to an average of $10,245 annually. These consist of $5,250 for elimination of delays to sea-food vessels principally through enlargement of the turning basin and $4,995 for reduction in transportation costs on 10,300 tons of petroleum products, highway construction materials, fertilizer, groceries, and miscel
laneous commodities. These estimates indicate a benefit-cost ratio of 1.06.
A large portion of the inhabitants of the area are engaged in commercial fishing. The proposed improvement will be of great benefit to them by providing a waterway usable at all stages of the tide.
Mr. LARCADE. Have you concluded your statement ! ?
Mr. LARCADE. Now the local interests have agreed to furnish free of cost to the United States all necessary rights-of-way and suitable spoil disposal areas for the new work and subsequent maintenance, when and as required, set aside suitable space for a public landing, and hold and save the United States free from any damages resulting from construction and maintenance of the improvement, including the furnishing of releases from damages to oyster grounds, and the total contribution by the local interests is estimated to be how much, Colonel ?
Colonel MOORE. The cost to local interests in order to comply with those provisions is estimated at $6,250.
Mr. LARCADE. And the evaluated benefits amount to an average of $10,245 annually?
Colonel MOORE. That is correct, sir.
Mr. ANGELL. Colonel Moore, I take it from your report that the chief purpose of this is to provide transportation to the town of Engelhard; is that right?
Colonel MOORE. That is one of the purposes, Mr. Angell. The other purpose is to afford increased safety and convenience to the large fleet of small boats, fishing craft principally, that use the channel and the harbor. The harbor is very crowded when the shrimping fleet is there, a fleet consisting of some 300 vessels. As you will see, the basin is rather small for a fleet of that size. A fire hazard exists, as well as danger of ordinary damage.
Mr. ANGELL. It is being utilized under the existing project, is it?
Mr. WHITTINGTON. What facilities do the local interests have for maintaining a channel once you have dredged or constructed it in this particular area along the Atlantic seaboard? What do you mean by maintenance so far as channel is concerned ?
Colonel MOORE. They do not provide the maintenance, Mr. Chairman. They provide the rights-of-way and spoil disposal areas for the original work and for maintenance.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. That maintenance doesn't apply to the channel, does it? That is what I am trying to ascertain. It is your job to maintain that channel work, isn't it?
Colonel MOORE. That is correct, sir.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. And that applies to all channelization work, all channels that you acquire, so far as maintenance is concerned, doesn't it?
Colonel MOORE. Yes, sir.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. That responsibility falls to the Federal Government and not to the local interests.
Colonel MOORE. That is right.