Page images

The local interests of Fort Worth have already moved fast to do their part in "providing the local financing for that part of the improvements not ordinarily taken care of under the Rivers and Harbors Act. . Work is in progress now to effect a flood-control organization to deal with the United States engineers and at the same time, after determining the amounts of money necessary to be pro. vided by local interests, this organization will have the power of taxation and will be able to issue bonds after the proper election provide the contribution by local interests.

Thus, the gentlemen of this committee may see that it is imperative that action be taken as soon as possible to provide the protection which the citizens and the property in this area require and demand.



Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, in accordance with the suggestion of the chairman, we are submitting herewith a joint statement with reference to the interim report to provide for adequate interior drainage of the leveed areas of the Trinity River at Dallas, Tex. We are, respectively, Dale Miller, of Dallas, Tex., Washington representative of the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, and Fritz G. Lanham, of Fort Worth, Tex., executive vice president of the Trinity Improvement Association.

We would like to submit for inclusion in the record a brief prepared by Mr. John M. Stemmons, chairman of the Dallas County Flood Control District. It will be observed from this brief that, in local efforts to solve the disastrous problems from which we periodically suffer, local interests have expended in excess of $18,000,000 on the interior drainage project in Dallas without State or Federal aid. Ours is a section of intermittent droughts and floods, and the interior drainage area of Dallas is menaced by, and has suffered from, these severe floods. This section has become heavily industrialized and constitutes some of the most valuable industrial property in the State of Texas. The recent flood disaster has wrought great damage to this particular area.

In helping to meet this very serious situation, local interests have evidenced their willingness to contribute further to the solving of this problem. The estimated cost to the United States for construction of the proposed interior drainage facilities in Dallas is $3,512,000. Despite the fact that local interests have already expended in excess of $18,000,000 on this particular work, the proposed project contemplates further that local interests will contribute a total of $762,000 in construction costs, and will likewise assume the cost of maintenance which is estimated at $20,000 annually.

Inasmuch as expert witnesses of the Corps of Engineers have explained this important project in detail, and Representative J. Frank Wilson of Dallas has further convincingly advocated its approval by this committee, we shall not presume upon your time to offer duplicating testimony. We do wish to impress upon you, however, the vital importance of the approval of this project to obviate further disasters which the floodwaters bring to this highly industrialized area.



The Dallas County Flood Control District is an instrumentality of the State of Texas created by the legislature of such State for the purpose of operating and maintaining the levees and other flood-control works the City and County of Dallas Levee Improvement District and Dallas County Levee Improvement District No. 5.

The flood of 1908 was the most disastrous ever suffered by the city of Dallas. The Trinity River reached a depth of 52.6 feet and, in places, was 2 miles wide. Damage ran into the millions. It was obvious that if Dallas was to continue to grow, a solution to this problem must be found.

Many plans were considered and discarded but in 1926, the city and county of Dallas Levee Improvement District was created. This district joined with the existing Dallas County Levee Improvement District No. 5, then an agricul

tural district situated north of Dallas, and the two districts prepared a joint plan of reclamation designed to reclaim and protect approximately 10,000 acres of land, much of it in the heart of the city.

Under such plan of reclamation, a new channel was dug for the river, levees ranging from 24 to 34 feet in height and having a width at the base of 156 feet were constructed, pumping plants and perssure storm sewers installed and other flood-control works erected. The cost of such improvements was paid. from funds obtained by the sale of bonds in the amount of $6,500,000, issued by the districts and payable solely from taxes against properties in the districts. In addition, the city of Dallas spent approximately $6,000,000 in this area for underpasses, streets, water lines, sewer lines, and other improvements, the county of Dallas spent in excess of $6,000,000 for viaducts, highways, and other improvements, certain streets and roads were designated State highways, including State Highway 1A, between Dallas and Fort Worth, now the most intensively traveled highway in the State, with the reslting expenditure for highway construction and maintenance, railroads and other utility companies expended millions to conform to such plan of reclamation and private interests spent many millions of dollars in installing streets and utilities and in building homes, warehouses, commercial establishments, factories, and other improvements. The expenditures by the various interests, above mentioned, exceed the sum of $50,000,000. With the exception of certain PWA work performed in 1936 and of certain emergency work performed by the Corps of Engineers in 1946 and 1947, no funds furnished by the Federal Government have been expended on this project.

EXISTING CONDITIONS Since the original planning of the flood-control works in 1926 to 1928, the city of Dallas has increased in size from a city of some 200,000 to a metropolitan area with a population well in excess of 500,000. Additional streets, sidewalks, roofs, and other impervious materials prevent rainfall from soaking into the ground. Consequently, the flood-control works, caring for interior drainage, are taxed with materially greater amount of water than that for which they were originally designed and such water reaches the various pumping plants and other structures where it is discharged into the new channel, with much greater rapidity than was originally planned.

As a consequence the existing flood-control works are inadequate to care for interior drainage and a large part of the supposedly protected lands located in such districts are flooded during or after each heavy rain.

To date the levees at Dallas have not been breached. However, the studies of the Corps of Engineers as well as engineers of the flood-control district, leave no doubt that additional construction and strengthening of the existing levees and work in connection therewith is imperative, if real protection against floods is to be afforded. The flood-control district has cooperated with the Corps of Engineers in determining what is necessary to insure such protection and the findings of the Corps of Engineers are set forth in its interim report.

The upper Trinity watershed has, within the past week, been subjected to a severe flood. Fort Worth has suffered the loss of many lives and property damage has been so great that it is impossible to accurately estimate the same at this time. As the crest of the flood flows toward the Gulf of Mexico, levee after levee is breaking and the end is not yet in sight. At Dallas, approximately one-half of the "reclaimed” land, located in the flood-control district, was flooded or unusable because of flood conditions. Many homes, especially in west Dallas, were under water and various manufacturing plants, factories, and other commercial establishments were flooded. Fortunately, all of these are now out of water but had a heavy rain fallen during the middle of the week, it is entirely possible that Dallas might have suffered the same fate as Fort Worth.


The need for additional flood-control works and the improvement of existing facilities in the Dallas County Flood Control District is so obvious as to require no lengthy presentation on the part of the flood-control district. Such need, together with the economic feasibility and justification of such improvements are set forth in detail in the Interim Report on Trinity River and Tributaries, Texas Interior Drainage Improvements at Dallas and Fort Worth, prepared by the United States Army, Corps of Engineers. It is believed that benefits, set forth in such report, are most conservative. More than $20,000,000 has been spent by local and State governmental agencies on this program and many millions more have been expended thereon by private interests. From every viewpoint, it would appear that local governmental agencies, railroads, utilities, and property owners, in this area, have met every requirement ordinarily considered the responsibility of local interests and, accordingly, that this district is entitled to Federal assistance in completing its task of protecting lives and property.

The Dallas County Flood Control District respectfully requests that your honorable committee approve the said interim report of the Corps of Engineers and recommend that the improvements therein set forth be approved by the Congress of the United States as an approved project. Respectfully submitted.


By JOHN M. STEMMONS, Chairman. Chairman WHITTINGTON. Let us proceed now with consideration of river and harbor items.

We have, first, Pascagoula.

Mr. LARCADE. We have another Congressman here, the gentleman from Mississippi.

Chairman WHITTINGTON. We are indeed happy to have the gentleman with us this morning.

Following our usual procedure, we will hear from Colonel Moore, after which we shall be delighted to have any statement Mr. Colmer cares to make.

Proceed, Colonel.


(H. Doc. No. 188, 81st Cong.)

Colonel MOORE. Mr. Chairman, the report on Pascagoula Harbor, Miss. (Dog River), as published in House Document No. 188, Eightyfirst Congress, is in response to a resolution adopted July 17, 1947, by the Public Works Committee of the House of Representatives.

Pascagoula Harbor, Miss., is on Mississippi Sound, an arm of the Gulf of Mexico, 32 miles west of the entrance to Mobile Bay, Ala. The harbor proper extends 7 miles upstream from the mouth of Pascagoula River to its junction with Dog River, thence easterly 4 miles along the latter stream. The channel of Dog River in the lower 1 mile is through Beardslee Lake, thence through a series of sharp bends to mile 3.4. Adjoining the latter reach on the north are Robertson and Bounds Lakes.

Pascagoula, with a population of 38,000, is on the east bank of the lower 3 miles of Pascagoula River. Moss Point, with a population of 6,500, is on the south bank of Dog River near its mouth.

Industries in the area include a paper mill on Dog River 6 miles above the mouth and two menhaden-fish-processing plants 4 miles above the mouth. Other industries in the area include two shipbuilding plants, two additional menhaden-fish-meal factories, several lumber companies, a creosoting plant, a cotton mill, and woodworking factories. A total of about 30 manufacturing establishments are located in the vicinity.

The improvement of Pascagoula Harbor authorized by Congress provides for a through channel of the maximum dimensions that can be secured by the expenditure of $283,000, but not exceeding 25 feet deep and 300 feet wide across the outer bar at Horn Island Pass,

thence 22 feet deep and 225 feet wide to the railroad bridge at Pascagoula, and thence 22 feet deep and 150 feet wide, increased at sharp bends, to a point on Dog River 4 miles above the mouth. The project south of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Bridge has been completed, but no new work or maintenance has been performed on the project in Pascagoula and Dog Rivers above that bridge, as the channels in that reach have been adequate for navigation. The mean range of tide is 1.75 feet.

Costs to June 30, 1947, have been $258,040 for new work and $1,227,688 for maintenance. The latest approved estimate of annual cost of maintenance is $5,000 for the outer bar channel at Horn Island Pass and $100,000 for the channels in the river and across Mississippi Sound.

Commerce on Dog River consists of pulpwood barged from Mississippi and Louisiana waterways to the paper mill, and of menhaden fish transported in large fishing vessels from Mississippi Sound to the fish-meal factories. During the 10-year period 1938 through 1947, commerce of pulpwood fluctuated between a low of 60,900 tons in 1942 and a high of 141,500 tons in 1946. and averaged 100,700 tons annually. During 1947, the pulpwood was transported in 155 barge tows with loaded drafts up to 8 feet. Commerce of one fish-meal factory which started operations in 1947 was 5,979 tons of menhaden fish for that year transported in 300 round trips by six vessels with drafts up to 10 feet. The other fish-meal plant commenced operations in 1948. The total commerce in menhaden fish to be transported on Dog River in the future is estimated at 37,000 tons annually.

The terminal and transfer facilities on Dog River are adequate for existing commerce, and ample frontage is available for expansion.

Local interests request straightening of the existing channel in Dog River by the provision of a cut-off channel 12 feet deep below mean water from State Highway 63 Bridge, mile 1, upstream through Robertson and Bounds Lakes to rejoin the river near mile 3.4. They also request that the channel be so alined in Robertson Lake as to approach the highway bridge on a line parallel to the present fender system.

They claim that the requested improvement would shorten the distance to the paper and fish-meal factories by 1 mile, reduce danger of collision between vessels and the drawspan, eliminate the necessity for breaking barge tows, encourage the development of new industries in the area, and provide other benefits.

The district and division engineers concur in recommending modification of the existing project for Pascagoula Harbor and Horn Island Pass, Miss., to provide for a 12- by 125-foot channel above State Highway 63 Bridge through Robertson and Bounds Lakes and thence up Dog River to mile 4, in lieu of that part of the present project channel upstream of the State Highway 63 Bridge over Dog River, subject to certain conditions of local cooperation.

The Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors concurs generally in the views and recommendations of the reporting officers. Straightening of the Dog River channel by the proposed cut-off channel would facilitate general navigation, encourage the establishment of other industries on the waterway, and effect annual savings in excess of the costs. The Board therefore concludes that the improvement is ecoriomically justified. Accordingly, the Board recommends modification of the existing project for Pascagoula Harbor and Horn Island Pass, Miss., in accordance with the plan of the district engineer.

In accordance with existing law, a copy of the Chief of Engineers' proposed report was furnished the Governor of Mississippi for comment. He stated that the recommendations have his approval.

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.

After due consideration of these reports, the Chief of Engineers concurs in the views and recommendations of the Board.

The modification is recommended provided that local interests give assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of the Army that they will (a) provide without cost to the United States all lands, easements, spoil-disposal areas, and rights-of-way necessary for construction of the improvement and its subsequent maintenance, when and as required; and (6) hold and save the United States free from damage to the construction works.

The cost of construction to the United States is estimated in the report at $41,000.

The canal would cross low, swampy land of negligible value, and no cost for rights-of-way is included.

The annual carrying charge is estimated at $2,150, with no additional cost for annual maintenance.

The improvement would eliminate nearly all navigation hazards, eliminate four sharp bends, and shorten the existing route by about 1 mile. The annual tangible benefits are estimated at $10,580, of which $6,200 is savings in running time by pulpwood tows; $1,080 is savings in towing charges due to elimination of the necessity for breaking tows at the bridge ; $2,060 is savings in wages by reducing the number of bargemen required, and $1,240 is savings in operation of menhaden boats.

Chairman WHITTINGTON. What is the cost-benefit ratio, please sir? Colonel MOORE. The benefit-cost ratio is 4.92.

In addition to the tangible benefits, the improved channel alinement would reduce the probability of damage to the highway bridge and practically eliminate the danger of collision between vessels as well as damage due to wave wash or collision with docks or other structures. Elimination of these hazards to navigation would encourage establishment of new industries at suitable sites along the north shore of the river.

Due to the tortuous nature of the existing Dog River channel, navigation to several industries relying wholly or partly on water transportation for delivery of their raw materials is unduly hazardous and restrictive. The channel is regularly used by numerous large fishing vessels and by barge tows supplying a large paper mill with pulpwood. The recommended improvement will facilitate navigation and eliminate hazards to vessels and their crews.

Mr. DONDERO. I would like to ask Colonel Moore a question.

Will you indicate on the map where the city of Pascagoula is located with reference to the proposed improvement?

Colonel MOORE. The city of Pascagoula is about 7 miles downstream of that point [indicating].

« PreviousContinue »