« PreviousContinue »
ESTIMATES IN DETAIL
The following program of work and general budget has been assembled from departmental survey authorizations, Cadastral Engineering Service data, Federal land planning agency reports, and from other sources.
1. Original surveys (a) Agricultural. This classification includes surveys of lands subject to all forms of settlement, of agricultural lands applied for by the States, and by the railroads to accommodate valid selections, and all unsurveyed areas under the Taylor Grazing Act broadly classed as agricultural.
Surveys in this classification to meet the needs of settlement laws and the States show slight increases over the current year. The total area, however, including the above, over which cadastral surveys should be extended on a comprehensive scale next year in the interests of the Taylor Act for administration, classification, and the exchange of lands approximates 5,000,000 acres, exclusive of linear boundaries, field investigations, and special cases not measurable in miles or acres.
Estimate, 1938, $180,000.
(6) Nonagricultural and mineral.—This classification includes lands within the scope of the Mineral Leasing Act under which coal, phosphate, oil, oil shale, gas, sodium, and potash are held in national ownership under a percentage of minerals mined, areas outside the national reservations for recreational uses, public and quasi-public lands such as rights-of-way for railroads, canals, reservoirs and power projects, State and grant boundaries, and controlling township exterior lines.
Surveys to further administration of the Mineral Leasing Act, of coal and oil lands applied for in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico constitute the largest single activity under this classification in next year's schedule. Other authorized projects include approximately 192 miles of township exteriors in southeastern Utah, for geographic control; portions of the California-Nevada boundary line between Lake Tahoe and the Colorado River, and subdivisional closings thereon; ties to the Texas-Oklahoma State boundary line to perfect title description; connections from the public-land survey system in Minnesota to the international boundary in the segment between the Lake of the Woods and Lake Superior, a distance of over 300 miles; the survey of power sites and rights-of-way in Arizona, California, and Oregon, and of certain Spanish grant boundaries in New Mexico, California, and Colorado. In addition, surveys to accommoate entries dependent upon the segregation of mining claims will be made in normal degree in the mineral districts of the West.
Estimate, 1938, $35,000.
(c) Cooperative.-Cadastral surveys on the national domain within and adjoining the established reservations and permanent withdrawals furnish engineering and legal bases for administration, the establishment of land boundaries, farm units, home sites, and soil-erosion projects, for grazing and lumbering control, road and trail building, reforestation, the exchange of lands, fire prevention, timber conservation, classification and sale, trespass prosecution, and for the development of recreational and wildlife areas. Such surveys are fundamental in the development programs of governmental agencies administering the public lands.
The more extensive projects in this classification to be undertaken next year are on the national forests in all States west of the one-hundredth meridian, and in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Territory of Alaska. As basic factors in watershed protection, in economic classification and land-use planning, and as prerequisites to the administration of applicable land laws, approximately 3,000,000 acres should be surveyed on the forests next fiscal year in addition to linear boundaries, field investigations, and special surveys not measurable on an acreage basis. The schedule indicates a slight increase in survey execution on national forests over the current year.
On and in connection with national parks cadastral surveys are necessary to administration, area identification, and development. Surveys awaiting attention next year now authorized or in prospect include the north and east boundaries and the revised west boundary of the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the boundaries of the national parks of Everglades, Fla., Glacier Bay, Alaska, and Grand Teton, Wyo., and those of the national monuments of Grand Canyon, Ariz., and Death Valley, Calif. Authorizations for surveys in connection with other parks and monuments are anticipated in 1938. An increase over the current year is indicated.
For the Bureau of Reclamation cadastral surveys are authorized in Western States on the Camp Verde project, Arizona, of which the Horseshoe and Bartlett Reservoir sites are a part, the Gila Valley project in the same State, the Central Valley (on which surveys are now in course of execution), and the Parker Dam projects, California, the Payette division of the Boise project, Idaho, and the Grand Coulee reclamation project in the State of Washington. Survey requests from the Bureau of Reclamation are in excess of those of the past several years.
Under departmental authorizations boundary and area surveys will be neces. sary of certain lands within Spanish grants in New Mexico recently purchased and now administered by the Soil Conservation Service for the benefit of various tribes of Indians. The work should be initiated next summer and be completed by fall.
Applications for surveys from other Federal agencies are indicated from the Division of Investigations and Geological Survey of the Department of the Interior, the Coast and Geodetic Survey of the Department of Commerce, and in normal degree from other bureaus whose activities are based upon or are related to the public lands.
Estimate, 1938, $100,000.
(d) Miscellaneous.--Surveys in this class include those of small, detached. often fragmentary, areas not listed in the foregoing established classifications and as a rule not measurable on an area basis.
In next year's program for the United States proper are surveys of islands, townsites, villa sites, isolated homesteads and homesites, new or abandoned rights-ofway, lighthouse reservations, private land grant boundaries, small holding claims, detached Indian allotments, mineral and forest segregations, water holes, swamp, overflow and riparian lands, areas in the older public land States omitted from the original surveys, and in addition to the survey, the classification and sale of the Oregon and California and the Coos Bay Wagon Road Grant lands. · Of outstanding importance are field investigations of obliterated, distorted and fictitious surveys of an earlier period for use as evidence in boundary suits before the courts and the Department, and to develop data for resurveys. Of lesser importance and extent are surveys under special acts of Congress, particularly the acts of February 27. 1925 (43 Stat. 1013), December 22, 1918 (45 Stat. 10691, and February 16, 1929 (45 Stat. 1188), which provide a means of relief for individuals holding certain classes of public lands under claim or color of title, and the acts of March 3, 1891, commonly known in New Mexico as the Small Holding Act, and of December 22, 1928, and March 23, 1932, which require the surver of lands under certain conditions.
In Alaska, the group includes a number of projects of the type above mentioned, and in addition administrative sites, Indian villages, trustee townsites, school reserves, community parks, emergency landing fields, agricultural experimental stations, mission sites, cemeteries, and trade and manufacturing sites."
As a whole, miscellaneous surveys indicated for 1938 are well above the average of the past 4 years. Estimate, 1938, $40,000.
II. Resurveys The major problems of cadastral engineering now before the Service are those originating in resurveys in all of the established survey classifications. Such problems consider legal restoration of the generally obliterated, often distorted, and not infrequently wholly fictitious original surveys made in an earlier period of the country's history under the old contract system of surveying the public lands. Lawful recovery of the original survey is not only essential to orderly administration but in the settlement of controversies involving public lands and private rights is a fundamental requirement.
The official plat of survey is the basis of public-land disposal. Most of the older Land Office plats are based on surveys which although made under less exacting standards of procedure than are those of today, were fairly well executed. However they were generally monumented with perishable material. As a consequence survey obliteration in whole or in part is one of the chief sources of location uncertainty and of restoration necessity today. Many other plats, although regular in all respects, are based upon poorly and only partly executed field work. Survey restoration in such cases frequently discloses fantastically distorted subdivisions on the ground of no value in identifying private and public land, or as a basis for administration.
Still other plats of an earlier day, fortunately constituting only a small portion of the whole, but depicting in the aggregate millions of acres in many parts of the country west of the one hundredth meridian, have no foundation whatever
in actual surveys on the ground. Such plats are regular in all respects but the field surveys they allege to represent were never made. And yet valid rights have been legally acquired in such areas on the basis of these fraudulent official plats of record. The resultant confusion over boundary lines, out of which often grow major problems of hiatus and overlap, hampers the Government and the States in the administration of their lands and retards even to the point of cessation private enterprise and development. The permanent relief in such cases is through resurveys of the General Land Office. Local agencies as a rule are without authority to execute resurveys where public land is involved, or when within their province, are not experienced in the intricate technical and legal processes of the Federal resurvey system. The problem is steadily growing in complexity and extent.
No blanket plan of resurvey is recommended. Such a program would be costly beyond reason and could not by providing for resurveys everywhere at the same time successfully serve the purpose intended. Experience deomonstrates that the present procedure of executing resurveys on certain conditions as they are applied for by the parties in interest, is far more practicable and economical and, if financed on a moderately liberal scale over a period of years, could be kept abreast of the administrative necessities of the public-land laws and the requirements of economic land use and policy. Estimate, 1938, $130,000.
III. Office work The 12 public survey offices of the Cadastral Engineering Service in the 11 active public-land States and Alaska, prepare the official record of public-land and mineral surveys executed in their respective districts and serve the public interested in data obtainable from the official records. Supervision and direction of the work in the field and office is from the headquarters of the Supervisor of Surveys at Denver, Col. In this office is also performed the work of auditing, accounting, and cost keeping for the Service within the United States proper and Alaska, and of auditing and accounting for the Division of Grazing Control in Western States.
Work in public survey offices is practically current in all districts and it is believed that the present personnel, with occasional additions in the lower grades, will be sufficient to keep it so. Estimate, 1938, $165,000.
(Estimates by survey classes) I. Original surveys:
35, 000 100, 000
40, 000 130, 000 165, 000
650, 000 The 1938 estimate of $650,000 is $50,000 less than the appropriation of $700,000 for the 1937 fiscal year.
AMOUNT OF PUBLIC LAND UNSURVEYED Mr. Scrugham. How much public land remains to be surveyed or remains unsurveyed?
Mr. FRED W. Johnson. In the continental United States we have about 128 million acres. In Alaska we have 376 million, which makes a total of 504 million acres.
Mr. ScrUGHAM. Is it necessary to survey these lands?
Mr. FRED W. JOHNSON. Yes, sir; in order to identify them so that we can put them to proper use or whatever economic value they have. They must be designated before we can do anything with them.
Mr. SCRUGHAM. Is there any section of law that authorizes or requires it?
Mr. Fred W. Johnson. Section 2218 of the Revised Statutes of the United States requires the Secretary of the Interior to take all necessary measures for the completion of the surveys in the several surveying districts.
ALLOTMENT OF P. W. A. FUNDS FOR SURVEYS
Mr. SCRUGHAM. Why is it that your estimate for public land surveys has been reduced? I should think that there would be an increase in an effort to comply with the law, instead of a reduction. In other words, did your budget calculations contemplate a reduction in your surveying activities?
Mr. HAVELL. No, our budget calculations did not contemplate a reduction. Our budget request was submitted in the hope that we would get the small amount that we asked for, but we got less.
Mr. SCRUGHAM. Did you have some additional funds in the form of Public Works allotment money for surveys this year?
Mr. HAVELL. Yes; this year we have had an allotment of $750,000 from Public Works in order to survey public lands for them. That has been supplemented by a $700,000 regular appropriation, making a total fund available for surveying public lands this year $1,450,000.
Mr. SCRUGHAM. Do I understand, Mr. Johnson, that you said that there were more than 500 million acres of public lands yet unsurveyed?
Mr. FRED W. JOHNSON. 504 million acres remaining unsurveyed, that have never been surveyed. Mr. JED JOHNSON. In what States?
Mr. FRED W. JOHNSON. They are in the Western States and Alaska; 128 million acres in the Western States, and the rest in Alaska.
Mr. SCRUGHAM. Do you now have a number of field parties employed on these surveys?
Mr. FRED W. Johnson. Yes, under the combined funds, the regular appropriation and the Public Works allotment, we have a very splendid corps of trained engineers and field assistants. We have a very excellent organization.
Mr. SCRUGHAM. Is this appropriation sufficient to keep those men busy?
Mr. HAVELL. No. As the Commissioner stated a while ago, our Public Works projects terminate on June 30, and unless we get some relief in our regular appropriation, it means that this body of trained people will have to be let out.
AMOUNT OF GRAZING LAND UNSURVEYED
Mr. ScrUGHAM. The Director of the Division of Grazing testified that he had approximately 140 million acres of grazing lands under his jurisdiction that had to be administered. Is all that 140 million acres of grazing land surveyed?
Mr. HAVELL. No.
Mr. HAVELL. The Director of Grazing has been hammering at us to bring about the survey of a large part of the land that is unsurveyed in order that he might carry out his range survey and properly administer the Taylor Grazing Act.
Mr. SCRUGHAM. A range survey is entirely different from a publicland survey, is it not?
Mr. HAVELL. A range survey is a study of forest growth suitable for sustaining animal life. There are 23 million acres of unsurveyed land in the grazing districts of the 140 million acres that the director of grazing, Mr. Carpenter, referred to, 23 million acres that have never been surveyed.
Mr. Fred W. Johnson. In addition to these lands that we have here that are unsurveyed, we have some resurveys to make.
Mr. SCRUGHAM. How much resurveying do you have to make?
Mr. HAVELL. The resurveying work is difficult to measure, because it comes up in the form of applications under two acts of Congress, 1909 and 1918, and it is controlled by the number of applications coming up during the year. There is no way to anticipate it. Under the one act, where more than half the lands are in Federal ownership, the Government pays for the entire resurvey, but where more than one-half of the lands are in private ownership, under the terms of the later act, the private holders are required to pay their part of the expenses.
We do not know how many applications we will receive during the year. The best that we can do is to estimate it, and that is set up in our justification that will be presented for the record.
cost OF SURVEY OF UNSURVEYED GRAZING LANDS AND SURVEYS OF PUBLIC LANDS
IN FOREST RESERVES
Coming back to the statement on surveys, I would like to add this statement. There was reference made to the unsurveyed land in grazing districts of 23 million acres. The surveys of the unsurveyed lands in the grazing districts, and the survey of the lands that the Forest Service has been requesting for like reasons, will cost us $3,000,000.
Mr. ScrUGHAM. Is that included in the Forest Service appropriation moneys?
Mr. HAVELL. No, the survey of the public lands in the forest reserves is a responsibility of the General Land Office, because all land titles in the national forests are handled through the Land Office.
IMPRACTICABILITY OF CONSOLIDATING SURVEY WORK
Mr. FITZPATRICK. Is there any overlapping in the surveys made by the different departments?
Mr. HAVELL. The President had a commission not long ago to study that problem
Mr. FITZPATRICK. Do you know of your own knowledge?
Mr. HAVELL. I know it, but I wanted to give you the other information. Their recommendation was that there be certain services combined, but we were excepted because of the peculiar status of our surveys in relation to land titles. So far as I know, there is no duplication or overlapping of surveys. That does not mean that the same area is not surveyed once, twice, or three times; but for different purposes. Our surveys are what are termed cadastral surveys, surveys for the purpose of fixing property rights. They are boundary surveys.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. Could they not all be included in one?