Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mr. Page. They were, but they were not included in the Budget, and I mention it because I anticipate that they will be submitted in some other bill. Mr. LEAVY. Is this on the Colorado River? Mr. Page. No; it is on the Rio Grande River.

Mr. Rich. I did not know that they had enough water in the Rio Grande to make a power development.

Mr. Page. Yes; it has a very nice little power development below the storage dam, built by the Government at Elephant Butte. Mr. LEAVY. Was there another one on the Colorado River?

Mr. Page. Yes. The Bureau is building a dam on the Colorado River in Texas as a combination flood-control and irrigation and torage project.

Mr. LEAVY. On the Colorado River? Mr. Page. On the Colorado River of Texas. It was one which was a part of the program proposed by a local State authority, and for which the authority obtained a P. W. A. loan and grant of $15,000,000. In addition the Bureau of Reclamation was given an allotment of $5,000,000, which is being spent for flood protection and storage. Five million dollars is not adequate to build the dam which is now under construction and eventually, in some manner, $5,000,000 addiional must be obtained.

Mr. Rich. Now, suppose you get this $2,500,000 to complete the Elephant Butte plant, and you get the money back, it is the policy on these reclamation projects to get the money in and then you use *he earnings as a revolving fund to do something else?

Mr. Page. No, sir; only by appropriation of Congress. We have im authority to spend revenues or repayments unless appropriated by Congress.

Mr. Rich. The Members of Congress are pretty liberal spenders, though, if you have anything coming back. You have found that vat, have you not?

Mr. Page. We sometimes question whether they are so liberal.

WEDNESDAY, March 31, 1937. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY

STATEMENTS OF DR. W. C. MENDENHALL, DIRECTOR; JULIAN D. SEARS, ADMINISTRATIVE GEOLOGIST; J. G. STAACK, CHIEF TOPOGRAPHIC ENGINEER, TOPOGRAPHIC BRANCH; G. F. LOUGHLIN, CHIEF GEOLOGIST, GEOLOGIC BRANCH; P. S. SMITH, CHIEF ALASKAN GEOLOGIST, ALASKA BRANCH; N. C. GROVER, CHIEF HYDRAULIC ENGINEER, WATER RESOURCES BRANCH; AND HERMAN STABLER, CHIEF ENGINEER, CONSERVATION BRANCH

Mr. SCRCGHAM. The next witness will be Dr. Mendenhall. Mr. Fitzpatrick, of the committee, will conduct the examination,

GENERAL STATEMENT

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Do you wish to make a statement on your regular appropriation, Dr. Mendenhall ?

Dr. Mendenhall. Is it desirable to make a general statement about the Survey and its functions?

Mr. Scrugham. I suggest that you make a general statement and then put your prepared statement in the record.

FUNCTIONS AND ACTIVITIES

Dr. Mendenhall. The Geological Survey has existed since 18~y. It has five principal operating units set up largely along functional lines. It is the principal geologic entity of the Government. It is the consulting geologic group for the Government. The staff consists of engineers and geologists. Geology was the earliest of its functions. It maps the geology of the United States. It has a statf of paleontologists, mineralogists, physical chemists, and geologists, who are competent to handle all phases of geological problems tliat come up. It cooperates with the State geological surveys by supplying them with types of personnel which they are not able to supply for themselves, or through cooperation by helping to solve problems inside of the States which the States themselves are unable to solve without aid. Its activities are Nation-wide. They extend to the Territory of Alaska, and to some of the outlying possessions. Sk first of all, it is the principal geological unit of government.

TOPOGRAPHIC MAPS

Early in its geological work it found that topographic maps were essential to the mapping of a mining camp and to the unraveling of the problems there, and to the sort of study necessary to see whether there might be extensions of the ore bodies that were being mined, or whether similar ore bodies might be found elsewhere.

Therefore, one of our very early activities was the making of topographic maps, mainly for our own use, and as these maps were printed and made available other people found them useful. AVe have perhaps 4,000 such maps now in existence. A little less than half of the United States is mapped with topographic maps of all types.

With the growth in numbers of these maps, there has been a growth in uses, and a growing recognition of the fact that these maps are essential to almost all studies of land problems, problems of national defense, of floods and flood control, of mineral resource-, of road construction, and of planning in general. So that there is now an overwhelming demand for them that greatly embarrasses us, because we cannot adequately meet it. Nevertheless, we are issuing and distributing three-fourths of a million copies of maps each year, chiefly by sale.

STUDIES OF WATEH RESOURCES

There also came into existence very early, work on the water resources of the country. The work was first confined to the measurement of stream flow, and later it was extended to the study of underground supplies and the quality of water. That work and its results have been widely recognized as essential in the development of irrigation and municipal supplies, in studying hydroelectric power possibilities, and the determination of what can be done to control floods.

111 the droughts of recent years, the ground-water work has been particularly important, because as the surface streams have disappeared, the residents of the drought-stricken areas have wanted to know, of course, whether they could get water beneath the surface or not, and after the shallow wells have dried up, whether by going deeper into the ground they could get additional water. So, we are occupying tJie field there much as we do the geologic field and the topographic field. We occupy a field which is not occupied by other governmental entities.

CLASSIFICATION OF LANDS

We have, in addition, a fourth major unit, one of whose functions is given the Geological Survey by its organic act, namely, the classification of lands. That is now promarily the classification of lands as to their mineral content. For a time after the enactment of the enlarged Homestead Act, and then the Grazing Homestead Act, we were charged with the function of making the classifications that were necessary in order that those acts might be administered. The agricultural classification function has now been passed on to the Grazing Unit of the Department of the Interior.

We still have the function of classifying lands as to their mineral quality, their mineral character.

We have classified the very valuable phosphate deposits of eastern and northeastern Idaho, and western Wyoming; the potash deposits of southeastern New Mexico; and the coal lands, wherever they are, to determine whether the lands are coal lands or not, in order that the homesteaders who enter them or States that acquire them may get a title that reserves the mineral, if it is present under the land, or a title which is without reservation if there are no minerals there. So that mineral-land classification and classification as to waterpower values are functions of the) Survey, essential to the Department's administration of the land laws.

LEASING LAWS

In the same unit of the Survey there is centered the function of administering the related problems of the leasing laws of the United States, as they apply to minerals. Our coal lands are now leased. Our oil lands are now leased. Our potash lands are leased. Our phosphate lands are leased. Our nonmetalliferous mineral lands in general are leased. The Secretary of the Interior is charged, of course, with determining the terms of the leases under the acts of Congress, seeing that these leases are operated with due regard to the prevention of waste of the resources, and prevention of the loss of life.

This technical task of administering the leasing laws, which falls upon the Secretary of the Interior, is transferred by him, in turn, to the Geological Survey. We have a considerable staff of engineers and geologists constantly engaged in that work.

Those are the four technical units, the geologic, the topographic, water resources, and land-classification units.

[graphic][ocr errors]

ALASKA SURVEY ACTIVITIES We have a fifth unit, which is geographic. Alaska is a little empire in itself. It has an area of 600,000 square miles or thereabouts, and we have created for the administration of the Survey functions in Alaska what we call the Alaskan branch, whose chief is here to answer your detailed questions.

Topographic mapping, geologic mapping, examination of the mineral deposits, reporting on the mineral production of Alaska are all functions of that branch.

Those are the five major branches of the Survey. The rest of the Survey consists of services to these field branches.

ACTIVITIES OF DIRECTOR'S OFFICE The office of the Director is the first item you will meet, and the appropriations for it include, of course, provision for the Director and his immediate associates, provision for our accounting group. whose tasks have grown more complex as the Treasury requirements and the Comptroller General's requirements have become more complex. In it is our editorial group. Among the central units is the little group that distributes the 750,000 maps annually, most of them being sold, and such of our reports as are distributed from our own office, though the reports are generally sold by the Superintendent of Documents.

We also have an instrument repair shop that serves our topographic engineers and our geologists and our water resources group, all of whom require instruments, often of types which are not required widely elsewhere. All these services last mentioned are serv. ices subsidiary to our main field functions which I have earlier described to you.

OVERLAPPING WITH OTHER DEPARTMENTS

Mr. FITZPATRICK. Do you know of any overlapping with any other departments, such as the War Department, the Land Office, the Department of Agriculture, the Navy Department, or any particular department that is doing anything that is being overlapped by yours or other departments!

Dr. MENDENHALL. I think I can honestly say, Mr. Fitzpatrick, that there is no overlapping with any of the older groups in government. The Survey has grown up with these groups. We know the men who are doing work that is in any wise related to ours, and we are in constant cooperation and consultation with them. Where the language of their laws and ours might permit an overlapping on the borilers of our functions, we see that we do not overlap but that we cooperate in tead.

COOPERATION WITH OTHER DEPARTMENTS

The language in this bill which you are considering today provides for the transfer of funds if some other unit of Government desires the sort of service which is one of the special functions of the Geological Survey. We render that service for them by a transfer of

funds instead of their attempting to do for themselves scientific or technical work for which we have the staff and the equipment and they do not.

I do not know all the new services in the Government by any means. I do not know what all of them are doing. But as to the Soil Conservation Service, for example, we are cooperating. They are studying the erosion of soils from certain areas under varying mnditions. They want the run-off measured, and the silt measured, and the measurement of related stream flow; and the measurement of these things is a function of the Survey. We cooperate with them in doing it by an interchange of personnel and an exchange of finds.

FLOOD-CONTROL STUDIES

Jr. FITZPATRICK. Is it the same way with flood control, too, Doctor!

Dr. MENDENHALL. Of course, we are not a construction agency. We do not build the works for the control of floods.

Mr. FITZPATRICK. You also said something about your surveys for Wwd control.

Dr. MENDENHALL. We study floods. We study the run-off, its Istribution, where these floods are concentrated, the quantity, and

amount of water that passes a given point at a given time and **.sources of this water. These reports make available the history of the flood, its source, how it has grown as it passed downst ream, :: it has diminished as it has passed out of the area of conpastrated rainfall. Those data are fundamental data for the con

riction organizations like the Army engineers, who later may ald works to control the floods. They do not make those studies of floods in the broad way in which we do, but they utilize the ac data that we get. Other units of Government or local govern

ants that need to know what water supplies are available, whether ..e are diminished water supplies due to drought, or increased water supplies through flood, or what can be done in the developOrt and control of them, are also given information and assistance. We are cooperating very intensively, for example, with the city New York in studying the ground waters under the western end Long Island. Mr. FITZPATRICK. We are going to spend millions there during the "tt 10 or 11 years. Did they take some of your data ?

Dr. MENDENHALL. They are depending upon our data to deter"..De how much water they can safely pump out from under the Tastern end of Long Island. We are also cooperating with Greater Saw York in determining the amount of water that will be availasle in the Delaware River Basin.

So, I think I can answer your question by saying that we are u overlapping the activities of other units of government unless i may be minor, incidental overlapping here and there. When we cover that we cooperate instead of overlapping.

« PreviousContinue »