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Commerce on the existing shallow draft channels average about 100,000 tons annually from 1935 to 1944. It consisted principally of mud, shell, and crude oil.
Local interests request that the course of the authorized channel between the Houston ship channel and Anahuac be changed to a location adjacent to the eastern shore of Trinity Bay and that material excavated from the channel be placed in an embankment on the bay side of the channel.
They claim that the changes suggested would facilitate the development of industries along the shore; reduce the annual cost since less maintenance would be required; reduce navigation hazards and navigation costs in view of the protection afforded the channel; enhance the value of land along the shore; and fit in with a plan which is being considered to construct a dam across the mouth of Trinity Bay.
The Board recommends modification of the existing project for Trinity River and tributaries, Texas, so as to locate the section of navigation channel below Anahuac nearer to the eastern shore of Trinity Bay, the relocated channel to have a depth of 9 feet, a width of 150 feet and a protective embankment on the bay side.
The improvement is recommended provided that local interests (1) furnish free of cost to the United States all necessary rights-ofway and spoil-disposal areas for the initial construction and subsequent maintenance as and when required; and (2) hold and save the United States free from damages due to construction and maintenance of the improvements.
The cost of Bay Route Channel authorized by the River and Harbor Act of 1945 was $512,000, and the shore route will cost $429,000 more, making a total cost of construction for the shore route, $941,000.
However, the annual maintenance for the bay route is estimated at $93,000 because of its exposed position, and that of the shore route at $71,000, making savings per year of $22,000.
The total annual charges for the bay route would be $105,000 and for the shore route $87,000, making annual savings of $18,000.
Therefore we recommend the project in the interest of saving that mainteance.
The proposed relocation of the channel in Trinity Bay is practicable and would provide safer navigation for barge traffic than the approved bay route.
The changed location would afford water transportation to a large undeveloped area on the eastern shore of Trinity Bay. Although the initial cost of the channel would be greater, the net annual cost would be less.
The Governor of Texas is in favor of the project.
Colonel FERINGA. It is about 9 miles down the bay, and it would be somewhat longer along the shore.
Mr. RANKIN. Is there any opposition to it?
Colonel FERINGA. There is no opposition to the project at all. I have heard there is some fear on the part of local interests that when the project is finally completed, not the bay part, but the upper part in Trinity River, there is fear of salt-water intrusion.
When we recommended the project to Congress, we contemplated, as authorized in the act authorizing the project, that reservoirs would
be built at the same time. The reservoirs would prevent salt-water intrusion.
I think there are funds for one of those reservoirs in the pending appropriation bill.
The CHAIRMAN. That happens to apply to the project approved in the River and Harbor bill of last year?
Colonel FERINGA. Yes, sir.
Mr. RANKIN. Salt water going into the channel will not hurt the land unless it is pumped out onto it or overflows onto it, will it?
Colonel FERINGA. That is right, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. It does not change the salt-water situation at all. It is all salt water. It just runs the channel down the coast line instead of through the middle of the bay.
Mr. McDonough. Is there a possibility of salinity bothering the agricultural land by absorption of alluvial deposits? Mr. Rankin said "unless it is pumped onto the land.” Is there not an absorption of salinity, thinking of the one we heard yesterday, as to the Sacramento Canal, where there is an alluvial soil deposit?
Does the salinity affect that?
Colonel FERINGA. I think the salinity that they were thinking of yesterday and that we mentioned here is due only to the fact that local interests during a time of low rainfall pump from these channels, and then the water is deposited upon their lands.
Now, the small amount of salt that would be present would not hurt once or twice, but if that is repeated many times, then the salt content stays in the land until repeated rains leach out that salt again.
When Mr. Rankin asked is there any objection: There is some fear up this stream, farther up than the map shows, that salt water will go upstream, but I think that is not possible when the reservoirs that we also have recommended previously and are now authorized, are constructed, because they will replenish that fresh water.
Certainly our Department will take care in its definite project, so that no harm can come.
That does not apply to the project I have just explained, because that only proposes that instead of one channel through salt water, we recommend another channel through salt water.
Mr. RANKIN. What is the annual rainfall there?
Colonel FERINGA. I do not know. I suppose it is around 50 inches. Is that right, Judge?
Mr. RANKIN. You will not have any trouble with salinity where you have a 50-inch rainfall.
Colonel FERINGA. Is that too high?
The CHAIRMAN. I do not know. It rains 365 days a year, I believe.
Mr. RANKIN. No country is going to suffer from salinity that has 50 inches of rainfall unless you pump the water out onto the land, or it overflows onto it.
Colonel FERINGA. I had better change that to 40 inches, now, when I think it over. I am talking of the immediate coastal region. When you get inland the rate of rainfall drops very quickly.
Mr. RANKIN. We will take 40 inches. The rainfall here in Washington is 43 inches. You go along the coast here and you will see that vegetation grows right down to the water's edge, because there is a rainfall of 43 inches, which continues to wash the salt back out of the land.
Colonel FERINGA. I will put the right rainfall in the record.
Colonel FERINGA. The mean annual precipitation of the bay area under consideration is 49 inches. The mean average annual precipitation at Anahuac is 50.34 inches and at Liberty 49.70 inches.
MILL CREEK, TEX.
The CHAIRMAN. What else have we now?
Colonel FERINGA. We have a very important project coming up now for Mill Creek.
Mr. RANKIN. Is that in Texas, too!
Mr. Chairman, the report on Mill Creek, a tributary of the Brazos River in Austin County, Tex., is in response to a resolution adopted on August 16, 1944, by the Rivers and Harbors Committee.
It is also in review of reports by the district and division engineers on preliminary examination and survey of Mill Creek, a tributary of the Brazos River in Austin County, Tex., in the interest of navigation and flood control, authorized by the River and Harbor Act, approved August 26, 1937.
Mill Creek is a tributary of Brazos River draining an area of about -398 square miles in eastern Texas.
It is about 19 miles long, entering the Brazos River from the right bank at about mile 152.
The CHAIRMAN. How long is that?
Colonel FERINGA. It is not navigable at that point. It is quite a bit below that point. This is not a navigation problem.
Mr. RANKIN. I see.
Colonel FERINGA. In its present condition the creek channel is much obstructed by timber, brush, and snags for most of its length.
There is no existing Federal project for navigation or flood control on Mill Creek.
The population on Mill Creek drainage area in 1940 was about 11,900. Bellville, the largest town, had a 1940 population of 1,350. The area is devoted to farming and ranching.
Crops include cotton, corn, grain, sorghum, hay, and some fruits and vegetables.
Lixestock includes horses, cattle, mules, hogs, and poultry. There is some dairying.
Local interests desire that the Federal Government provide improvements for the control of floods on Mill Creek.
Before 1930 some 3,507 acres of land between miles 4.4 and 16.8 were under cultivation. Because of frequent flooding between 1930 and 1940, it is estimated that 1,901 acres, yielding $6.50 per acre annually, have been abandoned and have reverted to grazing land, re
turning only about $0.50 per acre annually. The net annual loss from this acreage is $11,406, which could be averted by restoring the channel capacity.
The Board recommends adoption of a project for the control of floods on Mill Creek, Tex., by channel rectification, clearing, and enlargement, subject to certain conditions of local cooperation.
The Chief of Engineers concurs in the views and recommendations of the Board.
The improvement is recommended subject to the condition that local interests furnish assurances satisfactory to the Secretary of War that they will (a) provide, without cost to the United States, all lands, easements, and rights-of-way necessary for the construction of the project; (6) hold and save the United States free from damages due to the construction works; and (c) maintain and operate all of the works after completion in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of War.
The cost to the United States for new work is $250,000. NonFederal cost for local cooperation is $28,270. Total charges for the whole project, United States and local interests, are $278,270.
Federal and interest amortization would be $9,720; the non-Federal annual maintenance cost, $500; the non-Federal and interest amortization, $1,320; making the total annual carrying charges $11,540.
Benefits are estimated as $11,406 for restoration of crop yield to land now abandoned to grazing use and $2,423 benefits to other cultivated lands, a total of $13,829.
The ratio of costs to evaluated benefits is 1 to 1.20.
Briefly, Mr. Chairman, what is proposed is for this portion of the channel to be enlarged so that the capacity of the stream would be increased to accommodate the continuous flood flows or the repeated flood flows that damage the countryside.
At this point [indicating] there would be a new channel dug in order to avoid the tortuous bend and narrow bend at this location, making use of the gap under the existing railroad bridge.
From this location, we would again go to channel enlargement, except that this very sharp bend and long bend would be eliminated by the comparatively short cut-off, and finally we would have channel enlargement to this point where the creek is wide enough to take the amount of rainfall which it is subjected to.
The CHAIRMAN. I am as familiar with every foot of that land as I am with the road to where I live in Washington.
LOUISIANA AND TEXAS INTRACOASTAL WATERWAY, VICINITY OF
ARANSAS PASS, TEX. Colonel FERINGA. We have two more reports, sir. They will not take long
We come back, Judge, to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. On the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, the traffic has increased probably more rapidly than any other inland waterway system.
For instance, in 1927, the Gulf Intracoastal carried 65,000,000 ton-miles, and in 1944, it carried 5,919,000,000 ton-miles, as shown on graph No. 11 of this book.
Mr. Chairman, the report on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway vicinity Aransas Pass, Tex., is in response to resolutions adopted by this committee on May 5, 1944, and February 28, 1945.
The section of waterway under consideration is located in the vicinity of the city of Aransas Pass in southern Texas on the mainland shore of a shallow coastal sound known as Redfish Bay, an arm of Corpus Christi Bay. The city is 18 miles northeast of Corpus Christi and 612 miles northwest of Aransas Pass Inlet.
Gulf Intracoastal Waterway with project dimensions of 12 by 125 feet extends along the Gulf coast from Apalachee Bay, Fla., to Brownsville, Tex.
That part of the waterway in Texas has been completed from the Louisiana-Texas State boundary to Corpus Christi.
In the vicinity of the city of Aransas Pass, Tex., it extends generally southerly across the open waters of Aransas Bay to the federally-improved deep-water inlet, Aransas Pass, where it connects with and utilizes the federally-improved deep-water channel through Corpus Christi Bay to Corpus Christi.
A tributary channel with project dimensions of 9 by 100 feet, extends from Port Aransas at the inlet, Aransas Pass, northwesterly 6.1 miles across Redfish Bay to a turning basin of the same depth at the city of Aransas Pass on the mainland.
Deepening of the channel to 9 feet has not been performed. Near the center of the bay, a channel known as Morris and Cummings Cut connects Aransas and Corpus Christi Bays.
Commerce on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from the Mississippi River to Corpus Christi has had a phenomenal growth:
On a percentage base you will note that the total commerce for the year 1940 was 300 percent as great as that of 1937, and that the 1944 commerce doubled that of 1940 and was seven times as great as that for the year of 1937.
Commerce of the main channel of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from Aransas Bay to Corpus Christi Bay, the section now under consideration, increased from 227,700 tons in 1940 to 1,482,100 tons in 1944, and during the latter year consisted principally of petroleum and its products transported in barges and motor vessels drawing less than 12 feet.
Commerce of the tributary channel to the city of Aransas Pass averages about 13,000 tons annually and consists principally of seafood, ice, and gasoline.
More than 300 fishing vessels with drafts up to 10 feet operate out of the city of Aransas Pass for fishing, shrimping, and the gathering of oysters.