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Mr. Bullis. Yes, sir. The engineers are now adopting the policy of letting the water flow down there instead of bottling it up.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Yes. Now, then, the adoption of the same policy and the construction of similar works—that is to say, protection by levees—would also give protection to the backwater area of the Arkansas, of the White, of the St. Francis, and of the Yazoo !
Mr. BULLIS. I am not speaking about those areas, because our situation is radically different from that situation.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Yes; but at all events the relief that you ask for is for your backwater areas?
Mr. BULLIS. Yes, sir.
Mr. BULLIS. I will say also that Mr. McClellan has provided, in a bill that he has proposed, for the building of this levee (indicating on map), around the Bayou de Glaise backwater, and it would be a very simple thing to add to that for our parish, which is thoroughly understood by the engineers.
Mr. KIMBALL. Do I understand correctly that it is your opinion that the engineers' recommendation as set forth in Committee Document No. 1, does not at this time go quite far enough to protect the area in which you are especially interested?
Mr. BULLIS. That is exactly it.
I might state, gentlemen, that before I came up here I called a mass meeting of this area to consider what I should say to the committee, and it was the unanimous opinion of several hundred people from all that area, and they requested me to say to the committee, that they especially asked the committee to provide for the extension of this levee down to Shaw, which is where the local people think it should come.
The map attached to the report seems highly unfair in two details. It shows that backwater area as flooding the entire district, which is not correct. There is in here [indicating on map] additional swamp land, which is real backwater area. But most of the area is not backwater area, although your map shows it to be backwater area, which we consider entirely unfair. We, therefore, suggest the policy of making a new map to show the facts; and, second, we want that levee shown on the map before you, attached to Committee Document No. 1, extended down.
Mr. KIMBALL. Otherwise you and those whom you represent approve the recommendations set forth in Committee Document No. i?
Mr. Bullis. We are not qualified either to approve or to disapprove. It is a very big proposition that we have no knowledge of. We are expressing our views as to our area. The big picture is too deep for us to express an opinion on.
Mr. DEAR. You are not opposing the Army engineers' plan, though, outside of your area?
Mr. BULLIS. No, sir; but, as far as we are concerned, the plan of the Army engineers can be modified to take care of us.
Mr. KIMBALL. Those whom you represent are not opposing the plan of the Army engineers as to their territory, either, except as to one or two additional things that they want done?
Mr. Bullis. Yes, sir. If the Army engineers' plan is going through, we want it to protect our area.
Mr. Quinn. How many people are affected in your area? What is your approximate population?
Mr. Bullis. I do not know. I am only familiar with the territory north of the Red River. Possibly there are about 5,000 people there. That is a very rough guess. Now, those south of the Red River ought to be three or four times that. That is additional population that I do not know about. That is in Mr. Dear's district.
Mr. DEAR. I will furnish that. Mr. Jacobs, I think, has all that information.
(The following information furnished by Congressman Cleveland Dear:)
Red River and Bayou Des Glaises Levee District.—This district is comprised of 163,000 acres of good land, of which approximately 12,000 or 15,000 acres are in cultivation, and some 30,000 or 40,000 acres subject to cultivation. The population of this area is 4,500.
Mr. RANSDELL. Mr. Chairman, may I ask a question?
Mr. RANSDELL. Mr. Bullis, I was very much interested in what you said about the danger of other States imposing a further servitude of flow upon the State of Louisiana. Mr. Leo Shields testified a few moments ago that the servitude on this river front in our district had caused the loss of 540,000 acres of land being taken from the front of those four parishes by the set-back levees; and they did not get a nickel for that, did they?
Mr. BULLIS. No, sir; there has never been any pay.
Mr. RANSDELL. There was never a penny of pay when the levees were set back?
Mr. BULLIS. Not a cent. Mr. RANSDELL. That is a servitude which the people of the State of Louisiana have owed to this flood problem?
Mr. BULLIS. That is a servitude that we acknowledge we owed, that we had to pay, and we paid it.
Mr. RANSDELL. They forced us to do it?
Mr. BULLIS. Yes, sir; this is an entirely different servitude that is being put on now.
Mr. RANSDELL. And those four parishes, according to Mr. Shields, have lost 540,000 acres already, without any payment. Now there is a proposition to pay us back something for the land. I infer from your testimony that you are very much afraid of the Nation imposing a big additional servitude of flow throughout this section by the building of this Eudora Floodway—that is what I gathered from your remarks—and that you rather leaned to the idea of protection by reservoirs and things of that kind, instead of this big floodway. Am I correct or not?
Mr. BULLIS. Of course, I do not need to say that. It will be taken for granted that we would rather be protected by reservoirs, if we can be.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Bullis.
I believe there are some others here who are anxious to make their statements in order to get away. Mr. Blaess, are you anxious to make your statement so that you can get away today?
Mr. BĽAESS. Yes, Mr. Chairman; I would appreciate it very much if I could.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well, you may proceed.
STATEMENT OF A. E. BLAESS, CHIEF ENGINEER ILLINOIS CEN
TRAL SYSTEM, CHICAGO, ILL.; CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEE OF ENGINEERS REPRESENTING MISSISSIPPI VALLEY RAILROADS AFFECTED BY FLOOD-CONTROL PROJECT
Mr. BLAESS. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I am appearing here as chairman of the committee of engineers representing the railroads located in the Mississippi Valley and affected by this flood-control project. I merely wish to make a general statement applicable to all the railroads. I think there are one or two of the roads that desire to make statements on the situation as it affects their individual lines.
There are a number of rail lines whose staffs have from necessity long been in contact with the Mississippi River flood situation, particularly as it affects the maintenance of continuous and dependable transportation service, universally recognized as an important element in the economic life of the community and Nation. The engineers of these rail lines have given much study and thought to this flood problem, not only as it affects the immediate interests of their properties, but also as it affects the prosperity and well being of the territories which those properties serve.
After the flood of 1927 the chief engineers of these lines formed an engineering committee, of which I was selected chairman, to coordinate their thoughts and studies and to express their combined judgment upon certain general and fundamental principles of flood control.
As one of its activities, this committee gave careful consideration to the adopted project set forth in the flood-control act of 1928, and formulated a memorandum of suggestions for its modification at such time as modification should be appropriate. This memorandum comprises a statement of nine general principles, each followed by a brief explanation, and covers four pages in all. I ask leave to file a copy of this memorandum for the record of the Flood Control Committee.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Mr. Chairman, I move that Mr. Blaess be given permission to file his memorandum.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that will be done. (The memorandum referred to is as follows:)
SUGGESTED MODIFICATIONS IN THE ADOPTED PLAN OF FLOOD CONTROL The following modifications of the adopted plan of flood control are herein recommended :
1. Elimination of fuseplug levees and substitution of weirs or controlled spillways.
(a) A fuseplug levee is described as a relatively weak section of the levee designed to break from the action of the flood waters, in other words form
The history of levee breaks on the Mississippi River is such that there is no way of determining how much water will escape through a crevasse.
(b) A crevasse discharging a large volume of water into a floodway will erode to such a great depth that overflow will continue long after the necessity for diversion has passed, and since it will be impracticable to repair a crevasse in the fuseplug levees immediately after the water has receded to the proper level for overflow to cease, a diversion of water through the floodway will be permitted when it is unnecessary and undesirable.
(c) There can be no control of diversion following the crevasse of fuseplug levees and there will be discharges at stages of the river much below that
required for safety. Such diversion is undesirable for the reason that it would cause deterioration of the main channel below the point of diversion.
(d) A fixed weir to take water from the river at a predetermined stage would appear to be more desirable as it would give a certain definite control of the stage of the river at which diversion occurs. By proper design it will limit the maximum diversion for maximum probable floods, and definitely establish the point of diversion permitting a definite limitation of the physical adjustments to conform to such necessary diversion.
2. Narrowing and, if necessary, dredging of diversion channels in the Boeuf and Atchafalaya Basins, the guide levees to be raised and the diversion chan. nels cleared of trees and vegetation, and so maintained.
(a) Uncleared and uncontrolled floodways or diversion channels are objectionable as it is impossible to estimate with any degree of certainty the depth or stage of water, the width of stream or even the location of the main stream in wide uncleared floodways.
(b) The factors influencing the uncertainty of operation of wide uncontrolled floodways are the width, topography, vegetation, and developments which may take place during periods when the floodway is not in operation.
(c) The maximum ultimate carrying capacity of a narrow defined floodway, cleared and maintained, can be determined with reasonable accuracy, and the discharge area completely utilized, thus limiting the land taken to the requirements, and at the same time reducing to the minimum the expenditures for the adjustment of property affected.
3. Levees should be of equal height and strength on both sides of the main river.
(a) The adopted plan should provide that neither side of the river sacrifice any degree of protection to which it has been developed.
4. The raising of the taper levees north of the St. Francis River to full height and section.
(a) The adopted plan should provide a levee line on the west side of the river to full grade and section from levee mile 183 to the end of the existing levee system eliminating the inferior levee section proposed to be 2.4 feet below standard levee grade.
(b) Storage in the St. Francis Basin will have so little effect on maximum river stages (about 0.3 foot) that the retention of a low inferior levee section cannot be justified as a necessary factor or safeguard for the main river plan.
5. Proper protection of the backwater areas by the building of guide levees up the tributary streams, or other appropriate means.
(a) Tributary backwater basins should be protected by guide levees along the streams or by other effective means, against increased inundation due to increase in backwater heights resulting from main river protection. These basins should be afforded the maximum degree of protection consistent with the plan as a whole.
6. The control of water diverted from the Mississippi River to the Atchafalaya.
(a) The adopted plan provides for the removal of one or both of the sills in the Atchafalaya River which were completed in 1889. The purpose of these sills was to limit the maximum channel discharge of the Atchafalaya River to 200,000 second-feet and restrict the diversion from the Mississippi River.
(b) Even with two of the six sills originally contemplated in place the cross sectional area of the Atchafalaya increased 37.5 percent in the 10-year period from 1917 to 1927, while the discharge capacity of the Atchafalaya has in. creased to approximately 500,000 second feet.
(c) Diversion through the Old River outlet should be under definite control and made only when necessary to relieve the Mississippi River at critical stages. 7. Adequate freeboard in excess of 1 foot should be provided for levees.
(a) A freeboard of only 1 foot for earth levees does not provide sufficient margin for protection. It will not compensate for the variations in the relationship between the various gages and other influences such as wave-wash, local variation in channel capacity, etc.
(b) An ample levee grade line and a freeboard of at least 3 feet should be provided for all levees under the adopted plan. 8. Revision of the levee grades between Cape Girardeau and Birds Point, Mo.
(a) The levee grades between Cape Girardeau and Birds Point as contemplated under the adopted plan are too low to provide protection against maximum probable floods.
(b) This conclusion is based on a study of published records of the Mississippi River Commission pertaining to gage heights and volume of major floods, also on statements on "flood probabilities and possibilities contained in the adopted plan, and supplement 29 United States Weather Bureau, October 18, 1927, table 10 and maximum flood possibilities, page 33.
(c) The proposed 1928 levee grade line established by the Mississippi River Commission under the adopted plan is below and greatly out of agreement with records of the 1844 flood above Commerce, Mo. The 1844, 1882, 1883, 1912, and 1913 flood stages and estimated volumes so far exceeded 1927 in stage or volume in the vicinity of Cape Girardeau and Cairo that it is unsafe to use the 1927 records alone as a determining factor in establishing safe levee heights for a maximum probable flood in this locality. Also, the 1929 records indicate that errors exist in the 1928 grade line as adopted in the flood-control plan and which was fixed largely on 1927 records.
9. Extension of the plan to include that portion of the river above Cairo in which flood heights are increased by the adopted plan.
(a) The official upper limits of the adopted plan of flood control are at Cape Girardeau on the west (Missouri) side of the river, and at Thebes on the east (Illinois) side, but no protection is afforded on the east side above the northwest corner of the Cairo District levee at Cache.
(b) The effect of the levees provided in the plan south of Cape Girardeau extends upstream to the vicinity of Chester, Ili. (50 to 60 miles), in which portion of the river flood heights will be increased by the carrying out of the adopted plan. Protection against these increased floods should be included in the plan on both sides of the river above Cape Girardeau.
A. F, BLOESS,
E. A. HADLEY,
W. F. HANLEY,
R. W. BARNES,
C. J. MITCHELL,
C. S. KIRKPATRICK,
E. F. SALISBURY,
ROSER M. KORRY,
First: The execution of the adopted plan south of Cape Girardeau will have as one direct result the increase in height of the project flood for at least 60 miles by river above Cape Girardeau, or to the lattitude of Chester, Ill.
Levee grades in Missouri and Illinois along this stretch of river have not been revised since 1914 and the levees are inadequate for this added burden or for a flood equal to 1927.
It is recommended that new levee grades be established and that these levees be brought to the grade and section found appropriate for full protection.
Second: The adopted project refers to the possible expediency of leaving certain sections of the front-line Mississippi River levees at a lower grade than the corresponding levees on the opposite side of the river, thus causing the inferior levees to be overtopped and
1 This report was approved in substance by Mr. Hadley prior to his death November 11.