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It has been perfectly evident to the Mississippi River Commission and myself that any solution of the problem of the lower Mississippi River is impossible, so far as unanimities are concerned. As you talk individually with Tom, or Dick, or Harry, each has his own opinion and will stick to it very tenaciously. That, of course, is just human nature.

Therefore, in finding ultimately a solution, we have done it with complete disregard of those who individually cannot understand it, or individually cannot agree with it. Our hands and feet are tied with respect to the lower Mississippi Valley, except as we attempt to develop a solution that represents the most reasonable and, perhaps, even the most generous thing the Corps of Engineers can advocate, if, in fact, a flood-control solution is to be had at all.

In the past, as you all know, there has been a general conception that the food waters should go down the Boeuf and down the Atchafalaya, that they must go in these areas, and that the United States is legally unconcerned.

The Engineer Corps expressed to this committee the opinion that as to these legal matters we have no responsibility or authority as to where the flood waters go. I want to make that statement perfectly flat-footed, because that seems to be the legal situation, as we understand it. Of course, the equitable side of the picture is of a different color.

We have tried to find what I think is decently expressed in the combination of the two words “generous equity”, and that generous equity, so far as I am concerned, is represented in what we have reported.

There have been theories, as we all know, that the United States should go into these areas natural to flood waters and pay some small acreage value, to the end that the people are reimbursed, whereupon everything returns to the woods and the bees and the birds and the grasses.

Other solutions have been suggested, to the effect that the Government buy out these basins and put them back into the national reserves of one kind or another.

I could see neither of these solutions as being reasonable or having any due regard for the conservation that, without doubt, the people of the several States have very strongly in mind.

It has seemed to me that to take more than a minimum amount of ground out of taxation and production would represent the lowest form of conservation, if any.

That has led, therefore, without the suggestion or assistance of anybody—and I will make that very flat-to the theory of getting a flood way to the east of Macon Ridge, that would occupy minimum acreage, for the fundamental purpose of protecting the balance from flood, and would leave in production and taxation the highest acreage, to the benefit of the States and to the benefit of the people.

Rightly or wrongly, we think that that floodway to the east of Macon Ridge is engineeringly economical, and to be the best solution. Passing down the river we have the option of insisting upon the maintenance of the fuseplugs at the head of the Atchafalaya Basin under the same theory as to the legal obligation.


On the equitable side there is the fact that the higher ground, in terms of settlement and cultivation, could be decently preserved, with the probability that the flood area to the west of the Atchafalaya would be reduced in the frequencies of its overflow and perhaps ultimately saved altogether.

That led to the thought of a spillway from near Morganza that would lead to the lowest and the cheapest ground in the cheapest way, and thus conserve to the maximum the values that attach to the Atchafalaya Basin.

We felt ultimately that either the flood waters would find their way over the fuseplugs or, as we would specifically take water out, that up

to a million and a half feet of water would escape out of the main river. We know of no other solution for the safety of the lower river than taking that out to the west and getting it down to the Gulf the best way we can.

To get that million and a half feet into and through the swampy territory of the Atchafalaya Basin was the problem. It seemed to us to be unreasonable to say it would get to the Gulf sufficiently quickly. So we recommend that the United States create a second opening to the west of Morgan City, thus getting all the water into the Gulf as quickly as may be.

In dealing with this matter having to do with land values and otherwise, the height and the workability of fuseplugs, we are conscious of the fact, as I think you all should be, that many things are happenings that will reduce the volume of flow in the main river. Not only this year, but for some years past, there have been ideas of withholding the water by impoundments for power, irrigation, conservation, and otherwise. We have estimates of what it would cost to definitely impound a sufficient amount of water in the headlands of the tributaries of the Mississippi River so that you could not have a disastrous flood. The estimates amount to a billion and a quarter or a billion and a half dollars. But we have had the theory that without spending a billion and a half dollars for this specific purpose the same thing is being accomplished in different ways progressively. We believe that the withholding of the water from the tributaries of the Mississippi will ultimately be a very radical factor with respect to the flood heights throughout the lower river, and thus the fuseplugs will be protecting more effectively as the years go by.

I think that the figures would now show that, of the total cost of the reservoirs that would hold back the water necessary to avoid floods and disasters, something like 121/2 to 13 percent of that amount of money has already been expended, or is committed, for these reservoirs. There are many others that are on the pan right now, all of which will contribute substantially to the lowering of the flood heights in the lower river, thus making the fuseplugs render more protection as the reservoirs go in.

For that reason we did not think it wise to maintain either spillways or fuseplugs at the head of the Boeuf that would take out the amount of water formerly considered necessary, but to go lower down having in mind the greater simplicities of the drainage questions involved, the destruction of less valuable property, and the fact that in the experiments and the work that has been progressing on cutoffs, the fuseplugs at the head of the Boeuf will carry right now, a far greater volume of water than any of the people down in the valley are perhaps contemplating.

If we go down the valley and take water out at what we think to be the best positions near Eudora, to the extent of perhaps 700,000 second feet, and perhaps more, if we can get that much water to that spillway, we believe that the territory above Eudora would come into a condition where it would be wet in superfloods but not be wet in a 1927 water. The floodway is to be to the east of the Macon Ridge. I see that there have been intimations about somebody influencing the Corps of Engineers to go to east of the Macon. That is absolute rot. There is nothing that influenced us to go to that locality except our belief that it is the place to go.

In any event, I am trying, perhaps ineffectively, to give you the reasons that led us to go east of the Macon Ridge and to express the conclusion that that is where the water should be taken between the Arkansas and the backwater of the Red.

Looking at the map, it is easily observable that both as a matter of expense and as a matter of conservation, if we can protect itand we think we can protect the land to a point east of Eudora and build our floodway east of Macon Ridge—it has simplified all questions of adjustment in relation to the railroads. We think that that may be a decently happy solution at a cost, however, that rather startled us, and that we have feared would arouse a great deal of opposition.

I think the same principles attach below, and I think we can state, practically with perfect confidence, that the flood area to the west of the Atcha falaya River can, in measurable time, by getting out a sufficiency of water through Morganza, south of the Red, become less subject to overflow with a resulting increased development and conservation. So it seems to me

me we have correctly solved the Atcha falaya problem.

We should also construct a second outlet west of Morgan City rather than depend upon the high ground in that latitude.

With regard to the St. Francis Basin, we have felt in studying it that a great deal of money has been spent there, and that apparently they may be presumed to have exhausted their resources. We have the authority of Congress now in an emergency to go in there and assist in their difficulties. I think our books show that we have expended, if I am carrying the figures in my mind reasonably well, about $2,000,000 in the emergencies of the last few years, which has produced not a yard that is permanently of any value. It is a matter of helping save the people from year to year, since the system is such that they cannot maintain their losses and thus in the floods in question they have bad levee breaks.

In fact, particularly in this time of distress, I would emphasize that it is appropriate for the United States, through work relief and otherwise, to go in there and straighten out that situation. In normal times I would probably say that I do not think the United States has that much interest in it. But combining all these matters, the distress and difficulty and lack of resources, I came to the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that it is a perfectly good works project, that feature of it consuming what can be considered as the difference between normal economics and abnormal economics.


I feel the same way with regard to the Yazoo. There has been an expenditure down there on levee and drainage systems that, for whatever reason, are apparently insufficient. There is no present means of avoiding disaster; twice this year there has been a great disaster, and homelessness, and all that goes into the humanities of the matter. There

There is no means of avoiding such except going there and taking the bull by the tail and building reservoirs.

We know there are some controversial aspects. But it is the only engineering solution that we think to be sufficient. In presenting it to the committee, we have considered it as a matter of combined economics, work relief, and humanitarianism. But we know of no other complete solution than the building of reservoirs.

There can be controversial theories as to whether or not if we dig a big ditch we would still have safety. I think not.

Generally, the total sums that have been recommended in our report are based, first, upon a presumption of the unit prices at which

can build the several structures. They are based upon the theory that we can adjust our affairs reasonably with the railroads and the highways. They are based upon the further thought that in these several areas, considering the probability as to flood frequencies, that if flowage and other easements are compensated for in accord with the formula presented in the report, and if such matters are taken care of by the local interests, there should be a generosity of money to be fair and generously equitable to everybody.

That generalizes my conception, Mr. Chairman. I would be glad to respond to any questions of which I have sufficient knowledge to answer.

The CHAIRMAN. General Markham, in the authorizations made under the Flood Control Act of 1928, how much unappropriated balance have you now!

General MARKHAM. I think it is $68,000,000.

The CHAIRMAN. As to the undisputed questions now pending, the major ones being in connection with Carre and the levees on the main channel, what is the status as to the percentage of completion at the present time?

General MARKHAM. Subject to further work, excluding work on the cut-offs that we would care to do, I think it subdivides itself into something like $9,000,000 for levees and $20,000,000 for revetment. There is something like $30,000,000 approximately still due for expenditure out of the $68,000,000; that is, there is that much remaining from the prior authorization.

The CHAIRMAN. Then within the next fiscal year probably that would be exhausted, would it not; that is, the authorized appropriation ?

General MARKHAM. Very closely. I think probably a second year's revetment would be required, with probably the whole levee work accomplished within the next year.

Major Hogs. All the remaining levees will be finished this year.

General MARKHAM. Dealing with the subdivision, we will finish everything contemplated in levee construction during the next fiscal year.

The CHAIRMAN. Then, without additional authorization, what could you do?


General MARKHAM. We would wait upon the further wishes of Congress.

The CHAIRMAN. You would maintain the channel?
General MARKHAM. Yes; we would maintain the channel.

The CHAIRMAN. You had reference in your preliminary statement to reservoirs in control of the watersheds of the St. Francis and the Yazoo. Would that coordinate with the flood-control work in the main channel in the way of reducing flood heights?

General MARKHAM. Substantially.

The CHAIRMAN. You could say there would be a substantial reduction in flood heights from Arkansas City south?

General MARKHAM. Oh, yes. I think it is correct to say that the building of the Yazoo River reservoirs will withhold from the Mississippi River up to about 50,000 second-feet, which is good for between 6 inches and a foot of flow grade. It would cut down your flood height by that amount. If the Yazoo reservoirs were built they would restrain that amount of water from the main river.

The CHAIRMAN. What effect would the completion of the work on the St. Francis have?

General MARKHAM. A much lesser effect. I do not know the amount in inches, but it would probably be 2 or 3 inches. There is not a big reservoir withholding in the St. Francis such as would be the case in the Yazoo. It is a matter of restraining the waters from spreading over the land as they come down the river, incident to the fact that the levees are too close together to carry the volume of water involved. But there is no withholding of water in a way that would help the Mississippi greatly.

The CHAIRMAN. Could you give an estimate of what effect, say at Arkansas City, or at Vicksburg, the cut-off, the bends, and the increasing carrying capacity of the main channel would have?

General MARKHAM. General Ferguson can testify very closely about that. We have had our laboratory experimenting out there, and it is indicative of a very substantial lowering with respect to such volume as we have had.

Take the 927 flood. That flood, with 2,470,000 second-feet, if confined, would have produced a height at Arkansas City of 69 feet; but under the present project, with the assistance of the cutoffs, there is some thought that such a flood would be pulled down to below 61 feet, or a difference of 8 feet. With the floodway which we are proposing, we would pass safely a superflood that would run about 400,000 second-feet higher than did the 1927 flood. Does that answer your question?


General MARKHAM. I can expand that statement somewhat. We know pretty well, I think, what the cut-offs will do within the bank-full stage; I mean the laboratory experiment is apparently acceptably indicative of that. We are not sure what the cut-off's will do in reducing flood heights when the whole batture above the banks is flooded and the waters flow through up to the levee height. We know that they will reduce the flood heights, but do not know exactly how much.

The CHAIRMAN. The purpose and the effect of the cut-offs and the reservoir construction is, so far as possible, to carry the flood within

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