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Mr. CARLSON. You do not need any further authority? You have made all the surveys necessary on the entire Mississippi watershed?
General MARKHAM. On practically all watersheds throughout the entire United States, and not merely the Mississippi watershed.
We have investigated 200-and-odd watersheds throughout the United States and reported the results of our investigation to Congress, studied and stated the best use of water as and when the time comes for its development in respect to development for purposes of power, development for purposes of irrigation, and development for purposes of flood control and navigation.
There is a volume several inches thick containing estimates which aggregate about 8 billion dollars to accomplish what we have in mind. We have all that information.
Mr. Carlson. But you have not considered this in any other way except as you have mentioned. You have considered the economic value to this vast territory for flood control, but not the value that might accrue from the dams in this great territory?
General MARKHAM. Yes; that is all estimated for every one of them.
Mr. CARLSON. I do not care to go into that in detail. I want to ask one or two questions of General Ferguson, and we can go into that matter later.
General MARKHAM. We have compiled a bluebook which contains a compilation of all the information we have respecting what we are talking about with all the benefits to which you refer evaluated.
Mr. Carlson. I have seen a copy of the bluebook.
And then, with your present program, if this fund of money were authorized and made available, you could go right ahead with this work?
General MARKHAM. Yes, sir.
Mr. MCCLELLAX. I do not know whether you can supply the figures at the moment or not, but I would like you to give us an estimate of what it would cost to place those back levees up to the 1928 grade and section.
General MARKHAM. They tell me as prices go down there you can assume a figure of about four or five million dollars to increase the Cypress Creek fuseplug levee to 1928 grade and section.
Mr. McCLELLAX. That would place them in the 1928 grade and section?
General MARKHAM. Yes, sir.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Have you the figure of what it would cost to build bank levees from Arkansas City to the mouth of the Arkansas River separate from the other expenditures?
General MARKHAM. The estimate for the back levee from the Eudora flood way to the Arkansas River is $12,000,000.
The CHAIRMAN. You are still confirmed in the conviction that the work should only be undertaken on the assurance of the cooperation of local interests?
General MARKHAM. I know of no other method of reasonable procedure.
(Thereupon the committee took a recess until 2 p. m.)
(Upon the expiration of the noon recess, the committee met at 2:35 p. m.)
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please come to order.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Mr. Chairman, before you call General Ferguson, who I understand is to be the first and chief witness for the afternoon session, Representative McGehee, who has already appeared and inserted a statement, among other things, by the citizens of Warren County, including a prepared statement by the association in the backwater area, Mr. Andrews having prepared the statement, is here, and he has several constituents from the Yazoo area who have been here several days, and Mr. McGehee would like to have them appear, if they can, during the afternoon or at the earliest practical date.
I present Mr. McGehee, and you can tell him what you think you can do for him.
The CHAIRMAN. Why, of course, we are bound to go ahead with General Ferguson this afternoon, but I will arrange to get to you just as soon as possible, either this afternoon, or, say, tonight.
Mr. McGEHEE. Mr. Chairman, I want to say this in behalf of them : They wanted to go. Judge Montgomery, I believe you were the one?
Mr. MONTGOMERY. Yes.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Mr. McGehee, give me the names, please, and addresses, of those who wish to appear.
Mr. McGEHEE. Judge M. B. Montgomery, F. R. Thompson, and J. B. Williams. Judge Montgomery and Mr. Williams are from Yazoo City, and Mr. Thompson is from Carter.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Mr. Chairman, I am sure those gentlemen are not going to detain the committee. There are several of these men here, and there are some others from the other part of the Yazoo, but I am not getting them. Mr. Doxey has one gentleman from his district, and he may want to make a statement.
The CHAIRMAN. If it does not put any particular burden on you, I would be glad for you to stay during this hearing and we will get to you just as soon as possible.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. And it may be that General Ferguson will finish this afternoon, and if he does there may be time for them to appear. I want to do everything in the world I can to give them a hearing, because they are very much interested in it.
The CHAIRMAN. We cannot regulate just how long the witnesses will take, but we will do the best we can.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I do not want to interfere with the regular order. Mr. Chairman, but I know that they would like to appear so that they can get away.
STATEMENT OF BRIG. GEN. HARLEY B. FERGUSON, PRESIDENT
MISSISSIPPI RIVER COMMISSION, VICKSBURG, MISS.
The CHAIRMAN. One of the most interesting and vital questions connected with this flood-control problem that has been brought about is that relating to what might be done with reservoirs and also for cut-offs and elimination of bends and increasing the carrying capacity of the main channel of the Mississippi River.
I am going to ask General Ferguson to appear and give us the information that he has gathered upon that, and I am sure that he has given fuller study to it than most anyone else.
General FERGUSON. Mr. Chairman, under the provision of the existing law, there have been prepared what are commonly called 308 reports on practically all tributaries of the Mississippi River. Most of these reports have been completed. Many of them have been reviewed by the Board on Rivers and Harbors and submitted to Congress. In these reports, conclusions were reached as to the best method of developing the tributaries for navigation, flood control, irrigation, and power. Based on data contained in these reports, the Mississippi River Commission submitted a report on a comprehensive system of reservoirs for control of floods on the lower Mississippi River—that is, from Cairo, Ill., to the Gulf. This report has not been reviewed, as yet, by the Board on Rivers and Harbors. It has not been acted upon by the Chief of Engineers or the Secretary of War. Therefore, it represents only the conclusions of the Mississippi River Commission. I shall read these conclusions of the Commission reading]:
In conjunction with the existing main river levee system (with slight modi. fications) it is feasible, from an engineering viewpoint, to construct and operate a comprehensive system of reservoirs in the Mississippi River Valley which will permit carrying of the maximum probable flood (so-called “ superflood ") to the Gulf of Mexico without making use of escape routes via the Boeuf and Atchafalaya Basins as contemplated in the existing flood-control project.
Of the two systems discussed in this report, it is believed that contemplated in plan II (primarily for local flood control with incidental benefits to Missis. sippi River flood control) is preferable because, first, the cost of the two systems are approximately equal. Second, the larger benefit in local flood protection warrants the offset of a larger portion of the cost. Third, the operation of any system primarily for Mississippi River control is sure to bring forth strong local pressure for change in operation at critical times which might nullify the expected result in large measure.
The direct benefits from the entire plan II system at the present time are not commensurate with cost. However, the completed system, in fact, is composed of the several tributary systems. Some of these have been found in themselves to be economically sound; some are actually under construction with Federal participation in the cost. It is possible, even probable, that other tributary sys. tems will become economically sound because of future development. By the construction of these tributary systems when, as, and if they become economically feasible, the entire system will become operative over a period of years.
The Mississippi River Commission recommends that the Federal Government adopt a policy encouraging and participating in the construction of feasible tributary systems which will fit into an ultimate general system for the control of lower Mississippi River floods. It is suggested that, in general, a fair distribution of the costs would be for the United States to construct the reservoirs with local interests furnishing the land, providing for all incidental damages, and operating the system after completion. The defraying of a larger portion of the cost by the United States in some instances such as the White and Arkansas systems because of their relatively larger effect on Mississippi River floods at the critical area in the vicinity of Arkansas City might be justified. The question of unemployment likewise might justify, in some instances, the reimbursement of local interests for portions of their first costs.
That the system of reservoirs designated as plan II in this report be accepted as the general plan toward which future flood-control reservoir construction, by or with the aid of the United States, will be aimed. That this report be printed for the information of those interested.
The system of reservoirs contemplated in this report includes 151 separate reservoirs with a total capacity of about 98,000,000 acrefeet. They are located in the basins of all principal tributaries of the Mississippi. The total estimated cost is about $1,125,000,000. When and if the entire system is constructed, the maximum flood discharge will be reduced so that, with minor adjustments in levee grades, the so-called “superflood" can be carried in the main river leveed channel of the river without the use of any floodways. Intermediate floods would, of course, be correspondingly reduced, and thus a general increase in factor of safety be secured. This system would be operated primarily for local flood protection, but would also give the above-mentionad substantial benefits in the lower river.
The annual benefits on the tributaries is estimated as follows: Ohio River, $10,900,000; Missouri River, $1,870,000; upper Mississippi River, $632,000; White River, $1,490,000; Arkansas River, $982,000; Yazoo River, $1,570,000; Red River, $3,856,000; or a total of $21,300,000.
General Markham referred to reservoirs which are now under construction. These include Fort Peck, on the Missouri, the Muskingum system, and the Taggart Reservoir, in the Ohio Basin, and some work on the Tennessee Basin now under way by the T. V. A. These reservoirs represent about 12 percent of the storage capacity and 14 percent of the total cost of the entire system considered by the Commission. Unfortunately, their effect on Mississippi River floods are not as great as some others in this complete system.
It is estimated that these reservoirs now under construction will reduce superflood discharge in the Mississippi River by about 50,000 cubic feet per second, corresponding to something more than one-half foot on the gage at Arkansas City.
This entire system will be required if complete protection, without a floodway, is to be secured against the superflood. Of course, a lesser degree of protection can be secured by partial construction. From the viewpoint of the lower Mississippi River alone, it is probable that for a limited amount of money the greatest effect could be secured by reservoir construction on the Arkansas and White Rivers. Major Oliver has already mentioned one large reservoir near Little Rock which would completely control the Arkansas. However, its construction seems impracticable because of cost, location, and extent and value of the land in the reservoir basin.
The Commission reservoir report does not include the reservoir near Little Rock but does include 13 reservoirs on the Arkansas and 13 reservoirs on the White as being the best and most practicable systems on these streams. These have a storage capacity of about 9,000,000 acre-feet on the Arkansas and 6,000,000 acre-feet on the White. The total cost of these systems are $62,000,000 and $65,000,000, or a total of $127,000,000.
These systems would reduce by about 400,000 second-feet the amount of water that must be taken care of by a floodway, under the presumption of the superflood. Since, under present conditions, for å superfood about 1,000,000 cubic feet per second must be taken
care of, if the above-mentioned reservoirs on the Arkansas and White Rivers should be constructed, a floodway somewhat smaller, of course, would be sufficient to give complete protection against the superflood with the present carrying capacity of the main river leveed channel. These Arkansas and White Reservoirs, with some modification of the present levees and with some allowance for further increase in discharge capacity of the river, would obviate the necessity of an Eudora floodway for protection against a flood of the same origin and magnitude as that of 1927. Lesser protection could be secured by the construction of a portion of these reservoirs.
The complete system contained in this report of the Mississippi River Commission does not represent the only combination which would give the approximate results stated.
Additional review might and probably would find individual substitutions to be desirable. It does, however, represent the approximate storage required and the cost. The Commission felt that the construction of the entire system could not be justified at this time, but that as time goes on it would gradually develop and give benefits to the lower river as well as large local benefits.
I do not wish to give the impression that only the reservoirs mentioned in this report are economically feasible. There are others in the Mississippi Basin where costs are commensurate with the resulting benefits in preventing flood losses locally. Some have been presented by the Chief of Engineers for inclusion in the proposed work-relief program. However, some of these, because of their distance from the Mississippi River, would have little, if any, effect on flood heights on the lower Mississippi River.
I will be glad to try to answer any questions.
The CHAIRMAN. General Ferguson, when you refer to “ tributary systems” that means a system of control by reservoirs on those systems, or does it involve anything else in there? You speak of “ tributary system.” Now, for instance, take the White and the Arkansas: As I understand, the completion of the projects for reservoirs that you have there, of course, would be taking in the entire tributary system on those two streams?
General FERGUSON. Yes, sir; where they have good sites, as practically all of them have.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, you referred in your statement to “tributary systems." That is a system for control of those streams and their shed waters; is that what I understand!
General FERGUSON. I did not get that.
General FERGUSON. The watershed of the White would be controlled by picking the said reservoir sites on the various tributaries.
The CHAIRMAN. How many reservoirs do you designate in the Arkansas?
General FERGUSON. Thirteen.
The CHAIRMAX. Thirteen in the Arkansas and how many in the White !
General FERGUSON. Thirteen.
The CHAIRMAX. And I understand from the statement, then, that that would lower flood heights at Arkansas City how much if completed and utilized ?