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wise thing to do. You cannot succeed with a ditch unless you start at the bottom and work up.
Now, if the flood in 1927 had been reduced by 190,000 second-feet through these reservoirs in the Red, I take it that would have been of immense benefit, would it not?
General FERGUSON. Only below Red River Landing.
Mr. RAXSDELL. Yes; I understand, below Red River Landing, but it would have enabled you to get rid of the water through the Morganza and Atchafalaya much quicker than you did when you had 190,000 more to deal with.
General FERGUSON. I think it would probably benefit both sides just the same.
Mr. RANSDELL. You do not know the local benefits to the city of Alexandria, do you, or Shreveport, and those places?
General FERGUSON. It would be considerable, but I think that unless you lowered it enough so you would not have to use two floodways, there is some question. If you eliminate them that is one thing, but if you have to use them anyhow the benefit is limited. You have to go further up.
Mr. RANSDELL. Yes, of course; I am interested further up, too. I am also interested, General, as a citizen of the Fifth Louisiana Levee District, in the parish of Concordia.
General FERGUSON. Yes.
Mr. RANSDELL. And that 190,000 feet, it seems to me, coming down from the Red would be bound to flow into the Concordia Parish and render the situation more difficult in that backwater area of Concordia Parish.
General FERGUSON. Oh, yes; it would.
Mr. RANSDELL. It would make it a great deal more difficult, would it not?
General FERGUSON. Yes.
Mr. RANSDELL. There is no doubt about it, and that is what I am trying to get at. Now, General, just one or two more. I understood you to say when you were testifying the other day that there were some 62 miles of fuseplug levees on the river in the vicinity of Arkansas City and below there, fuseplug levees that have not been built up to full section of grade. Am I correct in that?
General FERGUSON. About 65.
Mr. RANSDELL. Now, General, did not that Jadwin report, on which 1927–28 was based, practically require the closing of all those fuseplugs except 35, or am I wrong?
General FERGUSON. It has a clause in the law that provides, as I understand it, that we cannot bring the river levee up to the guide levee, but must leave a levee adjacent to the guide levee as it was, so that you would not give the land outside of the floodway more protection than the floodway itself.
Mr. RANSDELL. How many miles is that? That is just what I am getting at-how many miles?
General FERGUSON. It uses the word “ adjacent”, and I think they made up 4 miles in one place and 20 in another.
Mr. RANSDELL. Yes. At any rate, it is around 65 miles now! Could you give me an idea, General, what it would cost to bring those levees up to full 1928 grading section?
General FERGUSON. I think that was included in about $5,000,000. .
Mr. RANSDELL. One of the gentlemen testifying here yesterday said you could stand on the levee and spit into the river. At any rate, he must be very close to the river if he is correct. Would not that require building another levee there or he would be very much in danger of getting into the river at that point ?
General FERGUSON. I do not know just what he refers to.
General FERGUSON. There is one place up there where the levee is close to the river, but it is a deep river and it is a stable bank in there, I think.
Mr. RANSDELL. So you do not think there is any necessity of building a new levee there?
General FERGUSON. Oh, no, sir. We would have set it back if there was.
Mr. RANSDELL. Of course, you understand. General Ferguson, I am not making any special appeal here now, but my people want to obtain the benefit and want those fuseplugs built up, and we would like very much to have that done.
General FERGUSON. Well, of course, you are familiar with that dispute.
Mr. RANSDELL. Could not your Commission at least build up part of that 65 miles? There is no necessity for going in there with a weir. You spoke of a weir there at the head of Eudora, and I think you are supposed to have that weir about 10 miles long.
General FERGUSON. What we really put in was that if they would pick out the place where they wanted it to break
Mr. RANSDELL. Yes.
General FERGUSON. We would get the rights-of-way under the condition we would break it or they would break it. Then back of that particular place we would put a weir.
Mr. RANSDELL. Yes.
General FERGUSON. That would save all the rest of it from that hazard. Of course, a hazard along 65 miles is not so very reasonable, but that was just exactly what we were trying to overcome. But we are executive officers of the Government, and we cannot work ourselves into a lot of lawsuits here right in the face of court decisions, and we did try to fix it so that they would agree on a place for it, instead of everybody being in it. In fact, we considered purchasing everything right back of the levee so that the sand, the usual crevasse, would not actually destroy a man's farm. But, of course, we recognize that extreme hazard.
Mr. RANSDELL. Suppose, for instance, that you would close 30 miles out of that 65 miles. You would still have plenty of room there for weirs, would you not?
General FERGUSON. Well, of course, the other 30 miles
General FERGUSON. You just intensify a perfectly hopeless fight. I mean you will never fix that place up there by just arguing about it and having lawsuits about it. You have got a physical situation in there, and it is very, very difficult, even if everybody tried to fix it. It all used to be a fuseplug, and I do not know why they built any levee over there at all until they got it all straightened out.
Mr. RANSDELL. General, was it not just as straight over there as it was on the Mississippi side?
General FERGUSON. The old law definitely decided that the Yazoo be protected and that the other side not. Now, I do not know how it came about, but that is it. We were trying to make a solution that would really save everybody, and we know if we stay in the river we have certain Federaì rights.
Mr. RANSDELL. Yes.
General FERGUSON. And we hoped that we could in a reasonable time make it comparatively safe; but there is no Federal executive officer who dares go in there and close that up unless you had a definite, positive, mandatory order. If Congress wants to do it, then, of course, they are the proper authority. It would be a great burden put on an executive man to tell him to close that when he thinks it ought to be closed.
I believe that with a 6-year program we would get some results, we know, from reservoirs and from the river. It is a pretty wise man that can see 6 years ahead in this country now.
Mr. RANSDELL. Yes; it is. But if we could get some of these very arresting reservoirs started, like those Mr. Whittington is so much interested in and Mr. McClellan up there in Oklahoma, and these that you speak of, let us say, on the Arkansas and the White, cost of $127,000,000 and do not require you to spend that $103,000,000, would it not be at least reasonably expected to shut up some of that 65 miles? That is a long stretch. I do not want to ask an embarrassing
. question, though, of the General.
Mr. DEAR. Mr. Chairman, there is just one question that I might ask, because I have got to leave. The CHAIRMAN. We are going, too, at 4 o'clock. I have some
, people here who want to leave on the night train.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I think we might let Mr. Dear ask the question.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, go ahead.
Mr. DEAR. My idea is this, that if we do not abandon the Eudora spillway, if the Government would buy the property outright sufficient to get a spillway down either through the Boeuf or on the east of the Macon Ridge, we would have a most wonderful reservoir, in the first place, and by buying it outright and moving the people out it would be less expensive than the system of reservoirs we have been talking about this afternoon.
Now, have you made any calculations along that line?
General FERGUSON. We know the acreage of that, but we know perfectly well, as you all know, that when the Government goes to buy anything under forced conditions it pays about four prices for it.
Mr. DEAR. Would it be necessary to build a spillway, General, 10 miles wide? My idea is that if you put a spillway which begins to spill when the river gets at a certain stage and spills into the channel it would be, as a matter of fact, a reservoir, and at the same time an adequate spillway, and then it would not take anything like 5 miles, would it?
General FERGUSON. Well, it just depends on the size of the flood that you want to assume. It would be a terrible mistake to make a floodway there for a superflood and when the superflood came not be able to carry it.
Mr. DEAR. How would the amount compare?
Mr. DEAR. The Government could put it into a preserve in connection with this flood control.
General FERGUSON. If you put a price on it and bought it as a forest reserve it would be at such an upset price; but if you just go out and say you must buy that land, it is perfectly hopeless to make an estimate.
Dr. DEAR. You say the present reservoir is $127,000,000 for those reservoirs that will take 3 years to construct, if you had the rightsof-way and all of the difficulties were overcome ?
General FERGUSON. We looked upon that as simply an additional factor, along with the benefits, and you still have not met your superflood.
Mr. Dear. Could you not take that much money, though, and put your floodway down at the basin, either basin, and from an engineering standpoint carry the superflood by the property?
General FERGUSON. Of course, there is no way to estimate what property will cost that I know of except to say that you will pay so much for it.
Mr. RANSDELL. After all, is there any way to estimate how long you will be in the courts to get the flowage rights and title? That will take some time, ordinarily.
The CHAIRMAN. All right; are you through with General Fer
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. General, we thank you very much. I think it will be necessary to meet tonight at 7:30 in order to hear these gentlemen who want to be heard.
Mr. RANSDELL. We would like Mr. Jacobs to make a statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Judge Montgomery has a short statement to make in relation to the Yazoo.
STATENENT OF M. B. MONTGOMERY, CHANCELLOR, ELEVENTH
CHANCELLOR DISTRICT, YAZOO CITY, MISS.
Mr. MONTGOMERY. Gentlemen, I will not take but just a few moments of your time.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. If you do not mind, give your name and residence.
Mr. MONTGOMERY. My name is M. B. Montgomery, residence Yazoo City, Miss., occupation, chancellor, eleventh chancellor district of the State of Mississippi.
I just want to call to the attention of the committee here in a brief way the situation that exists on the lower reaches of the Yazoo River, so that the committee will be familiar with the situation that presents itself in that area.
You will recall that for a number of years there was no jurisdiction at all over the backwater areas affected by backwater from the Mississippi River, and that in the caurse of time it worked around where the Congress decided to intervene, and the jurisdiction of the Mississippi River was extended so as to embrace the tributaries of the Mississippi insofar as affected by backwater.
At that time Colonel Potter was the president of the Mississippi River Commission, and in 1924 with reference to the backwater area on the Yazoo River he went before the Finance Committee of Congress and the problem was considered important enough for an actual appropriation of 742 million dollars to be included in the flood-control appropriation for that year. That, of course, was based upon the condition that the local interests would contribute the other one third necessary for the construction of those works.
As the matter continued to develop, then under the Jadwin plan, of course, it was still retained that the local interests be required to contribute one-third, and the other two-thirds of the cost of construction would be paid by the United States.
Now, then, after having been near enough to our relief to have secured an appropriation of 71/2 million dollars, it appears that under the present bill the backwater areas are not mentioned. It seems to me that we have been eliminated from any prospect of relief against a situation that exists there at this time.
I am comparatively a young man, and even in my own lifetime I have observed lands that formerly were in cultivation have now become wild and are growing up and almost have become useless for purposes of agriculture, for the reason that they have grown up with trees and rubbish and undergrowth.
Issaquena County, Miss., is in this area, and at one time Issaquena County was the largest cotton-producing county in the entire State of Mississippi. At the present time there are less than 300 white qualified electors in Issaquena County, and it is on record in that county that one white man assassinated another upon a highway and they could not obtain a jury in Issaquena County to try him, because they all had a fixed opinion with reference to the guilt or innocence of this party and could not qualify for jury service.
Until this day that man has not been tried for the crime of murder and is still a resident of Issaquena County.
So it now has continued to move. It is going to move on northward. Yazoo City at the present time is a town of some 6,000 people, where I make my home, and unless something is done to correct the situation that exists on the lower reaches of the Yazoo River, Yazoo City will dwindle and in time will become a trade center only for the hill population of the county that it now furnishes. The delta portion will just simply be abandoned and just grow up and become waste.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. Judge, will it interfere with you if I ask just a question?
Mr. MONTGOMERY. No, sir.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. The area that you speak for is the backwater area, and that begins at Vicksburg and extends along to the foothills by Satartia and then comes over to the city of Yazoo City?
Mr. MONTGOMERY. Yes, sir.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. So that Yazoo City on the east side is substantially in the middle of that backwater area?
Mr. MONTGOMERY. Yes, sir.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. And you are asking that the protection of that backwater area be included by the adoption of the plan no. 4!