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This article says, in conclusion:
Comparison of the yields of tupelo and of the four chief species of southern pine show that tupelo, although badly outstripped in early growth by all of the pines except longleaf, in later years exceeds or practically equals all except loblolly.
Southern pine pulpwood (unpeeled) in 1926 was worth $5 to $9 a cord f. o. b. mill, and tupelo cordwood should be equally valuable at mills manufacturing the better grades of paper.
With cypress-tupelo cut-over lands producing a cord or more per acre annually of valuable pulpwood, their retention in private ownership as paying investment does not seem the doubtful proposition it has been considered by many operators.
This survey, as I understand it, was made by him because many owners of cut-over land were contemplating abandoning their lands because they did not think they would pay taxes to hold them.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. You do not have the fire hazard down there, do you?
Mr. KEMPER. No. There is no fire hazard. It is wet all the time, more or less. If the growth is 1 acre a year, and that is worth from $5 to $9, stumpage ought to be worth a dollar. So these people believe that the reforestation value of their lands is about a dollar á year. However, they have no idea of asking anything like a return on that basis. They are very much in favor of this project and they will agree to a very reasonable valuation of these lands. I am not authorized to say what in particular, but there are 525,000 or even 550,000 acres of owned land below Krotz Springs in the Atchafalaya Basin, and I feel quite sure that $2,000,000 would satisfy every owner down there.
The people whom I particularly represent here own a vast majority of that. It is a number of the larger timber men. They would be glad, I am sure, to enter into an agreement at a very reasonable remuneration. But they certainly do not think that just because that land has water over it now it should be shut out entirely and the great increase of sediment should kill the timber, and they receive no remuneration for it.
That covers that feature.
I would just like to say a few words more about the details of the project. That does not include values that were derived from the outlet into the east end of Cote Blanche Bay, because that, of course, is going into the very valuable lands.
Just as a suggestion about a few details, I notice that below Morgan City the guide levee is shown to extend down east of Bayou Shaver. I have lived there all my life, have studied that very closely, and it does not make a bit of difference in the project, but that guide levee ought to be on the west side of Bayou Shaver in order that Bayou Shaver should be the main drainage stream of this entire area and that must drain down east of the guide levee project.
I just would like to offer a little suggestion : It seems that they have not developed very much at length the details of the outlet into East Cote Blanche Bay, but I regard that project as my child. I advocated that many, many years ago, and I have studied it very closely. I just want to suggest one particular serious idea about it.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. What about your Vermillion! That does not interfere with your project at all?
Mr. KEMPER. No. Let the dead past stay buried. There was a time when I hardly dared go to Vermillion, after I proposed that. I stilly think it is a good project.
Mr. WHITTINGTON. All right, get away from it. Mr. KEMPER. There is nothing to that now, any more. There is going to be a serious salt-water problem there in the fall of the year. I am wondering if anything is contemplated either to prevent that from entering Bayou Teche, or if there is not, all the people of Bayou Teche will probably have to find boiler water and probably condensation water elsewhere; also the town of Franklin will have to find another source of water supply. I know that country pretty well. In the fall of the year the water comes rushing in from Cote Blanche Bay after the influence of the flood waters that go down the Atchafalaya has passed; then in the fall at low water the salt water comes in from Cote Blanche Bay.
I discussed this with the parties that sent me here and they said: Do not go into this in detail. You might suggest it, but we feel sure that if the proper discretion and authority is given to the Army engineers, those details can be brought to their attention, and hope to get the best possible solution for it.
Right here let me say that so far as the constructive features of all of these projects are concerned, the project should be written as liberal as possible, to give every discretion in order that they may use the best judgment, in order that people who have ideas concerning that can go to them and present their cases to them and discuss them with them, and that they will have the final judgment as to what to do about it. In that I am wholeheartedly with them, but I cannot help but say here that insofar as the ultimate determination of what flowage rights shall be paid, that province belongs to the legislative branch of this Government, and the final recourse belongs in the judiciary. I certainly hope that whatever act is passed will take due regard of that condition.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Kemper, with certain additional discretions given to the Corps of Engineers of the Army, your opinion is that this modified project for the Atchafalaya Basin is correct and will have the cooperation of the people down there in its execution?
Mr. KEMPER. I do not know one dissenting voice.
Mr. KEMPER. It is only what I have always wanted. As I said in the beginning of my remarks, I am not pleased, but everybody else is. It is our solution. But I cannot see how it in
any measure interfere now with the troubles of those above, except to improve any bad situation, because it certainly will lower the food water at the mouth of the Red River to some extent and will tend to lower the backwater areas there. It will come and will bring the water down the river some faster, I am not saying much, but whatever it is, it is going to improve the situation.
The CHAIRMAN. Then it benefits your section and adds some improvement to everybody else?
Mr. KEMPER. It will not be great, but its trend will certainly be to improve. When the Morganza spillway is open, you have a large discharge down there, and it will materially lower the stage at Angola or the mouth of the Red River. The only way to make water
run faster is to increase its slope. You can do that only by raising the head or lowering the lower end.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Kemper. It was a good statement.
Mr. DEAR. Mr. Kemper, you have made a study of this river for many, many years, have you not?
Mr. KEMPER. I have been studying it very seriously for 25 years, Mr. Dear.
Mr. Dear. You have heard the engineers speaking for the backwater of the Red River and the effect that it might or might not have on the city of New Orleans. I want your ideas about that particular
you agree with what Mr. Jacobs said? Mr. KEMPER. Yes, sir. I would like to state it this way:
There seems to be a controversy between Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Klorer, a little bit over the practicability of this project, and Mr. Bullis expressed himself extensively on the subject. Mr. Klorer and I came here year after year whenever we got a chance, and we fought for two spillways for the protection of New Orleans, one above the city and one below it. We did not get the one below it. The opposition was raised that the velocities through the city would be too fast.
I thought that the one below it would hold the maximum flood at New Orleans at 16 feet, and I thought that the 7.5-feet velocity at 16 feet would be less damaging that 6.5-feet velocity at 20. But that is all water down the river now. We have a spillway at Bonne Carre. People concurred exactly with the figures of the Army Engineers. I worked with one of their leading men-we were very intimate friends—Mr. McWhorter. He worked it out. But I mean we concurred. I had nothing to do with it. That had a stage of 57.5 at Angola, and with the Bonnet Carre spillway running as it will. 250,000 second-feet, the gage at New Orleans would have held safely at 20 feet. I think that works out all right; and I think if the levees of New Orleans are protected and taken care of up to 20 feet, the city is perfectly safe. In saying this I am fully cognizant of the fact that there are 100,000 people living in the city of New Orleans 2 feet below Gulf level. If they did get a break, the water would have to be 9 feet deep before one drop could run out. Metarie Ridge completely encircles them in the back. So surely I would not say anything that could in the slightest degree in the world add one iota of risk to the city of New Orleans. But when the city is protected, and I believe it is, I do not think that an arbitrary conclusion should force a burden on another area unnecessarily, just because of my idea.
Mr. Klorer is one of the best friends I have in the world. We roomed together while he was up here, and I admire him and his opinion as an engineer immensely; but I think he is jumpy. on that subject a little bit. But, nevertheless, if you put in this Morganza spillway and take an additional 450,000 second-feet out of the river up here, do you not again insure the safety of New Orleans?
Mr. DEAR. Would you not also insure the safety of New Orleans if you empty that area and have it there as a potential reservoir in the case of a great flood ?
Mr. KEMPER. Yes, sir.
I had an article published in the New Orleans Item in 1924 on that subject. I read it over recently, and the substance of it is that the backwater area at the mouth of the Red River at a stage of 54 feet at Angola is 1,500 square miles, and there is stored in that area above a stage of 30 feet on the Simmesport gage enough water to take out 100,000 second-feet a day for 38 continuous days.
In addition to that, it does not take into consideration water that the Atchafalaya itself is carrying, and depositing it down into the Atchafalava in another valuable storage area. That was when I divided the outlet into Cote Blanche Bay, so as to help carry that out.
Then I proposed a dam-in my project originally it was gates, but I concur entirely in Mr. Jacobs' proposition of a dam-across Old River, or across Turnbull Island. I work it out at a stage of about 50 feet, long enough to let any surplus water flow over it. At no time when the water in the river was blow 30 feet would there be any backwater in the Red River stage of 30 feet on the Simmesport gage; and there is a huge reservoir that could take any added water that came down the Mississippi River, and flow over a spill dam. It could be made indefinitely long, long enough to be sure that those areas would be held free from backwater. And they would be ideal reservoirs in time of great flood. I am glad to say that I think there is great merit in it.
While I understand it is desired to increase the discharge of the Atchafalaya by bringing the Mississippi waters into it until it is brought up to a stage of 750,000 second-feet, I want to say this, that many people have thought that the river would go down the Atchafalava entirely. I have never measured that, however. I have always thought it would divide in proportion to the resistance, and that if its flow got too great, it could always be controlled by extending the Point Breeze Levee so as to pinch it a little more and more, so as to keep an excess of water from coming into the Red River Basin. I think that that ought to be done, and I think that is the ultimate solution.
Of course, I went further with mine. I brought it down from the mouth of the Arkansas in a canal or a navigation channel; but I am not here to present that. I wanted to lower the backwater areas at the mouth of the Arkansas, too, because my studies were not confined to any one locality, although my fight has always had to be in behalf of the Atchafalaya, which was decidedly the under dog.
Mr. DEAR. General Ferguson was apprehensive as to the effect of silting should that Point Breeze Levee be extended. hear his testimony?
Mr. KEMPER. I heard his testimony, but there will always be velocity enough in the Atchafalaya River itself to send that silt on down, even during that flood, shortly after it or in a subsequent flood.
The cause of that is very apparent; the capacity of the Atchafalaya River at its intake is two and one-half times what it is down where the Southern Pacific goes across. It is a funnel, and its cross-section gets less and less, the further down you get. Of course, that might cause a little silting, but I do not take that very seriously. I did not think it was at all dangerous.
It must be remembered that the silt in the Red River is greater than it is in the Mississippi, and for that very reason these figures I gave on the silting up of the Atchafalaya are really too low because the Red River is far more turbid than the Mississippi is. The Atchafalaya takes all the water of the Red River and a conisderable part of that of the Mississippi.
Mr. DEAR. What is the contour of this basin; how much higher than the Gulf generally is this basin of the lower Atchafalaya !
Mr. KEMPER. It slopes right on down, you know, to the Gulf. The water must have a slope to flow. It is prabably 20 feet higher at its upper end, and it goes on down to the lower end.
Mr. Dear. What is the land height of the southern portion of the back-water area of the Red River?
Mr. KEMPER. The land level along Old River at the lower end of it is about 22 feet, and it continually slopes up in a general way at the rate of about half a foot a mile.
Mr. DEAR. Is this section between the two basins higher than either? It seems there that there is a hump.
Mr. KEMPER. Oh, yes, sir; that is cultivated land, high land. The Atchafalaya Basin is just an accident of nature. It was left behind in the development of the country.
Mr. DEAR. That is all.
(Whereupon, at 5:30 p. m., Apr. 12, 1935, the committee adjourned until 10:30 a. m., of the following day, Saturday, Apr. 13, 1935.)