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River will not be a precedent for future action. Levees only have failed because they were inadequate. The river must be supplemented; the levees must be aided; another factor of safety must be added to the levees. Every reputable engineer that has ever testified or made a statement has said levees as now constructed would not prevent a repetition of a flood equal to that of 1927. Some have said that rather than cooperate to solve the problem, they will take their chances of being overflowed. If they alone were involved the case might be different, but in inviting destruction for themselves, they are inviting destruction for a much larger area and for a larger number of people.
If the people of Louisiana and Arkansas do not desire the Eudora Floodway, the decision is for them. If they oppose reopening the Cypress Creek diversion, I answer that the best engineering talent of the Nation insists that the Boeuf or a similar diversion is imperative and that in asking protection for Mississippi, I am willing that the Government of the United States should pay for all damages sustained.
Much has been said about cut-offs. No engineer has said that cut-offs are a substitute for the Boeuf diversion. General Markham and General Ferguson and Major Oliver have all stated that if the Eudora Floodway is eliminated, the fuseplug levee should remain. They have all stated that the fuseplug should remain, even if reservoirs are substituted, until adequate reservoirs have been constructed. General Markham stated that the results of cut-offs were speculative. He did state that practically all cut-offs are in process of being made and no more reduction should be counted from cut-offs. He frankly repeated and emphasized that the results of cut-offs are speculative, and he called attention to the fact that neither the present flood nor any other water in the Mississippi River has been high enough to demonstrate definitely the value of cut-offs since they were made. I favor cut-offs. I would like to see reservoirs constructed. We cannot have our cake and eat it.
There must be no misunderstanding. There is no occasion for the passage of the pending bill if floodways are not provided for. The construction of reservoirs, if adequate to prevent a 1927 flood, would be adequate to prevent additional expenditures in the Atchafalaya. The waters that are kept out of the Arkansas and thus kept out of the Mississippi would be kept out of the Atchafalaya, as indicated in the Jadwin plan.
Again, it is unthinkable that the committee would consider legislation until a proper reservoir report had been submitted. General Ferguson, the president of the Mississippi River Commission, stated that his report had not been approved by the Chief of Engineers. If Louisiana and Arkansas oppose the Eudora Flood way and advocate reservoirs, I respectfully submit that the only wise course to take would be to continue the report of the Chief of Engineers dated February 12, 1935, and the bill under consideration until the Chief of Engineers had considered, and furnished as the basis for legislation a report either to the committee or to Congress on the reservoir studies made under the supervision of Gen. H. B. Ferguson, presi.dent of the Mississippi River Commission. Moreover, if the committee is to consider raising the fuseplug levee, which is one of the outstanding provisions of the Flood Control Act of 1928, I respectfully submit, in fairness to the Yazoo Basin, as well as to the people of the entire country who are providing the funds for national flood control, that a bill should be introduced for the purpose mentioned, and that hearings should be conducted thereon. It would be manifestly unjust and unfair to report a bill without giving those opposed an opportunity to be fully heard.
It has been stated over and over again by those who oppose the Boeuf diversion and the fuseplug levee that all other sections of the lower Mississippi Valley have been protected by the Flood Control Act of 1928, and that the Boeuf Basin is the only section not protected. It is urged that instead of being protected, the Boeuf Basin is damaged. Such statements are wholly inaccurate. No one familiar with the project has ever asserted or maintained that the Flood Control Act protected the entire alluvial valley. General Jadwin stated that no additional protection was accorded the backwater areas. He did state that the Boeuf Basin would receive and continue to receive the same protection that it enjoyed in 1927.
The building of the levees has increased water heights in the backwater areas of the Yazoo, Arkansas, and Red Rivers. The adopted project raises the levees generally 3 feet. Inasmuch, however, as the levees in the fuseplug area are not raised, there will be no additional water heights because of levee construction in the backwater area. I am not saying that the backwater areas are not damaged. I am saying that the backwater areas are not nearly as much protected as the Boeuf Basin; in fact, they are overflowed in every high water. The Boeuf Basin will not be overflowed except once in every 12 or 15 years. No additional protection was given the backwater areas by the act of 1928; no additional protection was given to the Boeuf Basin; both areas have been benefited by reduced flood heights as a result of cut-offs.
The backwater areas have received no damages and have been paid no compensation. They are as much entitled to compensation as the owners in the Bouef Basin, except those who reside in the vicinity of the fuseplug levee. The case would be different if the Bouef floodway were constructed by the building of guide levees, but until guide levees are constructed, the situations are analogous.
Much has been said about the failure to bring the levees in the fuseplug area up to the 1914 grade and section. The adopted proj. ect in terms contained no such provision. Paragraph 118 of the Jadwin report provided that the fuseplug levee “must be kept at its present strength and its present grade; viz, 3 feet below the new levee grade."
I want to be fair. This has generally been interpreted to mean that the fuseplug levee was to be up to the 1914 grade.
There are other sections damaged by the Flood Control Act of 1928 and by previous flood-control acts where there has been no compensation. I refer to the riparian owners whose lands along the bluffs of Tennessee have been damaged in every flood by the building of levees in Arkansas; along the bluffs of Mississippi whose lands have been damaged by the construction of levees in Louisiana ; and along the bluffs in Louisiana whose lands have been damaged by the construction of levees in the State of Louisiana on the opposite side of the river. Some of the finest and most highly improved
plantations in the lower Mississippi Valley have been utterly destroyed; from 500,000 to 700,000 acres of land have been damaged. I have always advocated that the riparian owners should be paid the damages that they sustained. At all events, the riparian owners, the owners in the backwater areas, have suffered more damages than owners in the Bouef area in 1927.
The Flood Control Act of 1928 would never have been passed if there had been any liability on the Federal Government on account of floods or flood waters. The Supreme Court of the United States had previously ruled in a number of cases that the United States was not liable for floods. Section 3 of the Flood Control Act of 1928 provides that no liability of any kind shall attach to or rest upon the United States for any damage from or by floods or flood waters at any place. If floodways are essential in the Atchafalaya, they are essential in the Bouef. If reservoirs will eliminate the Bouef foodway, they will eliminate the Atchafalaya floodway.
Those who advocate building the fuseplug levee to the 1928 grade. when confronted by the undisputed fact that it would not prevent a flood even smaller than 1927, reply that we may not have such a flood. If such had been the attitude of the people in the lower valley in 1927, Congress would not have appropriated $325,000,000 to prevent a repetition of the 1927 flood.
Mr. Chairman, I ask leave to file herewith copy of a letter that was written to Senators Pat Harrison and Theodore G. Bilbo on April 12, 1935, by W. A. Percy, one of the leading citizens of the State of Mississippi, who, with his father and grandfather, have probably made greater contributions to flood control than any other citizens in the Yazoo Delta. I also ask, Mr. Chairman, to file herewith copy of a telegram sent to me on April 13 by Mr. W. A. Percy, protesting against raising the fuseplug levee.
GREENVILLE, Miss., April 12, 1935. Senator PAT HARRISON, Senator THEODORE G. BILBO,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C. GENTLEMEN : Today's Memphis Commercial Appeal carried a dispatch from Washington headed “Reservoirs Favored for Flood Control." It is apparent from the dispatch that the Arkansas and Louisiana forces are attempting to radically change the plan of the Army engineers by substituting reservoirs for the Eudora Spillway and by raising the fuseplug levee to the 1928 lerel. This change would be absolutely ruinous to Mississippi interest. At best the reservoirs would protect only from a flood as great and not greater than the flood of 1927. The building of them would be much more expensive and would take far longer to complete, and when the reservoir plan is decided on undoubtedly there will be some kind of opposition from those whose land would be required for reservoirs as there is now from those whose lands are required for spillways. There can be no protection for Mississippi lands without a spillway. The present plan of the Army engineers for imagination, ingenuity, and the maximum protection with the minimum damage is masterly. It deserves the unqualified support of our people. In only one particular do I believe it faulty and that fault is recognized by the Army engineers themselves, to wit, instead of buying flowage rights in the spillway and compensating the landowners on the basis of an expected flood once in 30 years, such rights being estimated in the bill as worth one and one half times the assessed value of the land, the Government should acquire the absolute rightof-way for the spillway and pay the landowners the full value of their lands. The Army engineers' sole objection to this is the increased cost, but that cost is by no means' prohibitive and the result would be full justice to the landowners and the ability to use the spillway at a bank-full stage which would give as absolute protection from floods to the whole area sought to be protected as the mind of man can at present devise.
I cannot believe there is real sincerity in the support of the reservoir idea. It has been proposed time out of mind and has never been supported by our people or considered as an adequate substitute for a diversion or a fuseplug or for levees. I cannot but feel that it is now being supported, not because of its merits, but because it will wreck the recommended plan. If the fuseplug is raised to the 1928 grade and if the Eudora Spillway is eliminated, our Mississippi dangers and perils are just exactly what they were before the Jadwin plan was adopted and the result will be positive insecurity for our side of the river with floods every 6 or 7 years, with a loss of all the faith in our country which has grown since the adoption of the Jadwin plan and with a tremendous lowering of values of taxable land in the whole delta.
May I appeal to you, and in this I feel I am speaking the unanimous sentiment of our people, to give your full and ardent support to the Army Engineer's plan? And, further, may I respectfully suggest that you personally interview the President in our behalf? Our position is so sound and our situation without the adoption of the plan so hopeless that I believe he would lend the great weight of his support to the plan of the Army Engineers and in opposition to the substitutes now being suggested. No other legislation is so important to the present and the future of our people. Respectfully,
W. A. PERCY.
GREENVILLE, Miss. Hon. W. M. WHITTINGTON,
House Office Building, Washington, D. C.: Keystone of our protection under both Jadwin and Markham plans is a spillway. To accept proposal of substituting reservoirs therefor is ruinous. Present Markham plan is only one Nation can logically accept and we should insist on it, but if modification necessary we should suggest 4-mile Eudora Spillway with title in Government and holding fuseplug to present height until completion of reservoirs.
W. A. PERCY.
STATEMENT OF HON. ORVILLE ZIMMERMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MISSOURI
Mr. ZIMMERMAN. I would like to make a brief statement in connection with Judge Driver's statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you desire to make it now!
Mr. WHITTINGTON. I think that he ought to have the right to inake it. I will stay here to hear it.
Mr. ZIMMERMAN. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity of speaking before the committee at this time on behalf of the St. Francis project, particularly that part lecated within the State of Missouri.
I endorse everything that my colleague, Judge Driver, has said. Few men are more familiar with the food-control situation in the Mississippi Valley than Judge Driver and I know of no man whose opinions I value more than his.
Judge Driver has very graphically described the imperative need ef immediate flood control in the St. Francis Basin and has pictured in clear and forcible language the terrible waste, misery, suffering, and destruction that has attended the almost annual recurring floods in the valley and particularly the recent food in the St. Francis Basin in March of this year-one of the most destructive and disastrous floods in the history of northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri.
During this hearing, which has taken a very wide range, we have listened with great interest to the testimony of the Army engineers as to the urgency of immediate flood control on the St. Francis River; the feasibility of the engineering plan suggested Ly them for this work and the economic justification of the immediate undertaking of the work by the Government at this time. Furthermore, these Army engineers have placed in the record facts and figures which show that from 75 to 80 percent of the cost of the proposed plan of flood control on the St. Francis River would be for labor. Hence, it is very evident that the immediate undertaking of the proposed work is highly desirable at this time, not only for the needed protection of this rich, fertile valley, but as a means of relieving the acute condition of unemployment at this time.
The destruction and loss of property, as well as the misery and suffering brought to thousands of our people, resulting from floods on the St. Francis River in recent years, has been very ably and cleverly set out in the detailed and comprehensive statement prepared by Senator Langdon R. Jones, president of the St. Francis River Flood Control Association, and filed with this committee. We regret that pressing matters now pending before the Missouri Legislature prevented his personal appearance before this committee and a personal presentation of the urgent need for this work.
In addition to what has already been said, I would like to supplement and make clear, if possible, a few facts in connection with the upper St. Francis River and Basin, as the same effects the southeastern section of our State and my district. During the greater portion of the year the St. Francis River is a comparatively small stream and only becomes a far-reaching menace at flood stage. It has its source about 75 miles south of the city of St. Louis, Mo., and flows south through the foothills of the Ozarks to a place called Wappapello, where it emerges into the low and level lands of what is called the St. Francis Basin. From thence it winds its way through the level alluvial lands of Missouri and on into the State of Arkansas, as described by Judge Driver. The upper portion of the stream drains a large mountainous and hilly watershed, fully described in House Document No. 159, and during heavy rains, which are common in this region, the waters from the mountain and hill sides of this region are gathered into rivulets and small streams (often mountain torrents) and then poured with great rapidity into the main channel of the stream below, swelling it to great proportions. In recent years, the cutting of virgin timber from The hills and slopes in this region and the clearing of much of the land for farming purposes has hastened the flow of water from the hills and slopes to the lowlands below.
Several years ago the people in my county (Dunklin) and in Stoddard County, to the north, realizing the fertility of the soil and a desirable section in which to live, built levees along the east bank of the St. Francis River which adequately protected their lands from overflow and damage to their homes, livestock, and crops. At that time there was no levee improvement along the Black River, which flows parallel with the St. Francis River about 8 miles west. During high floods on the St. Francis, water from this stream flowed west through low places in the land and into the Black River and relieved to a marked degree the pressure against the St. Francis levees below. A few years later local interests in Butler County, Mo., constructed a levee along the west side of the St.