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CONGRESS, Į

RECLAMATION OF CERTAIN ARID LANDS IN THE STATE

OF NEVADA.

SEPTEMBER 4, 1919.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state

of the Union and ordered to be printed.

Mr. Evans of Nevada, from the Committee on Irrigation of Arid

Lands, submitted the following

REPORT.

"To accompany S. 9.)

The Committee on Irrigation of Arid Lands, to whom was referred the bill (S. 9) to encourage the reclamation of certain arid lands in the State of Nevada, and for other purposes, having bad the same under consideration, unanimously recommend that the bill do pass.

The purpose of the bill is to encourage the exploration for and development of artesian and subsurface waters in the State of Nevada. The plan calls for no expenditure or appropriation on the part of the Government. The homesoeker is given exclusive right for a period of two years, provided he conducts his exploration expeditiously, to explore and attempt to develop artesian and subsurface waters on 2,560 acres of land. If within the two years he demonstrates the successful development of such waters by the successful irrigation of 20 acres of land he is then granted 640 acres as a reward for his labors and expenditures. The other three-fourths of the 2,560 acres is then considered as demonstrated as being capable of irrigation by such subsurface waters and is open to entry solely under the 180-acre homestead act.

Section 8 of the bill contains the same reservations of minerals, with the facility for prospecting for and developing and mining such minerals as was provided in the 640-acre grazing ho...estead act which was passed by Congress.

The bill only applies to unreserved, unappropriated, nonmineral, nontimbered public lands of the United States in the State of Nevada not known to be susceptible of successful irrigation at a reasonable cost from any known source of water supply. In other words, it applies to land that there is no substantial hope of improving and cultivating in any other way.

The situation in Nevada is entirely different from every other State. Of the 112,000 square miles of land in the State of Nevada less than 12,000 square miles are in private ownership. Let the condition be described in acreage: Total acreage of the State..

70, 841, 600 There have gone into private ownership the following number of acres: Under original grant to State....

2, 723, 647 Under other land grants...

815, 178 Under homestead laws.

139, 523 Under desert-land laws...

58, 616 Under coal-land laws....

200 Under timber-culture entries.

160 Under timber and stone laws.

6, 222 Under mineral land laws....

40, 213 Through the application of scrip..

31, 669 Total......

3,815, 428 Under land grants to railroads, approximately 4,000,000 acres.

So less than 57 per cent of the land of the State is in private ownership exclusive of that owned by the railroads. Less than 11 per cent of the lands of the State are privately owned, including railroad lands.

It will be noted that in 50 years only 198,139 acres of land out of the seventy million and odd acres have gone into private ownership under the homestead and desert-land laws. This conclusively proves that these acts are now practically inoperative as far as the future development of Nevada is concerned. According to the census reports there were

Acres. Lands in farms in Nevada in 1900...

2, 565, 647 Lands in farms in Nevada in 1910..

2,714, 757 Of these farm lands the total area improved is only 752,117 acres. This small percentage of improved lands means lack of water for irrigation. In other words, the total land area of the State is 70,841,600 acres; total area in farm lands improved is 752,117 acres; and yet the lands of the State have upon them no growth of timber to be cleared, the valleys are rolling and level, and the soil is rich in phosphates, potassium, and other fertilizers.

It is evident that the retarding of agricultural development in Nevada is due entirely to the failure of the Government to provide laws under which the land could be acquired and the waters of the State developed and conserved.

The following is the report of the Department of the Interior upon the bill made in reply to a communication from Hon. Reed Smoot, chairman of the Committee on Public Lands of the Senate, at the time the bill was pending before that body:

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,

Washington, June 24, 1919. Hon. REED SMOOT, Chairman Committee on Public Lands,

United States Senate. MY DEAR SENATOR: I am in receipt of your request for report on S. 9, a bill to encourage the reclamation of arid lands in the State of Nevada.

It is observed that this bill is the same in purpose as two other measures heretofore introduced at previous sessions of Congress, both of which had the approval of this department The first of these, known as S. 7109, died without consideration upon adjournment of the Sixty-third Congress. The second, known as S. 2519, passed the upper House at the first session of the Sixty-fourth Congress. With some additions, notably a clause providing for the designation of the land proposed to be reclaimed, and another providing for the payment of a fee of 1 cent per acre, the present bill is not materially different from the one passed by the Senate. The primary purpose of the bill appears to be to encourage the development of artesian water on the public domain without expense to the Government. The bill is local in its effect, extending only to the State of Nevada, where peculiar conditions, such as geographic situation, the absence of streams or other bodies of surface water, the aridity or semiaridity of the soil, etc., seem to require such development if large areas of unproductive lands insusceptible of irrigation from any known surface water supply, but capable of being reclaimed by the application of underground waters, are to be made available for agricultural purposes.

Briefly, the secretary of the Interior is authorized by the terins of the bill to grant to any qualified citizen of the United States, association, or corporation a perinit for not exceeding two years to explore for water beneath the surface of not to exceed 2,560 acres of public lands in the State of Nevada, and upon proof that water has been developed sufficient quantities to produce agricultural crops other than native grasses uron as much as 20 acres, is anthurized to patent to the permittee one. fourth of the land covered by the permit, a maximum of 6-10 acres, and to dispose of the remaining lands at public auction, in farni units of not less than 40 acres.

The land area of the State of Nevada, as shown by a report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office, is 70,841,600 acres, and the area of undisposed of and unreserved public lands within the State, as shown by the commissioner's report of July 1, 1918, is 55,082,200 acres. It has been demonstrated that in certain valleys of the State quantities of water exist which can be brought to the surface and applied successfully to the irrigation of these lands. The large surface areas, sparse population, and comparatively small amount of assessable property at present in the State cali for the need of further development, and as before intimated, it is believed that the peculiar circumstances and conditions and the resulting benefit that would accrue to the State, and incidentally to the United States, warrant the enactment of the legislation. The amendments noted in the present bill are considered an improvement upon the measure passed by the Senate at a previous session of Congress, and I have no objection to interpose thereto. I recommend that Senate bill 9 be passed. Cordially, yours,

ALEXANDER T. VOGELSANG,

Acting Secretary.

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CONGRESS

POST OFFICE, SANTA FE, N. MEX.

SEPTEMBER 4, 1919.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state

of the Union and ordered to be printed.

Mr. THOMPSON of Ohio, from the Committee on Public Buildings

and Grounds, submitted the following

REPORT.

[To accompany S. 681.]

The Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds, to which was referred the bill (S. 681) entitled “An act to amend an act approved March 4, 1913, entitled 'An act to increase the limit of cost of certain public buildings, to authorize the enlargement, extension, remodeling, or improvement of certain public buildings, to authorize the erection and completion of public buildings, to authorize the purchase of sites for public buildings, and for other purposes,'” having duly considered the same, hereby make report of it to the House, with the recommendation that the bill do pass.

The Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds, to which was referred S. 681, a bill amending the act of Congress approved March 4, 1913 (37 Stats., 875), an act authorizing the erection of a building for the accommodation of the post office and United States courts, at Santa Fe, N. Mex., recommends its adoption as an amendment to the act above referred to, so as to provide that said building shall be for the accommodation of the post office and other governmental offices, exclusive of the United States courts.

The amendment merely proposes to change the original act by eliminating the provision for the United States courts and for the reason that the courts are now being held in a Federal building at Santa Fe, N. Mex., which is adequate for the purpose.

The following letter to Congressman B. c. Hernandez, of New Mexico, from the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury is self-explanatory:

The department is in receipt of your letter of the 13th instant (August, 1919), requesting the status of the public-building project authorized March 4, 1913, for Santa Fe, N. Mex.

The act referred to authorized the acquisition of a site and the construction of a post-office and courthouse building at Santa Fe at a limit of cost of $295,000. A site has been acquired, but no building has so far been constructed, for the reason that

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