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of the 1926 and 1928 disasters. A severe hurricane-driven flood occurred on Lake Okeechobee in 1947. The Federal works functioning as planned prevented overflow from the lake and consequent loss of life. This is a case where the life-saving feature of flood-control works is plainly evident.
Although flood control is the primary function of this program, many other benefits accrue from flood-control projects. One of the most important of these benefits is the improvement of vast areas of our agricultural land. It is estimated that the land which is already protected, wholly or in part, by completed projects amounts to 4,000,000 acres and that the additional land that will be protected by projects started but not yet completed is 14,000,000 acres. This acreage is all in addition to the tremendous areas protected by the project for the lower Mississippi River. Other benefits from the flood-control program include navigation, the development of hydroelectric power, conservation of water for municipal, industrial, and agricultural uses, the recreational values of reservoirs, the preservation of fish and wildlife, the abatement of pollution, and the provision of improved sanitary facilities. Benefits of all these types are now being returned to the Nation from its investment in the flood-control program.
CURRENT FLOOD SITUATION
The annual threat of floods still exists in many river and stream valleys in the United States, and will remain in a diminishing degree until the flood-control program is completed. Since the passage of the 1948 flood-control bill, the Nation as a whole has suffered no major flood. However, serious damage has occurred in certain areas and the threat of a major flood in the Midwest has just passed with the gradual dissipation of the snow cover on the Great Plains.
In New England, major floods occurred during the closing days of December in western Connecticut and Massachusetts and in southern Vermont. The damage in the Connecticut River Valley alone from these floods is estimated at $7,000,000, and five lives were lost. The flood-control works completed and in operation saved an estimated additional amount of $11,000,000 in damage.
Damaging floods occurred along the upper Hudson River during the last part of 1948 and the first part of 1949. Some of the flood crests were greater than any of record, and the general flood situation was the worst since 1913. One death at North Adams, Mass., was attributed directly to the flood. About 2,000 persons had to be evacuated from their homes. The total flood damage is estimated at $4,600,000.
Record stages were exceeded in Georgia and Alabama during November 1948, and major flooding occurred in Mississippi, South Carolina, and portions of Tennessee. During January 1949, floods which set new records were experienced on the White and Black Rivers and tributaries in Arkansas. Flooding also occurred in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma. In the Missouri Basin during March and April 1949, some flooding of major streams and tributaries occurred in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas, as a result of melting snow and ice jams, with damages to croplands, highways, and railways. As
you know, those of us who have been concerned with flood control have been figuratively holding our breath in anticipation of the
possibility of great floods in the West and Middle West which might, under certain weather combinations, have resulted from the abnormal snowfall of this past winter. I am glad to report that at the present time the danger of these great floods has passed, although some floods may yet occur on the Pacific coast. Speaking from a personal knowledge of conditions in the Plains States during the past winter, I can say that if we had experienced flood-producing weather this spring, and if great floods had been added to the burden which the people in that area had to bear last winter because of the heavy snowfall and blizzards, untold hardship would have been caused throughout the entire Middle West.
In the area farther south, where the high Rocky Mountains feed the Rio Grande, a very grave threat hung over the heads of the people in the Rio Grande Valley because of the abnormally great snow depth and water content. Conditions were such that the record flood heights of 1941 might easily have been exceeded and the flooding of communities along the Rio Grande, particularly the city of Albuquerque, would have been disastrous. Again, fortunately, rapid thawing and heavy rainfall did not occur to make the flood threat a reality.
NEW PROJECTS RECOMMENDED As you know, it is not economically or physically possible to eliminate all flood damage in the United States, but it is our responsibility to advance toward this ideal condition as rapidly as Congress desires. Congress authorizes us to continue specific examinations and surveys for flood control and related water uses; and as a result of this survey program the flood problems of a large number of rivers are under study, and it is possible for me from time to time to recommend additional meritorious projects for your consideration.
At this time, I understand that your schedule of hearings calls for consideration of 18 new projects, which have my favorable recommendation. The status of reports on these projects is as follows: Transmitted to CongressWith the Bureau of the Budget en route to CongressWith governors of affected States for review--Total
18 The report still with the affected States for review is that on the comprehensive plan for the Columbia River Basin. In addition, since your schedule was completed, the report on the Genesee River in New York has been completed and forwarded to the Bureau of the Budget. The total estimated cost of the projects recommended in these 19 reports, including the Genesee, is $1,855,000,000. Representatives of my office will be prepared to discuss these new projects with you on appropriate days during these hearings.
In addition, over 30 favorable reports have been completed by our field offices and are now in various stages of completion in Washington.
ALLUVIAL VALLEY OF THE MISSISSIPPI
No statement on flood control would be complete without mention of the project for the alluvial valley of the Mississippi River authorized May 15, 1928. The initial success of the limited plan adopted in that basic act was such that the project has been subsequently
modified and expanded to afford protection to a much larger portion of the alluvial valley.
These modifications and expansions have included harbors, major drainage, channel, and water-supply improvements in tributary basins of the alluvial valley where justified in accordance with existing law in order to realize the full benefits of the Federal investment already made in protecting these areas from direct overflow of the main Mississippi River. The latest modification of the adopted project is that made in the Flood Control Act of 1948, which provides for improvement of west Tennessee streams, the Devils Swamp Barge Channel at Baton Rouge, and for improvement of the L'Anguille River in Arkansas.
The present estimated cost of the project for the alluvial valley is $1.265,000,000. The total present monetary authorization is $1,038,000,000, of which the balance remaining to be appropriated after fiscal year 1949 is about $411,000,000. The president of the Mississippi River Commission will be present at the hearings on the days scheduled for the Mississippi Valley project and will be prepared to give detailed information on the present status of the several features of the project as well as information on prospective progress and fulture needs. I would, however, like to mention briefly the need for further modification of this project in several of the seven States which depend on it for protection.
The principal modifications now recommended will provide for flood protection and major drainage for the Red River backwater area of Louisiana, the St. Francis Basin in Missouri and Arkansas, and the Cache River and Bayou De View in Missouri and Arkansas; and provide for flood control and agricultural water supply in the Grand Prairie-Bayou Meto area, Arkansas. A substantial increase in the authorization for this comprehensive project will also be recommended to reduce the differential between the authorization and the present estimated cost.
AUTHORIZATIONS FOR BASIN PLANS I have noted that this committee has scheduled for consideration additional authorization for appropriation for most of the comprehensive river basin plans which Congress has approved to date. These basin plans are a vitally important part of the national flood-control program. The plans have been prepared at the specific request of Congress, which has properly required the Corps of Engineers to include in its studies all aspects of water-resource development and control. In this way, the subject of flood control is not treated separately but is combined in an over-all study which takes into account navigation, water supply, power development, pollution abatement, recreation, soil and water conservation, fish and wildlife interests, and all of the multitudinous aspects of truly comprehensive river basin planning. This approach, of course, is not confined to the over-all basin plans of the Corps of Engineers but is the same approach used in our individual project studies.
The approved comprehensive river basin plans afford a means whereby the affected States and local interests in the basins can cooperate with the Federal Government in a truly democratic manner in the development, conservation, and use of their water and land.
Under this system, the States retain control of their water resources while participating in the Federal development program.
The 13 river basin plans which you have scheduled for consideration range from the Connecticut in New England to the important river basins of the Pacific coast and may be summarized as follows: Present total estimated cost--
$4, 326,000,000 Estimated cost of work completed and under way
1, 923, 000, 000 Total monetary authorization to date_--
1, 480, 000, 000 Funds appropriated to date----
781, 000, 000 You will note that monetary authorizations made by Congress to date are in excess of appropriations but that the authorization falls short by $443,000,000 of covering the cost of work completed and under way, and is not adequate for the initiation of new work.
This situation varies from basin to basin, but the Missouri River plan may serve as an illustration. In this case, the monetary authorization is $366,000,000, while the total cost of work completed and under construction is $757,000,000. This means that, unless additional monetary authorizations are made, the work underway, including such major dams as Garrison, Fort Randall, and Oahe, may have to be curtailed because of lack of authority for appropriations.
I consider it essential, therefore, that our present monetary authorization for river-basin plans be increased so that we may proceed with the logical and orderly planning and construction of these improvements. This is particularly vital in view of the fact that, although the appropriations are made on a yearly basis, the major authorization bills are passed at less frequent intervals and must, therefore, give consideration to the preparation of budget estimates several years hence. To that end, therefore, we are requesting additional river-basin authorizations in the amount of $1,261,000,000, which we feel will give us sufficient leeway to continue with the planning of projects and the work of construction for several years or until a new authorization bill is considered.
WATER CONSERVATION AND RELATED MATTERS
Hydroelectric power: The development of economical hydro-electric power is a most important byproduct of the national flood-control program. Power installations now authorized by Congress under the general flood-control program will result in an ultimate installation of 5,000,000 kilowatts. The total power installation at completed flood-control reservoirs today amounts to 106,000 kilowatts. This will increase to 2,069,000 kilowatts by 1954. In view of the general power shortage throughout the Nation, and the desirability of developing to the utmost all our natural resources to meet any emergency, it is time that we harnessed for productive work the destructive floodwaters that have wasted into the ocean year after year, leaving death and destruction in their wake.
Reservoir management: Another important aspect of most multiple-purpose reservoirs is the recreational potential inherent in large bodies of water, especially in areas devoid of natural lakes. With proper reservoir management, this potential can be converted into a public recreation program of great importance to the local people. When ready access to the reservoirs is provided, they are extensively used for hunting, fishing, boating, camping, picnicking, and other
forms of outdoor recreation. Further recreational benefits may be obtained at these reservoirs through sound planning and active participation by State and local agencies and private capital. The success of the program to date is indicated by the fact that public attendance at completed reservoirs of the Corps of Engineers is exceeding greatly our estimates.
Small flood-control projects: Section 205 of the Flood Control Act of June 30, 1948, provided authorization for small projects costing not more than $100,000 without the necessity of the formal preliminary examination and survey report procedure. The over-all limitation on the total cost of all such projects in one fiscal year was placed at $2,000,000. I would like to ask the committee to consider the advisability of raising the ceilings from $100,000 to $200,000 for the individual projects and from $2,000,000 to $4,000,000 for the overall program in any one fiscal year. I believe that the purpose of the original legislation can be much better served if these increased authorizations are available since there are a large number of worthy projects in this category.
International conferences: From time to time, the attendance of properly qualified engineers of the Corps of Engineers at the important international engineering conferences held abroad has been authorized through special provisions in appropriations acts. I believe it appropriate at this time for the committee to consider the desirability of including general language in an omnibus bill to permit specialists in the Corps of Engineers to attend these conferences outside the United States so that full advantage may be taken of the advances in engineering techniques made in other countries. This language should, of course, include a limitation on the number of persons and the amount of funds to be expended for this purpose.
It would be appropriate at this point for me to mention to the committee the fact that accomplishments of the national flood-control program to date represent the coordinated effort of the engineering and contracting fields. The organization of the Corps of Engineers, which is made up largely of civilian employees, plus a small group of officers on assignment, has been ideally suited to the requirements of the program which depends upon the enlistment of the facilities of private engineers, architects, and contractors. The joint effort of the military and civilian government engineering forces and the private counterpart in the engineering and construction fields has made possible the advancement of the program to the extent that it exists today. It is these men who have been responsible for translating in terms of concrete and steel the goal of flood-control so wisely established by Congress in the national flood-control laws.
At the request of the chairman of the committee, and in view of the fact that I am to be away on the 20th, before I conclude my remarks and inasmuch as I will be unable to be present when the committee considers plans for the Columbia Basin, I am very glad to accept the invitation of the chairman that I take this opportunity to present a brief summary of the situation for that area.
The needs and possibilities for land and water resource development of the Columbia River Basin are among the greatest in the Nation and the plans for this area which will be brought to the attention of the committee are of far-reaching significance to our national welfare.