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lower Mississippi Valley it became necessary to build outlets known as floodways. Just above New Orleans is the Bonnet Carre spillway. That is not so large, but when the Mississippi pours down the Bonnet Carre spillway the farms may still be there, but the homes and private property are inundated. If right in the path of the floodways, they have been removed.
The Morganza floodway is some 8 miles wide, starting in Point Coupee Parish, at its northern end, and sweeping down along the East Aatchafalaya, in part through a very fertile valey, and it gradually disgorges itself into the lower swamp areas of the Atcha falaya River. That inundates a great many homes and farms and private properties. . Of course, in all these instances I am referring to the Government paid, and it has to pay, just compensation to the property owners. Now, what is much more dreadful to contemplate from this standpoint that you are referring to, there was first authorized what is known as the Boeuf floodway, through which, right at the mouth of the Arkansas River, in an opening in the levee of a number of miles wide, the Mississippi River is to be turned down along the eastern part of Louisiana, extending all the way from the Arkansas down into the backwater area of the Red River, inundating towns and villages and poorhouses and graveyards and churches, turning loose a million cubic feet per second down that drive, whenever the peak flood came. That was subsequently substituted for what is known as the Eudora floodway, which was a controlled floodway, but which was to be 10 miles wide and 100 miles long, and was to inundate the same character of properties.
That was very bitterly opposed by many Louisianans, yet the Congress of the United States authorized its construction. FortunatelyI do not want to go into too long a story—fortunately through the medium of cut-offs and bends of the Mississippi River between the Arkansas and the Red, flood stages were so reduced that the levees could be built high enough to eliminate the necessity of either the Boeuf or the Eudora floodway, and so they were canceled from the picture; but we still have the West Atchafalaya, which is about 8 to 10 miles wide and sweeps down along the west valley of the Atchafalaya, and Morganza floodway, which sweeps down the eastern valley of the Atcha falaya; and there is just as much objection to those floodways and the invasion of the Federal Government in the State of Louisiana, taking the property, as obtains in Vermont; in fact, I think, much more so.
However, we had to do it for the common good. There was a tremendous river whose floods had to be controlled; and so we did; and so, so far as the Morganza and the West Atchafalaya and the Bonnet Carre spillway are concerned, Louisiana, I will say to her credit, yielded; no objection was made by the people locally to the construction of those floodways.
So I can sympathize with your problem very much. I can sympathize with it. But as I said before, we have to regard the general good. If, as you state, there is a substitution that would not cause this damage due to a series of reservoirs or some other flood-protection work, why so far as I am concerned I would be very glad to accept it.
Mr. SHEA. There is the compact of 1937, it will be recalled.
Senator OVERTON. I do not know anything much about the compact of 1937.
Mr. SHEA. I apprehend that will come in later.
Senator BURTON. Mr. Chairman, that is the important point. I take it that in Louisiana there was no alternative. When the sacrifice was made, it had to be made because there was no other way to handle their floods.
Senator OVERTON. Well, as an alternative, we let the floods go.
Senator BURTON. Yes, but I mean, here, assuming we are going to stop the flood. There was no other way, no alternative. Now, I am deeply impressed with this point of view here, and I am familiar with this New England area, and I have lived in towns in Maine just like these towns that are described here, and I think it is of real importance that the alternative bé considered, in order that we may consider the issue.
Senator OVERTON. Oh, I think so. I do, too. Mr. Shea. In closing, Mr. Chairman, I would like to offer a petition, which reads as follows:
We, the undersigned, express our absolute hostility to the construction of the Government dam at West Dummerston, Vt., and to the intrusion of Federal bureaucracy on the internal sovereignty of a State, which this dam represents.
This is signed by people from the several States, from Maine to California. It includes laborers, college professors, presidents, publishers, the editors of the leading newspapers of the country, editors of the national weeklies, wherein they address this to your attention.
I appreciate the opportunity of being with you, and as I have already indicated, we have other men here that can answer questions if you have them.
Senator OVERTON. We are very glad to have that.
Senator AIKEN. These other men are not going to offer testimony. They are simply here to answer questions about the valley if the committee desires to ask them.
Senator CORDON. I would like to ask, Mr. Chairman, if anyone has data as to the assessed value of the lands that will be taken, and the taxes that are paid by them?
Mr. SHEA. We can state the effect on the towns. It would benefit several towns, and I think these gentlemen can tell you about it. Mr. HUNTINGTON. We cannot give you the exact figures.
Senator OVERTON. Have you the total population of the West River Valley?
Mr. HUNTINGTON. It is approximately 2,000 in the flood area, the year-round residents. We set it at approximately 5,000, including the summer residents.
Senator OVERTON. 2,000 permanent residents?
Senator CORDON. What portion of that will be inundated, what percentage of it?
Mr. SHEA. Roughly, 50 percent. It divides the valley in half. As will be noted on this map the green line, as I understand it, represents the flow line on a 300-foot dam. The red line represents the flow at 218 feet.
Senator CORDON. That is the one we are interested in.
Senator CORDON. That gives us a picture of the dam, but it does not give us a picture of the valley.
Mr. Shaa. I think if you study it closely, too, you will see that it does give a fair picture of the valley and the tributary streams and the towns and everything.
Senator CORDON. Do I understand that the valley floor is substantially coincident with the exterior boundaries of your pool caused by the dam?
Mr. Shea. What do you say to that, Mr. Culver? You are familiar with that territory.
Mr. CULVER. I think it will extend up into the wooded section to some extent, but it eliminates all the fertile valley itself. It leaves nothing but wooded areas.
Senator CORDON. For a distance of 12 miles?
Mr. CULVER. That is 1212 miles. It takes in all the tillable land and considerable of the towns.
Senator OVERTON. There is no cultivation on those tributaries?
Mr. CULVER. No; that area will not be affected. The wooded area starts back up on the branches, but it comes right down; the valley is very steep along there, as the pictures indicate, that we have left with you.
Senator CORDON. Is there any flood-control value to the State of Vermont in this project ? Mr. Bush. There is not any.
Senator AIKEN. There is no flood-control value to the State, except on the Winooski, which does not flow into the Connecticut.
Senator CORDON. Will this dam give any flood protection to the area in Vermont below the dam?
Senator AIKEN. No. In our flood of 1936 I think 95 percent to 98 percent of the damage done in the State of Vermont was above the dam, very little of it below the site of the dam.
Senator CORDON. Does the valley continue on up the river beyond the upper edge or end of the dam?
Mr. Shea. It does; yes, sir. I think this view here gives you an ideal picture of the whole valley.
Mr. CULVER. That would be a cross-sectional view of the valley.,
Senator CORDON. Then the valley at about the same width continues on up the river beyond the inundated portion? Mr. SHEA. That is correct. Senator CORDON. Is it all in one county?
Mr. SHEA. It is. The map here and all the evidence have just been on this one particular county.
Senator AIKEN. It goes over into Windsor County perhaps 5 or 6 miles in the upper reaches.
Mr. SHEA. Yes.
Senator BURTON. May I ask this, Mr. Shea, along that same line. The damage down below in Massachusetts on the Connecticut Riveris that when the water reaches there?
Mr. SHEA. No. Senator Burton. Where does it do its damage? Mr. SHEA. Our observation, and our evidence, which has been undisputed, is that West River has a flash flood. It comes up and deposits itself in the West River, and it is in Long Island Sound before the Connecticut River goes into a flood stage.
Senator BURTON. I remember your statement on that.
Senator BURTON. Of course, the whole purpose of our building this dam is to prevent flood damage to somebody, and I wondered where that flood damage was that we were preventing.
Mr. SHEA. Our position on that is that this is a misnomer. That is not a flood dam. It is a power dam which is being sought under the guise of “flood control.”
Senator BURTON. In making sure we eliminate any provision for the power feature, the dam will be solely for flood control, and it is also your contention that it does not control any flood ?
Mr. Shea. Precisely; and we have incorporated it in our statement, which will be available to you to read, pointing out that particular thing.
Senator BURTON. As to the areas where there is flood damage claimed, whether properly blamed on the West River or not, that itself is down on the Connecticut River? Mr. SHEA. Yes.
Senator BURTON. Can you tell me, to what extent does the flow at the peak from this West River increase the height of the Connecticut River when it gets down there? What does it add to it?
Mr. SHEA. I would not say it added anything. I have not seen or heard any testimony that the flow of the West River increased the flow of the Connecticut to any marked degree.
Senator BURTON. That was the thing that impressed me, was the rather small stream, which has a flash flood, and it does not do any food damage claimed by anybody until it gets down into the big river, and when it gets down to the big river, it is a question of how much it raises that big river, if it raises it far enough. That is not much of a flood, to wipe out several towns, in order to prevent it.
Senator AIKEN. I think the engineers for the dam, Senator Burton, are here, and they can probably answer your question almost exactly.
Senator OVERTON. Thank you very much. Mr. SHEA. Do you want us to leave the photographs? Senator (VERTON. Yes, indeed. Mr. SHEA. We will be very glad to do that. (The photographs referred to are filed with the committee.) Mr. SHEA. We have one more witness that would make a slight statement. He is Mr. Goss, of the National Grange.
Senator CORDON. May I interrupt just a moment, Mr. Chairman, in order to get a correction in the record ? The other witness stated that there was about 40 square miles inundated. You meant 4, did you not?
Mr. SHEA. No; I meant 40.
Senator CORDON. You could not get 40 square miles in 2,900 acres, or 610 acres.
Mr. Bush. That would be, gentlemen, about 12 miles long on the low dam, and 15 miles long on the high dam, and about a mile and a
half to two miles wide; so that would figure up more acreage, and there would be about 3,500 acres of the best tillage land in southern Vermont.
Senator CORDON. That would be less than 6 square miles, though?
Mr. Bush. There would be about 1,500 to 2,000 people that would have to be relocated.
General ROBINS. There are not that many people living in that area.
Senator OVERTON. The statement is 2,000 permanent residents, 3,000 summer residents. General Robins. Not in that area. That must be a mistake. Senator AIKEN. In that case it would be more. General ROBINS. There are several cemeteries there.
Mr. Bush. I think we have about 16 cemeteries that will have to be relocated.
General Robins. Four, according to our figures. Mr. SHEA. We have been on the conservative side on this all the way down, on our testimony.
General ROBINS. That is all right by me.
I do not appear as an expert in the case of this dam at all. There are just two or three things in which the Grange has a decided interest.
Senator BURTON. Your home is in the State of Washington, is it not?
Mr. Goss. Washington, D. C.
Mr. Goss. Washington, D. C. I come from the State of Washington; yes.
Senator BURTON. I mean you are not a Vermonter.
Senator BURTON. But you are for a national point of view on this picture? Mr. Goss. Yes; on the national point of view.
In order that you may know that we are not prejudiced, we have long supported flood-control measures. Neither have we been opposed to the public power development such as has apparently been in contemplation, under certain circumstances. We have been before your committee a number of times on those measures, and I think your committee understands our position on them.
We do feel from the standpoint of power, however, that although it may not be in contemplation at present, those things have a way of growing, and we would like to state our position on power. We think that the question of power is one which should be left entirely to the State itself. There is no measure of the public welfare of other States being considered in the development of power.
Senator OVERTON. You mean in this particular case ?