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Senonel Reber. Yes basis for this plain the Mi
night say Frer. Yes, sir flood contro too, S
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Senator ROBERTSON. But you also have in mind navigation?
Colonel REBER. Yes, sir. That is a very brief outline of the plan. I might say that the basis for this plan was the consideration of the two general types of floods that occur in the Missouri Basin. These two types are known, first, as the March “rise” which originates from the melting of snow in this general area of the Great Plains; that is, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Eastern Montana. That breakup of the snow comes generally with the first real thaw in the early spring, in March, and results in putting into the river a substantial amount of water. When that thaw occurs along with the break-up of the ice and the formation of ice jams, as actually took place this year, there can be some very serious damages.
In general the maximum flood of record in the upper basin is that of 1881. In most cases the March “rises” flatten out before they get much below Kansas City; that is, those snow-melt floods in the early spring. Then in May or June we have what is known as the June "rise.” There are two causes of that type of “rise.” One is heavy rainfall in the lower basin. That is generally in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa. That rainfall very frequently is augmented by the melting of snow in the high mountains, which comes in June; and if those two factors coincide you have a very disastrous flood. You can have a very disastrous flood without the snow melt. We had that latter type of flood this year.
Last year there were three floods in the basin which, in the lower part of the basin, approached record heights.
The maximum flood of record in the lower basin, in general, is that of 1814 which occurred in June of that year. The floods in the lower basin last year approached in many cases record heights. They were due to rainfall in this general area [indicating on map] plus a comparatively small peak that came down the river from snow melt in the mountains.
To solve these flood problems it is essential to catch that spring run-off, as much of it as you can; it is essential to catch it down here [indicating on map]; and it is also necessary to catch that rainfall on the lower tributaries. Then, in addition to those essentials, because it is not economically feasible to store all that water, it is necessary to build a system of main line levees along the main stream. Levees, however, will not furnish sufficient protection by themselves without the reservoirs.
That is, very briefly, our flood control plan for the Missouri Valley. Senator OVERTON. Thank you, Colonel.
Senator ROBERTSON. Mr. Chairman, you asked a very interesting question of Governor Sharpe yesterday, and I would like to have the Colonel's reaction to that question.
The Chairman asked Governor Sharpe [reading]: What is running through my mind is this-to take the lower stem of the Missouri River with its reservoirs and devote that to navigation and flood control; there is not very much irrigation needed; not devoting it exclusively but primarily to navigation and flood control; and you take these many tributaries of the Missouri that flow through these arid and semiarid regions of the West, and devote the reservoirs constructed on them primarily for irrigation, reclamation, domestic uses, and so forth. It has occurred to me that that would possibly be a practical, workable solution, and be about the only
policy, if any policy at all is to be adopted by the Congress at this time, that could be adopted, and I would like to have your opinion, whether you subscribe to it or reject it, or whether you desire to modify it in any way.
He referred to the main stem below Fort Peck. If you recall, I asked him if he would alter that to take the main stem below Williston.
What would be your reaction to the suggestion of the chairman that the upper part should be, in effect, as I understand the question, turned over to the Bureau of Reclamation and the lower part of the Army engineers ?
Senator OVERTON. That was intended purely as a compromise if acceptable to those who are for the so-called O'Mahoney amendment. As you recall, it is not incorporated in the bill that we reported.
Senator ROBERTSON. I understand. I was just seeking his reaction.
Colonel REBER. As a practical solution of the problem I think it is entirely workable. I should like to point out, very much in the way that Governor Sharpe did yesterday, that it, however, must be flexible to provide for necessary and valuable irrigation from, for instance, the Oahe Dam for the James River, and it must also provide for necessary flood control on the upper tributaries. With that understanding, as a workable solution I think that it is entirely practical.
When I said irrigation on the James River, that project, in our opinion, is a valuable project. This system on the main stem might be devoted primarily, but not exclusively, to flood control. Navigation power, and irrigation should also be developed on that main stem.
As I said a few minutes ago, the greatest flood in the upper basin was in 1881. That is generally true in this section of the river (pointing to map); but above Fort Peck the maximum flood of record was in 1908. Fort Peck must therefore provide a large block of flood storage to take care of a repetition of conditions which have already occurred. Other flood control projects are also necessary in the upper basin.
So, with that flexibility, possibly devoting the projects primarily to the uses indicated, that is, this section of the river [indicating on map] primarily to navigation and flood control, and the upper portion of the river and the tributaries primarily to irrigation, I think that your suggestion is entirely feasible; but you must provide for irrigation in the lower sections.
Senator ROBERTSON. It must be flexible?
Senator ROBERTSON. Now, Colonel, many of us feel that the Pick plan and the Sloan plan offer a very definite working basis for the whole basin. We feel that if the Army engineers and the Reclamation engineers could really get together they could present to Congress a comprehensive plan dealing with this whole area, which would probably be acceptable to Congress. Is there any reason why such a conference should not take place and the plans be drawn up before Congress passes any legislation which would authorize any portion of this plan?
Colonel REBER. Senator, in my best personal judgment I believe that we can get together on the basic framework. I believe that can be done. The details will follow later. As I tried to point out, there are only two differences of opinion at present. I personally feel that we are sufficiently far enough along today in our getting together so that Congress, if it sees fit, can furnish us a basis of authority, in other words, an authorization for these plans at the present time. I am being as practical as I can in this situation for this reason, Senator. This bill has passed the House of Representatives. This bill authorizes the Pick plan. I sincerely hope, and I agree with the Governor of South Dakota thoroughly, I should like to see a provision passed in this Congress authorizing the basic plan of the Reclamation Bureau, because we feel, just as I have stated, that the Sloan plan and the Pick plan can be put together and can form a basis for the final development of this basin. That was General Pick's original idea.
Here is my point. If we wait for another report we are very likely to lose our legislative position. That is the vital reason why that should not be done. The minute that this program is authorized the Corps of Engineers can proceed with detailed studies, which we cannot do now, and those detailed studies will assist us in getting together with the Bureau of Reclamation on the final plan for this basin. In getting down to the final question of details, is the Garrison Dam necessary for flood control? We feel that it is. Apparently the Bureau does not feel so. That calls for very definite detailed engineering studies. If we do not make those studies soon, then we are going to be in a situation where we find that the war is over and we do not have our detailed plans ready for construction.
I think that we have reached the point, Senator, where, if our plan is authorized and the Bureau's plan is authorized, Congress can be assured that out of those two authorizations there will come a comprehensive plan for the best ultimate development of the basin.
Senator OVERTON. Let me make this observation. Personally I am gratified that my lay attempt at a solution of this problem has met practically with the approval of the Army engineers; that is, at least with your approval. If under the compromise plan that I suggested we proceed with the Pick plan, then all the reservoirs on all the tributaries are turned over to the Bureau of Reclamation, and those reservoirs will be authorized, not by a report from this committee, but by another committee. We will not have anything at all to do with it. We deal with flood control, and they deal with navigation. Whatever plans the Bureau of Reclamation have will be submitted to another committee, and then it will be either authorized in whole or in part, with this one exception, that wherever a reservoir is necessary for flood control and will not interfere with what might be designated as local uses of water, that is, for irrigation and industrial and domestic uses, and mining, such a dam and reservoir will be oonstructed on the recommendation of this committee, and on the recommendation of the Army engineers for purposes of flood control; in other words, take the tributaries—that is what it means in substance and turn them over to irrigation. That is where irrigation is, mainly. Then the dams on the lower stem of the Missouri River, below Fort Peck, will be used principally for navigation and flood control. The upper dams and reservoirs will be used principally for irrigation, and so forth.
That looks to me as though it would be a practical solution of the problem. May I ask the Senator whether that meets with his approval or not?
Senator ROBERTSON. No, Mr. Chairman; it does not. May I just explain my thought more fully?
Senator OVERTON. Certainly.
Senator ROBERTSON. Let us assume that the authorization of the Pick plan goes through; let us assume also that the Bureau of Reclamation's request for authorization of the Sloan plan goes through the Irrigation Committee and both pass the Congress. Here we are faced with two different plans both seeking largely the same end, but different in important details. It does seem to me that the Army engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation engineers should get together and form a comprehensive plan which is acceptable to both, and then that plan be put before Congress and, if authorized, it can go ahead as a completed project for flood control and for domestic use and irrigation in the upper valley. I do not think that this, with or without the reclamation project being passed, would meet the problem.
Senator OVERTON. Of course, Congress would answer such objection as you are urging either by authorizing a dam in lieu of the one that has been authorized under the Pick plan, or would refuse to do so, or pass it with modications. But you have got to have a line of demarcation between the committees that handle flood control and navigation and the comn.itte that handles irrigation. We have to adhere to that line of demarcation. Shall we continue to wait while the lower Missouri River Basin is being flooded and lives are lost and property demaged to the extent of a hundred million dollars in the last 2 years? Are we to continue to wait until some time in the more or less remote future the Bureau of Reclamation and the engineers get together on every specific detail as to every reservoir, every levee, every dam, every navigation project? It looks to me as though that is impossible. If we were to adopt what I have suggested it would be simply the enunciation of a principle, and then we would adhére to it and hereafter the Bureau of Reclamation would come before this committee and make a recommendation as to the reservoirs necessary for irrigation. If the committee recommends it and it is in conflict with what we have already authorized, Congress then will determine whether or not to accept the new project as against the one we have already authorized.
Who is the next witness that you want to call?
STATEMENT OF W. G. SLOAN, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, REGION 6,
BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, BILLINGS, MONT.
Senator OVERTON. Please state your name and address.
Mr. SLOAN. W. G. Sloan. I am assistant director, region 6, Bureau uf Reclamation, with headquarters at Billings, Mont.
Senator ROBERTSON. You are the author of the so-called Sloan plan, àre you not? Mr. SLOAN. Yes, sir.
Senator ROBERTSON. I think for the sake of the record it would be a good thing if Mr. Sloan would explain, in general, his plan.
Is it your purpose to offer an amendment to this bill or to have the Sloan plan incorporated in this bill?
I understand the Governors of Montana and Idaho are preparing an amendment. I have not seen a copy of it yet. But in view of the explanation which Colonel Reber has given on the Pick plan
Senator OVERTON (interposing). I think you had better hold Mr. Sloan back until the amendment is prepared, if it can be done in a short time, because there is no use going into a Bureau of Reclamation project that is not to be considered by this committee, or in my humble judgment it will not be considered by this committee.
Senator ROBERTSON. I think that Mr. Sloan might explain his plan following Colonel Reber, so that the possibility of getting them together would be promoted.
Senator CORDON. My thought is, Mr. Chairman, that as one of those appearing in opposition to the present Pick plan it might be well to have Mr. Sloan indicate so much of the plan as may be necessary in order to permit us to understand to what his objection goes and why, simply to assist us in understanding what the objections are. I assume that the objections of the Bureau of Reclamation to certain of these projects are occasioned by the fact that they have some other project which they deem of greater advantage than the one that has been presented by the War Department and to what extent they conflict. I cannot understand it without having at least a thumbnail picture of what the situation is and the points where they conflict. As to the rest of it I am in entire agreement with the chairman's thought.
Senator OVERTON. I think it would be proper for Mr. Sloan to point out his objections to the Pick plan; but if an amendment is to be proposed to this bill to incorporate all the reservoirs and other works contemplated by the Bureau of Reclamation, then, under the rules of this committee, the amendment would have to be submitted to the War Department for an investigation and report, and the bill then would be held up until such investigation and report could be made. That might take a long time. Furthermore, I do not think that irrigation projects are within the jurisdiction of this committee.
Suppose, then, Mr. Sloan, you state your objections to the Pick plan and what modifications you suggest.
Mr. Sloan. Let me preface my remarks with just one brief statement as to the principal differences between the Bureau of Reclamation plan and the Pick plan. Each of them is referred to as a comprehensive plan of development.
Senator OVERTON. I am trying to avoid that if I can, Mr. Sloan. I would like to have you confine your testimony at the outset, at least, to pointing out your objections to any of the projects on the Pick plan or to the whole plan, but I would like to have you be specific.
Mr. Sloan. I will confine my remarks to the principal differences between our plan and the
Senator OVERTON. No, Mr. Sloan. Pardon me. I will take them up one by one. What objection do you have to levee construction down there [indicating on map] ?
Mr. SLOAN. None.
Senator OVERTON. Let us take the next dam, the Gavins Point Dam: Do you have any objection to that? Mr. SLOAN. We think it is unnecessary. Senator OVERTON. You object to it. All right.
Mr. Sho'(indicalhat': M1: Slo