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The fact remains that those States of the upper reaches of the Missouri and its tributaries not only cannot progress but in fact cannot exist without the full and complete use of their waters, and I feel that as a representative of one of those Stateş, I would be more than derelict in my duty if I did not raise my voice too in protest of any proposal to give prior use of our waters for anything other than for our own ilivestock and irirgational purposes.
I strongly recommend and urge that careful consideration be given to the volume of protest I know you have received to the end that any legislation reported out will be sufficiently clear in its intent and purpose to assure the Upper Basin States that the construction, operation, and maintenance of any authorized project will not in any way curtail beneficial consumptive use of the waters of the Missouri River and its tributaries.
There will be no session of the committee tomorrow. For Monday I have a list of witnesses as follows: Senator Austin, Mr. Phillip Shutler, Mr. James H. Allen, Mr. J. Kennard Cheadle, and Mr. Wathen.
In addition to that there are other witnesses. There are Congressman Case, and also these: Mr. Lachlen Macleay, Mr. Hoyt Haddock, Mr. Allan Jordan, and Mr. Floyd Montclair.
Are there any other witnesses that want to be heard ?
(Whereupon, at 12:20 p. m., the subcommittee recessed until next Monday, June 12, 1944, at 10 a. m.)
MONDAY, JUNE 12, 1944
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., pursuant to adjournment on Friday, June 9, 1914, in the Capitol, Senator John H. Overton, chairman of the subcommittee, presiding.
Present: Senators Overton (chairman of the subcommittee), Burton, and Cordon.
Present also: Senators Millikin and Robertson; Governor Ford, of Montana.
Senator OVERTON (chairman of the subcommittee). The committee will come to order.
The Chair presents for inclusion in the record a communication from Senator Bushfield, a statement from Mr. John D. Forsyth, president of the Upper Missouri River Valley Association, and a telegram from Governor Schoeppel, of Kansas, supporting the Pick plan. (The communication, statement, and telegram are as follows:)
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C., June 9, 1944. Hon. John H. OVERTON,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR JUDGE: In accordance with my conference with you today, I am enclosing statement of the Chamber of Commerce of the City of Huron, S. Dak., with their request that it be made a part of the hearing on H. R. 4485 now before your committee.
I am notifying the chamber today that you have agreed to my request.
HARLAN J. BUBHFIELD, Senator.
HURON, S. DAK., June 6, 1944. To the CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS OF THE COMMERCE COMMITTEE,
United States Senate, washington, D. C.
GENTLEMEN : Economic pattern.—The Huron Chamber of Commerce, of Huron, S. Dak., appreciates the privilege of submitting herewith this statement of its position in respect to H. R. 4485, hereafter referred to as the flood-control bill.
The city of Huron is located on the west bank of the James River in South Dakota, one of the principal tributary streams of the Missouri River system. The area of the State in which Huron is situated is generally described as central South Dakota. From a regional standpoint, we are in the Northern Great Plains.
The trade territory of this city is largely to the west, and extends in some instances to a deptth of several hundred miles. Virtually all of the area included in our economic orbit is semiarid in character, receiving on the average slightly better than 20 inches of rainfall annually as reported by the section center weather bureau maintained in Huron for more than 60 years.
The economic life of the area in which Huron is primarily interested is agricultural. Not only is the bulk of our retail and commercial business dependent upon successful farm operations but our industrial plants as well are equally dependent. The Armour & Co. meat-packing plant, Swift & Co. produce plant, and the Fairmont Creamery Co. produce plant, in combination, gave employment to 1,000 people during the 1943-44 marketing season.
The welfare of these employees and those employed in other smaller plants, is intimately dependent upon the farmers' success.
Agricultural stability has been lacking.--In times past, our agricultural economy has been characterized by instability. There have been periods of drought and there have been some wet years. Some of the more disastrous results of the instability of our agriculture are: Loss of population; decline in property values, both rural and urban; and a weakened tax structure. Because of this, there has developed a conviction that our future welfare can only be assured with some certainty by a program of water conservation and utilization that will eliminate some of the great risks which our rural population has been obliged to assume in the past.
It is for that reason that the Huron Chamber of Commerce has opposed H. R. 3961, because it favored navigation without protective amendments of benefit to the future maximum development of the semiarid areas of the Missouri River Basin. We are opposing H. R. 4485 for similar reasons. It is our belief that the flood-control bill is designed to protect lower basin States against the ravages of floods and that it will also aid the navigation interests of those areas without adequately assuring to the people of the upper basin States a fair share of the water that will be impounded behind the flood-control dams.
We have no quarrel with the flood-control program. We are not opposing navigation. However, we do not believe that navigation should be placed in a position that makes it possible for an interpretation to be given some time in the future that would prove to be detrimental to the cause of the semiarid States who may wish to develop irrigable acreages.
Rainfall.—The rainfall history of the eight-county area that lies on the west bank of the James River and drains into that tributary is characterized by extremes.
1. In 1914, the greatest recorded annual rain fall in the history of the Huron weather station (operated since 1881) was 30.14 inches. The least ever recorded in that more than 60-year period was in 1925, when only 10.13 inches of moisture was received. The average annual, as recorded by the local section center weather bureau is 20.65 inches.
2. It is generally recognized that a month in which as much as 5 or more inches of precipitation might be received is frequently followed by a prolonged period of drought during the most critical growing season of the year.
3. It is also true that this area at times receives precipitation amounting in some instances to more than several inches within a few hours of time, and that much of the value of such recorded rainfall is lost because of excessive and rapid run-off.
4. This section of the State of South Dakota is also characterized by relatively high temperatures and rather high wind velocities during the growing season, both of which contribute to rapid evaporation and rapid deterioration of agricultural crops if not relieved soon by additional moisture.
To graphically illustrate the deficiency of moisture in the eight-county area that lies wholly or in part west of the James River in central South Dakota, we present the illustration referred to as table 1, which appears at the conclusion of the written statement.
According to that table, there have been only 5 years since 1924, when the average amount of rainfall in the eight-county area exceeded the annual mean rainfall for the same area as reported by the same stations. During this 20-year period since 1924, we have been consistently short of moisture.
Corn production. The corn crop production record of the eight-county area is illustrated in table 2, which also appears in the supplement. During this same 20-year period of time, this rich valley land never equaled the cornproduction average of the entire State.
Only twice during the 20-year span, including the year 1924, has the area enjoyed what might be termed a good corn crop. Those years occurred in 1927 and 1942
Spring wheat production.—The production of spring wheat, as illustrated in table 3, shows the effect of insufficient moisture. In interpreting table 3, it should be borne in mind that the eight-county area represents approximately 30 percent of the spring wheat acreage of the State of South Dakota. Yet, in only 6 years since 1924, did this eight-county area exceed the State average in the production of spring wheat.
Drought and its effects.—The eight-county area extending north, south, and west of Huron, suffered most damaging results during the period from 1931 to 1936, inclusively, from drought. The recorded precipitation at the Huron station for that period of years follows: Inches
'Inches 1931. 12. 67 | 1934.
10. 71 1932 13. 43 | 1935.
19. 22 1933. 12. 48 | 1936
12. 60 The economic results were disastrous and characterized by a considerable loss of population in the State as well as in the eight-county area. The recorded loss of population by counties in the area is as follows: Percent
Percent Beadle 14. 3 Hand.
24, 4 Brown. 5.7 Jerauld
- 18. 3 Davison 8. 8 Sanborn
21. 5 Faulk --25. 0 Spink
--- 18. 1 Farm values declined to a near-vanishing point. City real estate suffered a great loss in value as a result of the declining fortunes of our rural population. Tax-supported instrumentalities of Government were hard-pressed to meet the barest operating expenses and tax sales and foreclosures were common daily occurrences. Temperatures soared beyond the 100-degree mark daily. Fields lost their top soil. The channel of the James River dried up causing a complete failure of the municipal water supply of the city of Huron, and forced local authorities to develop an emergency well supply 4 miles west of the city.
Conservation of water.-Out of these experiences, there was born a realization that the economic stability of the future of this State, was dependent upon the conservation of our water resources to the highest degree. Through the able assistance of the Soil Conservation Service many new practices have been adopted by our rural inhabitants, but in our best judgment, the problem will not be solved satisfactorily and our area developed to its fullest capacity, until water is brought to as much irrigable land as possible during the critical months of the growing season. Only until such an opportunity is made possible, will the abnormal results of drought be eliminated.
Program of agricultural stabilization.—On May 1, 1944, the Bureau of Reclamation released a report on Missouri River basin development, which had taken inore than 5 years to prepare. The Huron Chamber of Commerce considers the program proposed by the Bureau of Reclamation as being the most specific, most complete, and offering the greatest promise of success of any of the various plans submitted in the interest of Missouri River development.
*It specifically locates the dams on the main stem and many of the tributaries which will provide the storage capacity for flood-control requirements. It outlines the areas that are irrigable. It assures the opportunity for irrigation and maximum agricultural development.
Its benefits extend to many geographic areas in South Dakota. The program would be of material benefit to farmers still continuing dry-farming practices in contiguous territory to the potential irrigation areas. The program offers the beneficial consumptive use of water in the production of new wealth as a benefit to the Nation. The program proposed comes from a Federal agency with long experience in the matter of constructing dams and reclaiming arid lands.
Conclusion In view of the fact that the Congress of the United States is faced with the difficult task of providing a plan for Missouri River development that will provide the greatest beneficial use of the water to the 12,000,000 residents of the valley, and to the Nation as well, and because there is wide divergence rf opinion as to the need of water for domestic, industrial, agricultural, and navigation purposes, it is our sincere belief that the flood-control bill and the Bureau of Reclamation report should be combined in such a way that the flood-control features with which we are all agreed can be accomplished and that the irrigation
opportunities made possible by the Reclamation Bureau report, shall not be sacrificed to the interests of navigation.
We further recommend that:
1. There should be added to the various Missouri River development bills now before the Congress, provisions authorizing the construction of those projects about which there is agreement between the Army engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation, while withholding authorization for construction of those projects appearing in the several bills about which there is still disagreement.
2. In authorizing the construction of the Oahe project, that a definite amount of storage capacity be allocated for irrigation, domestic, and industrial purposes. Respectfully submitted.
C. IRVIN KRUMM, Secretary, Huron Chamber of Commerce.
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF MISSOURI RIVER Basin DEVELOPMENT PLAN (KNOWN AS
THE PICK PLAN) IN H. R. 4485 Senator John H. OVERTON,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Flood Control: As president of the Upper Missouri Valley Association of the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, I wish to file with your committee our recommendations to you to report out favorably for passage by the Senate, H. R. 4485. Our association has long worked with the United States engineers to get an over-all plan for the Missouri River above Sioux City, Iowa. We have had several congressional resolutions passed requesting the engineers for a report to Congress relative to flood control, irrigation, and power. The engineers have for 10 years been at this job, and after all these surveys and studies have presented a comprehensive plan of development of primarily flood control. This plan is known as the Pick plan because Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Pick, of the United States engineers, put all the parts together of a 10-year study of the valley.
This United States Army engineers Missouri Basin development plan, popularly known as the Pick plan, does not give any interests priority on use of water. It controls all of the water in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, on the main stem of the river and on the important tributaries in the whole basin.
Each and every one of the proposed flood-control dams are multipurpose, and are designed to take care of that particular part of the river. The seven multiple-purpose reservoirs above Sioux City, Iowa, with the completed Fort Peck Reservoir, will store some 60,000,000 acre-feet of water, which means a large carry-over to care for a reasonable dry period such as the 1930 to 1940 years.
Each and every one of the proposed flood-control dams are designed to take care of that particular part of the river. These dams up-river haver, first, so much water assigned to the Bureau of Reclamation for irrigtation of so many acres of land, at or near the project, the Bureau to have priority and make usable such assigned acre-feet of water for irrigation purposes. Second, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Federal Power Commission will specify the amount of power that is required from each dam; there will be a certain height of water provided for this power; the power will be used or sold by other Government agencies. Individual or group pump irrigation projects along the immediate valley of the rivers will be a large user of this power.
The storage of water for navigation use will be that water used for power, plus sufficient storage in these reservoirs to impound all the water that comes down the river, thereby eliminating the destruction and waste in the valley.
This complete storage of all the waters assures the upper States enough water for all the irrigation that the Bureau of Reclamation has requested in their plan, and, according to stream flow chart over a period of 45 years, may allow a considerable diversion for irrigation into the valley of the Red River of the North.
This Pick plan assures water for a navigable 9-foot channel up to Sioux City, Iowa, and later on up to Pierre, S. Dak., as many people desire the benefits de rived from this form of transportation. These savings of transport costs in this area would be the greatest benefit that farmers could be given by the Congress. Water transportation is the lifeblood of our Nation, and if your committee will investigate, you will find that our population is ever moving to where it is available, and that no great amount of industry will be invited to come into the valley unless water transportation is available.