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the complete exclusion of the further development of lands susceptible of irrigation, which have been estimated to total 22,000,000 acres in the States of the arid West; Now, therefore be it
Resolved. That the Montana Stockgrowers Association, meeting in its sixtieth annual convention in Miles City, Mont., on May 25, 26, and 27, 1944, define its attitude with regard to the use of water from the streams of the West as follows:
It should be the duty of Congress to recognize the interests and rights of the States in determining the development of the watersheds within their borders and likewise their interests and rights in water utilization and control; to preserve and protect to the fullest possible extent established and potential uses, for all purposes, of the waters of the Nation's rivers; and to limit the authorization and construction of navigation works to those in which a substantial benefit to navigation will be realized therefrom and which can be operated consistently with the appropriate and economic use of the water of such rivers by other users; that in connection with the construction, operation, and maintenance of navigation works, water for the use thereof arising west of the ninety-seventh meridian shall be subordinate to and shall not adversely affect at any time the beneficial consumptive use, west of the ninety-seventh meridian, of such waters for domestic, irrigation, mining, or industrial purposes.
Attest: This is a true copy of resolution No. 1 adopted unanimously at the sixtieth annual convention of the Montana Stockgrowers Association in Miles City, Mont., on May 25, 26, and 27, 1944.
E. A. PHILLIPS, Secretary.
BRIEF OF THE MONTANA RECLAMATION ASSOCIATION, WILSALL, MONT., JUNE 5, 1944
COMMERCE COMMITTEE OF THE SENATE :
This brief is filed on behalf of the Montana Reclamation Association, a Montana organization with members in every county of the State that works for the development and best use of the land and water resources of Montana.
It is filed in opposition to certain features of H. R. 4485 that the Montana Reclamation Association considers detrimental to the best interests of the development and best use of our land and water resources. A full understanding of the implications of this bill can be had only after a careful study of the recommendations of the Chief of Army Engineers in House Document 475, Seventyeighth Congress, second session. The authorization contained in this bill would make irrigation subordinate to flood control and navigation. We in Montana believe the contrary should be true.
First, because we are convinced there is not enough water for navigation in the lower basin as has been indicated by some of the Army engineers' studies, and for even the more feasible irrigation projects in the arid and semiarid States. Second, we believe water used for irrigation is a much more valuable asset to the country than when used for navigation and also that there are many substitutes for transportation of goods besides navigation but that no substitute can be had for water used in growing crops. Third, when full irrigation development in our State is had only 5 percent of land will be watered and this small proportion is absolutely necessary for growing of hay and grain to stabilize the use of the ranges. Fourth, irrigated acreage is needed for the use of returned soldiers who wish to acquire farms and the denial of the paramount use of this water for irrigation precludes the development of these farms.
We object to section 3 of this bill in that it grants to the Secretary of War such broad powers that it could enter into the construction and operation of irrigation works. We believe this should be left in the hands of the Bureau of Reclamation which was established by Congress for this purpose and has had years of experience in this kind of work.
We object to section 6 in that it in no way recognizes the laws of our State in the distribution of water, but on the contrary permits the sale of water "whenever in the opinion of the Secretary of War and the Chief of Engineers any dam and reservoir project operated under the direction of the Secretary of War can be consistently used for reclamation of arid lands." We believe that if water rises in or flows through an arid or semiarid State local laws, customs, and uses should be recognized in its use and development.
The Montana Reclamation Association firmly believes that Congress should so amend this bill as to recognize the interests and rights of the States in determining the development of the watersheds within their borders and likewise their
interests and rights in water utilization and control; to preserve and protect to the fullest possible extent established and potential uses, for all purposes, of the waters of the Nation's rivers; and to limit the authorization and construction of navigation works to those in which a substantial benefit to navigation will be realized therefrom and which can be operated consistently with the appropriate and economic use of the water of such rivers by other users; that in connection with the construction, operation, and maintenance of navigation works, water for the use thereof arising west of the ninety-seventh meridian shall be subordinate to and shall not adversely affect at any time the beneficial consumptive use, west of the ninety-seventh meridian, or such waters for domestic, irrigation, mining, or industrial purposes.
WERLEY A. D'EWART,
President, Montana Reclamation Association. Senator OVERTON. All right. I also offer for the record a statement by Representative James F. O'Connor of Montana; which will be included at this point.
(The statement referred to is as follows:)
STATEMENT OF HON, JAMES F. O'CONNOR, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM
THE STATE OF MONTANA
First of all I want to say that I do not, nor do I think does anyone else, doubt the authority of Congress to manage the waters of navigable rivers. Nor do I question the ever active need for additional flood control on the Missouri River and its tributaries. Even in my own State of Montana we saw last year what a rampaging river could do and what a loss and expense follows in its wake. Traffic is still being rerouted on one of our two main east-west highways in the eastern part of the State because of a five-span bridge being washed out-and out there when you reroute traffic you do not simply shift over to another hard-surfaced road, but to a dirt or graveled one.
However, with that authority Congress also has a great responsibility—a responsibility to all the Nation that that great potential bread basket of this great country be not stifled by denying its people sufficient water to carry on their agriculture pursuits. The future development of Montana and all the rest of those Upper Basin States is going to require additional water for their future development and therefore not only the present consumptive use of their waters must be safeguarded but also the future use.
Let me say, I am not an engineer and therefore I do not know whether this call for additional water to maintain a deeper channel is going to mean an additional burden on the already meager water supply of the Upper Basin States or not-the proponents of the 9-foot channel say it will not mean that, but if it will not, as it is claimed, it is then our contention that that fact should be written into the law so that this clash between the beneficial, consumptive use of water in the arid areas for domestic, irrigation, and industrial purposes, and the use of water in the humid areas to maintain a certain channel may be stopped. I am sure that if the people of the humid areas downstream on the Missouri, where water is more often a headache than a worry, knew how water was treasured and conserved by the irrigation farmers of the arid Northwest, they would be better able to understand our great concern in this instance.
In my State irrigation is necessary to sustain agriculture and that is the case in most of the Western States. Years ago, Congress recognized this fact and passed the Federal Reclamation Act which recognized that without irrigation the development of the Western States not only would not progress but that those States would remain the vast, arid, barren places they were then.
Although the population of Montana is less than a half million people we have the third largest State in the Union—it being 600 miles across and 300 miles wide, Now that means that we have a lot of space to make homes for a lot of people. Just think of the agricultural and cattle- and sheep-raising potentialities of that one State alone. However, to make an actuality out of those potentialities it is vitally necessary that Montana be assured of first use of its waters. We claim the finest land in the United States-anything can be grown on it and cattle and sheep grow fat on its grasses—but without sufficient water it would be a barren wilderness.
That is the reason and the only reason that we are opposed to any draft being made upon our waters. We all remember too vividly the most recent drought out there in the West—when cattle and crops alike died for want of moisture.
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. BUSHFIELD, 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 intiinately 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 (rop. Those years occurred in 1927 and 1942