Page images

priation bill for the fiscal year 1961, for the purpose of beginning construction on the Elk City (Table Mound) Reservoir, on the Elk River in Montgomery County, Kans.

Regarding other proposed Kansas projects, I also wish to join these distinguished visitors in requesting a $40,000 appropriation for the continuation of a feasibility study on the Walnut River, a $50,000 appropriation for planning money for Cedar Point Reservoir, and the retention in the appropriation bill of the amounts requested by the Bureau of the Budget for continuing construction of the John Redmond and Council Grove Reservoirs, and planning money for the Marion Reservoir, all on the Neosho River.

The Elk City project was first authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1941, almost 20 years ago. With the use of funds appropriated in previous years, planning was finally completed during the early months of 1959. Funds for a construction start were not included in the President's budget request during the last 2 years. In both years, the money has been added in the Senate version of the appropriations bill, but the item has been eliminated in conference.

Earlier recommendations, in 1958 and 1959 respectively, have been for $300,000 and $400,000. This year we are asking for $1 million, in line with the Army Corps of Engineers' reported capability on the project.

At the present time, Elk City is the only "new start” req sted in the entire Arkansas River Basin district, including the States of Oklahoma and Arkansas as well as a major portion of Kansas.

The dam's estimated value to the area it will serve, as calculated by the Corps of Engineers, compares favorably with other projects that have been given construction priority despite later authorization. Elk City is one of four Kansas projects in a proposed six-reservoir system, including the completed Fall River Reservoir. Total flood control and conservation benefits for the six dams are expected to exceed $6 million annually.

The current Midwest floods are an expensive reminder that the administration's "no new starts" policy, although slightly modified this year for more palatable election-year consumption, was on the shortsighted side, to say the least. In this connection, plans for the Elk City project include the availability of 263,000 acre-feet for temporary control of floodwaters from 634 square miles of drainage area above the dam.

In addition to flood control benefits, the Elk City Dam will provide enormous long-range benefits to the economic life of the area. Rainfall in southeast Kansas is highly erratic. It varies sharply from year to year, and even more damaging is the erratic rainfall within each year. It is not unusual for onethird to one-half of the year's entire rainfall to come within a period of 2 or 3 months. There is no consistent monthly pattern.

We have every reason to expect recurring droughts from time to time, and provision of additional storage facilities at the earliest possible date is essential to the Verdigris Valley. This valley has no subsurface water. The citizens, the communities, the industries, and the farmers and their livestock are entirely dependent on stored surface water.

Storage reservoirs provide the only solution to either flood or drought situations. During times of excess rain, these reservoirs will hold back great quantities of water. During times of drought, this same water is available for productive use.

Construction of Elk City would help guarantee the continuing productivity of the area, along with the continuing ability of its citizens to contribute, through taxes, to the support of our National Government.

It is my earnest belief that the Elk City Reservoir deserves favorable consideration as a sound investment, a vital factor in the economic recovery of a district where unemployment is still at a high level, and a project so beneficial in so many ways that providing funds to get it started can result in no valid criticism.

I have learned from hundreds of letters, as well as talks with a great many persons from varied walks of life during my visits home, that a great many of my constitutents share these views.

We are agreed that we have waited too long for the consideration that a projert as important as Elk City Reservoir deserves.

Mr. WORRELL. The next witness, Mr. Chairman, is Mr. Clarence F. Byrns, who has been designated by the Tri-State Committee to present the evidence in behalf of this group.

He is a very important man in my section of the country. He is very vitally interested in the Arkansas River, of course.

He will present three or four witnesses who will give short statements, after which he will present the matter to me to conclude the evidence.

At this time, if you will permit, I would like to introduce Mr. Byrns.

STATEMENT OF MR. CLARENCE F. BYRNS Mr. BYRNS. We are very happy to be here again before this distinguished group of people and we are grateful for the kind consideration you have given us in recent years when we have been making very good progress on this whole Arkansas Basin program.

I happen to be the chairman of the Tri-State Committee of Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. I would like to say at this moment that you have a pleasant surprise coming to you, those of you who have been in this committee before, because for the last 5 years I have done a good deal of talking on the subject, but for the last 3 months I have been nursing an eye that had a cataract in it, I am unable to do much reading, so this time we have decided to have one man from each State make a statement in behalf of his State in a very brief form and it will keep us within the time you have allotted. Initially I would like to ask Mr. Arthur Ormond to read to you the list of the men who are members of this Tri-State Committee.

Mr. ORMOND. Mr. Frank W. Liebert, Coffeyville, Kans.; State Senator Joe Warren, Maple City; Mayor Justus H. Fugate, of Wichita; Guy B. Treat, consulting engineer, Oklahoma City.

These are from Oklahoma now. Mr. Glade Kirkpatrick, vice chairman of the committee, member of the State water board, Tulsa; Col. F. J. Wilson, U.S. Army, retired, consulting engineer and executive vice president of the Arkansas Basin Development Association, Tulsa; Clarence Byrns, chairman of the committee; Mr. Harold Snyder, business executive, Dardanelle; R. E. Jeter, planter and businessman; myself, as alternate.

Mr. Byrns. Gentlemen, I will not make any speech here this morning because the whole subject matter that we come here to discuss with you is covered more adequately in the individual statements of the men from Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.

They will hold themselves within the time allotted. We recognize the necessity of your getting through on time because we know what tremendous pressure you are under and we have made it our policy never to run over our time.

At this point, if I may, without going into any of the details, I will ask Mr. Emmett Sanders, of Pine Bluff, past president of the Arkansas Basin Association, to present his very fine statement on the major factor we want to bring to your attention.

Mr. Sanders?

STATEMENT OF MR. EMMETT SANDERS Mr. SANDERS. I am Emmett Sanders, past president of the Arkansas Basin Association, an Arkansas organization. At present I am a member of the executive committee of that organization.

With respect to that portion of the project within the State of Arkansas we wish to present four specific requests for inclusion in the current budget under study:

1. An appropriation for planning purposes of two navigation locks and dams below Little Rock;

2. An appropriation for planning purposes of Ozark Dam;

3. Adequate bank stabilization funds; and D. 4. Reclassification of appropriations for bank stabilization purposes from "emergency" to "permanent” status.

In explanation of these requests, we are seriously concerned with the timetable schedule of completion of the overall project. We view with alarm anything which tends to unnecessarily retard or delay the realization of the benefits therein. In addition, criminal waste of valuable lands is occurring annually, which can be stopped. The burden is on us to do something about it, now. We will elaborate on this feature a little later.

Immense projects here and abroad testify to the ability and genius of our Congress and the U.S. Engineers to get big things done in rapid order. It remains therefore a matter of will and desire if we are to get this job done in this manner. We are convinced of the justification.

TWO NAVIGATION LOCKS AND DAMS BELOW LITTLE ROCK It is vital to the navigation feature of the overall project that these two units be secured in the early stage of construction.

In amplification, the U.S. Engineers have a very complex problem to deal with in building this plan, in the nature of caving, unstable

banks. You know that in this section the river follows a meanderTI

ing course through an alluvial type soil highly susceptible to caving. These two dams are located in the area where the problem is most serere. In order to make the navigation feature function successfully, the banks must be stabilized and the navigation channel fixed, or “anchored." This is accomplished in part by use of bank revetment, pile dikes, and so forth.

It is our understanding these two dams will be somewhat in the nature of pilot projects. The experience and knowledge gained here

will be used throughout the entire project. Therefore, in the interi est of economy and time, it is important that the job get underway immediately, to avoid costly mistakes elsewhere.

Also, these dams, when constructed, will create navigation pools of sufficient depth, which do not now exist, that will permit the barg! ing of great quantities of construction material at considerable savings in costs. The U.S. Engineers have included this feature in their plans.

Therefore, we recommend for inclusion in the current budget an appropriation for planning purposes of the sums of $190,000 and $200,000 for these two structures, respectively, a total of $390,000.

The U.S. Engineers have the capability of handling the assignDe ment.

[ocr errors]



This dam, on the main stem of the Arkansas River, is an integral part of the overall project. It must be built if the plan is to operate. It has been officially stated on occasions that this dam could get underway during 1960.

Other projects testify to the ability of our Congress and the U.S. Engineers to get things done. We deplore any unnecessary delay as being wasteful. We see no good reason why planning on this dam can't start now. We are convinced the capability exists to handle the assignment.

54265—60-pt. 417

We earnestly and respectfully recommend the inclusion in the current budget of an appropriation in the sum of $200,000 for planning purposes for Ozark Dam.


We submit to you the need for an immediate, adequate bank stabilization program is officially emphasized by the statement of the U.S. Engineers that some 5,500 acres in the Arkansas River Valley below the mouth of the Verdigris River is eroding into the river annually. We point out these lands are irretrievably lost, winding up on sandbars and finally in the Gulf of Mexico.

While Senator Kerr estimates the value of these lands at $5 million to $6 million a year, this is not the real tragedy. With authorities freely predicting a population explosion immediately ahead of us, this country can ill afford the loss of the production and living space these lands would provide for unborn generations.

Since it is within our power to prevent this destruction, we are committing a monumental crime against posterity-for which some day we may be remembered in a manner of which we would not be proud.

With respect to bank stabilization proper, for the purpose of this hearing we shall discuss the area of the Arkansas River extending from Pine Bluff, Ark., to the mouth-a distance of approximately 110 miles-presenting such fact and making such recommendations as will in our judgment be within the scope of the comprehensive plan referred to.

We should like at the outset to emphasize we are discussing bank stabilization funds as an adjunct to navigation and flood control, and not for funds for locks and dams, per se.

This particular section is selected for special discussion as

(1) It contains proportionally the major portion of bank stabilization for the entire project.

(2) It poses the greatest engineering problem caused by the meandering course of the river through an alluvial-type soil highly susceptible to erosion.

(3) The complexity of the engineering problem and its relation to the overall project demands it be tackled and surmounted immediately.

(4) The location of the navigation channel must be "anchored” by means of bank stabilization preparatory to locks and dams to follow. This is a time-consuming matter and any delay affects the entire project correspondingly.

(5) This particular area was not selected for the purpose of establishing any priority of one section over another, but because it contains features applicable to the entire project and stresses the need for change in method of appropriations from "emergency” to "permanent” status.

While we are discussing chiefly the area designated, we desire to proclaim the fact that there is a complete spirit of unanimity of all the interests throughout the entire basin, and an intense desire for a program of bank stabilization, regardless of location. We feel there is a need for action now. Delay simply means the further waste of the taxpayers money.

As an examplebank stabilization heretofore has been accomplished by “emergency” funds. This has resulted in approximately 25 “patch” jobs—like a patch on an automobile tube-in the area below Pine Bluff. These were constructed to meet critical situations. It is our understanding all of these are of emergency nature and not one is a completed project. The small amount of appropriations has not given the Engineers enough money to complete one reach as it should be. Likewise the uncertainty of funds has not permitted planned, coordinated construction.

As a consequence, substantial damage regularly occurs to unfinished and incomplete jobs, resulting in a great loss of taxpayers money. This could be avoided by an intelligent and planned program such as we are advocating

We need to avoid a crash program of construction with its attendant taste. To illustrate, the Arkansas River traverses a route abounding in natural rock necessary for bank stabilization. There are at present however, only two quarries in operation. If it became definitely known that a market would exist to consume the increased output, it is reasonable to assume that not only would these quarries equip themselves for the increased demands, but other quarries would come into operation helping to create a source of supply to meet the demand. The same principle applies to other contractors engaged in this type of work. Once it became definitely known contracts were availble, contractors could afford to move in their equipment, resulting in more satisfactory bids for cost construction. We therefore have the choice of

(a) accelerating our bank stabilization program to complete the program in an orderly and economical fashion, or

(6) instituting a "crash” program in an effort to keep pace with the other phases of the construction program, with its companion waste, or

(c) delay the completion date of the entire project, thus depriving our economy of the benefits for the corresponding period on the funds already invested.


We wish to present the following facts:

(1) We can choose either (a) a bank stabilization program with enough funds to carry on a planned, integrated system, or (b) a continued waste and destruction of small reaches of revetment that are not complete because of lack of funds.

(2) The maintenance cost below Pine Bluff, brought about by flood damage of 1957 and 1959, which has been the subject of just criticism and inquiry, has during the past 3 years been in excess of $242 million. We feel that if enough money had been appropriated each year to have enabled the Engineers to plan and complete the works in each reach, 50 percent of this $2,500,000 could have been saved.

(3) We had a conference with two of our resident contractors. They informed us that if the appropriations were of sufficient amount and on a permanent basis, they could and would move in enough equipment ready to start work each year, and this would make it possible for them to give the Government 'a much better bid price for the work. But at the present rate of appropriations and the long

« PreviousContinue »