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local communities did a great job of trying to control the river, but the great flood of 1927 brought home very forcibly to the people of the country that it was not a local problem, but a national problem. So, the 1928 Flood Control Act was enacted. Well, that is a good long time ago and we are still working on the 1928 flood control program.
When the 1928 flood control program was originally conceived it his to take care of what we call the main stem levees. Since then it has been expanded to take in most of the tributaries, all of which are sizable rivers themselves, and they present quite a problem. We represent the local interests that do control, with the Corps of Engineers, the flood waters of 41 percent of the land area of the continental United States flowing down the Mississippi from Cairo, Ill. to the Gulf of Mexico. It has got to be controlled in those levees and inside those leree walls.
Now, as our flood protection has increased, our economy has increased and improved. There are approximately 24,000 square miles that lie behind lerees in the lower Mississippi Valley and there are approximately 3 million people who live behind those levees. Some of the most fertile agricultural lands in the world lie behind those levets.
Since World War II industry in this area has multiplied many times, attracted largely by an abundant water supply, adequate navigation faciities, and expanding markets. A major flood now would not only be disastrous to the area itself, but it would be a serious blow to a great segment of our national economy, dependent as it is upon our valles for a large part of its food, fiber, petroleum, sulfur, and chemicals. Few dollars spent by the Federal Government mean more in benefits than those that have been spent and are being spent for the food protection of the lower Mississippi Valley. The Corps of Engineers estimates a benefit-to-cost ratio on our project of 6 to 1, which We believe to be very conservative.
MISSISSIPPI MAIN STEM LEVEES
As I said, I only want to discuss with you the overall picture. The irst thing I want to talk to you about is the item in the budget of $2,100,000 for the Mississippi River levees; that is, main stem levees. At the rate of appropriations recommended by the Bureau of the Budget, i will take approximately 10 more years to complete our main-line letee system along the Mississippi. We believe that the economic deTelopment behind these levees and the growth in population and in mealth generally makes it unwise for us to be satisfied with anything less than a complete levee system. We have many miles of levees which require berms for control of seepage which in time of great dood is one of the principal hazards to be met. We have many miles of levees that have seepage problems and the water seeps through he levees and it is necessary to build these berms on the inside of the levee to control the seepage. Some of the levees are not up to grade in sections. Let me point out that all of this work eventually has to be done if we are going to have a complete levee system. We can see no advantage in delay, and actually by carrying on the work at a more reasonable rate, savings might be expected on the overall cost.
The recommendation of the association here today is that this be increased to $3,760,000.
Now, Mr. Cannon, you spoke about that "convenient subma Mr. CANNON. A remarkable coincident.
Mr. BERBLING. It may be coincident to this thing, but as I le: home Saturday and drove to St. Louis to catch a plane, the rive southern Illinois were over their banks. Fifty miles south o Louis the Mississippi was out of its banks. As we crossed the Wa you could see water several miles in each direction. We know reports that there is water in the upper Ohio, a flood stage at I burgh and we know they are up around your town and farthe in the upper Mississippi. The melting snows and rain in the u Missouri are coming down.
Mr. Cannon. The crest has not been reached yet, has it?
Mr. BERBLING. No, sir. The Weather Bureau in Cairo, whi the barometer of the river so far as the lower river is concerned been predicting 49 feet with no crest in sight as yet. So, we are g to have some water. It may be coincidental, and I am sorry to that it is happening at this time, but it highlights what we are as. for, because the people below Cairo for the next 3 or 4 weeks are go to be watching that river, as well as in Cairo, as to what the river do. We will have quite a bit of water in the rivers, and it all depe on whether or not anything unforeseen happens. In other words, water is there and we are going to have a flood and the river is go to be over its banks all up and down the Mississippi, and it will be to the levees to contain it. If we have something like we had January 1937 when the great Ohio River flooded, then we will hav serious problem. So, I agree with you that sometimes these “s marines”
appear just at the right time, but we have no control over However, we are going to have water for the next 3 or 4 weeks a quite a bit of it.
MISSISSIPPI BANK STABILIZATION
Now, I would like to talk to you about bank stabilization.
Mr. BERBLING. Mr. Chairman, the Bureau of the Budget allocat $22 million and we recommend that this be increased to $25 millio The bank stabilization work is next to the levee system the most in portant segment of our flood protection plan. The results of th work to date have been to considerably increase the river's floo carrying capacity, to provide with a more allowable navigation cha nel and to eliminate the necessity for constantly setting back lever because of the inroads by bank caving. There are three methods bank stabilization that the Engineers use, namely, articulated coi crete revetment, pile dikes and corrective dredging, with the concret revetment representing the most common and also the most expensiv tool at our disposal. Some of you gentlemen have seen the concret revetment method. It is a woven concrete revetment which they pu in. It is a big barge and they tie it with cables and then back awa from it and it lays down on the river bank. It is very expensive. I is made by a plant which belongs to the Engineers and it is such plant that no private contractor would dream of investing in becaus of the cost of it. That does the best job. Then, of course, we hav
the pile dikes or what we call fences which direct the current one way or the other.
Last year, although we had favorable weather, that kind of concrete retetment is best done and most cheaply done at low water stages. However, we ran out of money. We could have done a good deal more work if we had not run out of the amount of money allocated by the Congress. Therefore, we believe that this ought to be raised to $25 million. In dollars and cents $1 million does not go Fery far on this bank revetment. Mr. Carxon. That is, in excess of the budget estimate?
Mr. BERBLING. No, not in excess of the budget estimate. It is $3 million in excess of the budget estimate. The Bureau of the Budget recommends $22 million and we recommend $25 million. That is a very modest raise on that item.
MAINTENANCE OF MISSISSIPPI FLOOD CONTROL SYSTEM
The next thing I want to talk to you about is maintenance or the keeping up of our flood control system. Normally the local governmental agencies like the cities or the levee districts are charged with the maintenance of the levees, but this project is so big that there are a great many items which the local units are not charged with and the Federal Government does have to take care of them.
The recommendation of the Bureau of the Budget was $17,250,000. We ask for an increase of that in the amount of three-quarters of a million dollars, or to be raised to $18 million. I say that because we have big reservoirs that have been built in the valley and they have worked in a way to help us. There is no water particularly in the Tennessee Valley because of the great dams that control it, and the Kentucky Dam which is near us is at a low stage. So, they can store a tremendous amount of water in the Tennessee Valley as a result of their dams, and when Cumberland is finished, it will do the same thing
Mr. Cannon. In your opinion the TVA serves an appreciable function in flood control?
Mr. BERBLING. I say it does, yes. That, of course, is dependent on water fall too. There has not been a tremendous amount of water to fall in the Tennessee and Cumberland Valleys like there has in the Upper Mississippi and places like that. But, they can store a tremendous amount of water in those dams and then release it after the food danger is passed.
Mr. CANNON. You are not advocating the establishment of other
Mr. BERBLING. No, sir, I am not advocating that because I do not
which is about 7 feet lower than the normal spring level at the presen time.
But, getting back to this maintenance request, as this program ha grown, the maintenance needs have grown with it. We do not thin) it is necessary to make much representation to you on that becaus the Congress knows, especially the Appropriation Committees in th last years have recognized that it is a sound policy to protect youi investment by taking care of it, and we just want to remind you tha you have a tremendous investment in the flood control system, anc just a little more will do a better job than what the Bureau of the Budget has allocated.
Gentlemen, I am just dealing with the general overall picture so far as the lower Mississippi is concerned.
I would like to call on different witnesses now who will talk to you about the individual problems in their areas, and I would like first to call on Mr. Hu B. Myers, the chief engineer of the Department of Public Works of the State of Louisiana.
Mr. Cannon. Mr. Myers, will you please be seated ?
LOUISIANA FLOOD CONTROL PROJECTS
STATEMENT OF MR. HU B. MYERS
Mr. Cannon and members of the committee, I am Hu B. Myers, chief engineer of the Louisiana Department of Public Works. The department of public works represents the State in the maintenance of flood control systems and water resources development.
We have filed a brief in support of this project, copies of which have been given to the committee and which we would like to insert into the record at this point.
(The brief referred to follows:)
ADEQUATE APPROPRIATIONS FOR FLOOD CONTROL, MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND TRIBUTARIES
This brief is presented on behalf of the State of Louisiana by the Louisiana Department of Public Works. It expresses the views of the State government on current requirements for continuing the project on flood control, Mississippi River and tributaries.
The department of public works is the planning agency of the State government, and is responsible for coordinated development of the water resources of Louisiana, including flood control, drainage, water conservation, irrigation and navigation projects. It is also the consulting engineer for the 24 levee districts in the State. In the performance of its duties the department maintains close liaison between the flood control activities of these districts and those of the Corps of Engineers and other Federal agencies, and between Congress and the State government on flood control policy and legislation.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FLOOD CONTROL
Nearly one-half of the 35,000-square-mile flood plain of the Mississippi River lies in Louisiana, and one-third of the State-about 16,000 square miles—is subject to overflow without flood protection. Most of the State's industry, half if its population, over one-third of its farms, and many of its important cities and towns, including the port city of New Orleans, occupy this area. All of the principal highways and railroads, and most of the transcontinental oil and gas pipelines traverse it. Thus Louisiana has a tremendous interest in flood control, and the magnitude of the floods and the low elevation of the extensive areas requiring protection make flood control Louisiana's most important problem.
OBJECTIVES OF THE FLOOD CONTROL ACT OF 1928 The Food Control Act of 1928 recognized the importance of flood control, not only to Louisiana, but to the entire alluvial valley and to the Nation as well. It has as its principal objective the control of floods on the Mississippi River and trüataries in the interests of national prosperity and the flow of interstate commerce. The resulting flood control program under the Corps of Engineers has heen eminently successful in approaching this objective, and its benefits have exteaded to all segments of the national economy.
Flood control provides the foundation upon which rests most of the material progress in the alluvial valley of the Mississippi River. The economic development which has occurred in the valley, and which has contributed so much to the Nation's industrial strength, would not have been possible without flood control. Security from floods has enabled this rich area in the heart of the United States to utilize and add its resources to those of the rest of the Nation,
ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF FLOOD CONTROL Prior to inauguration of the flood control program in 1928 the economy of the alluria) ralley was largely agricultural, but since that time there has been a prodounced trend toward industrialization as hundreds of manufacturing plants have become established along the river. Industry has been attracted by the vast resources of the gulf coast, abundant fresh water supplies, unexcelled water transportation facilities, and proximity to the markets of the United States and South America. In Louisiana alone, approximately $1.1 billion has been added since 1956, $718 million of which was invested along the river below Batia Ronge. Similar growth has occurred throughout the valley, as evidenced by the tremendous increase in commerce on the lower Mississippi River. Traffic on this portion of the river has risen 760 percent since 1927—from 2.9 million ton-miles to 24.9 billion in 1958.
The Mississippi River is the main element in the most extensive inland waterway system in the world, and its value to the Nation will increase as other links in the system are completed, such as the St. Lawrence Seaway, bringing deepwater navigation to the Great Lakes ports in the heart of the United States; the Caliment-Sag Channel connecting the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River in Illinois; and the Mississippi River-gulf outlet at New Orleans, now onder construction.
The rate of development in the alluvial valley today makes it one of the most dynamic areas in thhe United States, and increases proportionately the responsibility for food control and navigation which the Federal Government assumed under the Flood Control Act of 1928. Each year more people, more industry, more commerce, and more public and private property become dependent upon iood control works for their welfare and security.
STATUS OF PROJECT
A summary of the presently estimated first costs of the authorized improve sents and appropriations made by Congress for construction of the work is given in the following tabulation.