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only 7,260 acres of land in the Kootenai Valley was flooded as a result of dike failures as compared to about 40,000 acres flooded in 1948. The total flood damages from the 1954 flood in Kootenai Flats is estimated at $2,400,000.
Floods of June 1954 in Iowa. Heavy rains occurred during the period 17–21 June 1954, averaging 5 to 8 inches over the upper reaches of the Cedar, Iowa, and Des Moines River Basins in northern Iowa. Major flooding occurred along the overflow plains of these rivers and their tributaries. The peak stage at Des Moines, Iowa, on the Des Moines River, was nearly 3 feet above the previous maximum of record which occurred in May 1903, and 3.7 feet above the disastrous 1947 flood. Damage to crops was heavy, especially in the flat land that comprises the headwaters of the lowa, Cedar, and Des Moines River Basins. Total damage was estimated at $14,800,000. Following the request of the Governor of the State for assistance, the district engineer at Rock Island, Ill., set up headquarters in Des Moines to assist city forces of Des Moines in the supervision of flood-fighting operations. Emergency crews with boats, from the Missouri River Division, reported to Des Moines to assist in the flood fight. The levees at Des Moines were raised nearly 4 feet to protect against the crest. As the flood progressed downstream from Des Moines, Corps of Engineers personnel and equipment were shifted to danger points to render assistance as was necessary.
Flood of June 1954, Rio Grande basin. Heavy rains of 25–27 June 1954 in the Rio Grande basin caused record-breaking flows on that river and its tributaries. Because these streams are characterized by their extremely rapid rise and almost as rapid recession, there was little opportunity for effecting flood-control measures while the flood was in progress. However, at the first indication that floods were occurring, immediate steps were taken to dispatch Corps of Engineers personnel to the flood area to collect engineering data, inspect damages, and to assist in rehabilitation activities. Assistance furnished under the provisions and procedures of the Disaster Act of 1950 included the removal of silt, debris and dead animals, and restoration of highways to use by traffic.
Vicksburg tornado. The tornado of 5 December 1953 developed on the Louisiana-Mississippi border just south of Vicksburg, Miss. It cut a path about a block wide across seven blocks of the main business district of Vicksburg where it lifted, only to descend again in a residential district. Destruction included 275 homes, 17 industrial plants, and 75 business buildings; 300 homes, 12 plants and 200 business buildings were damaged. It was
described by the press as the "worst disaster the city has suffered since the Civil War.” A total of 38 persons lost their lives and 270 others were injured. Property damage was estimated at $25 million. Coordinating with the commanding general, Third Army, the Corps of Engineers directed the restoration of vehicular access to stricken areas, search of collapsed buildings for the injured, and the elimination of immediate hazards to rescue workers and inhabitants. The division engineer, Lower Mississippi Valley Division, used all available personnel and facilities under his command.
Wreck removal. The removal of wrecks in navigable waters of the United States is governed by sections 19 and 20 of the River and Harbor Act approved 3 March 1899, and is predicated entirely upon their being obstructions to navigation. During the fiscal year, 63 wrecks were removed by the Corps of Engineers as obstructions to navigation.
2. ADMINISTRATION OF LAWS FOR PROTECTION
OF NAVIGABLE WATERS
In administering during the year the Federal laws enacted for the protection and preservation of the navigable waters of the United States, 5,779 permits for structures or operations in navigable waters were issued and plans for 179 bridges, dams, dikes or causeways were approved. In addition, 38 extensions of time for commencement or completion of construction of bridges were granted. Action was continued on nine obstructive bridge cases in various stages of development. Şixty-seven sets of regulations for the use, administration, and navigation of navigable waters were established, including drawbridge regulations, establishment of anchorage grounds, special anchorage areas, danger zones, dumping grounds, restricted areas, fishing areas, and harbor lines.
The Corps of Engineers engaged in the following additional activities relative to the administration of the laws for protection of navigable waters: Investigations of the discharge or deposit of refuse matter of any kind in navigable waters; prevention of pollution of coastal navigable waters by oil; administrative determination of the heads of navigation and the extent to which the laws shall apply to specific streams; supervision of the harbor of New York to prevent obstructive or injurious deposits in the tidal waters thereof, including the waters of Long Island Sound; establishment of reasonable rates of toll for transit across bridges over navigable waters; granting of permits for the occupation and use of Federal works under control of the Corps of Engineers; reports of international boards on operations affecting international boundary waters; and legislation in connection with the foregoing.
There is a continuing program to prevent deposits or to obtain the removal of any deposits in channels which obstruct navigation or increase Federal maintenance costs. In 9 areas of the country, 24 industries and 5 municipalities are removing, have been requested to remove, or are participating in the removal of shoals for which they are responsible. Negotiations are under way on 7 waterways with 16 companies for remedial action in connection with waste deposits causing shoaling and negotiations are planned with 3 additional companies.
During the year complaints were received that the toll charges of the Delaware River Port Authority bridge between Philadelphia, Pa., and Camden, N. J., were not reasonable and just and action was taken under the Administrative Procedure Act to review the complaints. Hearings were presided over by an examiner obtained on loan from the Interstate Commerce Commission. The Secretary of the Army found that the rates of tolls were not unreasonable within the intent of the Bridge Act of 1946.
Near the close of the fiscal year, the Task Force on Water Resources and Power, Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, forwarded statements of State Highway Departments dealing with clearances and operation of bridges across navigable waters. In connection with its continuing studies of this subject, the Corps of Engineers is making a thorough review of its policy on bridge clearances with a view to resolving the problems involved in meeting the requirements of both the water and land transportation interests.
3. REGULATION OF HYDRAULIC MINING, CALIFORNIA The California Debris Commission, created by act of Congress, regulates hydraulic mining in the drainage area of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers to prevent the resulting debris from being carried into navigable waters. The Commission has licensed 22 mining operators, of which 6 utilize storage behind the Federal debris dams.
During the year the Harry L. Engelbright Dam and the North Fork Dam, together with their appurtenant service facilities, were operated and maintained for the storage of hydraulic mining debris. On the Yuba River, repair of the Daguerre Point Dam, a debris barrier, and clearing, snagging, and bank-protection work was accomplished. The cost of this activity is paid in part from funds provided from receipts of contributed funds.
4. UNITED STATES LAKE SURVEY
Under the authorized project, the United States Lake Survey prosecuted its continuing program of preparation and revision of charts for navigation of the Great Lakes, the New York State canal system, Lake Champlain and the Minnesota-Ontario border lakes. Work progressed during the fiscal year 1954 on the basis of a 15-year program, insofar as practicable, comprising, in addition to chart preparation and sale, hydrographic surveys, engineering studies and flow measurements, and the Great Lakes Pilot publication.
Emergency sweeping operations were conducted for determining the extent of shoaling where groundings had been reported at the southern end of Lake Huron and in the vicinity of lower Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior. A complete hydrographic survey was made of a portion of the west end of Lake Erie between Toledo and the mouth of the Detroit River, and also of selected portions of the St. Clair River. Revisory surveys were made for revision of navigation charts for positions of prominent landmarks, addition of new features, and for United States harbors on Lake Michigan, selected harbors on Lake Huron, and the St. Marys River. Offshore hydrography was completed in Green Bay, Mich., covering approximately 1,600 miles of sounding. Forty-six gaging sites were maintained for recording and predicting the levels of the Great Lakes and the connecting rivers.
5. WASHINGTON, D. C., WATER SUPPLY With funds appropriated for the District of Columbia, the Corps of Engineers continued the operation, maintenance, repair, and protection of the water-supply facilities, known as the Washington Aqueduct, to provide an uninterrupted and adequate supply of purified water to the distribution systems of the District of Columbia and adjacent Maryland and Virginia areas as authorized by law. The maximum daily consumption provided by the existing facilities was about 263 million gallons, and the average daily consumption was about 166 million gallons.
In order to meet the increasing demand for water, construction work continued on the long-range expansion program. Construction work on major improvement items consisted of completion of a new 30-million-gallon clear-water basin at Dalecarlia and initiation of construction of the third high-transmission main. Preparation of plans and specifications continued for constructing a new pumping station at Dalecarlia; Little Falls pumping station, dam and tunnel; and a new filtered-water reservoir.
6. ST. LAWRENCE RIVER JOINT BOARD OF ENGINEERS
This board, having a United States and Canadian section, was created pursuant to the Order of Approval issued by the International Joint Commission on 29 October 1952. The United States section was established by Executive Order issued 4 November 1953. Members of the United States section are the Secretary of the Army and the Chairman of the Federal Power Commission, with the Deputy Chief of Engineers for Construction and the Chief of the Commission's Bureau of Power as alternates.
The duties of the board are to review and approve the plans, specifications, and work schedules for the $600 million power development in the International Rapids section, St. Lawrence River, of the Power Authority of the State of New York and the Hydroelectric Power Commission of Ontario, the joint builders, filed for clearance in behalf of both Federal Governments, and to inspect construction operations to insure conformance of board approvals. Funds in the amount of $245,000 were appropriated to finance the activities of the United States section during the fiscal years 1954 and 1955. A small engineering staff to support the United States group has been established at the job site (Massena, N. Y.), with Washington liaison. Supervision of construction pursuant to the Federal Power Commission license issued 15 July 1953 to the power authority has also been assigned to the United States section, thus integrating these two Federal supervisory activities. Costs of the United States section are, under a provision in the Appropriation Act, to be reimbursed by the Power Authority.
7. FOREIGN TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
During the fiscal year the Corps of Engineers continued to render technical assistance on projects in foreign-aid programs upon request of the Foreign Operations Administration and the Department of State. Work was continued on the preparation of a comprehensive engineering report for use by the Paraguayan Government in connection with development of the Paraguay River for navigation. Technical assistance through review of plans and reports and laboratory analyses of foundation materials was rendered the French Government in connection with the proposed construction of a large earth-fill dam near Gap, France.