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SUBJECT: Annual Report on Civil Works Activities, Fiscal Year




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1. I submit herewith a report for the fiscal year 1954 on the civil functions of the Department of the Army which are administered by the Corps of Engineers.

2. The format of my report has been revised to present information in a more concise and readable form. The first of two volumes comprises a brief description and summary of the entire civil works activity of the Corps of Engineers, and of the features and accomplishments which characterized it during the year. The second volume sets forth the detailed engineering, fiscal and statistical data, pertaining to the authorized program in a manner similar to previous annual reports of the Chief of Engineers.

3. The civil works which are the subject of this report include the planning, construction, and operation of improvements for navigation and flood control, and the multiple-purpose water resource developments associated therewith, which have been authorized by Congress under the River and Harbor and Flood Control laws. It is my hope in presenting a report in this format to facilitate official and public understanding of a program that in comparatively recent years has grown to be a major segment of the Federal public works activity. Accordingly, I should like to call attention briefly to the major features of the program, to accomplishments during the past year, and to some of the problems involved in administration of the program,

4. The summary of commercial statistics shows a continuation of the growth of waterborne commerce of the United States. For example, waterborne commerce on inland waterways in calendar year 1953 reached an all-time high of 200 billion ton-miles, as compared to 182 billion ton-miles in the previous record year of 1951. The movement of bulk and other commodities on the inland waterways, excluding the Great Lakes, has increased eightfold during the past 25 years. During the fiscal year 1954, 6 navigation improvements were completed for use by vessel traffic and 15 improvements were under construction at the end of the year. Maintenance operations were conducted at 235 harbors and waterways. I feel that the aggressive prosecution of the major navigation and river stabilization program on the Missouri River, and modernization of works on the Warrior, Upper Mississippi, and Green Rivers, was of particular significance.

5. Flood-control activities were continued under the general, or nationwide, program and in the alluvial valley of the Mississippi River. Under the general program, 51 projects were under construction at the close of the fiscal year and 3 projects were placed in useful operation. Ninety-seven flood-control dams and reservoirs were operated and maintained. These works, together with multiple-use developments constructed under the flood-control program, have cost $1,570 million through fiscal year 1954. During the same period they have already prevented flood losses aggregating $1,140 million.

6. The single large project for flood control and navigation in the alluvial valley of the Mississippi has, since its authorization in 1928, become the basic framework for protection and development of that valley from Cairo, Ill., to the Gulf of Mexico. During the fiscal year 1954, 31 miles of main-line levees were completed, together with numerous other essential elements. At the end of the fiscal year, $844 million had been expended on this work, and we estimate that the project has returned over $5 for every Federal dollar invested.

7. Comprehensive multiple-purpose projects for development of river basins in the combined interests of navigation, flood control, hydroelectric power and related water uses comprise a principal segment of the civil-works construction currently underway. During the year, primary purpose features at 4 projects were fully completed and some features at 8 additional projects were placed in useful operation. Twenty-two multiple-purpose dams and reservoirs were under construction at the end of the year. Maintenance activities were conducted at the 26 projects in full or partial operating status. Additional hydroelectric generating capacity added at 11 multiple-purpose developments during the year totaled over 803,000 kilowatts. Of this amount 70 percent was added at 6 new plants which began initial operation in the fiscal year. This total generating capacity represents about 8 percent of the new capacity added to the Nation's utility systems. Of particular significance were the additions which assisted in relieving power shortages in the Pacific Northwest, where 398,000 kilowatts of new capacity were made available to the Northwest Power Pool by projects of the Corps of Engineers. Essentially all of the power produced is marketed, under existing law, by the Secretary of the Interior.

8. Along with the progress made in project construction, the planning and development of additional civil-works projects was actively continued. During the year, 84 reports on proposed improvements were transmitted to Congress, this survey program


being the basis for the sound development of the Nation's water resources as administered by the Corps of Engineers. In the last half of the fiscal year, the recommended improvements were under consideration by the Committee on Public Works of the House of Representatives for inclusion in an omnibus authorization bill, the first to be considered since the Flood Control and River and Harbor Act of 1950. Testimony was furnished by my staff as requested by the Committee on all reports which had been submitted during the previous 4 years. As later passed, the act authorized new projects or project modifications at a total Federal cost for construction of approximately $700 million, and provided over $400 million in monetary authorizations for continuation of major river basin plans.

9. In addition to serving their primary functions, the projects constructed and operated by the Corps of Engineers produced many collateral benefits. Of particular importance during a year of serious drought was the augmentation of river flows, provided by reservoir operation, to provide needed water supplies and to relieve pollution conditions in the Southwest and on major rivers such as the Missouri and lower Mississippi. These reservoirs have also become of major importance as centers of recreational activity, as demonstrated by a record attendance of some 40 million visitor-days during the calendar year 1953.

10. This civil-works activity has been carried on by the normal decentralized organization of the Corps, comprised of 11 division and 41 district offices. These field offices, together with certain additional division and district offices, also handle the military construction programs of the Army and Air Force. During the fiscal year, 94 percent of all civil-works construction was performed by contract. Reductions in overhead costs continued ; action was initiated to eliminate one division office; and numerous technical improvements leading to savings in engineering and construction costs were introduced.

11. I should also like to call attention briefly to the fact that during this period the Corps of Engineers has been involved, and in fact has taken a leading part, in a number of efforts to determine or reach agreement on basic policies affecting water resource development. These have included the following:

a. Agreement between the Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior, and the Federal Power Commission on mutually acceptable practices in allocating costs for multiple-purpose projects with power, and in estimating the economic feasibility of power projects.

b. An agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service for the purpose of promoting sound planning of fish and wildlife matters related to civil-works projects of the Corps of Engineers.

c. The development of means, in coordination with other Federal agencies, for strengthening inter-agency coordination in water resource development, which contributed towards establishment by the President, in May 1954, of the “Inter-Agency Committee on Water Resources."

d. Full cooperation with the Task Force on Water Resources and Power of the "Hoover Commission' in its studies of the functions and organizations of the executive branch of the Federal Government.

12. During the year the Secretaries of the Army and the Interior adopted a major revision of real estate acquisition policy designed to reduce the amount of land acquired in fee at reservoir projects. The Corps of Engineers has taken necessary action to place this revised policy in effect. Also during the year considerable congressional interest developed in the "partnership” policy, which provides for participation by non-Federal interests in the development of hydroelectric power in connection with Federal water resources improvements. The Corps was requested to assist in the development of these policies and to prepare comments for the Department of the Army on a number of bills involving partnership projects. Four projects of this nature were authorized by Congress.

13. Even though appropriations and expenditures for civil works were reduced substantially below the levels of the past 2 years, the fiscal year 1954 was a most active one.

Five new navigation improvements and four new flood-control projects were initiated during the year. This moderate number of new starts was indicative of a renewed interest in keeping the program active and in line with the expanding needs of the country in the field of water resource development.

14. I feel that for the civil-works program as a whole, the fiscal year 1954 was one of substantial accomplishment in the provision of needed public improvements; and that in the field of waterresource policy and procedure important foundations were laid for sound and coordinated progress in future years.

Major General, USA,
Chief of Engineers.

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