Page images

headwaters of this river at a place called Hungry Horse, for flood control, to hold the water back. What they would do to us down there at this Albeni Falls would simply fill up the lake, so that when the floodwaters come in, in the spring, as they did last year, and as they are doing this year, the lake would be full of water and the flood pouring in would go that much higher and inundate the farms and towns in the valleys and around the lake.

They tell us they would open the gate down there at the dam and let the water out, to control the flood levels of the lake and rivers. That is impossible. It cannot be done. I am going to show you why, and the engineers' report will show you why.

Here is a chart prepared by the Army engineers. You will notice that the level of Lake Pend Oreille extends right down to the mouth of the Priest River. From that point there is a fall, if you read this Army chart, of 17 feet, down to the axis of the Albeni Dam.

Now, what good will it do to open gates down at the Albeni Dam if you have got your channel narrowed and choked up and backing up, with dead water back here, backing up and piling up and inundating the lands around those towns, along the Clark Fork River, Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River. And that alluvial soil up in the Clark Fork Valley must be considered. What is the good of opening the gates, if that is not the point of the bottleneck? You can open the gates at Grand Coulee or anywhere else downstream; it will not help us any. And the purpose of my coming before this committee and representing the people of all those towns and all that area along the Clark Fork Valley, around the Pend Oreille Lake, and down the Pend Oreille River is to ask this committee to see to it that the water resources of the Clark River are developed in an orderly fashion, and that we do the thing that is proposed by this committee and by the Congress and provide food protection.

We have, if we develop the river in an orderly way, a series of dams and waterstorage projects. The Hungry Horse project is being built now. From there on down the river, there is a Glacier View, Paradise Dam, the Noxon Rapids and Cabinet Gorge.

('abinet Gorge has been investigated by the Bureau of Reclamation, was authorized by Congress, and it is a natural place for a dam. It will make plenty of power. It seems to be overlooked by the Army engineers.

Then we have Albeni Falls, and downstream we have Metaline Falls. We have a choice of seven projects, one is being built at Hungry Horse, and all these splendid natural potential water-power sites and storage places that will store the water and provide flood control along the river, to protect our lands and not ruin them.

We urge that the flood-control program that has now started with the construction of the Hungry Horse Dam on the headwaters of the Clark Fork River be carried through to completion in an orderly plan to provide flood control by the construction of the series of food-control and power dams in the Clark Fork River which are included in the report of the Army engineers as fast as found practical and feasible in a logical construction program to safeguard and protect the land and property of our citizens from flood damage as well as develop and utilize the hydroelectric resources of the Clark Fork River.

If we could build this project with the proper flood-control safeguards, there would not be this water pouring in on us, but this program to build Albeni Falls Dam first, as proposed, would just start in on the tail end of the river development program. To build this project first would not provide flood protertion for anybody anywhere.

Let me tell you something, gentlemen. I came there in 1890. That country was largerly wooded. The settlers moved in there as we did, and they had to clear away the brush and timber and blast the stumps to clear the land. There was timber there. We could not sell any timber at that time in the early years. There was no market. The timber, mostly burned, had to be felled and logged and piled up. The stumps had to be cleared. That area on the map to be floodel that you see there represents the work of a generation of people.

Now let me read you the list of towns in there. I will show you on the map where these towns are. There is Clark Fork, Denton, Hope, Oden, Pack River, Kootenal, Sandpoint, Dover, Wrenco, Morton, Laclede, Sawyer, Thama, Priest River.

It is the rapids and narrows in the Pend Oreille River we want removed. We want you to go in and excavate on both sides, so that when they tell us they will open the gates at the Albeni Falls Dam and let the water out, it will go out. It will not make any difference whether they open the gates in high water or not the way they plan the project now.

The rapids are in the main river and when it is hot weather up in the mounatins, and snow water is pouring in and the river is rising, and the land commences to be flooded. Then the river will come to a stand. And if the rise in the lake and river just stopped there, we would not suffer much damage.

It would not do anything to Albeni Falls, except to let the water come down there a little more evenly and regularly. We are not after anything in low water. It is just when this water is coming in so fast and backing up over all the farm lands that we want it made possible for the inflow to get out as fast as it comes in.

We think that there are some other projects in this report that are far more important, and one of them is Libby Dam project over on the Kootenai River that will protect Bonners Ferry, and protect the farming land that has already been diked in the United States and Canada.

The Libby Dam on the Kootenai River at Jennings, Mont., which will do twice as much as the Albeni Falls Dam in storing water and generating power and firming power downstream at Grand Coulee and Bonneville and also prévide real flood control to protect Bonners Ferry and the 13 rich leveed districts in the Kootenai Valley besides firming up the power of the five hydroelectrie plants now installed on the river in Canada. That is just over the hills, but it is another river system. You see there are two great arms of the Columbis that come down from the Continental Divide. They come right straight across Montana and reach Idaho. There they do a peculiar thing. They both turn abruptly, squarely, and flow north into Canada.

The Kootenai swings north into Canada. The Clark Fork rising on the Couitnental Divide in Montana swings north in Idaho and flows into Canada, also.

Let us give Libby first priority. That is what I am advocating. Let us carry out this power development and flood-control program in an orderly way Do not do it backward and wreck us, while we are waiting for flood control.

If we build the Albeni Falls Dam first, as now proposed, and then build the Libby Dam, what a contrast you will see as you fly across north Idaho as you look down on the Clark Fork Valley above Lake Pend Oreille and the valley of the Pend Oreille River below the Lake. You will see desolationflooded homes and inundated farms, all along the way to the Albeni Falls power plant on the far side of north Idaho located near the Washington State lide. generating power that will be flowing into the distributing systems of the local utility companies, with no flood control or any lands watered by irrigation, just power production in Idaho.

What a contrast you will see as you look down on the valley of the Kootensi River, with prosperous communities and the Libby Dam, with big power plants and flood-control reservoirs regulating the flow of the Kootenai River as it flows through the rich farming country in the diked districts in Boundary County, with Bonners Ferry as the county seat.

You will see the Great Northern Railway and the Spokane International Railroad passing through Bonners Ferry and connecting with these railway lines. You will see the Kootenai Valley Railroad paralleling the Kootenai River as it flows through the rich valley lands of Boundary County in a broad fertile valley that extends across the international boundary line into Canada. You will see a controlled river flow that will increase the power production of five power plants on the Canadian side. Then following on down the Kootenai River to where it unites with the Columbia and the Pend Oreille Rivers you will see that it flows back into the United States to increase power production at Grand Coulee and Bonneville.

If we build the dam at Albeni Falls and abandon the plan to build the Libby Dam, you will see a desolate spectacle as you fly over the valleys of both rivers in north Idaho at flood time. As you look down on the Clarks Fork and Pend Oreille River Valleys you will see much of the farming land and homes of the settlers permanently under water. As you turn to see the Kootenai Valley you will look down on uncontrolled floodwaters covering wide stretches of diked lands extending to the international line and across the boundary into Canada Floodwater that can be stored and controlled by building the Libby Dam to protect farms and homes and generate electric power.

The report of the Army engineers gives top priority to the Libby Dam.

We, of Idaho, humbly ask that the Libby Dam be built first, and that Congress follow through with the orderly development of the water resources of the Clarks Fork River, and protect us from floods, in a program that has been so well started with the construction of the Hungry Horse Dam on the headwaters of the Clarks Fork River, now under way, to give flood control by constructing the series of multipurpose dams in an orderly river development program.


We, the undersigned resident citizens of Bonner County, definitely oppose the plan to construct a dam at Albeni Falls up to elevation 2,097 and the creation of a Lake Pend Oreille Reservoir with water surface at or near 2,062.5 feet elevation. We oppose the exploitation of one section or class or group for the benefit of another when development of upstream storage near source can effect greater benefits to all and while conserving and developing our natural resources to the fullest extent, can accomplish identical benefits for downstream navigation and power installations as the Albeni Falls project, and thereby creating actual flood control instead of flood damage.

(This petition listed 250 signatures.)

CLARK FORK FILES MORE DAM PROTESTS Further opposition to the building of Albeni Falls Dam and consequent raising of Lake Pend Oreille's level to 2,062.5 feet was expressed last week by the village of Clark Fork trustees in adopting a resolution protesting the building of the dam on the ground that a continuous level at this elevation would seriously affect the village.

The village trustees declared that the menace of a dam built to an elevation of 2,097 feet for the purpose of establishing a reservoir water surface elevation of 2,062,5 feet will create a perpetual threat of subsequent increases.

"With the responsibility of protecting the interests of village property, and our citizens," the resolution said in part, "we must point out that even with a maintained water level of elevation 2,062.5 feet above sea level, considerable damage must be anticipated in much of the business and residential sections of our town,

"First, because no one can assure us that this level will be the maximum watersurface elevation reached at this locality immediately adjacent to the major intake source of the proposed reservoir.

"Second, this community by its location will be most subject to damage due to the combination of natural conditions, of weather, etc., and the multiple and conflicting demands of reservoir control.

*Third, local underground water tables respond to and reflect the water level of the adjacent river and especially will create difficult problems of street maintenance, flooded basements, and sewage and cesspool facilities if the high water which exists at water elevation 2,062.5 feet or thereabouts is maintained for even a short time. This underground-water-level table is close to elevation 2,080 feet much of the year at the eastern village limits not far from our schoolhouse and the underground water movement there is directly toward the village.

"Underground water movements from Lightning and Mosquito Creek drainage basins are usual and quickly reflect changing conditions of the main water table In the valley due to the river and lake as local residents can testify from experience."

Eugene Ralph, chairman of the Clark Fork committee, said that his committee has submitted further information to George T. Hudson, of the United States Department of Agriculture and a member of the Columbia Basin Interagency Joint Committee with headquarters in Portland in support of a proposed agricultural and land survey of thi: area to be adversely affected by the building of the dam.

The committee has also presented its views to Gov. C. A. Robins, the Idaho rogressional delegation, and others.

STATEMENT BY CORPS OF ENGINEERS ON LIBBY PROJECT, KOOTENAI RIVER The proposed Libby Dam project is a multiple-purpose development for flood control, storage, and power recommended by the Chief of Engineers in his report dated June 28, 1949, on the Columbia River and tributaries.

The Kootenai River, on which the Libby Dam site is located at river-mile 212.8. rises in Canada, flows through Montana and Idaho, and reenters Canada to join the Columbia River in British Columbia. The drainage area above the dam site is 10,000 square miles, on which the normal annual precipitation is 30.0 inches.

The project will consist of a concrete gravity dam about 11 miles upstream from the city of Libby, Mont. The dam will be 2,300 feet long at the crest, about 400 feet high at the maximum section, and will create a reservoir at pool elevation 2,440 feet. An overflow section at elevation 2,408 feet will occupy the existing river channel and will be equipped with tainter gates. The spillway will have a capacity of 200,000 second-feet with pool at elevation 2,441.5 feet. Twelve outlet sluices controlled by slide gates, combined with the discharge from one-half the initial powerhouse units, will provide a capacity of 55,000 second-feet at minimum pool for flood-control operation. The powerhouse will provide space for 10 units, 6 of which are proposed for initial installation. The generators would have a rating of 98,000 kilowatts each.

The dam would be founded on rock, which is either exposed or lies but a few feet below the bed of the river. The rock is overlain at its maximum depth by 47 feet of river sand and gravel at the left bank. The abutments are sound argillite and quartzite, weathered only to shallow depths and not closely jointed, exposed from the valley floor to several hundred feet above the proposed dam. A single igneous sill is located about 500 feet downstream from the axis. There is no known possibility of reservoir leakage at any point on the site. Very little silting of the reservoir is expected because of the negligible silt load carried by the river during the greater part of the year. Field investigations for the dam included topographic and hydrographic surveys of the site, reconnaissance for construction materials, drilling and seismic explorations, and considerable map ping and aerial photography. An alternate site for the dam, about 6 miles up stream, was considered but rejected because of the large terminal moraine on the left bank, which, it is believed, would not be suitable for the abutment of a high dam.

The Libby project would provide a high degree of regulation of Kootenai River, would improve dependable flows of the lower Kootenai and the main stem of the lower Columbia, and would be an important element in the Northwest regional power system. In uncoordinated operation, the project would produce 200,000 kilowatts of prime power at the site by its available storage of 4,250,000 acre feet. In coordinated operation as a unit in the proposed system development, at a 75-percent load factor, the firm capacities would be 318.000 kilowatts at the site and a total of 1,005,000 kilowatts of system prime power. Additional prime power would be made available at future downstream sites on Kootenai and Columbia Rivers as a result of Libby regulation, through an effective head of 630 feet at existing and authorized Federal projects and about 325 feet of additional head in contemplated developments. There is also an effective bead of about 345 feet at existing private plants in Canada, the additional power from which is not included in the above system totals.

The reservoir will occupy an area of about 50,000 acres. The gross storage is 6,100,000 acre-feet, of which 4,250,000 acre-feet is active with a draw-down of 35 percent. All of the lands within the proposed reservoir area lie in the narrow U-shaped Kootenai Valley, and, except for railroads, highways, and an occasional small community, contain little development. The dam and reservoir could be constructed to much higher elevations and store enough water to provide almost complete regulation of the stream. However, the proposed water elevation has been limited to that of tailwater at the Wardner site upstream in Canada which is being studied as a potential development by Canada.

The primary benefits from the Libby project would be flood control and power, with incidential benefits to navigation and recreation. Floods as large as those of 1894 and 1948 would be completely controlled and damages from floods of this magnitude in the Kootenai Flats area in the United States and Canada would be eliminated. Large flood-control benefits would also accrue in the lower Columbia River Basin. Large increases in prime power would result at the site and at downstream plants through river regulation. Navigation benefits would accrue primarily to lumbering by use of the Libby Reservoir as a means of transporting timber to the mills. Recreational activities, including hunting, fishing, and boating, would be enhanced. Estimated annual benefits, based on 1948 prices, are summarized below: Estimated annual benefits, Libby project

Estimated annual value Power benefits.

$19, 830, 000 Flood-contros benefits..

1, 791, 900 Navigation benefits..

21, 000 Recreation benefits.

70,000 Total --

21, 712, 900 The total estimated construction cost of the Libby Dam project, at 1948 prices, is $239,077.000. Annual charges, including interest, amortization, operation, and maintenance are estimated at $11,139,000. The project has a favorable ratio of benefits to costs of 1.95 to 1.


The Albeni Falls project is recommended by the Chief of Engineers in his report published in Senate Document No. 9 Eighty-first Congress, first session, and is also an element in the main control plan for the Columbia River and tributaries, recommended in his report dated June 28, 1949.

The project is proposed for flood control, navigation, and power, and is located on Pend Oreille River in Bonner County, Idaho, about 2 miles easterly from the Washington-Idaho State Line. Clark Fork rises near Butte, Mont., and flows about 350 miles to Pend Oreille Lake in northern Idaho. Pend Oreille River leaves the lake and flows about 25 miles to Albeni Falls, thence about 74 miles to the Canadian border and then 16 miles in Canada to join the Columbia River. The l'end Oreille River at Albeni Falls drains a mountainous area of about 24,200 square miles. The principal tributary of the Pend Oreille River is Priest River.

At the proposed dam site, the river is divided by a rock island and flows through two constricted channels at low water, each adjacent to prominent rock abuttents. High water breaks through two additional channels near the middle of the island. The proposed plan for the Albeni Falls site includes a concrete gravity structure with a spillway section occupying the left channel which will be widened to include part of the area now an island, and a powerhouse occupying the right channel. The normal full reservoir pool is established at elevation 2.062.5 feet above mean sea level as a result of local desires and attitudes, although a higher elevation would be possible. The minimum level of the lake will not be reduced by the project and the duration of low lake levels will be much briefer.

The main spillway will consist of 9 gated openings, each 40 feet wide, with the crest of the ogee section at 2,031 feet. An auxiliary spillway, consisting of 3 ungated openings 40 feet wide, with crest of the ogee section at elevation 2062.5 feet, will be located at the right of the main spillway. The main and auxiliary spillways are designed to handle safely the design food and to pass a flood equivalent to the 1894 flood without raising the level of Pend Oreille Lake, and will reduce by 1.5 feet the high levels on the lake due to lesser floods. The effect of the existing natural bottleneck at Albeni Falls, which affects outflow from Pend Oreille Lake, will thus be appreciably ameliorated by the project.

The proposed powerhouse at the site will contain 3 units, each with a rated rapacity of 14,200 kilowatts. The project, in coordinated operation with system plants at Hungry Horse, Grand Coulee, Foster Creek, McNary, and Bonneville will add 168,000 kilowatts of nominal prime power to the system. The effects uf regulation at Albeni Falls on future projects that may be constructed on the main stem of the Columbia River are not included in evaluating the Albeni Falls project, but are an important aspect of the project due to the greater head thruaigh which the storage can be utilized. Such benefiis may properly be considered in the even al justification of future projects.

Of the total reservoir area at elevation 2,062.5 feet, only about 6,300 acres 11e outside the existing meander lines of Pend Oreille Lake and River, and will he acquired for project purposes plus some additional area for freeboard along the shores and a few areas that will become inaccessible.

« PreviousContinue »