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The report is as follows:
Portland, Oreg., June 1, 1949. Hon. GUY CORDON,
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. DEAR SENATOR CORDON : Receipt of your letter of May 25, 1949, in reference to the closing of Kentuck Slough (Inlet) as proposed by the Kentuck Inlet drainage district, is acknowledged.
This matter was investigated some time ago after receipt of a letter from Mr. Clifford V. Freude. The following information was secured:
a. The slough is used occasionally for the storage of logs by small operators, but is navigable by small tugboats, pleasure and fishing craft only at high tide. During low water even rowboats have difficulty more than 0.8 mile above the county bridge located near the mouth of the slough.
b. It is understood that 15 farms having a total of about 350 acres would be benefited by the closure, and that the Coos County roadmaster and a member of the county court have stated the county would help defray the expense.
As you are aware, it will be necessary for the Kentucky Inlet drainage district to submit maps and plans for the work to this Department for approval after the legislative authority has been secured. Subsequent to receipt of the plans, this office will hold a public hearing to determine the views of all interested parties, including navigation interests.
As it is desired to have copies of the legislative authority at the hearing and in the office files, it appears preferable for the authority to be a separate bill, in the following form:
That authority is hereby granted to the State of Oregon, acting through its highway department, to the Kentuck Inlet drainage district, organized under the laws of the State of Oregon, to construct, maintain, and to operate at a point suitable to the interests of navigation, a dam and dike to prevent the flow of tidal waters into Kentuck Slough (Inlet) in Coos County in township 25 south, range 13 west, Willamette meridian.
Work shall not be commenced on such dam and dike until the plans therefor, including plans for all accessory works, are submitted to and approved by the Chief of Engineers and the Secretary of the Army, who may impose such conditions and stipulations as they deem necessary for the protection of the United States.
The authority granted by this act shall terminate if the actual construction of the dam and dike hereby authorized is not commenced within 1 year and completed within 3 years from the date of the passage of this act. The right to alter, amend, or repeal this act is hereby expressly reserved. Sincerely yours,
0. E. WALSH, Colonel, Corps of Engineers,
District Engineer. We will be in session again tomorrow morning at 9:45. (Whereupon, at 4:45 p. m., the hearing was adjourned.)
FLOOD CONTROL-RIVERS AND HARBORS
TUESDAY, JULY 26, 1949
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met at 9:45 a. m., pursuant to adjournment, in room 412, Senate Office Building, Senator Sheridan Downey presiding.
Present : Senators Downey, Chapman, Kerr, Watkins, and Malone.
Also present: Lt. Col. H.C. Gee and J. R. Brennan, Office Chief of Engineers; Senator Carl Hayden.
Senator DOWNEY. The committee will please come to order.
The first matter before the committee this morning is at Barbourville, Ky., flood-protection work on the Upper Cumberland River.
BARBOURVILLE, KY., UPPER CUMBERLAND RIVER
(S. 2312) Senator Downey. Senator Chapman, suppose you take the lead in this.
Senator CHAPMAN. Mr. Chairman, Colonel Gee is here from the Army engineers and he has all the facts about it and will present them for the record of the committee.
This is a very important project, we think. That map shows up there the plans for the Cumberland River Valley and this vicinity, and I think every project has already been authorized except the Barbourville-Cumberland project on which this hearing is being held.
Colonel Gee is here and will report on this.
Senator DOWNEY. So that the chairman may better adapt his mind to the tempo of this, is there any opposition to this?
Senator CHAPMAN. I do not know of any. Senator DowNEY. And you would have learned of it, I am sure, if there were any. Mr. GOLDEN. There is none.
Senator CHAPMAN. This is Congressman Golden who represents that district and has lived there all his life. And if there is one thing certain, it is when that Cumberland River gets on a rampage it destroys everything in its way.
Colonel Gee has the facts, and after he has explained the project, Mr. Chairman, I would like for Congressman Golden to tell some of the things he knows about it based on his personal experience and obser
Senator DOWNEY. That will be entirely satisfactory.
Colonel GEE. Mr. Chairman, the report of the Chief of Engineers on the Upper Cumberland River Basin in Kentucky and Tennessee was authorized in three committee resolutions from the House Committee on Flood Control dated in April 1939, January 1946, and in March 1946.
The upper Cumberland Basin extends from the headwaters of that river system to Cumberland Falls, which is at the head of Wolf Creek Reservoir, a flood control reservoir presently under construction on the main stream of the Cumberland River.
The extent of this river channel is approximately 562 miles from its mouth to its headwater area.
The river is formed by the junction of Poor and Clover Forks near Harlan in southeast Kentucky. It flows generally westward a distance of approximately 30 miles to Cumberland Falls.
The Cumberland River is a tributary of the Ohio, joining it just above the Tennessee on the left bank of the Ohio River
The drainage area of the upper Cumberland Basin is 1,997 square miles, of which 1,667 square miles are in Kentucky and 320 square miles in Tennessee.
The population of the basin in 1940 was 192,000.
The larger communities are Lynch, Ky., 10,000; Middlesboro, 11,000; Cumberland, 4,100; Pineville, 3,800; Barbourville, 2,400.
Senator DowNEY. Is not Harlan in that?
Colonel GEE. No, sir, not as one of these larger communities. It is a smaller community but it is a community right on the river.
Senator CHAPMAN. It is the county seat of Harlan County.
Mr. GOLDEN. They are working on a project at Harlan, but the engineers have not approved it yet, Senator, or have not made their report.
Colonel GEE. The principal resources of this area are bituminous coal, natural gas, some iron ore, sandstone for building purposes sand and gravel, limestone for roads, clay and lumbering.
About 23 percent of the farm land which is under cultivation is planted annually, the principal crops being corn, hay, potatoes, small grain, garden truck, and dairying. And some of the agricultural pursuits are not self-supporting in the area, the principal reason being that the available lands for these purposes are in the bottom of the very narrow valleys and susceptible of damage by flash floods. Producing a crop is not sufficiently reliable to permit agriculture to carry on in a very large way in the area.
The principal flood of recent record was in March of 1929, with flow of 163,000 second-feet at Burnside, Ky., which is a community located within the area affected by the backwater of Wolf Creek Reservoir. In the same flood a flow of 56,000 second-feet_appeared at Cumberland Falls, the headwaters of the Wolf Creek Reservoir: and in the same flood a flow of 49,000 second-feet at Barbourvill. itself, one of the communities which would be protected by this plan
In January 1946 another flood occurred producing a flow at Cumber land Falls of 53,500 second-feet and a flow at Pineville of 51,00 second-feet.
Other important floods occurred in 1882, 1886, 1890, 1898, 1902, 1918, 926, 1939, and 1947.
The country is very mountainous and the slope of the streams in he upper river basin is very precipitous. The average stream slope n the upper basin is 132 feet to the mile.
This type of terrain produces floods which are flash floods in charcter. They come quickly, do extensive damage, and leave great mounts of debris behind them. There is not adequate time in a flood f this character to give warning to all of the people who might e affected by the flood and to permit evacuation of homes, particularly f the peak flow occurs during the night.
The project under construction on the river previously mentioned 3 the Wolf Creek Reservoir at mile 460 on the Cumberland.
The project for Middlesboro is a local protection project authorized n the Flood Control Act of 1936. Mr. Chairman, this local protection vroject for the town of Middlesboro authorized in 1936 was comleted in 1940. A supplement to that project was authorized in 1944 nd has not yet been put under construction.
The local protection project for Pineville was also authorized in 946 and has not yet been put under construction because of lack of ocal cooperation. A restudy of this project is included in the present eport. The authority for that project is believed to be adequate to vermit the building of the recommended improvements in this report. konsequently, it is not included in the final reference of the Chief f Engineers.
The two projects recommended in the report of the Chief of Enineers are the local protection project for Barbourville, shown in hat insert map, which involves the construction of an earth levee round the built-up area of the town of Barbourville shown on the nap in red and being traced by the pointer now. Total estimated ost of this project to the Federal Government would be $1,720,000.
The second item recommended in the report of the Chief of Enineers is channel improvement work in the vicinity of Cumberland or the purpose of straightening the stream and increasing its capacity o carry these flash floods through the community area. The channel mprovement in Cumberland will not afford the degree of flood proection which the levees will afford in Barbourville. However, it will ffer a material improvement to the situation and is the greatest mount of work which can be justified by the benefits which will be vroduced. The estimated cost of that construction in Cumberland is $67,000. That is all I have, sir, unless there are some questions. Senator Downey. I think I have no questions. It seems to be quite clear statement. Senator Chapman! Senator CHAPMAN. I might throw just a little light on this, Mr. Chairman, from the standpoint of the people of that section in Centucky.
The estimated cost as shown by Colonel Gee is $1,720,000 to the federal Government. The local cost to be paid by local people mounts to $294,000, making a total of $2,014,000.
The city council of Barbourville, Ky., has already passed an ordilance and called an election to vote on a bond issue for that amount294,000.
Mr. GOLDEN. That ordinance was passed unanimously by the city council.
Senator CHAPMAN. Yes; and it has virtually the unanimous support of the local citizens.
In 1946 the flood alone caused damage of $720,200, which does not lack much of being half of the total cost to the Federal Government of relieving this terrible situation--the danger of these flash floods.
It destroyed 200 dwelling houses with a value of $1,040,000. It did serious damage to 311 other residences, damage amounting to $481,000.
Further damage to dwellings, 145 in number, amounted to $555.000, Then the commercial and industrial property damage amounted to $126,600.
Institutional property damage was to the extent of $16,600, making a total of $720,200.
Now the estimated damages we would like to put in the record, if you please, as to what the possibilities of flood damage in that vicinity are as estimated by the engineers.
This last flood was the most damaging of any that has ever occurred there, when the stage was 41.5 feet and a total of $720,200 of damages
But we note from the record here, from 1918 up to 1946 these floods seemed to come with a constantly recurring persistency about every 4 or 5 years, and you can reasonably expect one, we would think, every 4 or 5 years.
Congressman Golden, who has lived in that country all his life, is here, and I would like for him to tell you a little bit about his observations and experience with flash floods around Barbourville.
Senator DOWNEY. We will be very happy to hear from the Congressman. STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES S. GOLDEN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF KENTUCKY Mr. GOLDEN. For the benefit of the record, and with reference to Pineville, which is a companion project to Barbourville, recently the citizens of Pineville have accepted the recommendations of the Corps of Engineers. They passed the ordinance and voted bonds, and br an overwhelming vote.
Since the engineers have been down there, they have accepted the project and have bonds ready and money ready to go ahead with the Pineville project.
I might say, Senator, we already have authorization for Pineville, and what we are coming before this committee for now is to get alithorization for Barbourville.
Not from an engineering standpoint, but from observation, I was born and reared in Barbourville. I live in Pineville now. Just from what the ordinary layman can see, and not from an engineering stand point, as Colonel Gee says, there are flash floods because we are near the headwaters of the Cumberland River.
We try our best to get the data as to how high the floods and back water may be. And on one or two occasions we have gotten the ima information we could up to 10 or 11 o'clock at night and have beer assured by our river experts that possibly there would be no danger.