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Mr. CROCKFORD. No. 9.-The wooded area in the background of this picture is a creek bottom which has received flood protection from a Public Law 566 small watershed project. The workmen are pouring concrete to form a driveway to a new subdivision being located on the flood plain. We believe this philosophy to "improve" the flood plain for a higher and better use, whether for subdivisions like this, while 70 percent of us live on 1 percent of the land, or to improve farmlands, while we pay $3 billion annually on soil bank payments, is in need of deep and serious study by a staff of qualified scientists, including economists. Meanwhile untold damage is being done to our precious natural resources, at a cost of untold millions of public funds.
Mr. CROCKFORD. Again I would like to say how much I appreciate being here. We have no serious quarrels with SCS but we are concerned with this one phase-that of channeling-and we hope out of this will come an in-depth study to develop some kind of reasonable flood control program.
Mr. REUSS. Thank you very much, Mr. Crockford, both for your very interesting photographs and for your statement.
We will now hear from Mr. Robert A. Jantzen, director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT A. JANTZEN, DIRECTOR OF THE ARIZONA
GAME AND FISH DEPARTMENT
Mr. JANTZEN. Mr. Chairman, I am Robert Jantzen, director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. My department is under policy direction of a five-member commission which is charged with the responsibility of managing and preserving the State's fish and wildlife resources.
We have been involved with Federal water development projects for a number of years which have either, directly or indirectly, involved fish and wildlife in Arizona. We have been operating under authority granted State agencies in the Fish and Wildlife Coordination . Act of 1934 as amended (16 United States Code 742a-742j). A number of projects have been authorized for construction in Arizona, and almost all involve channelization of streams in some form.
Arizona is unique in that all flowing streams are appropriated and consumptively used for man's benefit. We have essentially a closed water system in Arizona. In an arid State with an expanding economy and exploding population, it is natural that the most limited resource, that is water, will be developed and used to the maximum. It is the manner in which this development is taking place through Federal projects that is of utmost concern to the department.
Our problem is one of using annual precipitation to the best advantage of all the people in the State. For downstream purposes this means moving water from the watershed to a final delivery system with the least possible in-transit loss. Most consumptive use of water by fish, wildlife, recreation and esthetic resources is that which takes place on watersheds, along streams, and in reservoirs. Thus, a conflict between various water use interests is inevitable and does occur.
In the decade of the fifties, the idea of phreatophyte removal as a means of “salvaging" water emerged. This theory is based on reducing water uses along streams by removing riparian or streamside vegetation with a subsequent increase in streamflow. This theory resulted in broad-scale planning of new Federal water projects throughout the State. At the present time, every major river in Arizona has a vegetation removal program in some state of planning or construction. These programs are far beyond strict channelization design. Often the design includes removal of all existing vegetation from the riverbanks and adjacent flood plain. The associated maintenance program insures the preservation of the cleared area. Attached to my statement is a map of Arizona with the various vegetation clearing project areas delineated.
(NOTE.— The map referred to follows:)
Mr. JANTZEN. The full impact of these programs on wildlife cannot be realized without reviewing the values of this particular habitat type associated with stream courses. For example, although riparian areas constitute less than 2 percent of Arizona's wildlife habitat, their annual dove production is equivalent to 90 percent of the annual harvest. Our nest surveys indicate that a single acre of riparian habitat will produce more doves than 5,000 acres of surrounding desert. These river bottom forests are usually composed of thick stands of mesquite, salt cedar, and cottonwood, and are the most limited and productive wildlife habitat in Arizona. They are valuable for large and small game, including waterfowl, but are also important to species of wildlife considered rare and endangered and, of course, other nongame species. We estimate that the existence of approximately 10 bird species will be jeopardized in Arizona if more streamside vegetation is removed from some of the rivers in southern Arizona. They are as follows:
Black-bellied tree duck; zone-tailed hawk, gray hawk; rose-throated becard; thick-billed kingbird; beardless flycatcher; tropical kingbird; green kingfisher; Anthony's green heron; and osprey.
Phreatophyte removal is often only part of the total water development program on a river. Such is the case with the Lower Colorado River. In addition to clearing of the banks, sections of the Lower Colorado River are being channelized by dredging.
A dredged river with riprapped banks and cleared flood plain results in almost total fish and wildlife habitat removal. The 40 miles of river from Bullhead City, Ariz., to Needles, Calif., would serve as a case in point. The reach was channelized with a dredge in 1960 and apparently almost all fisheries production and waterfowl use has been lost.
A recent study to determine the effect of stream alteration on fish production was completed by the Idaho Fish and Game Department. The study inventoried 1,138 miles of stream, of which 434 miles had been altered. This comprehensive study found that “any stream channel disturbance will, on the average, reduce the productivity of the affected area in terms of poundage by 87 percent." It is interesting to note that this study found that streams channeled or modified in 1882, 1891, and 1930 still remain 83, 99, and 97 percent, respectively, lower in fishery production than adjacent natural reaches of the stream.
The 14-mile Topock Gorge reach of the Colorado River has probably received more publicity than the rest of the Lower Colorado River. The spectacular scenery, primitive aspects, wildlife refuge status, and the value for migratory waterfowl are responsible for this special attention. The reach begins at the Topock Bridge and extends south through an inaccessible desert mountain range. It is characterized in the upper end by sheer rock walls, a swift current, and many small backwaters. In the lower 6 miles the river emerges from the narrow Mohave Canyon and gradually slows, spreading over a large marshy delta at the upper end of Havasu Lake.
At the upper end of the gorge there is situated Topock Marsh. Prior to channelization, the marsh occupied approximately 12,000 acres. Channelization of the river in the fifties isolated the marsh, created lower water levels, and drained much of the waterfowl habitat. A dike and water intake structure were constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation to impound water and preserve part of the marsh in
1966. However, water diverted into the marsh is only sufficient to offset normal evaporation. The marsh loses so much water through seepage back to the lower water levels of the adjacent river that the water diverted will permit permanent impoundment of only 4,000 of the original 12,000-acre area.
Dredging in the mouth of Topock Gorge began in 1967, but Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall halted channelization efforts in 1968 at the request of citizen conservation groups, the California and Arizona Game and Fish Departments, and the Governor of Arizona.
The Bureau of Reclamation plan for dredging Topock Gorge is mostly justified by salvaging water from Topock Marsh. The plan calls for lowering the water level at Topock Bridge 5 feet from the present elevation, which would drain 2,000 acres of marsh below the dike and lower the water table 3 feet behind the dike. This lower water table will accentuate the existing water seepage problem through the dike. It would appear that Topock Marsh and almost all the back waters in the gorge may be drained if dredging is resumed.
Our department is of the opinion that Congress is not always aware of the probable effects of many projects during the authorization and subsequent funding procedure. For example, the projects mentioned above all list water "salvage" as a beneficial objective. We feel that the use of the word "salvage” immediately connotes saving something that would otherwise be wasted. We submit that this is untrue and misleading. The water supposedly salvaged is actually transferred from fish and wildlife use to other forms of consumptive use.
Projects which are a problem in Arizona are alike in one respect: they were authorized years ago under conditions which have since been altered significantly with the passage of time and changing public values. We find projects being funded in 1971 which were evaluated and authorized in 1927, with 1927 value judgments; that is, Lower Colorado River front works and levee system. This kind of time lag between authorization and project construction presents serious problems; in many cases we feel the economic benefits of these projects should be reevaluated, and the reevaluation should include consideration of impacts on fish, wildlife, recreation, and environmental factors. It would seem in the best interests of the public to require reauthorization of projects not implemented within 5 years of authorization, and we recommend this policy for your consideration.
Regulatory acts by the Congress in recent years have provided that a multiple purpose approach be taken in water project planning. I refer to the Water Resources Planning Act of 1965 (Public Law 89–80), the Federal Water Projects Recreation Act of 1965 (Public Law 89-72), and the National Environment Policy Act of 1969 (Public Law 91-190). We are under the impression that these guidelines were established to insure consideration of all resources, multiple purpose planning and evaluation of all benefits and costs. Yet, the manner in which projects are authorized in Congress makes it difficult to accomplish these desirable objectives.
Projects are authorized in omnibus bills and as comprehensive basin plans which have not received adequate engineering evaluation. Projects are authorized which are little more than an engineering concept. There is no way to determine the environmental impact of a