« PreviousContinue »
Now in the marshland areas, channelization has been associated mainly with navigation, and here, as I mentioned earlier, you do get a replacement of a freshwater fish population to a brackish or salt water population. But in the long run it has to a great extent a disastrous effect, because it results in land loss at a staggering rate when you consider that our State is shrinking at a rate of 10,000 acres a year, from erosion that is partly caused by channelization. We think this is a point that bears some looking into, some serious consideration.
Mr. STEIGER. Mr. Warvel, you made a comment, sort of an ad lib to your written statement, in which you said that-and I am going to paraphrase it because my notes don't reflect the entire statementbut in effect you said that the people who were inconvenienced by floods were local people who built homes there that shouldn't have been built there in the first place. Are you suggesting that we should not do anything to protect the people in the community who are in the flood plains now because of the error of their construction?
Mr. WARVEL. Oh, no, I didn't imply that we shouldn't do something to protect them. I am saying that a large part of the need for flood plain work or for flood control now is a result of our past error. What I am really trying to say is that by just going ahead with channeling as a means of solving that particular problem may in effect be then creating another problem for the future by eliminating the streams that we need. What I am saying is stop and look and see if we can't provide that flood control by some other means.
Mr. STEIGER. Do you know of any channelization projects that have resulted in greater benefits than harm in the State of Tennessee?
Mr. WARVEL. Not offhand, no, sir.
Mr. STEIGER. Would the Tennessee Valley Authority per se be able to exist without channelization?
Mr. WARVEL. Well, they have been primarily an impoundmentMr. STEIGER. I understand that. Mr. WARVEL (continuing). Organization, rather than channeling. They have worked with the Soil Conservation Service in some instances in planning small watershed projects.
Mr. STEIGER. It is true that channelization, good or bad, has been a contributing-not the major one, but a contributor to the whole Tennessee Valley Authority; isn't that so?
Mr. WARVEL. I don't know how many of their benefits you would say resulted from channeling. They have been noted a great deal more for impounding than for channeling.
Mr. STEIGER. Well, in order to get the water to be impounded it has to be channeled in some cases; isn't that true?
Mr. WARVEL. Well, you put a dam across the river and it is going to back up without channels as such. Now they have obviously, benefited navigation-some works within the rivers themselves--but I don't normally think of them as a channeling agency,
Mr. STEIGER. Mr. Crockford, you, too, referred to the people who constructed on flood plains both recent and-excuse me, I have one more question of Mr. Warvel. On the pictures of the channelization in Alabama, how long after construction of that channel were those pictures taken, do you know?
Mr. WARVEL. Very shortly. The berm hadn't been leveled out. Shortly after construction.
Mr. STEIGER. One of the features of the mitigation process, of course, is to seed that berm, and normally when that is done the appearance would not be quite as offensive?
Mr. WARVEL. Not on the banks. The stream bed would be as unproductive as what you saw.
Mr. STEIGER. I agree with that. Mr. Crockford, I would ask you much the same question I addressed to Mr. Warvel. What are we going to do with the people who are in the flood plain in the absence of an alternative to channelization?
Vír. CROCKFORD. Well, I think we would have to offer protection. We have not taken exception to that. What we are pleading for is a plan for the future--flood plain management. Most of the channeling projects in Georgia are in undeveloped flood plains. The question is whether you should go on and provide protection which would encourage development and thus compound the problem.
Mr. STEIGER. I appreciate that, and I remember you did emphasize something which I happen to agree with. But in the meantime, we have to deal with a problem in the areas where there is no zoning and we have people. Do you know of any direct alternative now to channelization in some instances? Are you asking us to find an alternative and in the interim do nothing? Is that the thrust of your suggestion?
Mr. CROCKFORD. No, sir, but I do think this one particular project originally had a considerable amount of channeling in it which has now been removed. Now what happened was they found protection by alternative methods, which in this case was impoundment.
Mr. STEIGER. Fine. I think everybody here would stipulate if there is that alternative it would probably be preferable. My only concern is that in establishing a moratorium on apparently some 6,000 projects, we are going to necessarily imperil those projects in which impoundment is not the answer. We are told there are some situations where impoundment will not achieve the same general effect of channelization.
I have one question of Mr. Jantzen.
I thank you for your indulgence, and, Mr. Moss, I apologize for usurping your time.
Mr. Jantzen, I understand that you are here as a private citizen and not speaking for either the council or the game and fish department, is that correct?
Mr. JANTZEN. No, sir, that is not correct. I am representing the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.
Mr. STEIGER. Well, in discussing the matter with Mr. Kriminger yesterday he was very specific. If you paid for your own ticket on your voucher you might run into some problem on your way back.
say that to you because Kriminger made a point that you were coming as a private citizen.
As a matter of fact, I find your testimony consistent with the facts. I have absolutely no objection to it. I just recite that to you so you will know what to expect when you get back.
Mr. JANTZEN. Thanks. The Governor approved my out-of-State travel.
Mr. Reuss. If the gentleman will yield, in the light of Mr. Steiger's observation, which I share, that your testimony has been very helpful, I am sure that you will be reimbursed and not bear the expenses yourself. If, however, due to administrative misadventure within the
Arizona governmental establishment, you should be left holding the bag, let us know and we will try in one way or another to get private donations so you
Mr. STEIGER. I am sure that won't happen. Mr. JANTZEN. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the offer, but I share Mr. Steiger's opinion that it won't be necessary.
Mr. STEIGER. Mr. Gettinger, I would like you to stipulate for the chairman's benefit that you and I have never met, because you are singing my song and I wouldn't
Mr. Reuss. I will stipulate to the stipulation.
Mr. STEIGER. Thank you. Mr. Gettinger, I do want you to know, however, that I personally have learned a great deal about channelization as a result of these hearings that I didn't know before. I am convinced that we must attempt to arrive at a better solution. I do oppose the moratorium on a blanket basis because of the harm it might do in specific instances. But I really think that the hearings have been extremely valuable at least for this member, and I suspect that if fish and wildlife people and other concerned conservationists would heed your paragraph-Mr. Chairman, if I may I would call your attention also, on the last page of Mr. Gettinger's statement, the third paragraph from the bottom:
As to the need for keeping in mind the interlocking relationship of all natural resource and environment programs, I would like to say that the word "environment” appears too often cut from its proper meaning. It is not the property of any one one group of conservationists or ecology experts. It is not owned by the farmer or the city resident who likes to fish in the lakes created also for flood control, low-flow augmentation of streams or water supply.
In the spirit of that statement, Mr. Gettinger, I will tell you that I think we must find a better way to protect our people and to achieve proper watershed management and channelization. I don't think we have done that in every instance yet. And so I think I would urge that you all
go forth now and propose your solutions not in the form of a moratorium, but in the form of a specific solution.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for permitting me to expound.
It being the hour of 12, I am just going to tell each of you gentlemen how much we appreciate your testimony and your contribution in general. You have helped our record enormously. And we will now stand adjourned until tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock in this place.
(Whereupon, at 12 noon, the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene at 10 a.m., Thursday, June 10, 1971.)
THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 1971
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE
OF THE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS, Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, at 10 a.m., in room 2274, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Henry S. Reuss (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Henry S. Reuss, Guy Vander Jagt, and Gilbert Gude.
Staff members present: Phineas Indritz, chief counsel; David B. Finnegan, assistant counsel; Michael B. Gross, legal assistant; and J. P. Carlson, minority counsel, Committee on Government Operations. Mr. REUSS. Good morning. The Subcommittee on Conservation and Natural Resources will be in order for continuation of its hearings into the question of the economy and efficiency of channelization programs.
We are privileged to have with us today a number of very distinguished representatives of our State agencies, and I would like tó ask all the witnesses to come and take their places at the panel table here. We shall be hearing from Charles D. Kelley, chief, Alabama Division of Game and Fish; O. Earle Frye, Jr., director, Florida Division of Game and Fresh Water Fish; W. H. Turcotte, chief of Game and Fisheries Division, Mississippi Game and Fish Commission; Wilbur Boldt, deputy director, North Dakota Game and Fish Department; S. L. Frost, deputy director for water, Ohio Department of Natural Resources; Robert Hanten of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks; George R. Bagley, vice president, National Association of Conservation Districts; and Fred Huenefeld, Jr., president, Louisiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisors.
Mr. Huenefeld, I am particularly glad to see you because our mutual friend, Congressman Otto Passman, has told me about you. We are extremely glad to have you here, and Congressman Passman, who must be elsewhere this morning, regrets that he could not be here to introduce you personally. But I wanted you to know how much we respect and regard his help and advice.
Mr. HUENEFELD. Thank you.
Mr. REUSS. All of you gentlemen have written statements which, under the rule and without objection, will be received into the record. I am going to ask each one of you to proceed either by reading his statement or, preferably, by summarizing it. We would hope that you
could confine your initial oral presentation to something under 10 minutes. That isn't a hard and fast rule, but simply to enable the subcommittee to have some time to examine you gentlemen afterward it would be well if we could more or less aim at that time limit.
We will first hear from Mr. Charles D. Kelley.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES D. KELLEY, CHIEF, GAME AND FISH
DIVISION, ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION
Mr. KELLEY. I am Charles D. Kelley, chief of the Game and Fish Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation. It is indeed a pleasure to address your committee regarding the effect of channelization projects on fish and wildlife resources as planned and implemented by the Soil Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Tennessee Valley Authority and other Federal agencies.
The Alabama Department of Conservation is in accord with the SCS's original concept of preserving and enhancing soil and water resources through land treatment measures. Cover crops, crop rotation, terraces, contour farming, fish ponds and other management practices designed to increase land fertility, reduce erosion and hold the rain drops on the land where they fall are beneficial to most fish and wildlife resources. From its beginning, the Alabama Department of Conservation has had a close working relationship with the SCS in matters relating to fish and wildlife management. In the field of fish pond construction and wildlife management, we feel that working relations between our department and SCS field personnel are not exceeded in any other State in the Nation. Likewise, the Alabama Department of Conservation has had close working relations with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
It is unfortunate that these Federal agencies in recent years have undertaken, either by force or design and with public tax moneys, a program of stream channelization which destroys rather than conserves many of our natural resources for the doubtful benefit of a few individual landowners for flood reduction, and at the same time strains the harmonious relations which have existed for so many years between these agencies and the Alabama Department of Conservation.
Let it be clearly understood that our department's criticism concerns channelization and not other policies of these organizations.
Much testimony has been presented before your committee which indicts and convicts governmental agencies of irreplaceable environmental destruction as a result of their planned and implemented stream channelization projects.
In order not to be repetitious I will, as far as practicable, limit my testimony to specific cases which demonstrate the adverse effects of channelization to fish and wildlife resources in my native State of Alabama.
An Alabama Watershed Progress Report by the Soil Conservation Service in November 1970 listed 76 watershed project applications (eight of which involved Alabama watersheds planned by adjoining States) which have been approved since April 6, 1955. Not included in this report are proposed watershed projects being planned and