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Mr. REUSS. Mr. Boldt.
Mr. BOLDT. I think what these three gentlemen have said pretty much goes along with what has happened in North Dakota. În the past 10 years ago or back beyond that we had very little opportunity to comment on these watershed programs. However, more recently we have had a biological watershed task force: People from the State Game and Fish Department and Soil Conservation Service and Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife who have reviewed and looked at these projects.
However, some of the recommendations that we have made and some of the alarm that we have shown on these watershed projects have not been considered too seriously by the watershed planning party.
Mr. REUSS. So your testimony would be that despite the existence of memorandum 108, your views tend to be disregarded?
Mr. BOLDT. We have had the opportunity to review the Soil Conservation Service's recommendations on memorandum 108 and they have asked us for our comments. We will be giving those to them next week, and we will see then what will be done with them.
Mr. REUSS. Has the Soil Conservation Service in the past faithfully followed your recommendations against channelization, or has it approved channelization projects which you felt were not in the public interest?
Mr. BOLDT. I can't say that we have ever totally disapproved channelization in any particular project. We have recommended mitigation, and this is about all we have been able to do-recommend mitigation, for the losses that might occur. And as I mentioned in my testimony, mitigation is only replacement in part or making less severe. We feel that in the past we have not developed our recommendations as thoroughly as we should. If we were to go back and review some of these projects now, we would definitely recommend much more thorough mitigation than we did at the time.
Mr. REUSS. Mr. Frost, perhaps I should repeat my question since we have now had four intervening witnesses answer. My question was: Do the provisions of memorandum 108 assure the Ohio Department of Natural Resources that its considered judgment as to whether a given proposed channelization project is or is not in the public interest will in fact be followed by the Soil Conservation Service?
Mr. FROST. Yes, I think that there are enough checks and balances that the State definitely can make a finding on this and it will be followed; because the Director of Natural Resources, before a work plan finally passes back to the Soil Conservation Service, is the final approving agent. So there is this opportunity.
Mr. REUSS. My question, though, is, is there anything in memorandum 108 which compels the Soil Conservation Service to cease and desist if you determine that the project is not in the public interest?
Mr. FROST. I'm sorry. I can't answer that because I am not familiar with the details of 108. But I would like to comment, if I could, that one of the problems with a lot of these projects is that they were proposed and have been in the planning stage for more than a number of years, because of the inadequacy of funds for the Soil Conservation Service. And in this period of even a span of 5 years there has been a great change in policy within the States and nationally on preservation of these kind of values that formerly were not given too much con
sideration. We have cases in Ohio of channel projects in which our fish and wildlife people formerly approved but to which they now object.
So partly in fairness to the Soil Conservation Service I would say that the great change in public interest here, with a law that doesn't permit the environmental assessments that are now required, has left a lot of us hanging on the limb on projects.
Mr. REUSS. Mr. Hanten.
Mr. HANTEN. I generally agree with what the other States have said, in that we do make recommendations as a result of meager studies that we are able to perform, and generally these are accepted and tried to place into the plan with SCS. However, we are limited by funding and personnel to make these recommendations and to find time to do the adequate job that we should on a lot of these projects. Mr. REUSS. Is there anything in memorandum 108 which prevents the Soil Conservation Service from overruling your objections and going ahead with the channelization program?
Mr. HANTEN. Like Mr. Frost, I am not familiar enough with 108 to answer that.
Mr. REUSS. Thank you. Mr. Gude.
Mr. GUDE. Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Bagley, mention was made of a specific TVA project where, rather than controlling flooding in a particular area by channelizing and containing the flood plain in the existing channel of the stream, TVA used an overflow basin or an alternate channel to carry overflow when the flood waters reach a dangerous level. To what extent is this concept used?
Mr. BAGLEY. Mr. Gude, I don't know whether I can accurately answer your question. I do know that there is always an engineering concept that they use. Our national association feels that each project has to stand on its own feet. In other words, it utilizes the engineering that is best for that particular project under those particular conditions. That is how the thing is tested and that is how it is developed. So, as to how frequently that is used, it would be used for a particular purpose, yes, in a given area, and would in all probability be of benefit to that particular project.
Mr. GUDE. Do you know of any specific SCS projects that utilize this specific technique?
Mr. BAGLEY. I personally do not know of any that have been constructed that way. I know of one that is being considered to be done that way-where they possibly will bypass a scenic river with a potential channel that will take the excess water and go around and leave the scenic river alone. I know of this one that they are planning
Mr. GUDE. The reason I ask is because from time to time innovative techniques are brought to our attention. Some of these techniques seem to have great merit, and I wonder if they are adequately studied and utilized. It is the problem in water pollution cleanup. There is a great deal of talk about the potential in tertiary treatment and the possibility of recycling water. There seems to be a continued resistance from professional engineers to seriously consider and implement these new techniques. I'm asking to what extent the SCS is looking at new techniques and new ideas that would serve to do the job better, with less adverse effects on the environment.
Mr. BAGLEY. I am quite sure that they are looking constantly into new engineering techniques; and I think a part of this big problem that we are talking about here today is a matter that is involved in this whole grand picture of environmental concern that has grown up within the populace in the last 2 or 3 years. One of the reasons we have not had interagency collaboration on projects has been because it was just not deemed to be all that important back a few years ago. Now, since the country and everyone is so environmentally concerned we are getting involved with specific things and all, and I think it may be a good thing for the United States that we do have these considerations in the long run.
But as we learn to work together, interagency cooperation and collaboration, as we use our expertise, as we complement each other, we may come out with the best thing yet, and that will involve constant changes in engineering and scientific techniques-yes.
Mr. GUDE. Does the Soil Conservation Service have a specific research arm that is dedicated specifically to studying and developing new techniques?
Mr. BAGLEY. Yes, sir, ARS has a Soil and Water Conservation Research Division. The Division was under Dr. C.H. Wadleigh and it is now under Dr. Jan van Schilfgaarde. ARS, Agriculture Research Service, is doing research work on different techniques constantly. It is at Beltsville.
Mr. GUDE. Yes. What sort of interplay is the Soil and Water Conservation Research Division doing with the Department of Interior, which I believe would be the Federal counterpart of the departments represented by these witnesses?
Mr. BAGLEY. Sir, I would assume that they do have some interplay, but I wouldn't know just to what extent.
Mr. GUDE. Would it be possible to get a report on the Soil and Water Conservation Research Division and the extent to which it works in conjunction or has interplay with those segments of the Department of Interior which are concerned with channelization problems? Mr. BAGLEY. Be glad to. I am sure they will reply.
Mr. GUDE. If we could have that information for the committee. Mr. REUSS. Without objection.
(Subsequently the National Association of Conservation Districts. provided to the subcommittee the following data in response to Congressman Gude's request:)
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONSERVATION DISTRICTS,
Hon HENRY S. REUSS,
DEAR CONGRESSMAN REUSS: During the questioning of Mr. George R. Bagley, Vice President of the National Association of Conservation Districts, following his testimony before your committee on June 10, Representative Gilbert Gude asked him to furnish additional information for the hearing record. The request pertained to (1) the nature and extent of the research program of the Soil and Water Conservation Research Division of the Agricultural Research Service, USDA, that supports the watershed protection program of the Soil Conservation Service, and (2) the manner in which this research is coordinated with that of the Department of the Interior and other agencies.
At the request of the NACD, Director Jan van Schilfgaarde of the Soil and Water Conservation Research Division has provided us with the attached statements, which we are submitting herewith in response to Representative Gude's request.
Dr. van Schilfgaarde points out that although his Division of ARS is explicitly charged with providing research backing to the programs of the Soil Conservation Service, it considers its mission to be broader than that charge. It prides itself on providing information and ideas useful to many conservationists, farmers, ranchers, citizens' groups, and agencies, including the SCS.
GORDON K. ZIMMERMAN,
COORDINATION OF WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH WITH OTHER AGENCIES
Research by the Soil and Water Conservation Research Division (SWC) of ARS on the management of this Nation's soil and water resources is coordinated in many ways with ongoing work conducted by other Federal and State agencies. At the broad Federal level, this work is coordinated within the activities of the Committee on Water Resources Research as established by the Federal Council for Science and Technology in 1963. Briefly, this committee has purposes which are described as follows:
Identify technical needs and priorities in various research and related data categories;
Review the adequacy of the overall program in water resources research in relation to needs;
Recommend programs and measures to meet these needs;
Advise on desirable allocations of effort among the agencies;
Review and make recommendations concerning the manpower and facilities of the program;
Recommend management policies and procedures to improve the quality and vigor of the research effort; and
Facilitate interagency communication and coordination at management levels.
Again at the broad Federal level, SWC participates in several functions of the Water Resources Council established to carry out the policy of the United States in the areas of conservation, development, and utilization of water and related land resources by the Federal Government, States, localities, and private enterprise. For example, SWC has actively participated in the Council's work on developing and testing better sediment sampling devices.
Other more specific examples of coordinated efforts among agencies are illustrated below
A 5-year study group composed of representatives from SWC, SCS, and the Bureau of Reclamation was established in 1957 to develop and test procedures for evaluating the effects of watershed treatments on the yield of streamflow, including land treatment measures and structural measures.
The primary aim of the investigation was to develop procedures for evaluation the effects of combined watershed treatment measures on watersheds ranging in size from the very small upstream watersheds to major river basins. The procedures developed in this cooperative project were made available to the SCS for use in planning, installing, operating and maintaining works of improvement under the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act; to the Bureau of Reclamation for projects under the Act of June 17, 1902 (32 Stat. 388), and Acts amendatory thereof or supplementary thereto; and to other interested Federal, State, and local agencies.
At several of our experimental locations in Idaho and Montana, the Bureau of Land Management, USDI, is now providing financial assistance and is cooperating in research projects on the effects of range management procedures on soil and water resource conservation and utilization. The Bureau of Reclamation has supported cooperative research on soil salinity problems associated with irrigation practices in the arid and semi-arid areas of the West at the U.S. Salinity Laboratory, Riverside, California, of SWC. Irrigation research at the USDA Northern Great Plains Research Center in North Dakota is of prime interest to the Bureau of Reclamation because of its irrigation development related to the Garrison Diversion project. At the Snake River Conservation Research Center, improved irrigation scheduling by computers has been developed. This procedure is now being used by irrigation district farmers cooperating with the USDI, Bureau of Reclamation in Idaho and Arizona. For several years, SWC engineers have provided the scheduling service to Bureau cooperators. On a number of occasions, staff specialists in the U.S. Department of the Interior have joined with SWC personnel to review ongoing soil and water management research programs and to identify research needs.
In several instances, SWC has cooperated with the Corps of Engineers in the investigation of soil and water resources problems. For example, the Arkansas River Multiple-Purpose Plan which now provides year-round navigation on the Arkansas River altered ground-water conditions in the adjacent alluvial aquifers and the Arkansas and Verdigris Rivers. SWC and SCS specialists helped evaluate the possible influence of the post-construction ground-water conditions on agricultural enterprises. One of the major sources of salt pollution in the ArkansasWhite-Red River Basin is the Great Salt Plains, Alfalfa County, Oklahoma. The Corps of Engineers requested that Department of Agriculture specialists from SCS and SWC study the effects of a proposed diversion to alleviate this major salt source on nearby agricultural production. The study centered on possible adverse changes in soil salinity from raised water tables resulting from the proposed construction..
Two SWC laboratories have projects that relate to agricultural aspects of radioactive pollution. These are supported in part by the Atomic Energy Commission. At the U.S. Soils Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, the emphasis is on reclaiming land (for agricultural production) that may be contaminated by radioactive fallout. At the Sedimentation Laboratory, Oxford, Mississippi, the transport of radionuclides by eroded soil and its final deposition in ponds or reservoirs is being investigated.
Support from the Environmental Protection Agency is strengthening research at Fort Collins, Colo., and Lincoln, Nebr., on potential pollution hazards of feedlot wastes to surface and ground water supplies and to air pollution. Feedlot management practices are being evaluted for the safe control and disposal of feedlot wastes. Similarly, a joint project is now being planned between EPA and SWC on the movement of pesticides from small watersheds.
The processes which govern the accumulation and melt of snow are now being studied in Vermont under a cooperative agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. At Chickasha, Oklahoma, SWC cooperates with the National Severe Storm Center of NOAA.
Specific coordination of the SWC research program with the States is facilitated at all research locations by close ties with the State agricultural experiment stations. Facilities are shared, professionals often have joint appointments, and projects are supported from both sources where mutual needs for soil and water research exist. In addition, joint task forces and working groups between Federal and State groups have been developed at various times. For example, a working group representing the Department of Agriculture and the Land-Grant Colleges, as requested by the 86th Congress, prepared a report on Facility Needs-Soil and Water Conservation Research. All State and Federal agencies with an interest in soil and water conservation were invited to present statements to the working group and individual farmers and ranchers had the opportunity to present statements on pressing soil and water problems.
Last but not least, attention is called to numerous workshops and conferences with participants from various agencies. Some are small work groups involving limited participation. Others, such as the Federal Interagency Sedimentation Conference, bring together top specialists from a wide range of agencies.
NATURE AND EXTENT OF RESEARCH PERTINENT TO WATERSHED PROTECTION PROGRAM
The Soil and Water Conservation Research Division (SWC) of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) carries on a substantial in-house program of research in support of the Watershed Protection (PL-566) program and of other soil and water conservation programs implemented by the Soil Conservation Service and other Federal agencies. The research is planned and directed to be useful in solving practical field problems. The research provides a scientific basis for decisions and recommendations such as those encountered in selecting, planning, and applying soil and water conservation practices for individual farms and ranches, in community actions in the soil and water area, and in planning and evaluating alternative land and water resource programs for watersheds and river basins. The research is performed by over 400 engineers and scientists, trained in a variety of disciplines, in laboratories, on field plots, and in experimental watersheds. The personnel are headquartered at 74 locations in 38 States and Puerto Rico. Gross appropriated funds for the Soil and Water Conservation Research Division amount to $20.7 million in fiscal year 1971.
ARS research most directly related to the Soil Conservation Service watershed program includes;
1. Flood control. Investigations of the many factors affecting the generation and movement of floods from the inception of runoff through channel and valley