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(Appendixes 1-9 appear in part 1 of these hearings)

(Appendixes 10-13 appear in part 2 of these hearings)




This subcommittee is investigating how the various Federal agencies (such as the Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Tennessee Valley Authority, Soil Conservation Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, Water Resources Council, et cetera) are handling their responsibilities and operations concerning the improvement, modification, and channelization of streams and rivers. Our study includes their costs, benefits, efficiency of operations, and their effects on the environment.

Among the benefits which result from these projects are flood control, improved navigation, reduction in erosion, increase in water supply for nearby communities, increased recreational opportunities, more cropland acreage, enhanced esthetic values, increased income to local residents, and improved fish and wildlife habitat. On the other hand, conservation agencies and others have complained that in many cases these projects have numerous adverse effects, such as substantial decrease in fishery resources, destruction of wildlife habitat and timber, increased downstream flooding and erosion resulting from greater streamflow velocity, heavier siltation, greater eutrophication from increased nutrients, impaired water quality and destruction of esthetic values.

We would appreciate receiving your views on the stream improvement projects in your State which have been constructed or are planned to be constructed either by the Federal Government or with the aid of Federal financing. We desire to ascertain the effects of such projects on their watershed and neighboring watersheds and the benefits and damages they produce. We would also like to know to what extent your agency participates in the planning and development of these projects. We would welcome your suggestions and recommendations for changes or improvements in the present program.

We would appreciate receiving your response by May 28, 1971.



Chairman, Conservation and Natural Resources Subcommittee.



STATE OFFICE BUILDING, Montgomery, Ala., May 10, 1971.

House of Representatives,

Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVE REUSS: I am happy to respond to your request for our views on the effects of watershed projects in Alabama. The State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, which I serve as Executive Secretary, acts for the Governor in approving applications for assistance under the provisions of Public Law 566. This committee also reviews work plans prepared for each of the projects in this State. The Soil Conservation Service provides the technical assistance in planning these projects and during the implementation phase.

Your letter refers to these and other such projects as "stream improvement projects." Actually, any stream channel improvement done in connection with any of these developments is only a part of the total improvement that is commonly planned. Each of these projects includes a major effort to plan and install needed upstream land treatment measures to prevent runoff, to reduce soil erosion, to abate pollution, to reduce downstream sedimentation, and to promote better overall water and land management for all upstream areas. This is the first phase of any consideration in planning for watershed development.

After this, consideration is given to the planning of floodwater-retarding dams which temporarily store excess runoff from the larger storm events and release it at a rate so as to substantially reduce downstream flooding.

Such reservoirs, when planned and installed, can also provide needed water for many other purposes including fish and wildlife. In some instances in Alabama, additional water has been stored to provide badly needed water for municipal and industrial use and to help promote the growth of small rural communities. One such instance is my home county of Clay where two floodwater-retarding structures have been installed in the Crooked Creek Watershed project to provide water for the towns of Ashland and Lineville.

Channel improvement is used only as a last resort in achieving needed and desired watershed objectives. It is done only when sufficient control cannot be achieved by storage in reservoirs. In other words, channel improvement is an adjunct to other watershed works of improvement and used only where absolutely essential. In cases where wildlife habitat may possibly be adversely affected, mitigation measures are considered and planned where it is feasible to do so.

We are not aware of any case in Alabama where watershed works of improvement have caused increased downstream flooding and increased stream bank erosion resulting from greater velocity. In fact, observations made during and after periods of heavy rainfall over the past year clearly show that a greater reduction in floodwater damage is occurring as a result of these projects than was claimed during project evaluation. We have also observed that after revegetation of channel banks following construction, and as a result of upstream improvements, streams are running clearer than before project installation.

I am sure you are aware that projects previously planned, which include channel work, are undergoing careful review to determine whether all planned measures are now needed and whether modifications need to be made to meet local, as well as regional and nationwide objectives. This study is being carefully coordinated with the Alabama Department of Conservation and other fish and wildlife agencies.

In summary, these projects are proving to be quite valuable in terms of local community development and environmental improvement in our State. We do not consider that the relatively small amount of channel improvement done has resulted, or will ever result, in any significant degradation of fish and wildlife habitat. It is interesting to note that only about 150 miles of stream channel work have been installed as a result of these projects during the last 15 years. By comparison, we have in this State about 10,000 miles of streams classified as creeks. The rate of installation of such measures will not likely increase. It is, therefore, doubtful that this relatively small amount of channel improvement has resulted, or will result, in significant reduction of fish and wildlife resources in the State. This is particularly true in view of mitigation measures applied as indicated above.

While there is a constant need to update and, where needed, modify programs to meet changing conditions, we do not recommend any significant changes in the approach used in implementing this program at present.

We are pleased to provide these thoughts for your consideration.
Very truly yours,

Executive Secretary.

Montgomery, Ala., May 25, 1971.


Representative, House of Representatives,
Washington, D.C.

DEAR CONGRESSMAN REUSS: Your letter of April 26 to Mr. W. R. Sizemore, chairman of the Alabama Forestry Commission, was referred to me for handling. We cooperate with the Soil Conservation Service through the U.S. Forest Service and with the Tennessee Valley Authority in planning and developing the forestry sections of their respective watershed projects for Alabama.

The Tennessee Valley Authority has the Bear Creek Watershed Authority, one of their tributary watershed projects, located in northwest Alabama and northeast Mississippi and we worked with them in the planning of this watershed. We have a forester stationed in the area and a large amount of his time is spent working in the watershed. This watershed project has many recreational areas incorporated in the plan, and we cannot observe any adverse effects on the wildlife habitat or timber in the area.

We cooperate with the U.S. Forest Service in preparing the forestry section of all small watershed plans proposed by the Soil Conservation Service under Public Law 566. The only criticisms we have heard in the past were directed at the extensive amount of channelization done on these projects. It appears that there are no provisions made to maintain the channels, once they are constructed, and, it is estimated that they will revert to their original condition in 5 or 10 years. There also seems to be a lack of appreciation on the part of many landowners who are supposed to 'benefit from this channelization. There have also been a few instances in the past where this channelization has lowered the water table in the bottom lands and has killed the valuable bottom land hardwood adjoining the channel. Also the Alabama Game and Fish Division contends that channelization is often detrimental to fish habitat.

As these faults became apparent to the Soil Conservation Service, they began a reevaluation of all small watersheds that are in the proposed or planning stage. We are working with them in this project to correct any proposals that might be detrimental to the timber in the area.

In all projects of this type, there are some adverse environmental effects, and it is the responsibility of all the participating agencies to see that the proposed benefits to be gained justify these losses. The Alabama Forestry Commission will continue to work closely with all agencies to help insure that these various factors are all given their due consideration.

We appreciate your subcommittee's sincere interest in the conservation of all our natural resources and shall be glad to cooperate with you in any way possible. Let us know if we can furnish you any other information on these subjects. Sincerely,

C. W. MOODY, State Forester.



Phoenix, Ariz., May 12, 1971.

Chairman, Conservation and Natural Resources Subcommittee, House of Representa-
tives, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

DEAR CONGRESSMAN REUSS: This is in response to your April 26, 1971 letter. I am pleased to comment on those stream improvement projects in Arizona on which I am knowledgeable.

Upstream watershed projects constructed by the Soil Conservation Service in Arizona generally do not include stream improvement since free flowing streams in upstream areas are rare in this State. These projects, which almost always include flood prevention dams, have proven their worth both in economic and environmental terms. Since 1954 this department has participated in the preplanning, planning, and development of these projects. Our main concern regarding upstream watershed projects is they can't seem to get built fast enough due to legislative and financial constraints. Sincerely,


Phoenix, Ariz., May 19, 1971.

Chairman, Conservation and Natural Resources Subcommittee, Committee on Gov-
ernment Operations, U.S. House of Representatives, Rayburn House Office
Building, Washington, D.C.

DEAR CONGRESSMAN REUSS: Since I have assumed the chair of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission for 1971, former chairman and current commission member Glen Daly forwarded your letter of April 26, 1971, to me for acknowledgement.

The nature of your subcommittee's investigation of stream improvement projects and the effects of such programs on other resources in Arizona and

throughout the Nation is of vital concern to our commission and department. The seriousness of the impact of many of these projects on wildlife and its habitat has alarmed many citizen conservation organizations and individuals as well as professional conservationists.

In January 1969 the subject of phreatophyte clearing projects was discussed at a public meeting of the game and fish commission and resulted in a resolution on these types of projects (copy attached).

In 1969 and 1970 the commission and department opposed a cottonwood tree eradication program of the Salt River project along the Verde River. For the present, operations have been suspended.

In February 1971, the commission opposed the Lower Gila River clearing project in southwestern Arizona. This is a Corps of Engineers authorized project. We are now awaiting additional information on increased mitigation measures which have been tentatively offered by the Corps of Engineers and the project sponsors.

After reading your letter, I would agree that your second paragraph generally describes the benefits that result from land, water, and vegetative treatments of streams and watersheds. Likewise, your third paragraph describes many of the detrimental effects of stream improvement projects on fish, wildlife, timber, soil vegetation, and esthetic values.

Generally, stream improvement projects are beneficial for certain water uses, but by and large these projects have been detrimental to fish and wildlife resources. Only a few such projects in Arizona have been beneficial to fish and wildlife resources.

With regard to your request for comments on our agency's participation in evaluating these projects, I understand it occupies the time of three men almost full time and a dozen or more on a part-time basis.

Our involvement in Federal water projects is provided for under the authority of the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act of 1934 and 1958, as amended. More recently the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 have been a great help.

In addition, representatives of the Arizona Game and Fish Department have been involved in discussions of stream improvement projects and the effects on wildlife at several national and regional meetings this past year.

A report of the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, U.S. Department of the Interior, dated September 1970, contains the "Views of State Fish and Game and Conservation Departments on Needed Improvements in the Conservation and Enhancement of Fish and Wildlife in the National Water Resources Program." The views of the Arizona Game and Fish Department are contained in this publication.

Further, the various State game and fish agencies met in Washington in October 1970 to discuss many of the problems and to find some of the answers to some of the questions you are seeking. The results of this meeting were published by the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife in a report entitled "Proceedings of the National Symposium on the Conservation and Enhancement of Fish and Wildlife in the National Water Resources Program." As a followup to the national symposium, a western regional workshop on the same problems of water resource programs and the effects of these programs on fish and wildlife was held in San Francisco in December 1970. A copy of the western regional proceedings can be obtained from the California Fish and Game Department.

Representatives of the Arizona Game and Fish Department attended both the national and regional meetings and presented their views, comments, and recommendations on the many problems that game and fish departments face in water resource programs.

In closing, I can say that Federal water resource programs are important to the Nation, to regional development, to the various States and to the people. On the other hand, the effects of many of these programs have been extremely detrimental to fish and wildlife, to the environment and to esthetic values. In the future, new water development programs need to be carefully planned to protect all resources and all values. Comprehensive planning with input from all natural resource agencies prior to the design stage is essential, and protective measures must be provided to insure an acceptable, balanced program.

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission and Department stand ready to assist in comprehensive water resource planning, and to protect those natural resources that fall under our jurisdiction.

If we can be of further help, please don't hesitate to contact us.


C. J. MANTLE, Chairman.

JANUARY 17, 1969


Whereas Arizona is recognized nationally for its superior white-winged and mourning dove populations with an annual harvest of over 1,700,000 birds by over 40,000 sportsmen, and

Whereas future dove populations depend directly on available riparian vegetation located along the rivers and streams of Arizona for nesting habitat, and Whereas large numbers of other small game, song and insectivorous birds, big game, waterfowl and several rare and endangered species of wildlife depend on these riparian areas for cover, and

Whereas hunting, bird watching and other recreational uses of these areas contribute an appreciable sum to the economy of Arizona, and

Whereas vegetation clearing projects are either completed, authorized, proposed or programed for every major river supporting noteworthy amounts of such vegetation in Arizona, and

Whereas the Arizona Game and Fish Department has evaluated the impact which some Federal vegetation eradication projects have had or will have on wildlife within the State of Arizona and has found that the completed projects and the completion of the proposed projects will result in the elimination of valuable small game, big game and waterfowl habitat, severe reduction of a nationally significant dove population, and the potential elimination of several rare and endangered bird species in Arizona, and

Whereas Federal agencies conducting vegetation eradiction projects in Arizona have failed to act on the recommendations made by the Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for mitigation of wildlife losses, and

Whereas the Arizona Game and Fish Department is charged with the responsibility of the preservation of Arizona's fish and wildlife resources, and

Whereas control of the Arizona Game and Fish Department is vested in the Arizona Game and Fish Commission; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Arizona Game and Fish Commission on January 17, 1969 opposes implementation and authorization of future vegetation eradication programs until such programs are evaluated by the sponsoring agencies, development agencies, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department for the purpose of determining the nature and extent of benefits to be derived therefrom, and the nature and extent of resource losses resulting from the projects, and until appropriate recommendations for mitigation of resource losses resulting from the implementation of a clearing project are incorporated in the project.

Phoenix, Ariz., May 26, 1971.


Chairman, Conservation and Natural Resources Subcommittee, House of Representatives, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. REUSS: Your letter of May 20, 1971, addressed to Dr. Kossuth of our Department, regarding the approval of water shed improvement projects, has been forwarded to me for reply.

Our Department is responsible for administering and enforcing the water pollution control statutes of the State of Arizona. Consequently, we are interested

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