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We believe that proper drainage practices are very important in the production of food and fiber. Tile and open ditch or surface drainage practices are encouraged. We are solving many of our drainage problems through R.C. & D., Public Law 566, REAP, and other approaches.

We realize there are conflicting interests in the drainage of wetlands, and we hope to cooperate in satisfying the needs of the people in this respect.

A large part of our best farmlands have been opened to agricultural production through proper drainage, and we shall continue to urge tile and surface drainage practices wherever applicable.


The Illinois Department of Agriculture realizes the importance of conserving our wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Our objectives are to encourage private landowners to provide habitat for wildlife, and to allow public hunting; to restore comparable habitat where drainage, flood control and other works of improvement have impaired such habitat; to encourage delayed mowing of ditches, fence corners and meadows, and to discourage late summer and fall plowing wherever practicable, for the purpose of providing sufficient cover for pheasant and other wildlife; to always consider wildlife habitat as a desirable land use practice, and include such practices wherever practicable in resource planning. We encourage careful consideration of Federal, State, and local highway rights-of-way as potential areas for development of wildlife habitat.


Opportunities for outdoor recreation are fully recognized by the department as being vitally important to the well-being of our people. It is our policy to encourage multiple use in all of our watershed and other resource projects so as to provide maximum opportunity for water and land based recreation. We encourage farmers and especially those farming marginal lands—to develop recreational opportunities for the benefit of our people and for their own personal profit.

Recognizing the vital importance of providing open space and outdoor recreational opportunity for the teeming millions in our cities, the department wishes to cooperate with all agencies in satisfying this very important need.

The provision of outdoor recreational opportunities can be an important source of income for many of our farmers, and private land affords a major opportunity for this type of development.

SOIL SURVEYS GEOLOGICAL INFORMATION AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT It is a major objective of the Illinois Department of Agriculture to obtain a detailed soil survey for every acre of land in Illinois.

Soil surveys, together with certain geological information and interpretations are of major importance to planning groups.

Soil information has long been used in relation to agricultural production; but it is only recently that its importance has been noted concerning urban and regional planning.

Soil and geological interpretation are vitally important in determining proper locations for housing developments, septic fields, roads, laying of certain types of underground pipe, methods of solid waste and animal waste disposal, recreational, and other purposes.

In summation, the Illinois Department of Agriculture and its division of soil and water conservation and soil and water conservation districts are recognizing and accepting broader responsibilities in the field of resource development. We realize that resource problems know no bounds; that uncontrolled urban runoff adversely affects the quality of the environment; that erosion on urban building sites is one of the major causes of siltation in streams and reservoirs; that urban sprawl brings serious tax problems and brings into being housing developments without police protection, fire protection, proper school and sewage disposal facilities, water supply, and creates additional resource problems; that proper land treatment overall and concentrated in drainage areas of major reservoirs can immeasurably lessen pollution of streams and lakes by slowing runoff and keeping silt, fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides on the land where they belong and can abate pollution from livestock confinement areas as well as open pasture and cropland; that even air pollution can be lessened by practices which will control wind erosion such as windbreaks, conservation tillage, sowing of cover crops, et cetera.

Yes, the Department of Agriculture is interested in cooperating with all agencies and groups-local, State, and national-in developing and protecting the kind of environment conducive to the health, safety, and general welfare of our people.


STATE OF Illinois,

Springfield, III., May 20, 1971.
Chairman, Conservation of Natural Resources Subcommittee, House Committee on

Government Affairs, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR CONGRESSMAN Reuss: Enclosed is a statement from the Illinois Depart-
ment of Conservation relative to stream and river modification and channeliza-
tion. I trust this covers the items of information and policy you desired.

I must emphasize that the statement reflects policies and goals of the department of conservation, but is not an overall State policy with respect to rivers and water resources.

Our participation in planning of projects is not covered in the statement so it will be outlined briefly here.

In the past we have had little input in the Corps of Engineers stream or river channelization projects. There was some participation by the department in the case of the Lower Kaskaskia River navigation project from the standpoint of recreation which could be developed along the channel. We had no impact, howeven, on the project itself.

We now are getting involved in the early stages of planning some stream channelization projects. À proposed Lower Shoal Creek channelization project was presented to the department and we opposed it. Consequently it was dropped as a channelization project. Now the corps and the department along with other State and Federal agencies are planning a project which will be aimed at preserving the natural stream through establishment of a greenbelt or environmental corridor and may at the same time provide some flood control by means of land treatment and tributary reservoirs. We oppose modification of Shoal Creek by installation of any main stem reservoirs as well as by channelization.

The department always has participated to some degree in planning of recreation facilities on Corps of Engineers reservoirs. We have not been involved so far as development of the reservoir itself is concerned.

At the present time, however, we have personnel working with the corps on river basin planning. We expect to have more to say as to whether or not any given stream shall be impounded or any specific reservoir shall be built.

With respect to channelization and modification of streams by the Soil Conservation Service under Public Law 566 projects, the department has for 2 or 3 years had a man assigned full time to work with the Soil Conservation Service and local interests on these projects. He has developed a good liaison in this regard, and we feel we have had some impact on stream modification under Public Law 566. As you know, channelization, under the Department of Agriculture, has been curtailed by watershed memorandum No. 108.

We are hopeful that through staff expansion in the near future we will have greater input and a greater impact on modification, in any form, of streams an rivers in Illinois. Our objective is to preserve our scenic, natural, and recreational streams as such and restrict impoundments to already degraded streams or to smaller tributaries having lesser natural values.

We sincerely hope your subcommittee will develop a Federal policy which will aid us in reaching our objectives realtive to stream and river preservation. Sincerely yours,

HENRY N. BARKHAUSEN, Director. Enclosure.

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DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION, STATE OF ILLINOIS Stream channelization, commonly referred to as channel improvements, has come to be an important part of flood control projects. In some cases channel work is used in conjunction with flood control reservoirs, and in other cases it is the only structural measure used. Channel work may include such things as

straightening, deepening, widening, clearing, and snagging. It may also include removal of streamside brush and trees outside the channel proper. In some cases all phases are used, while in others the work is restricted to clearing and snagging within the existing channel.

While this type of work may constitute improvement with respect to getting the water off the adjacent lands more quickly and may reduce flood damages, it is extremely detrimental to the stream ecology and environment. Other values have been attributed to channel modification work such as 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. We do not agree that all the foregoing benefits result from stream channelization. Most of the values listed are degraded by channel modifications.

In Illinois most stream modification has little or no effect on navigation. Only on those streams where it is specifically designed to improve or create navigability is this value realized. A high percentage of this work done in Illinois is on streams with too little flow to provide navigation.

The only reduction in erosion is through elimination of stream or river bends where erosion normally occurs. It has no effect whatsoever on reduction of erosion on the important uplands. The application of land and water conservation practices on the upland provides the most important erosion control or reduction and at the same time retards the rapid runoff which contributes to flood conditions. If stream bank erosion control is a prime objective, it can be achieved by installing revetments or riprap which, at the same time will enhance the environment for both aquatic and terrestrial life. On the other hand, it is possible that channelization will, in some instances, increase erosion. The increased velocity within a channelized reach of stream may well cause increased bank and food plain erosion in downstream unchannelized reaches. Furthermore, runoff from the watershed of the channelized stream may have a greater velocity and hence a greater capacity to carry soil, fertilizer, and soil nutrients into the stream. We have recently learned from local residents that channelization of Upper Shoal Creek has resulced in increased flooding along the lower unchannelized reaches. Engineers confirm that this is an expected result of upstream channelization.

We fail to see how the altering of streams to get the surplus waters off the land more quickly can increase water supplies to nearby communities. If, in your deliberations, you are considering dams and reservoirs as a stream modification measure, then water supply benefits would obtain. Modification or channelization, in the absence of reservoirs, will not increase available community water supplies.

The same can be said for recreational benefits. No such benefits accrue from the stream channelization in Illinois since the stream is rendered virtually useless from the recreation standpoint. Again, if reservoirs are considered, it is frequently possible to increase recreational benefits albeit they will reflect a change in the type of recreation. A natural stream with a good stream fishery which is canoeable would be changed to a lake type environment providing recreation in the form of a lake fishery and water sports. This satisfies one type of recreationist while the stream fisherman or canoeist is most unhappy.

In some instances more cropland acreage is provided. This is a questionable benefit when viewed from the national standpoint. Department of Agriculture programs are aimed at reducing crop acreages through various cropland retirement programs. There is little logic, therefore, for another Federal agency to finance programs which bring more land into production. There is, of course, a benefit to the individual landowner provided the frequency of flooding is reduced sufficiently so he can plant a crop with a reasonable chance of getting a return each year. Present policies of the Soil Conservation Service are not to provide services which will, either directly or indirectly, bring new land into crop production. The same policy should apply to the Corps of Engineers.

Channel modifications as carried on in Illinois by the Corps of Engineers, the Soil Conservation Service, and by private interests do not improve fish and wildlife habitat. On the contrary, widening, deepening, and straightening streams and rivers completely destroys the existing aquatic habitat. On such streams as Upper Shoal Creek, Skillet Fork, and those in the Saline River system we now have straight shallow streams, exposed to full sunlight as opposed to the previously meandering, shaded steams with alternating pools and riffles. Damages accrue to the total aquatic life including the fishes, crustacea, amphibians, vegetation, and smaller food organisms valuable to the larger forms of animal life in

the stream.

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The removal of shade has a detrimental effect on the aquatic habitat. Even warm water fishes do best at temperatures which do not rise above 85°. With streamside vegetation and shade removed, summer water temperatures may go above 90° in southern Illinois. An Oregon study on the, “Effects of Clear-Cutting on Stream Temperatures,” showed that average monthly maximum temperatures increase by 14° on streams completely exposed to the sun. Annual maximums were up from 57° to 85°. These were trout streams with a colder source of water than exists in Illinois. The effects would be greater due to higher water temperatures in Illinois.

Similar damages occur with respect to wildlife habitat. When straightening and/or widening is involved, most or all streamside vegetation, trees and brush, is destroyed. Often this is the only woody cover available to wildlife on the flood plain; thus the flood plain is rendered barren so far as its capability of providing all the needs of wildlife is concerned. Upper Shoal Creek recently channelized as part of a Public Law 566 project is a classic example. It is now a wide flume with a small flow of water down the middle and all woody streamside vegetation removed. It will, no doubt, get water off the land much faster, but the environment has been raped. By contrast lower Shoal Creek remains in its natural state. It is a narrow, meandering stream flowing alternately through open fields and heavily wooded sections with a fine interspersion of deep pools, riffles, and log shelters. It provides excellent fish habitat and supports a good sport fishery. Because of presence of streamside trees, brush and marshy areas the flood plain provides good upland game habitat.

Unfortunately this type of flood control or abatement has come into more common use. Streams and streamside environments are being destroyed at an alarming rate in Illinois. Numerous streams and rivers are currently being planned for so-called "channel improvement” by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service and the Corps of Engineers. In one watershed, the Big Muddy River, some 1,018 miles of such "improvements” are included in the flood control works. Fortunately none of this is to be done under the early action prograin. It will be done later, however, unless there are policy changes in the meantime.

The Saline River system in southeastern Illinois has been extensively channelized by the corps and more is under construction at the present time. Local conservancy districts are organizing to channelize all streams in several southeastern counties. The Cache and La Moine rivers are currently under study by the corps for channelization.

If the present trend continues, soon there will be few natural streams and rivers left in Illinois.

We feel there are alternative approaches to the problem of flood control. One, of course, is flood plain zoning and the establishment of environmental corridors along the streams and rivers. Another is one we have suggested to the Corps of Engineers in the case of the Big Muddy River. This is to apply all possible land treatment measures using incentive payments, if necessary, to get them installed. Follow this with the construction of numerous upper watershed detention reservoirs, some of which would be strictly detention facilities while others could serve as multiple purpose reservoirs. When these have been completed, allow an interim period of 5 years in which to evaluate their effect on floods and to reassess the need for channel modifications.

There may be a need for limited channel work, particularly in the vicinity of urban areas and industrial facilities. However, we consider channel improvement to be a last resort, a measure to be taken when all other means have been considered and found to be inadequate. In all cases, each stream modification project must be evaluated on an individual basis and no evaluation should be undertaken on a crisis or crash basis. However, we believe that the present trend toward channelizing all streams should and must be reversed.

In those instances where stream modification including channelization must be used, there are measures which can be used to minimize the detrimental effects and to improve habitat conditions over what they would be if the area is left in its raw post-construction condition. Some such measures are:

1. When widening a stream channel, confine the widening to one side only, thus leaving the streamside vegetation undisturbed on one side. The widening could be alternated from one side to the other, taking advantage of the open or clear side and leaving the maximum amount of undisturbed woody vegetation.

2. In the excavation process create a shaped channel to concentrate flow during periods of low flow.

3. Where feasible, install inchannel devices to improve the habitat for fish and aquatic organisms. Potential devices are low log and/or rock dams, deflectors or wing-dams, and submerged cribs to create riffle areas.

4. Take streamside easements which would prohibit agricultural use of the spoil banks including pasturing and croping and would provide for late summer mowing of the spoil banks to avoid disturbance of nesting wildlife.

5. Speed the spoil banks with a mixture best adapted to the particular region and most attractive to the wildlife in this area.

6. Plant suitable woody shrubs on top of and on the outside of the spoil banks to replace woody vegetation destroyed and to enhance that remaining.

7. Plant a row of tall, fast growing hardwood (deciduous) trees at the outside toe of the spoil bank to provide shade for the stream as quickly as possible.

Such measures are not suggested as a means of making stream channelization more palatable in general, but rather they should be used only to minimize the damages wrought and to make the resulting environment as good as possible in those instances where there is no alternative to channelization.

We believe a policy should be adopted under which no Federal agency shall modify or channelize streams or rivers for flood protection purposes where land treatment measures or flood retarding reservoirs or a combination of both will provide an adequate level of flood protection. Furthermore, channelization shall not be used where the primary purpose is to bring new land into agricultural production or to provide for more intensive agricultural use than exists at the time.

We sincerely hope that your committee will produce some vitally needed changes in policies in this regard, and we appreciate the opportunity of filing this statement with your committee. Respectfully submitted,




Indianapolis, Ind., June 23, 1971.
Re the improvement, modification and channelization of streams and rivers by

various Federal agencies.
Chairman, U.S. House of Representatives,
Conservation and Natural Resources Subcommittee,
Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. Reuss: This will acknowledge your letter of May 20, 1971, inviting comments from this office regarding the above subject.

In the past, this agency has not actively participated in the planning and development of projects solely involving the improvement, modification and channelization of streams and rivers. However, we have had the opportunity to comment on these projects regarding possible effects on downstream water uses.

Where large impoundments have been included as part of the overall project, we have also advised the Federal agency involved of dilution requirements for downstream sewage treatment plant effluents.

No stream within the boundaries of Indiana is used by barges or boats for the transportation of products or materials. Therefore, flood control and drainage of agricultural land are the two major benefits of stream alterations used by the various agencies to justify these projects. Although other benefits are often listed, they are largely marginal at best and sometimes represent more wishful thinking than fact.

Improvement, modification and channelization of streams in this State has resulted in destruction of the aesthetic value of certain streams, lowering of the water table and failure of springs in some areas, lower summer flow in some streams, a significant decrease in fisheries resources, destruction of wildlife habitat, total or partial drainage of some lakes, a decrease in the self-purification or assimilative capacity of some streams, an increase in the rate of eutrophication and siltation of some lakes, and impairment of water quality in some stream areas.

It should be pointed out that physically and biologically a stream may never fully recover from the effects of channel alteration. Therefore, it is recommended that in the future, the improvement, modification and channelization of streams be undertaken on a very limited basis and only after extensive study of other alternatives and evaluation by all State and Federal agencies and local organizations concerned. Very truly yours,

Perry E. MILLER,

Technical Secretary.

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