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amend the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act eliminating the requirement of cost-benefit ratio for erosion control. I might add that I am a farmer. I live very close in and very close to the shed that Congressman Johnson has testified about. There are several important factors that enter into consideration for a request for a change in the law:

1. The law as it exists today will make it possible for only a very few watersheds to get Federal assistance under Public Law 566.

2. The law as it now stands penalizes farmers for doing a good job of conservation on their farms.

3. Through watershed associations we are solving the water and erosion problem for an entire drainage area.

4. The law as it exists today offers assistance only to those who have adequate capital for erosion-control structures.

I live on a farm in a community where water erosion has been a problem and a challenge. Since about 1870 the land in this area has been among the foremost in production of agricultural products, starting first with wheat, and dairy cattle and milk.

Our abundant topsoil and an average rainfall of 27 inches have provided our communities with thriving businesses. Our business enterprises, our churches, our schools-almost every segment of our local economy relies on the productive ability of the soil.

When we consider that it takes from 500 to 1,000 years to build an inch of topsoil and that our topsoil resource took from 3,000 to 5,000 years to build, and today vast sections of our country have already lost large amounts of our productive soil, it becomes our responsibility to protect our soil so that the generations of the future can be well clothed and fed.

When we consider that in Wisconsin, for example, we have destroyed, in less than a century, one-third of our topsoil, perhaps the annals of American history will record such events as those that made headlines in our news last week when reports from China indicate that from 15 to 30 million people will starve to death.

Historians on China tell us that at one time China abounded with soil and water resource, but today, centuries later, due to lack of control of water and soil erosion, we read of such catastrophes that belie this Nation.

It is very easy in this time of abundance to delude ourselves into thinking that after all, now, we have adequate production, so why worry about the future. Unless we have coordinate effort now on the part of landowners, conservationists, and Government will continue and extend existing conservation programs, we may lose or render useless much of our lifegiving topsoil.

I live on a farm in an area which has in years past suffered great damage from gully erosion. As a growing boy I can well remember when we were able to easily jump across the small ditch that bordered our farm. Today many places in that gully are large enough to place into it a complete set of farm buildings and see only small parts of them.

Because of the vast destruction from floods, the farmers in my community were eager to grasp new ideas, and during the 1930's, with help of the technicians of the CCC, began to lay out practical soil conservation practices.

Later, through the inducement of the Federal Government in con-servation aids and a learned knowledge of how better to control soil and water erosion, we have a tremendous shift to, at first, stripcropping; later, contour-strip farming, fenced-out woodlots, terraces, and sodded waterways; and a tremendous shift to grassland-type farming. Because of the planned and complied techniques of erosion control, we have reduced water runoff and sharply checked sheet erosion.

Because of this we find some banks of gullies healing and a lessening of silt deposits which are used in cost-benefit determination. If we in these areas had not followed these conservation practices and allowed our fields to continue at the high rate of erosion, there would be no doubt but that we could qualify for assistance under Public Law 566.

We find, however, in spite of everything we have done, following approved conservation practices, carrying out these practices within financial ability, gullies large and small are progressively cutting through the best and most fertile land in many valleys.

In order to do a more complete job of conservation on their farms, farmers have organized watershed associations. The size of these associations vary a good deal depending on land area and water runoff. I am going to list some benefits derived for erosion control through watersheds over some other projects:

A. Community effort on water conservation and soil erosion.

B. Neighbors urging noncooperating farmers to follow control. In one area the amount of land under an approved conservation plan jumped from below 40 percent to 85 percent.

C. An individual is a good deal more conscientious on following "on the land" practices, because he is part in developing it.

D. Watershed associations make it possible to carry out comprehensive plans and actually enact total conservation to conserve this soil permanently, making a rich heritage possible for future generations.

We have organized two such watershed associations in Buffalo County, Wis. The one shed, known as the Mill Creek Watershed Association, was organized several years ago. These farmers had done an excellent job in conservation but they knew that it would take both the cooperation of their neighbors and the help of Federal agencies to solve the gully-erosion problems.

They knew that in one generation gullies had advanced several miles through the most fertile soil in the area. These farmers knew that individually, even within the scope of present programs, they had no chance of not having their farms destroyed a little year by year. I know everyone of these farms; I know of the gully advance over the last decade, and I testify to you, ladies and gentlemen, that if unchecked most of these farms will be abandoned because (1) gullies will have taken out the best soil on their farms; (2) the remaining areas on the side hills will be inaccessible and inefficient for production.

Our problem in western Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota is aggravated because of the type of topography we have. On my farm, which is a valley farm, there is a difference in altitude in one-half mile between 1,240 feet above sea level to 620 feet.

Our average rainfall, if evenly dispersed, would not create the problem that is true when we have had deluges of 4 or 5 inches in a short

period of time. But conservation practices have to be adapted to accommodate a variety of situations. In most cases the water that does the most gully damage in these heavy rains does not originate on the farm where the damage is done.

I am supporting this amendment because under the present act this type of watershed cannot qualify for assistance. In Wisconsin only two projects have been approved, and at this time no work has been started on them. This is an area that desperately needs this sort of a program to stop this useless waste of resources.

The ground survey parties of SCS are governed by regulations established by the Bureau of the Budget as to how they can determine costs and benefits. Limitation to 90 percent direct identifiable costs and the use of only a 20-year period in determining costs leave most of these projects without enough benefits to establish a favorable costbenefit ratio. The ground-survey party on one project placed a value, first, of $150 per acre, and later revised this to be based on production and then valued this land at $350 per acre.

These farmers are averaging $100 an acre per year gross income from these farms. If the production of this land is computed for 50 years, and that is the benefit ratio used on these projects, we would have a gross value of that production of $5,000. I do not believe that figures used in determining costs are realistic when we consider the probable needs in the next generations and the fact that soil cannot be reclaimed.

If these gullies advance through these farms-typical of this picture I am showing you-and these farms are abandoned and the families leave these communities, just how are we going to compute the community value? Just how are we going to retire bonded indebtedness acquired in these areas for building of new schools and other public projects? The worth of families to the community is immeasurable. America cannot afford to lose them.

In my introduction I stated that because farmers had done a good job in conservation they were being penalized. Precisely that is what is happening, because these farmers have followed approved conservation plans, they have reduced the amount of soil erosion and water runoff, and as a result we do not have as much and as rapid cutback of these gullies, and consequently less silting.

These are factors that are used in determining cost-benefit ratios. If these farmers had left everything "go to pot," there would have been much more silting, there would be much more rapid cutback of these gullies and much more water loss. We feel we should not be penalized for doing a good job, and that is precisely what is happening the way the law is now written.

I should like to point out that the Federal Government has already got a substantial investment in the farms in these communities. These farmers, because of their willingness to cooperate, have participated very heavily in all of the Federal programs, such as land liming, fertilizing and seeding, tree planting, contour construction, renovating, and grass seeding. Also, the Federal Government holds mortgages by virtue of the Farmers' Home Administration; so to protect these investments we must develop these conservation projects in these watersheds.

One important factor should not be underestimated, and that is the fact that through watershed associations we secure an element of com

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munity cooperation that is almost miraculous. The fact that a neighbor suggests to his neighbor that he should participate in conservation, because the whole community will be jeopardized if he does not, has brought many reluctant people to practice conservation.

Once these people try these practices they never go back to the old way. In the Mill Creek area, by example, when the watershed was first organized, less than 40 percent of the land was under a conservation plan; today over 85 percent of the land in that shed is under an approved plan and these farmers are following these plans.

This is what we mean when we say these people are doing what they can, but they cannot afford as individuals to put in the costly structures that will complete the job they have started.

The floods last week in Minnesota again proved that it is necessary to do conservation work in a complete watershed area or you may be defeating the chances of doing a good job on any individual farm or property.

This is not only a local situation but exists in many parts of our Nation. Seven western Wisconsin counties met early this spring and each agreed that this was a mutual problem. Our friends across the Mississippi River indicated that they have the same problem.

We know that this problem exists in many areas in the Nation. People have asked just how much a program like this will cost, and I answer them this way: First of all the appropriations are established by Congress; but secondly, and most important, is that this work and money spent is a good deal different than many other expenditures in that once an erosion-control structure is built there will be no further cost to the Government.

These projects are set up on a basis of 50 years, and judging from our experience from the CCC projects, many that are over 20 years old, there is reason to believe that they will serve for a longer time than that. There will not be requests year after year to do the same job over again.

I have not commented much on the damage that this erosion is doing the 9-foot waterway of the Mississippi River because it is hard to determine the amount of silting from one area. But I know if these watersheds are established up and down the Mississippi River Valley, the problem of heavy silting would disappear.

Our engineers for our public highways would welcome the establishment of effective watersheds as it would materially reduce bridge construction and reduce highway construction. Fish and wildlife departments would welcome watersheds because it would materially reduce silting in our lakes, a problem that is seriously threatening hunting and fishing in many areas. Proper conservation practices on the land means better hunting ad fishing and better recreational activities—a happier America.

I have not discussed with you our water resource, but I know to many of you that is a problem of great concern. Our growing population is making larger and larger demands on our water supply. Our rapidly falling water tables attest to the fact that we are heading for serious trouble.

If we develop the type of conservation practices that I have discussed earlier, we will have the minimum of runoff and we will begin to feed these underground streams more water, thereby making more water available.


The time to be thinking about and conserving our soil and water is now, while we still have resources to save; that which is lost is lost forever, but we dare not follow the blind road followed by some of the onetime great powers.

On behalf of the watershed associations of Trempealeau, La Crosse, Buffalo, Pepin, Eau Claire, Vernon, and Monroe Counties in western Wisconsin, I urge you to support this amendment to the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act.

Mr. Chairman, I have photos, some that were taken of the local watershed, and I would like to read the captions, if I may, and pass them to the other members of the committee, so that you can actually see some of the problems that we have in our section.

Mr. Johnson (presiding). Very well, Mr. Maassen.

Mr. Maassen. If I may read the caption, and then I will pass them around to the committee.

The first caption I show here is on a picture of a gully that is in the Mill Creek watershed area, it shows the type of topography we have, the type of gully. I can read the caption to you.

Buffalo County, Wis., looking west across the valley on the farm; gully demonstrates the problems that exist throughout the watershed in western Wisconsin. Problems such as these necessitate complete watershed control.

Mr. Johnson. Have you any idea what the estimate for restoring that gully was?

Jir. Massen. It was estimated that the dam that would be necessary, or the structure that would be necessary, to stop that gully would cost $15,000 to $20,000; that was the estimate of the engineers.

The second picture shows another view of that same valley. It is Buffalo County, Wis., “cross section of gully that has progressed through the whole valley more than a mile." And the type of topography would mean that a good share of the farm would be inaccessible.

Mr. Johnson. About that particular gully, do you know whether they estimated the total land in the valley when they were estimating the benefits, or did they just take the land around the gully?

Mr. MAASSEN. The engineers took just the land that was affected, actually eroded year by year, and they did not take into consideration

, the adjacent area.

This picture is another picture of the gully that is on the farm showing new side gullies cutting into the field after the central gully had divided the farm. Notice the side of trees that the floods have undermined. The thing that is so important is the fact that these are the more fertile farms in the area.

The picture that I am showing you, gentlemen, here, is a picture of a shed in a valley adjacent to my farm. I want you to note the man standing at the head of the gully. This is looking east across Spring Waterway; extensive erosion has removed earth from the highway, necessitating a huge fill.

This shows the contour-strip farming that the farmer is practicing, it shows some of the efforts he has made, attempting to solve this problem. I think by a view of this picture that you can understand that it is beyond the average farmer's resources to carry that on.

This is another picture of the watershed in Buffalo County, showing damage from floodwater undercutting banks of the main watercourse, meaning that we will have finger ditches cutting back the sides.

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