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WESTERN RIVER S.
IMPROVEMENT OF CERTAIN RIVERS AND WATER-WAYS IN LOUISIANA, TEXAS, ARKANSAS, MISSISSIPPI, AND TENNESSEE, TRIBUTARY TO MISSISSIPPI RIVER; WATER GAUGES ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND ITS PRINCIPAL TRIBUTARIES.
Officer in charge, Capt. J. H. Willard, Corps of Engineers; Division Engineer, Col. C. B. Comstock, Corps of Engineers.
1. Red River, Louisiana and Arkansas.-This improvement was begun in 1828, and appropriations aggregating $535,765.50 were made between 1828 and 1852. Between 1841 and 1852 no appropriation was made, and a longer interval elapsed between 1852 and 1872, during which period the results of former work were lost.
The present improvement, from Fulton, Ark., to Atchafalaya, commenced in 1872, at which time navigation above Shreveport, La., was almost impossible on account of the great raft. The falls at Alexandria were impassable at low stages. Navigation below Shreveport to Grand Ecore was affected seriously by the gradual enlargement of Tone Bayou Outlet, which depleted the main channel; and the entire river was obstructed by snags, sunken logs, wrecks, and leaning trees. The project contemplated the removal of raft, snags, wrecks, leaning timber, etc.; closing Tone Bayou; opening a channel through the falls at Alexandria, and deepening the channel at sand bars. Also protection of caving banks at Alexandria. Owing to the nature of the work it must be continuous for many years, and no estimate of cost was made on this account.
The amount expended to June 30, 1890, was $888,783.69 (including liabilities $20.02), resulting in great benefit to navigation. A channel was opened through the great raft in 1873, and operations since, aided by the current, have secured an enlarged channel-way with greater depth everywhere, continually widening and scouring, and but little water is diverted from the river proper at ordinary stages. The work of removing obstructions and clearing the banks and prompt removal of jams has prevented new formations of raft. No work has been done at Tone Bayou since 1882, when the dam under construction was destroyed. This outlet is filling up gradually with drift, and this, in connection with the work in the old raft region above, is causing the main channel to widen and scour. The rock excavation and dam at the falls of Alexandria were completed in 1885, increasing the period of navigation about 2 months, and as a general thing permitting boats to pass the falls the year round. The dam and training wall, built at Alexandria in 1884-'85 for protecting the caving bank, accomplished the purpose for which intended. The removal of snags and clearing the banks for the general improvement of the river were not begun until 1878, but since 1885 operations have been confined to that class of work. The survey of Red River was carried from Fulton, Ark., to Grand Bend, La., near Alexandria, a distance of 406 miles. Under the act of 1888, work was extended into Cypress Bayou and Bayou Dorcheat, tributaries of Red River.
In the past fiscal year a large steam snag boat and a small handpropelled snag boat continued removing obstructions whenever the stage of water would permit. The work of these boats was of great benefit to navigation, and no vessel was lost in the river during the year, and no serious accident reported. Boats from New Orleans ran
through to Shreveport on regular time when the gauge at the latter place read only 2 feet, a condition previously unknown.
With the exception of discharge and sediment observations between Shreveport and Alexandria, and level connections with high-water marks, field work of the survey has not been resumed. Work upon the maps was continued during the year.
The allotments by the act of 1890 for work at Alexandria, closing Sale and Murphy Outlet, and widening and deepening the "Little River" below Scopini Cut off have not been used, with the exception of the amounts required to examine the outlet and to make a reconnoissance and survey of the stretch of river from Scopini Cut-off to Knox Point.
The amounts expended during the past year were:
For general improvement
For Cypress Bayou, etc
For examination of Sale and Murphy Outlet....
For examination and survey of Little River from Scopini Cut-off to
For survey of Red River....
The estimates for the fiscal year 1893 are ·
$29, 346.36 285.94 101. 20
For general improvement, repairs, and additions and care of plant ...... $81,000.00 Repairing and enlarging levees to confine the river to the adopted channel, thereby improving and giving ease and safety to navigation....
Establishing and maintaining gauges.
Completing survey of river
Local surveys and examinations of caving banks for revetment works, etc.
158, 000, 00
Red River frequently is jammed in a few hours with acres of drift, and raft formation is prevented only by prompt service of snag boats. Should jams occur when funds are exhausted it is probable that new rafts would form, diverting the river from the bed upon which thousands of dollars have been spent to lose itself in the low lands and bayous, destroying by the way a fertile country that has been reclaimed from overflow by the improvement and the construction of levees by the State of Louisiana. In view of the above it is recommended that a permanent appropriation be provided for the purpose of securing the uninterrupted work of operating the snag boats, not to exceed in the aggregate for each year the sum of $25,000.
July 1, 1890, balance unexpended.....
Amount appropriated by act approved September 19, 1890.
Amount that can be profitably expended in fiscal year ending June 30, 1893 400, 000. 00 Submitted in compliance with requirements of sections 2 of river and
harbor acts of 1866 and 1867.
(See Appendix V 1.)
2. Red River above Fulton, Arkansas.-In charge of Capt. H. S. Taber, Corps of Engineers, to November 24, 1890. The project for this
improvement, adopted in 1886, contemplated removing snags, drift, overhanging trees, etc., above Fulton to the mouth of Kiamichi River, 138 miles, to give reasonably safe navigation at high and medium stages.
The amount expended to June 30, 1890, was $10,000, with which a a small hand-propelled snag boat was built in the fiscal year 1887, at a cost of $4,000, and employed during the succeeding two years in removing obstructions.
In the past fiscal year the snag boat was sold, to the work of improving Red River, Louisiana and Arkansas, for $1,500, and the proceeds, with the appropriation by act of 1890, $2,000, were applied to continuing the removal of snags, drift, and leaning trees. This work practically completed the project, and has been commended by the steamboat
Unless a single appropriation of $10,000 can be granted to allow the systematic clearing of the banks and channel without interruption, no further work is recommended for the present. This amount can be expended economically, and would clear the banks of caving and sliding trees and stop accumulations of drift, and by the removal of logs from the channel permit the bottom to scour and give better navigation. Such work would benefit navigation below Fulton also, as there would be less drift to contend with.
Amount appropriated by act approved September 19, 1890
Amount that can be profitably expended in fiscal year ending June 30, 1893 10,000.00 Submitted in compliance with requirements of sections 2 of river and
harbor acts of 1866 and 1867.
(See Appendix V 2.)
3. Ouachita and Black rivers, Arkansas and Louisiana.-The improvement of Ouachita River commenced in 1871. Black River, the connecting stream between Ouachita and Red Rivers, was added under the same head of appropriation by the act of 1884. The original project contemplated improvement by a system of locks and dams, but was abandoned in 1874 on account of its cost as compared with the commerce then reported. The present project contemplates removing snags, logs, wrecks, leaning timber, etc., and the improvement of shoal places between Camden, Ark., and the mouth of Black River, 341 miles. No estimate of cost is given, as the nature of the work requires that it be continuous.
The total amount expended to June 30, 1890, was $320,325.11, of which $206,737.24 was applied to operations under the present proj ect. The work consisted principally of removing snags and logs and tree slides from the channel and cutting leaning timber. An increased depth was gained at some of the shoals by stone and brush dams.
In the past fiscal year a small snag boat was employed in removing obstructions, principally tree slides, between the mouth of Black River and Monroe, La., 174 miles above, from October 12 to November 17, operations having been stopped on the latter date by high water. June 12 a large snag boat was sent into Black River and worked up to Rock
Row, 17 miles above Monroè, and was still employed in the lower river at the end of the year. A chopping party commenced work at Camden November 5 and at the end of the year had carried operations downstream 32 miles. Work with this party was suspended from January 1 to June 1 by high water.
A survey of Catahoula Shoals, 67 miles above the mouth of Black River, which obstruct navigation greatly at low stages, was made in August. A project for the work needed is submitted by the officer in charge, with an estimate of $20,000, and it is recommended that the entire amount be granted in one appropriation, in order that the work may be prosecuted economically and without delay.
The sum of $10,000 can be expended to advantage of commerce and navigation in the fiscal year 1893, in continuing operations for the general improvement of the river from Camden to mouth of Black River, exclusive of the work at Catahoula Shoals.
Since the project for improvement by locks and dams was abandoned, three examinations have been ordered and made with a view to slackwater navigation, the last in 1889, and the reports on all agree that for the present work should continue under the adopted project. Athorough survey of the valley of the Ouachita and tributaries is recommended, however, to obtain all information necessary for future improvement. It will take about 2 years to complete such a survey, and its esti mated cost is $150,000 if available in one appropriation, so that the work can be done without delay.
July 1, 1890, balance unexpended.........
Amount appropriated by act approved September 19, 1890
22, 174.89 9,398.34
12, 776.55 241.67
Amount that can be profitably expended in fiscal year ending June 30, 1893, and for completion of survey..
Submitted in compliance with requirements of sections 2 of river and harbor acts of 1866 and 1867.
(See Appendix V 3.)
4. Ouachita River above Camden, Arkansas.-The project for this improvement contemplated removing snags and leaning timber, and building brush dams at the shoals, to afford navigation at high stages between Camden and Arkadelphia, Ark., at an estimated cost of $9,000.
The act of 1888 appropriated $9,000 to complete the work.
The sum of $6,599.26 was expended in the fiscal year 1890, carrying operations from Arkadelphia down to Camden, and resulting in the removal of the worst obstructions.
The balance of the appropriation was used in the past fiscal year in going over the work, which was completed in November, 1890, giving reasonably safe navigation at stages high enough for boats to pass the shoals. Dredging these shoals would not benefit navigation, and, as there is no commerce at all commensurate with the cost of further improvement, no further estimate is made.
July 1, 1890, balance unexpended
June 30, 1891, amount expended during fiscal year (See Appendix V 4.)
$2,400.74 2,400, 74
5. Bayou D'Arbonne, Louisiana.-The project for this improvement was adopted in 1884, and contemplates removing snags, logs, wrecks, leaning timber, etc., obstructing navigation from Stein Bluff, on the Corney Branch, to the mouth of D'Arbonne, 423 miles, at an estimated cost of $15,000.
The amount expended to June 30, 1890, was $9,000. Before the improvement commenced the bayou was navigable from 6 to 7 months of the year. The work done extended the period of navigation fully one mouth, enabled boats of double the capacity to make quicker time than those used formerly and at less risk, and reduced freight rates one-half.
In the past fiscal year operations were commenced the latter part of December, but had to be stopped the middle of January on account of high water, and, as there was no prospect of being able to resume work until late in the summer, the boat was transferred to Bayou Bartholonew in May.
The work is not permanent, as new obstructions are added from time to time, but it can be done so thoroughly as not to require attention for several years if the balance of the original estimate is granted in one appropriation.
Amount appropriated by act approved September 19, 1890......
July 1, 1891, balance unexpended .........
Amount (estimated) required for completion of existing project.....
(See Appendix V 5.)
$2,000.00 1, 109. 49
6. Bayou Bartholomew, Louisiana and Arkansas.-This improvement was begun in 1881, the project contemplating the removal of snags, logs, wrecks, leaning timber, etc., obstructing navigation between Baxter, Ark., and the mouth, about 150 miles.
The amount expended to June 30, 1890, was $27,995.10.
Before the work commenced the average duration of the navigable season was 3 months. In 1890 it was reported that there was better navigation for 6 months, that boats of double the capacity made trips with greater safety in half the time, and that the rates of freight had been reduced 50 per cent.
In the past fiscal year work was commenced at Portland, Ark., May 11, and continued till the end of the year. Operations extended over about 50 miles of the stream, and were so thorough that boats will be enabled to navigate this stretch on from 3 to 4 feet less water, with greater safety, and make better time.
New obstructions are added from time to time, but if sufficient appropriation is made to clear the obstructions thoroughly the cost of maintaining navigation will be slight.
July 1, 1890, balance unexpended
Amount appropriated by act approved September 19, 1890..
June 30, 1891, amount expended during fiscal year
July 1, 1891, balance unexpended.
July 1, 1891, outstanding liabilities...
July 1, 1891, balance available....