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A plan for the improvement of the Ohio River at Mound City is now in force, and, for the reasons given, the Board agrees with Colonel Lydeckerthat no work at this point is necessary in the interests of navigation for the preservation and improvement of said harbor other than that contemplated by the existing approved project, and that it is not desirable for the United States to undertake other work at this point. I concur in this opinion. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. L. GILLESPIE, Brig. Gen., Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army. Hon. ELIHU Root,

Secretary of War.

REPORT OF COL. G. J. LYDECKER, CORPS OF ENGINEERS.

UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,

Cincinnati, Ohio, October 27, 1903. GENERAL: Complying with instructions from the Office of the Chief of Engineers, I submit this report on an examination of Mound City Harbor, Ohio River, called for by the following extract from the river and harbor act of June 13, 1902:

SEC. 14. That the Secretary of War is hereby directed to cause preliminary examinations or gurveys to be made at the localities named in this section as hereinafter provided. * ***

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Harbor at Mound City, on the Illinois side of the Ohio River, with a view to ascertaining whether or not work at that point is necessary in the interest of navigation for the preservation and improvement of said harbor.

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This locality is about 6.5 miles above the mouth of the Ohio River, and much work has been done there during the past ten years with a view to establishing and maintaining a reliable channel along the Mound City frontage. This work includes the construction in 1893-94 of dikes aggregating about 2,070 feet in length for the purpose of directing and concentrating the low-water flow of the river toward the Illinois side, and dredging, from 1894 to 1901, inclusive, to the extent of about 230,500 cubic yards within the limits of the channel that it is desired to open and maintain, the material thus far excavated having been generally of a character that could not be scoured out by the river current, and a large part of it had to be drilled and blasted before it could be removed by the dredges. Further improvements are authorized under projects approved April 3, 1899, and May 4, 1900, which contemplate additional dike construction and dredging and for which the sum of $75,000 has been duly allotted. The high stage of river that has prevailed in the locality during the past three years has prevented any progress in the work of dike construction called for under these projects, and for this reason operations under them have been limited to the dredging that was done during the years 1899 to 1901, inclusive, amounting to about 140,000 cubic yards.

These improvements form a part of the general project for improving the Ohio River by open-channel work, and the means for carrying them on have been supplied, as needed, by allotments from the regular appropriations for that improvement. The total of allotments thus far made for the Mound City locality is $110,000, of which $76,281.48 has been expended to date, leaving $33,718.52 now available for carrying on work under the approved project. It is assumed that further allotment will be made in like manner to the extent necessary for the proper completion of the improvement of the locality in question.

The locality was carefully examined during the fall of 1902, when the river in that section was at a stage of from 10.5 to 17.5 feet above low water, though the general stage was much lower in the upper sections, to which the effect of backwater from the Mississippi River did not extend. This examination showed that the dredged channel was then filled by deposits to a height of from 2.5 to 6 feet above the plane to which it had been dredged, but this showing was nothing more than should have been expected while the river was at such a high stage, because the deposits were of light material brought there while the river was in flood and before the more contracted flow of water that attaches to lower stages could show any appreciable effect; in fact, there have been but a few days during the past three years when the stage of water on the Ohio River in this locality has been less than 10 feet above low water, and at no time within this period has it been practicable to do any effective work on constructing dikes or dams whose tops are designed to be at an elevation of only 4 feet above a low-water stage.

For like reason it is impossible to state now, from observation, just what depth may be shown there when the river shall again recede to a normal low-water stage, but it is quite certain to be found much better than at many other points on the lower river where no contraction or other improvement has yet been made, and where work in the interests of through navigation at that stage is likely to be more needed than at this particular place.

In view of the foregoing, I am of the opinion that no other work is now necessary or advisable in the interests of navigation for the preservation and improvement of this locality, than such as is already contemplated by the existing approved project of improvement, the controlling features of which are indicated on the accompanying blueVery respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. J. LYDECKER,

Colonel, Corps of Engineers. Brig. Gen. G. L. GILLESPIE, Chief of Engineers, V. Š. A.

[First indorsement.)

WAR DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,

Washington, November 3, 1903.
Respectfully referred to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and
Harbors constituted by Special Orders, No. 24, Headquarters, Corps of
Engineers, series of 1902, for consideration and recommendation.
By command of Brig. Gen. Gillespie:

H. F. HODGES, Major, Corps of Engineers.

print.

a Not printed.

(Second indorsement.]

BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS,

Washington, D. C., December , 1903. Respectfully returned to the Chief of Engineers, United States Army.

The within report of the district officer on a preliminary examination of “Harbor at Mound City, on the Ilinois side of the Ohio River, with a view to ascertaining whether or not work at that point is necessary in the interest of navigation for the preservation and improvement of said harbor,” and such other data upon this subject as are available, have been considered by the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors.

Work near Mound City, Ill., for the improvement and preservation of that harbor and of the channel in front of the town is included in the general project for improving the Ohio River by open-channel work, and has been underway at various times during the past ton years. This work includes dike construction and dredging. *Owing to continued high stages for several seasons the progress of the work has been slow, but it is advancing as conditions permit.

Allotments amounting to $110,000 have been made for this locality, of which over $33,000 is still available.

In view of the foregoing, the Board concurs with the district officer that no work at this point is necessary in the interests of navigation for the preservation and improvement of said harbor other than that contemplated by the existing approved project, and that it is not desirable for the United States to undertake other work at this point. For the Board:

CHAS. J. ALLEN,
Lieut. Col., Corps of Engineers,

Senior Member of the Board.

D D 7.

PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF OHIO RIVER FROM MOUND CITY TO

CAIRO, ILL.

(Printed in House Doc. No. 308, Fifty-eighth Congress, second session.]

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WAR DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,

Washington, December 24, 1903. SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith for transmission to Congress a report dated December 7, 1903, by Col. G. J. Lydecker, Corps of Engineers, on preliminary examination authorized by the river and harbor act approved June 13, 1902, of Ohio River from Mound City to Cairo, Ill., " with a view to ascertaining what improvement, if any, is desirable for the protection of the banks and levees on the Illinois side in the interest of navigation."

In accordance with the provisions of section 14 of the act, the report has been considered by the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors provided for in section 3 of said act, and its report is contained in third indorsement thereon.

After giving the subject careful consideration Colonel Lydecker expresses the opinion, based upon the facts and reasons presented in

his report, that the interests of navigation do not now require the protection of the banks or levees along the river as contemplated in the act, and this opinion is concurred in by the Board and by me. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. L. GILLESPIE, Brig. Gen., Chief of Engineers, U. S. Army. Hon. ELIHU ROOT,

Secretary of War.

REPORT OF COL. G. J. LYDECKER, CORPS OF ENGINEERS.

UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,

Cincinnati, Ohio, December 7, 1903. GENERAL: I have the honor to submit the following report on a preliminary examination of the “Ohio River from Mound City, Ill., to Cairo, Ill., with a view to ascertaining what improvement, if any, is desirable for the protection of the banks and levees on the Illinois side in the interest of navigation,” as required by the river and harbor act of June 13, 1902, the duty of making this examination having been assigned to me by Department letter of June 23, 1902.

A report on this same question was made by Maj. W. H. Bixby, Corps of Engineers, October 3, 1899, to comply with the river and harbor act of March 3, 1899, which was published as House Document No. 137, Fifty-sixth Congress, first session. But a republication of a large part of it is believed to be most appropriate in connection with this paper, as the facts and considerations then presented apply with equal force at present. The following extract is therefore submitted:

Mound City, Pulaski County, Ill., is situated on the west side of the Ohio River, about 8 miles above its mouth and about 4 miles above Cairo, Ill. Mound City is a place having in 1890 a population of about 2,500 inhabitants and to-day perhaps double that number. It is a regular stopping place for all Ohio River packets descending the river. It has several manufactories along the river bank and a large marine railway for the construction and repair of river boats. It is a place of moderate commercial importance at present, but with a good prospect of large future development. Mound City itself is surrounded by a very good levee rising to above the highest water yet known at this place, and this levee extends down the river bank almost to Cache River. At Mound City the Illinois bank is building out rather than cutting away, and there is as yet no indication of the necessity of any special new protection to the levees.

Cairo, Alexander County, Ill., with its center about 6 miles below Mound City, lies at the mouth of the Ohio River and between it and the Mississippi River; the city proper being about 4 miles in length, with a breadth of about i to 1} miles at its center and widest points, and with its center about 2 miles above the junction of the two rivers. Cairo had in 1890 a population of about 10,000 inhabitants and is at present perhaps twice as large. It is a regular stopping place for all Ohio River and Mississippi packets on their way downstream; is one of the most important towns in southern Minois, especially as a distributing center for the adjoining portions of Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri, and while of late years not growing as rapidly as some of the other towns of the State, has a good prospect of a much greater and much more rapid increase in commercial importance in the near future Three railroads enter the city directly, and two others are connected to it by ferry transfers.

A considerable part of the city proper and almost all of its harbor front, both on the Ohio and the Mississippi, and much land outside are under the control of the so-called Cairo Trust, a private corporation which succeeded the Cairo City and Canal Company sometime in the neighborhood of 1850. The city is entirely surrounded by a fine levee rising to the 55-foot level (about 2 feet higher than the highest floods known up to the present time), so that the city itself is amply protected against all danger from damage by overflows or by cutting of the banks from either the Ohio River or the Mississippi River. There is at present no indication of undue scour along the city front on its Ohio River side, so that nothing is specially needed at this point in the way of protection for its banks or levees.

The Illinois bank from the lower end of Mound City to the upper end of Cairo, about 4 miles in length, is the portion of the bank evidently referred to in the act of March 3, 1899, as that to be examined with a view to protection or improvement. The upper mile of this stretch of river bank covers a distance from Mound City down to Cache River, Cache River þeing a large slough which drains an area of perhaps 400 or 500 square miles, lying just above Cairo in the angle between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The Cache River Basin reaches so near the eastern bank of the Mississippi River a few miles above Cairo that in recent years it has been thought desirable to strengthen the Mississippi River embankment a few miles above Cairo to prevent the Mississippi River from possibly cutting through this embankment into the Cache River Basin and thence into the Ohio River in such way as to form a cut-off in the Mississippi River above and around Cairo, but such protection work concerns the Mississippi River and not the Ohio, and such work, if done, must be done on the Mississippi side. There is at present no indication of any danger that the Ohio River will enter the Cache River Basin and cut through the Mississippi River banks into the Mississippi River. No protection or strengthening of the Ohio banks from Mound City down to the mouth of Cache River would be of any special value in keeping the Ohio River out of the Cache River Basin, and a total closure of the Cache River mouth would be impracticable.

From the mouth of the Cache River down to the upper end of the city of Cairo, a distance of about 3 miles

, the river bank is concave in shape, is washed directly by the Ohio River channel currents, and is gradually wearing away in such manner as to deepen the concavity. Maps, old and new, of this part of the river show that the general shape of the river bank between Mound City and Cairo is not now much different from what it was in 1810, but that the river bank has, however, worn back steadily ever since that date.

Prior to 1880 the cutting of the bank along this 3 miles of river was very slight, amounting from 1810 to 1880—that is, during seventy years--as shown by the Coast Survey maps of 1880, to a total recession of only about 140 feet in all, or an average of only about 2 feet per year. During this interval there were apparently no levees on the Illinois bank between Mound City and Cairo, and during high freshets the river, as soon as it rose above a 30-foot stage, could overflow its banks along this whole 3-mile length and expand readily into the whole of what is now known as the Cairo Trust drainage district," and also into the whole Cache River Basin. This freedom of expansion must necessarily have reduced very greatly the flow of water in the main river and slackened its current, and may have accounted very greatly for the slow cutting of the bank. Sometime after 1880, however, the Cairo and Vincennes Railroad converted its railroad track, then distant only about 600 feet at the most from the river bank, into a high embankment rising to above the highest freshets; and about the same time the Cairo Trust built a levee of its own along the north side of its property on the Cache River front, thus shutting off this natural overflow of the Ohio River at high stages and preventing its entrance into the Cache River Basin except through the narrow mouth of the Cache.

From 1873 to 1889 the cutting of the banks was much greater than before, commencing just below Mound City and above the mouth of the Cache, extending down almost to the upper end of Cairo, and amounting, in some places, to a recession of about 300 feet, or an average of 20 feet per year. The construction of this railroad embankment so near the river bank is undoubtedly responsible for some of the increased erosion of this stretch of bank. It is possible that this increased erosion may have been anticipated or feared by the Cairo Trust owners, as in giving to the railroad companies a right of way through their property the trust company bound the railroad companies to maintain permanent levees along such rights of way next the river bank, by which they provided for the permanent protection of their trust properties. Any parties building such levees alongside of a large river like the Ohio should expect and prepare for a possible increased erosion of the banks, and should, for the protection of their own properties, arrange for a riprap or other protection of such banks in case the increased erosion actually occurs.

The cost of such protection, however, is clearly something in which the public at large is not specially interested, and for which it should not be expected to pay. From 1889 to 1897 the maximum recession was about 130 feet, or about 16 feet per year; but since then the cutting has increased much more rapidly, the rate between 1897 and 1899, in the worst places, amounting to a total of 100 feet, or an average of 50 feet per year. Even this cutting, however, can go on for ten to twenty more

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