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Mr. BARRETT. I want to get this thing clearly in the minds of the members of this committee. We had a special act of the legislature passed which enabled us to issue flood-protection bonds. The only way we could get them under the constitution of the State of Georgia was to ask the legislature to protect us and to change the constitution. In making that change we actually hypothecated our canal and our water works. We gave a mortgage on them to get $1,750,000, which we have utilized in building this levee. We are absolutely helpless now. We can not raise any more money. We have taxed the people up to the very limit for this protection work. .
What I want to touch upon particularly, is viewing the improvement from the standpoint of navigation.
The CHAIRMAN. What is the rate of taxation?
The CHAIRMAN. They have a still greater per cent in many other cities.
Mr. BARRETT. That may be.
What I desire to touch upon is the question of navigation from a business standpoint.
The CHAIRMAN. I know some cities that pay 6 per cent on the valuation.
Mr. BARRETT. That may be.
Mr. Wingfield has told you we were building new terminal facilities for these steel barges. Mr. Wingfield tells us that if we do not get this protection which we desire, which would mean only a 10 per cent additional revetment, the new wharves that we are putting in there will be in actual danger in the event of our having a maximum freshet. We can not have a navigable stream without wharf facilities, and it does seem to me that you gentlemen should consider with some favor our request. We are not asking you to pave the levee, but simply that part of the bank from the 25-foot contour up.
Mr. Vinson. With your permission and indulgence, I should like to address the committee on this subject for a very short time.
The CHAIRMAX. We will be very glad to hear from you.
STATEMENT OF HON. CARL VINSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF GEORGIA.
Mr. VINSON. I desire to call the attention of the committee to the language of the rivers and harbors act approved March 4, 1915, which reads as follows:
Savannah River at Augusta, Ga., between the upper lines of the city limits of the city of Augusta, and the mouth of Butlers (reek, for the purpose of ascertaining the effect upon navigation of the river of the flood-protection work now being constructed and maintained by local authorities, and to further ascertain the probable cost and value of the extension of such work over such territory.
It will be observed by the verbiage of that portion of the rivers and harbors act that it sets forth a twofold proposition: The first one is to ascertain the effect upon navigation of the flood-protection work; and the second is to ascertain the cost of maintaining such work. Later on in my argument I shall connect these two points. It is proper, perhaps, to give you a history of this proposition, of the proposed project now under consideration.
In 1910 Congress passed an act appropriating approximately $250,000 for the paving and riprapping of the bank from Butlers Creek and Hawks Gulley down to the warehouse landing, on Fifth Street, along the water front, on Savannah River, at Augusta, Ga. That was from the low-water mark up the bank for a distance of 25 feet. In 1913 an additional appropriation was authorized to extend that work from Fifth Street down to Boundary Street at a cost of $120,000. It must be remembered that all of this money was not appropriated from the Treasury of the United States. One half of it was to be deposited by the municipality, the city of Augusta, in the Treasury or in some subtreasury and the other half of the expense would be borne by the United States. The work that has been done has cost the Government $185,000, and the city of Augusta has spent a like sum of money for this protection from erosion. The project that we have now is å continuation of the original project set out in the bills of 1910 and 1913. This is not a new project. It is a mere continuation of what the city of Augusta and the Government have done there in recent years. We recognize the fact, of course, that we are up against the proposition that the Board of Engineers say that this is not in aid of navigation; that it is not in aid of navigation to extend it up 10 feet higher, or up to the crest of the bank. · The CHAIRMAN. Do you think that we would have a new project if it had been recommended favorably by the Board of Engineers? This does not ask us to appropriate money for the purpose of maintaining channel work that we have already done.
Mr. Vinson. I recognize that fact.
The Chairman. If you can make it appear that it is necessary, and that the money should be appropriated to protect work already done, we could take care of that.
Mr. Vinson. As the chairman has stated, without any survey or without any report of the Board of Engineers, it lies within the power of this committee to take care of previous projects which have been partially completed. We claim that this is not a new project; that it is a mere continuation of the project of 1910 and 1913, even though a survey was made dealing with two or three other subject matters which bore directly and indirectly on this present work.
The CHAIRMAN. The whole work was done there on the supposition or the theory that it was in the interest of navigation and commerce.
Mr. Vinson. I recognize that fact.
The CHAIRMAN. Assuming that to be true, we would be authorized to make an appropriation, if the engineers should so recommend, to
maintain the work already done, which was in the interests of navigation.
Mr. Vinson. You have also the jurisdiction, if the engineers do not think it is a continual aid to navigation, but this committee does see fit from the facts submitted, to hold that it is in the interest of navigation and authorize the project.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course it is up to Congress to approve or disapprove.
Mr. Vinson. I think I can demonstrate conclusively that this work is in aid of navigation and that it is not a new project, and that it is a matter of inquiry for this committee. Right on that point, you will find in the report of the engineers this language:
The required examination was made by the district officer, and pursuant to favorable recommendation thereof, a survey was authorized. The district officer presents a plan for the protection of the river bank and levee at an estimated cost of $321,000, and states that the work should be done by some agency, leaving the question of who this agency should be to the determination of a higher authority.
You can see that the verbiage of this amendment calls upon the board of engineers to take in two projects—the protection of the levee and the protection of the river bank. I shall address myself to that point later, perhaps.
Mr. TAYLOR. At whose expense was the levee built?
Mr. Vinson. The city of Augusta spent nearly $2,000,000 for the the building of the levee.
Now, let us see if this is an aid of navigation. It is in aid of navigation, Mr. Chairman, to protect banks from erosion. There can not be any
doubt about that. When this matter was before the board of engineers for consideration, this is what was said by Col. W. T. Rossell, on January 4, 1913:
The approved plan provides for protection of the bank up to a height of 25 feet on the Augusta gauge, or about 18 feet above the level of summer low water.
It appears that since the work was started there have been four freshets which carried the water service above 25 feet on the gauge, and while no damage to the work was occasioned the district oflicer suggests the advisability of carrying the protection up to the crest of the bank, in order to form a more stable improvement.
That is our case exactly. Here is a report of the district officer holding that this bank should be protected from erosion up to the very top. As stated by Mr. Wingfield, this bank is made of such alluvial soil that the erosion does not take place at the bottom, but it takes place at the very top of the bank. On that point, and in order to illustrate the character of soil there, I submit this picture [indicating). It shows that during high water the erosion takes place right on top.
The CHAIRMAN. That was the recommendation of the engineers of 1909 ?
Mr. VINSON. 1913.
The CHAIRMAN. We completed the project they recommended there, and as they recommended it.
Mr. Vinson. Yes, sir. You appropriated $120,000 at one time and $250,000 at another time.
The CHAIRMAN. That work done under that project should be protected, if it is in danger. Mr. Wingfield stated a while ago that the damage shown by some of these photographs occurred in the flood of 1912, 1 believe. Who took care of that? Who repaired the damage done at that time?
Mr. Vinson. These people had to take care of that. The Government did not. If there were any crevices that washed in, the city of Augusta took care of that.
The CHAIRMAN. Was there any work done by the Government at that time?
Mr. Vixson. The Government did some seven or eight thousand dollars' worth of work at that time.
The CHAIRMAN. If we were to add to that, it would be a new project.
Mr. Vinson. Why would it not be a continuation of the original project? It would be a continuation to carry it up 10 feet higher.
The CHAIRMAN. It would be a continuation in one sense of the word, but not in the sense that we use it here. When we have completed a project
Mr. Vinson (interposing). You have not completed the project.
Mr. Vinson. I admit, that so far as the 25 feet is concerned, you have completed that; but in the recommendation made here the engineer stated that it was advisable to carry the work up to the top of the bank. We are merely asking that there be appropriated enough money to continue the present work, or to continue the work which has been authorized under a previous act.
The CHAIRMAN. I fancy that was one of the recommendations of the local officer, but the project, in the last analysis, is left to the Chief of Engineers. He fixes the limit hinself, because he has the
We look to his report. Of course, we can also go to see what the local engineers have to say on the subject, but do not adopt inferences without the approval of the chief.
Mr. EDWARDS. May I ask Mr. Vinson a question, Mr. Chairman ?
Mr. EDWARDS. I want to see if I understand your position. Your position is that the pavement or revetment of the bank, the top of the bank, as well as its extension up the river to Kings Mills, is for the protection of the work that the Government has already done?
Mr. VINSON. Absolutely.
Mr. EDWARDS. And is, in addition, in the interest of navigation in that it will prevent bank erosion and deposits that would naturally .fill in the channel at and below Augusta.
Mr. Vinson. That is it exactly.
The CHAIRMAN. In that connection, let me read you what the Chief of Engineers said in fixing the limit of this project.
Mr. SMALL. Is that the 1913 report?
That project was completed, as I understand it.
The CHAIRMAN. That fixes the limit of the project. Anything beyond that would be a new project.
Mr. Vinson. On the point made by Mr. Edwards, in regard to the protection of the bank, it certainly lies within the jurisdiction of this committee to pave the banks in the interests of navigation, in order to keep down erosion.
The CHAIRMAN. You can revet banks whether it is wholly in the interest of navigation or not.
Mr. Vinson. Under that statement then
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). I am speaking of the power we have. As a matter of practice, we have been confining our action to improvements in the interests of navigation. We have been doing that for many years past.
Mr. Vinson. Well, I believe I can show, by previous reports, that the character of the river banks at Augusta, and below Augusta, is such that this should be in the interest of navigation. In a report made by Gen. Kingman, in 1908, discussing the quality of the banks, he said: “The amount of material which has been eroded by the water indicates that in a length of 16 miles of river, during a period of 18 years, not less than 10,800,000 cubic yards have been washed down by the water; that is to say, an average of 600,000 cubic yards per annum have been thrown into a small stream, low-water width of which would not average more than 100 yards. It is not to be wondered at that bers and obstructions occur."
Now, I was following out your idea that the committee has jurisdiction, whether in the interest of navigation or not, to do paving or revetment work. Here is a report showing the quality and character of the soil. It shows that it is of such a character that in a period of 18 years not less than 10,800,000 cubic yards have been washed down by the water, and that this earth that is washed into the channel forms bars. It is certainly in the interest of navigation to protect the stream to have this riprap and revetment work done.
Mr. TAYLOR. If this erosion continues and these buildings continue to fall into the river, would that interfere with navigation ?
Mr. VINSON. Yes, sir.
I submit this question: How can we build warehouses unless the banks are protected? The pictures exhibited here show warehouses built on the river front. The present docks are built on the river front. If the banks are not protected up to the top, they are damaged in times of high water.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the committee and Congress, perhaps, would be loath to make improvements for the purposes of building docks. That is something that is being done almost entirely by the municipalities. They protect the bank for wharf purposes and terminal purposes.
Mr. Vinson. I was merely showing that it is in the interest of navigation to protect the bank and to protect the warehouses by paving it, or else you subject the warehouse to the danger of being washed into the river, which would interfere with navigation.
Here is what the board said about the velocity of the water there. This is an entirely new situation, on account of the levee. In referring to the velocity of the water the Board of Engineers said: “These freshets develop a very high velocity of current which breaks the banks of the stream, particularly on the Augusta side, and with very high