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Two small wet-weather creeks empty into the basin. In flood seasons every three or four years water overflows from Walnut Creek, which passes within 5 miles of the basin, and makes a fresh-water lake of from 5,000 to 18,000 acres, ranging from a few inches to 7 or 8 feet in depth, with a bottom practically level. It also is feasible from an engineering viewpoint, to drain water from the Arkansas River to feed a permanent fresh-water lake, although water more likely would be drawn from Walnut Creek, which is an all-weather stream with considerable drainage area. The Biological Survey plans contemplate the taking over of some 20,000 acres and making a permanent fresh-water lake of 5,000 acres.

The Biological Survey reports as many as 180,000 ducks in Cheyenne Bottoms at one time, and is of the opinion that a permanent lake would be a breeding place, as well as a migratory landing place, for thousands of wild fowl.

The size of the project makes it impossible for it to be taken over and development started under the authorization of appropriations of the migratory bird conservation act before the fiscal year of 1933. It is very necessary that the land be purchased within the next fiscal year, for the reason that a drainage district has been formed under the laws of Kansas, and this drainage district corporation proposes to issue bonds to the extent of $200,000. Commencement of drainage work and issuance of the bonds have been enjoined in the State courts of Kansas, but if and when that injunction is removed the drainage project will add $10 to $15 an acre to the cost to the Federal Government when the basin is taken over from a migratory bird refuge. The land by all means should be purchased immediately and save that extra cost. The location is so desirable for the purpose of a migratory bird refuge that it will be so taken over within a few years.

Herewith is a communication from the Secretary of Agriculture, explaining in detail the advantages of the Cheyenne Bottoms project; it should be noted that the committee believes it would be better to authorize a direct appropriation immediately rather than draw on the future appropriations already authorized in the migratory bird conservation act, as a matter of policy. The communication from the Secretary of Agriculture follows:


Washington, April 12, 1930. Hon. Chas. L. McNARY, Chairman Committee on Agriculture and Forestry,

United States Senate. DEAR SENATOR McNary: I have your letter of March 20, inclosing for consideration and comment a copy of the bill S. 3950, introduced by Mr. Allen, authorizing the establishment of a migratory bird refuge in the Cheyenne Bot toms, Barton County, Kans.

The Cheyenne Bottoms constitutes a basinlike depression located easterly of a line drawn from Great Bend to Hoisington in the State of Kansas and is considerably lower than most of the surrounding region. The drainage into the basin under normal conditions is very limited in extent and there is no natural outlet for the water that accumulates in the basin at flood times and practically no loss by seepage. The lowest level forms an intermittent lake of small extent that is never entirely dry, and during seasons of exceptionally heavy rainfall it becomes a large body of water averaging in depth from a few inches to 6 or 7 feet. The heavy rains in 1927 flooded the bottoms and while the waters have receded somewhat, the submerged area at present is approximately 15,500 acres. The purpose of the bill under consideration is the purchase of the area necessary to maintain a permanent lake in the Cheyenne Bottoms.

The Cheyenne Bottoms have long been recognized as of great potential value 28 & congregating place for migratory waterfowl. When flooded in years gone by it has constituted a well-known resort for market gunners, and during the last three years has been the habitat of thousands of wild ducks, shore birds, and other migratory birds. An estimate of the birds on the lake on October 8, 1927, showed approximately 180,000 waterfowl.

Birds banded at Ellinwood, just east of the Cheyenne Bottoms, have been killed in 16 other States, including the Great Plains region, and points as far west as California and Oregon, and southeast to Louisiana; also in three Provinces of Canada, in Alaska, and in southern Mexico. These banding operations conclusively demonstrate that to maintain this body of water in a comparatively dry region would be of great value to the migrating birds not only in Kansas, but in a vast section of the country. Such a water area would also be beneficial to the surrounding region in many respects, including recreational features, such as boating, fishing, and swimming.

In order to maintain the lake on the lands contemplated for purchase by the proposed legislation it would be necessary to construct a diversion dam in Walnut Creek and a canal ditch for a distance of 6 miles for the introduction of water into the bottoms. Gates would also need to be installed in the canal for the control of the flow of the water and the maintenance of a nearly uniform water level. An outlet ditch would also be necessary for the disposal of excess water that might flow in at flood times.

The total area of the bottoms is approximately 35,400 acres, of which it would be necessary to acquire about 20,000 acres for the proposed project. A large part of the area contemplated for the refuge is not, in the opinion of the department, valuable for farming purposes. The appropriation of $300,000 contemplated by the bill would probably be sufficient to obtain the land necessary for the project. This amount, however, is insufficient to cover the additional expense of the necessary engineering work for bringing water to the Cheyenne Bottoms to maintain the desired lake level and to provide for the outlet of overflow waters. This additional engineering expense and right of way acquisitions is roughly estimated at between $350,000 and $400,000 from the information now available in the department.

The Cheyenne Bottoms area when well supplied with water is especially adapted for wild-fowl refuge purposes. It embraces land of little agricultural value in a dry region where suitable refuge sites are not generally available. The location is one of the most favorable in a general section where a substantial refuge is sorely needed. The importance of suitable reservations in favorable localities along the flight lanes of the migratory waterfowl where they can find resting and feeding places can not be too strongly emphasized. It is believed that the Cheyenne Bottoms project would mean much to the welfare of the migratory birds.

Approximately 18,000 acres of the area contemplated for refuge purposes in this project are incorporated in an organized drainage district. With the varied interests involved, if this area is to be acquired by the Federal Government for refuge purposes it will be necessary to do so through condemnation proceedings. If the plans for this district are carried out, the area will be drained into the Arkansas River through a ditch 20 feet wide at the bottom. These operations will reduce the water area of the basin about two-thirds and render the remainder of little or no consequence from the standpoint of the conservation of migratory waterfowl, due to the fact that it will become more or less alkaline in character. If used for refuge purposes, an intake would be established to maintain proper water levels, but without the introduction of fresh water the area would become unattractive to the birds.

This project is too large & one to consider under the funds authorized to be appropriated under the migratory bird conservation act of February 18, 1929 (45 Stat. 1222), prior to those to be made available during the fiscal year 1933. If the acquisition of the area necessary for a refuge in the Cheyenne Bottoms is deferred until that time doubtless the operations proposed by the drainage district will have been instituted, if not completed. This action would result in greatly increasing the cost of the project to the Government, should the lands be acquired for refuge purposes after these improvements have been made. Moreover, if special action is not taken at the present time for the acquisition of this area before the drainage improvements are undertaken, it is doubtful if this purchase from funds to become available under the migratory bird conservation act could ever be justified.

In view of the emergency which exists in connection with this project, it is suggested by the department that instead of the special bill (H. R. 10774, S. 3950), & resolution be adopted by the Congress to authorize the advance of not to exceed $300,000 to be available during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1931, from the funds authorized to be appropriated by section 12 of the migratory bird conservation act of February 18, 1929 (45 Stat. 1224), for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1932, as a basis for an item in the deficiency appropriation bill to be enacted at the end of the present session of Congress.

The following is suggested as a House joint resolution to carry out this purpose:

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That not to exceed $300,000 of the amount of $600,000 authorized to be appropriated for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1932, by section 12 of the act entitled 'An act to more effectively meet the obligations of the United States under the migratory bird treaty with Great Britain by lessening the dangers threatening migratory game birds from drainage and other causes, by the acquisition of areas of land and of water to furnish in perpetuity reservations for the adequate protection of such birds; and authorizing appropriations for the establishment of such areas, their maintenance and improvement, and for other purposes,' approved February 18, 1929 (45 Stat. L., 1224) is hereby authorized to be appropriated for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1931.""

From the investigations of the department it is convinced that the Cheyenne Bottoms is a worthy project for migratory bird refuge purposes as contemplated by the migratory bird conservation act of February 18, 1929, and I have no hesitation in recommending the adoption of legislation and the appropriations necessary for the Federal Government to acquire the area as soon as the financial program will permit.

A similar report has been made to the chairman of the Committee on Agriculture on the companion bill in the House of Representatives (H. R. 10774). Sincerely,

ARTHUR M. HYDE, Secretary.




2d Session


REPORT No. 504



APRIL 21 (calendar day, APRIL 23), 1930.—Ordered to be printed

Mr. Dale, from the Committee on Commerce, submitted the following


[To accompany S. 3868]

The Committee on Commerce, to whom was referred the bill (S. 3868) granting the consent of Congress to the Lamar Lumber Co. to construct, maintain, and operate a railroad bridge across the West Pearl River at or near Talisheek, La., having considered the same, report favorably thereon and recommend that the bill do pass without amendment.

The bill has the approval of the Departments of War and Agriculture, as will appear by the annexed communications.

WAR DEPARTMENT, March 20, 1930. Respectfully returned to the chairman Committee on Commerce, United States Senate.

So far as the interests committed to this department are concerned, I know of no objection to the favorable consideration of the accompanying bill, S. 3868, Seventy-first Congress, second session, granting the consent of Congress to the Lamar Lumber Co. to construct a railroad bridge across the West Pearl River at or near Talisheek, La.

The West Pearl River is, however, wholly within the limits of the State of Louisiana, and the proposed bridge can consequently be authorized by State law and duly constructed provided the plans are submitted to and approved by the Chief of Engineers and by the Secretary of War before construction is commenced, in conformity with the Federal law contained in section 9 of the river and harbor act of March 3, 1899. The enactment of this measure, therefore, appears to be unnecessary.


Secretary of War. SR-71-2-VOL 26


Washington, D. C., March 21, 1930. Hon. Hiram W. JOHNSON,

Chairman Committee on Commerce, United States Senate. DEAR SENATOR: Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of March 13, transmitting a copy of a bill (S. 3868) with request that the committee be furnished with such suggestions touching its merits and the propriety of its passage as the department might deem appropriate.

This bill would authorize the Lamar Lumber Co., its successors and assigns, to construct, maintain, and operate a railroad bridge and approaches thereto across the West Pearl River at or near Talisheek, La. The bill relates to a railroad bridge and is without objection so far as this department is concerned. Sincerely,

R. W. DUNLAP, Acting Secretary.

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