« AnteriorContinuar »
ing lands by canal, and to secure the aid of the Government experts when practicable in the several matters investigated by this Commission. Fifth–To investigate the questions of forests and their preservation and culture in the State, especially with reference to the influence of forests on the flood conditions of the rivers and the erosion and waste of the soils. Sirth–It is the clear intent and purpose of the act providing for the Commission that the close interrelation of the several phases of river development shall be shown, and the necessity for a broad, comprehensive treatment of our rivers shall be studied and reported upon. Seventh—The general question of the relation of the State to the preservation of the fertility of the Iowa soils. Eighth—The general question of the wise and conservative development and use of the mineral resources of the State, especially with reference to the mining of coal. Ninth—The general question of the nature and condition of such lakes in Iowa as now belong to the State, and the relation of lakes and streams to the preservation of such varieties of fish, birds, and native animals as are desirable which now belong to the State.
Members Serve Without Pay
We have but $5,000 to carry on the expenses of our two years' work. Out of this must be paid our secretary and office expenses, and the cost of printing our reports and whatever field work is done by the engineers. It would seem that the great State of Iowa, producing annually more than $600,000,000 of wealth could well afford to have been more liberal in appropriating for this work. The task assigned surely is no small one.
Work of the Commission
We have begun to compile our report for the printers, and expect to present a report that will be valuable for future reference and we hope of much interest to our people.
We have investigated the drainage conditions over the State quite extensively, and undertaken to ascertain the number of acres of land not available for agriculture through lack of drainage. We will have recommendations to make pertaining to this question, but have not yet worked out any plan for financing cost at reduced rates. This will be considered later, but the Iowa farmer has money and is not so much interested in having the interest rates for carrying his debt reduced, as he is in getting the first cost reduced.
... We have investigated and surveyed a number of water-power sites and are more and more impressed with the importance of the State looking after them and seeing that the control does not slip away. No estimate has yet been made as to the value of the undeveloped water-power of the State, but I will venture that it will be shown to be several millions of dollars. If not looked after, it will be but a short time until it will be under the control of individuals or private corporations. Almost invariably wherever our engineers have gone, they either find the engineer for some crowd of individuals—for some corporation—on the job, or find that he has preceded them. I will cite one example in our State: On Cedar River, at Moscow, individuals are planning the construction of a great dam which will store an immense body of water. They have 7,500 acres of land already acquired, adding greatly to the power developed by the natural flow of the river itself. When this dam is completed, it will turn from the channel into a canal practically the entire discharge of the river at low stage, carrying it around the country to the city of Muscatine, with an average fall of about ninety feet, developing 25,000 horse-power, and finally discharging the water into the Mississippi, never returning to the original channel from which it was taken. A syndicate plans to finance this proposition on a basis of $3.0000m. and if unmolested the probability is that it will be carried out successfully. The Commission, however, is powerless, being a temporary creation with its duties defined. We, therefore, can only call attention in our report and urge topon our Legislature that it take some action toward protecting our people in their rights in these matters. We are working in perfect harmony with the Uni'ed States Government engineers who are on the Des Moines River work at this time. We expect much from them in the way of information that we can use in our report. Iowa is interested in some 900 miles of navigable streams, either touched by her borders of within her territory, and we hope some day to again reap the benefit of being able to load and unload freight at docks within the corporate limits of our beautiful capital city, as we did for many years in its early history; and not only Des Moines but all the cities bordering on the great Mississippi or the equally great Missouri. . . Iowa occupies a proud position among the States today, rich in fertile soil, rich in minerals, coals, and shales, blessed with a happy and contented people; if given the benefit of improved waterways like the Mississippi, the Ohio, and the Missouri, making them great highways; and if at the same time permitted to improve our tributary rivers and the water-powers of this great Central West, it will make a mighty empire of itself—and Iowa, magnificent State that she is, will be in the center of it all. We are not yet so far advanced with our work that I am able to tell you what the Commission will or will not recommend to the next Legislature. I am firm in the belief that a permanent Commission should be created, with a liberal appropriation for carrying forward the work. Possibly the field now covered by our Commission should be divided. It would seem that the drainage interests of the State would be of sufficient importance to justify the employment of a State engineer, and possibly the question of drainage would receive the entire attention of some State board. There is a great work that can be done by our Commission in the future if the State should see fit to make it permanent and appropriate the money to carry forward the work. The beautifying of our meandered lakes is something that is attracting the attention of our people, and would prove a popular move if started. They are also becoming much interested in the treatment and handling of soils, and much good would ultimately result to our farmers if this phase of Conservation was handled intelligently and carefully. Professor Stevenson, of the Iowa State Agricultural College, a member of this Commission, is recognized as an expert in this line of Conservation work, and I believe that his part of the report when published will be instructive and interesting. I can only hope that enough interest will be aroused throughout our State to influence the next Legislature to put the Commission on a permanent basis, furnishing the means to carry on the great work.
REPORT FROM LOUISIANA
Chairman Louisiana Conservation Commission
Louisiana was the first State to create a commission for the Conservation of Natural Resources by legislative enactment, and enjoys the proud distinction of being the first to enact sane and comprehensive laws tending to conserve, protect, and perpetuate the natural resources of the State. In 1908 the Legislature created a Conservation Commission, whose duty it was to report to the Legislature in 1910 as to the conditions of the various resources and to recommend necessary laws for their use and preservation. The Commission went to work with a will, holding meetings all over the State for the purpose of arousing the people and educating them in the great work. The lumbermen were our friends from the beginning ; so were the owners of timber lands, and operators in the production of oil, gas, sulphur, and salt; the farmers dependent on the streams for irrigation purposes soon saw the benefit to be derived from a policy that would protect and perpetuate our natural resources, and also gave us their hearty cooperation. This great work accomplished, the people as a whole soon realized that 80 percent of the proceeds of the forests and rivers was expended for labor and supplies, and joined heartily in the movement; and thus we were prepared to ask the Legislature that certain laws be enacted. Honorable Harry Gamble, our efficient Secretary (and a member of the Commission) prepared the various acts, and with such care that they will stand the test of any court. It was my pleasure as a member of the Legislature from the newly created parish of Lasalle to introduce and handle a number of the Con; servation measures. Governor Sanders, one of the greatest men in the United States, who recently resigned a United States senatorship to which he had been unanimously elected because the people needed him at the helm of the State Sovernment, gave his hearty support to every measure bearing on Conservation. But with all the serious obstacles removed, and the advantage of a friendly administration, our bills could not be made effective without a constitutional amendment; and so we faced a real crisis. in order to raise a sufficient fund to protect our forests from fires and for ------...... ...-noses and to prevent the gas and oil fields from being recklessly exploited and wasted, it was necessary to levy a license-tax on timber and minerals severed from the soil. Our resources being in the hands of individuals and corporations, it was just and proper that they contribute to the cost of the work for preserving their properties, and the people through the State would enact and carry such laws into effect as would benefit all. To pass a constitutional amendment is not any easy matter; and thus the real work began. The Constitution of the State, which provided for a license-tax on nearly every profession or business, had left out lumber and minerals, probably because it has only been in recent years that there was any development along such lines. That part of the amendment referring to natural resources was as follows: “Those engaged in severing natural resources, as timber or minerals, from the soil or water, whether they thereafter convert them by manufacturing or not, may also be rendered liable to a license-tax, but in this case the amount to be collected may either be graduated or fixed according to the quantity or value of the product at the place where it is severed.” When the amendment came up for final passage I spoke in part as follows: “The whole Conservation program as recommended by the Conservation Commission, of which I had the honor to be chairman, is dependent on this amendment of Article 229 of the Constitution. In carrying out the idea of Conservation, as in carrying out any other governmental policy, it is necessary to raise money. In order to introduce a forestry system and to protect your forests from fires, it is necessary to have money to employ persons informed along these lines whose special duty it will be to look after that kind of business. Now in order to do this, it seems no more than fair that the persons who are profiting by the depletion of our natural resources should contribute to the payment of these bills; but before that can be done, it is necessary to change the Constitution. “Article 229, as originally made, exempts manufacturers. Notwithstanding this fact, in 1902 a general license act was passed in which the Legislature, in their wisdom, saw fit to levy a license-tax on the manufacture of lumber. When it was attempted to collect this tax, it was carried to the Supreme Court which held that a license-tax levied on the manufacture of lumber could not be collected for the reason that manufacturers were exempt under Article 229, and the sawing of lumber was a manufacturing business. The court did not say that the attempt of the Legislature to levy a license-tax on the manufacture of lumber was inequitable or unjust, but merely that it was unconstitutional according to Article 229. This bill, from and including lines 12 to 24, attempts to change the Constitution so that the tax may be levied on the severing of trees from the soil. It is to be noticed that there is no attempt to levy a license-tax on the manufacture of lumber, but it is proposed to change the Constitution so that the license-tax may be levied on the cutting down of trees in forests. “As stated before, the Conservation Commission, after having investigated this question for two years and examined the laws not only of the United States but of foreign countries, has reached the conclusion that those persons who are engaged in the exhaustion of the natural resources of the State, in justice to the State which permits them to do business under this law, in justice to the people, and in justice to future generations of the State, should bear a slight additional tax in order to restore and protect those resources. “This, Gentlemen, is the reason why you are asked to change Article 229 of the Constitution. You are already acquainted with the facts connected with the natural resource depletion of this State, and I will not now discuss that question. I am simply explaining to you, to the best of my ability, the necessity of changing the Constitution as proposed in this bill in order that we may have the proper source to raise a revenue in order to carry out Conservation policies.” We succeeded in passing the amendment, and then passed the License-tax or Revenue Act which provides the following taxes: 3/4 cent per 1,000 feet log scale on fine and hardwoods severed from the soil; 1 cent per 100 stave bolts: 3/10 cent for each telegraph and telephone pole; 1 cent each for piles: 1/8 cent per cup per year for extracting turpentine from growing trees; for production of oil, 2/5 cent per barrel; for natural gas, 1/5 cent per 10,000 cubic feet; for mining sulphur, 2 cents per ton; for mining salt, 1/5 cent per ton. The license-tax on timber will yield about $20,000 annually, and the same amount will accrue from mines and mining. The Conservation Commission will use these funds for the protection and perpetuation of the State's natural resources. The Forestry bill, which we consider a good one, was then passed. There are no restrictions as to size-limit in cutting timber. Ample provisions are made for a complete fire patrol system and methods for preventing loss by fires. In Louisiana and all southern States, denuded lands will reforest naturally if fires are prevented, and a good crop can be grown in from 25 to 40 years. For any one who will engage in the business of growing timber, especial inducements are held out. The assessment on the land is fixed at $1.00 per acre for 30 or 40
years, and the growing timber is not taxed during that period. The Deputy Forester must be a man practically and theoretically educated in silviculture, and under the State Forester has supervision of forestry work. Consent is also given to the United States to acquire by gift or purchase not exceeding 100,000 acres for a National forest reserve; the State may also acquire by gift or purchase lands for forest reserves. Act 254 provides for the establishment of a department of mining and minerals, including oil and gas production, authorizing the prohibition of unsafe and wasteful mining and the appointment of a supervisor of minerals on recommendation of the Conservation Commission. Act 265 to “establish a Board of Commissioners for the protection of Birds, Game, and Fish,” empowers them to employ wardens, officers, ānd assistants, and to provide means to carry the Act into effect; gives them complete control and management of all the waters of the State, such as the Gulf of Mexico (within the jurisdiction of the State), all lakes, bays, sounds, rivers, streams, passes, bayous, creeks, lagoons, and ponds by granting management and control of all fish, shell-fish, oysters, diamond-back terrapin, turtles, shrimp, crabs, and alligators; and provides for oyster, game, and fish reserves by granting them control of birds, game, and fur-bearing animals, etc. Birds, game, and fish are among the greatest natural resources of the State, yielding an enormous food supply and a large revenue. Act 57 declares that waters found in the bayous, lagoons, lakes, bays, and rivers to be the property of the State. The idea is that the State. will not permit any one to create a monopoly of this resource, which belongs to the people. Act 280 provided for the creation of a Commission for the Conservation of Natural Resources. Act 333 provided for conservation of natural gas and oil by preventing waste. A number of other Conservation measures were enacted into laws, 29 in all, but I cannot touch upon them at this time. We are proud of our success in inaugurating safe and sane policies for Conservation; we are proud of our Governor, J. Y. Sanders, who urged the passage of the various bills; we are proud of our lumbermen, timber owners, gas and oil operators, and miners who recognized the need for Conservation and the justness of our bills, and assisted in their passage. And above all we are proud of our people as a whole, who are so wide-awake on the question of Conservation of natural resources.
REPORT FROM MAINE
The two principal resources of the State of Maine are its forests and its water-powers. Of its total area of 30,000 square miles, 21,000 square miles, or 70 percent are in forest lands. Over 1500 lakes and ponds are located in the State, covering 2200 square miles of water surface, and not including the innumerable little ponds of an acre or two in area that are located in all directions. There are in the State one lake to each 20 square miles of territory, and one square mile of lake surface to each 14.3 square miles of territorial area.
Although the State ranks 35 in area, and 30 in population, it ranks third in the Union in water-power development, having, according to the U. S. Census, a total of over 343,000 horsepower in use. It is surpassed only by New York and California in total horsepower.
The State has always conserved its water-power. The Supreme Judicial Court of the State has held as follows:
It is a rule of law peculiar to this State and Massachusetts under the Colonial Ordinance of 1641-7 that all, great ponds—that is ponds containing more than 10 acres—are owned by the State.
While private property, cannot be taken for public use without compensation, the waters of great ponds and lakes are not private property.
Under the ordinance, the State owns the ponds as public property held in trust for public uses. It has not only the jus privatum, the ownership of the soil, but also the jus publicum, and the right to control and regulate the public uses to which the ponds shall be applied. - - - - - The authority of the State to control waters of great ponds and determine the uses to which they may be applied is a governmental power, and the governmental powers of the State are never lost by mere non-use.
Maine has always been in the forefront in the investigation and conservation of its resources. Thirty years before the National Government authorized its first geological investigations, and over forty years before the Federal Geological Survey was established, the State of Maine had made such a survey. By Act of the State Legislature, March 28, 1836, a geological survey of the State was authorized under the direction of Dr Charles T. Jackson, State Geologist. The investigation was continued for three years. The results of this geological survey, considering the difficulties of transportation at that time and the nonexistence of accurate maps, are interesting.
A detail survey and report on the natural history and geology of the State was made in 1861 and 1862 by Ezekiel Holmes, Naturalist, and C. H. Hitchcock, Geologist. Reports were made on the zoology and botany of the State, but the most interesting and detailed reports treated of the geological resources.
A hydrographic survey of the State was authorized by the Legislature as early as 1867. The resulting report of Mr Walter Wells is considered as authority even to the present day.
At the present time there are two organizations in this State working along geological, topographic, and hydrographic lines. They are known as the Maine State Survey Commission, and the Maine State Water-Storage Commission. The first organization was authorized by Act of the State Legislature March 16, 1899. Its powers were subsequently amended and enlarged by an Act approved March 23, 1905. It is authorized to cooperate with the U. S. Geological Survey, and its work includes the topographic and geological surveys of the State.
The creation of the State Water-Storage Commission was authorized by Act of the Legislature April 2, 1909. His Excellency, Governor Fernald, at the Conference of Governors in May, 1908, was so impressed with the importance of the objects and recommendations there brought forth that, at the next meeting of the State Legislature, he advocated and finally approved the Act creating said Commission. This Commission is directed to collect information relating to the water-powers of the State, the flow of rivers and their drainage area, the location, nature, and size of the lakes and ponds in the State, and their respective value and capacity as storage reservoirs, with a view to conserving and increasing the capacity of the water-powers of the State. The Act further provides that every person, firm, or corporation before commencing the erection of a dam for the purpose of developing any water-power in the State, or the creation or improvement of a storage reservoir, shall file with the Commission certain prescribed engineering plans.
The first report of the Commission to the Legislature is asked to show, in so far as time will allow, a comprehensive and practical plan for the creation of such water-storage reservoirs as will tend to develop and conserve the waterpowers of the State, and to report the necesssary steps that should be taken by the State to further conserve and increase them. The Commission is further requested to ascertain what lands can be purchased by the State and the cost thereof, with information as to their value as forest reserves or for conserving the water-powers of the State, or for reforestation; and further to investigate the question of denuded, burnt-over, or barren lands in the State, and their extent and value, with a view to their purchase by the State for reforestation.
By an agreement dated December 1, 1909, between the Director of the U. S. Geological Survey, the Chairman of the State Survey Commission and the Chairman of the State Water-Storage Commission, the work of the three organizations in the State is brought under, one direction. This agreement provides for a cooperative survey of the natural resources of the State; that said survey shall include the continuation of topographic mapping, a determination of the amount and availability of water resources, their present development and the best methods of their future utilization; also the further determination of geologic resources. The executive officer, under the terms of this agreement, is a duly appointed employee of the U. S. Geological Survey, with the title of District Engineer. * *