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County agent project progress report, Flood control - soil conservation and soil conservation-domestic allotment, November 1, 1939







Discussion of the formation of the Virgin River Watershed Flood Control District and Soil Conservation Committee and the efforts of all the individual soil conservation districts. Project Number: State Office No. 172. Clark County No. 12 and Project Number: State Office No. 284. Clark County No. 24

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Box 4 Folder 12 Erosion-Flood Control Clark County 1936-1941


hln000562. John Wittwer Collection on Agriculture in Nevada, 1898-1972. MS-00181. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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COUNTY AGENT PROJECT PROJECT NUMBER: Progress Report State Office No. 172 Date: November 1, 1939 Clark County No. 12 NAME OF PROJECT: Flood Control - Soil Conservation Owing to the nature of problems under consideration in erosion-flood control, soil conservation and drainage, these items will be presented as activities of each: 1. The Virgin Valley Soil Conservation District. The Moapa Valley Soil Conservation District. 3, The Moapa (Clark County)?-Meadow Valley (Lincoln County) Soil Conservation Districts. 4. An associated group of representatives of each the Virgin-Moapa Soil Conservation Districts of Clark County; the Pahranagat and Meadow Valley Soil Conservation Districts, Lincoln County, Nevada; and representatives from each Washington County, Utah, and Mohave County, Arizona. Activities of this group follow: One of the most substantial stoves toward an effective substantial program of flood control for all Southern Nevada watershed areas was brought to focal point thru a gathering of representatives of the Virgin River Drainage system from Utah, Arizona and Nevada on March 1 at Logandale. Thirty-four representatives from three counties in Southern Utah, one county in Arizona, end two Nevada counties met, organized a central committee representing the entire Virgin River Drainage system and known as the Virgin River Watershed Floop Control District and Soil Conservation Committee. Edwin Marshall representing Nevada, selected as Chairman, Wayne C. Gardner, representing Utah, Vice-Chairman, and Joseph T. Atkin, Jr., representing Arizona, Secretary. following organization procedure, a resolution was formulated directly a petition to Congressional Delegations, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. Personal letters accompanying copy of this petition were accordingly prepared and mailed to each congressional representative, governor and state engineer of each Utah, Arizona, and Nevada, with copies of sane to U. S. Army Engineers, and to the Secretary of Agriculture, petitioning for the services of the United States Engineers and the Secretary of Agriculture, with the necessary finances, for the purpose of conducting a complete detailed Flood Control and Soil Conservation Survey of that which before formation of Lake Mead has been considered the entire Virgin River Watershed as situated in Utah, Arizona and Nevada. -a- CCUNTY AGENT PROJECT Progress Report Date: November 1, 1939 Results: 1. The completion of the "Preliminary and Examination Report" of the Virgin River Watershed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. 2. Completion of a similar preliminary and examination report on flood control by the U. S. Army Engineers. 3. The beginning of "general reconnaissance, stream gaging and dam site investigations" in the upper Virgin River watershed areas, with tentative plans "made to eventually cover the entire Virgin River basin," by the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation. Moapa-Meadow Valley Wash Soil Conservation Districts: The item of first consideration was the joint petition of supervisors of these districts for surveys to determine a definite program of flood control in the Clover Valley Mountain area east of Caliente,?the source of 60 percent or more of all major floods reaching the Caliente-Moapa areas. This action resulted in the finest kind of cooperation on the part of Regional, State and District Soil Conservation Service officials,?a survey crew was "borrowed" from other districts of the region?a very substantial report completed before the inclement winter weather began?and which in turn enabled placing the necessary data before the December 1938 Colorado Basin Water Resources Committee, to the U. S. Army Engineers, and to other agencies of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, as follow-up work, these studies were, during the summer of 1939, extended over critical areas of the upper Meadow Valley Wash above and north and east of Panaca. Salient features of data secured from this work were: 1. Damages suffered by the railroads, residents and land owners since 1906 to 1938 inclusive, total over eight million dollars. 2. The comparatively low cost of control measures infinitesimal compared with damages?less than $600,000.00, of which $300,000.00 would go toward re-location of branch line railroad trackage. Yet, from standards set up by competent agencies in such PROGRESS NUMBER: State Office No. 172 Clark County No. 12 COUNTY AGENT PROJECT Progress Report Date: November 1, 1939 PROGRESS NUMBER: State Office No. 172 Clark County No. 12 work,conditions, from standpoint of damages, would warrant an expenditure of approximately four million dollars on flood control thru the various methods of approaching the problem. 3. Securing interest of the Union Pacific System officials in the conduct of a program of watershed-wide flood control. 4. Opening the way for securing cooperation of users of public domain toward the end of inclusion of all parts of the watershed area within the Division of Grazing to facilitate more effectively a program of range improvement, erosion-flood control. Moapa Soil Conservation District: Outstanding accomplishments of the year were: 1. The completion of the Wellsiding Spillway by the Wellsiding C. C. Camp at Logandale under Forest Service supervision, increasing the spillway capacity of the Wellsiding site from 3,000 to 18,000 cubic feet per second, thus, thru construction of a secondary spillway, providing perfect control of floods at this point without danger to the irrigation diversion system. 2. Securing finances for completion of the Meadow Valley Wash. To the credit of those public agencies immediately concerned with the problem, it must be said that full realization of the problem was understood; for every force possible was set in motion to effect securing the necessary finances, $20,000.00 for the completion of the project. Thru excellent work of Edwin Marshall, Warren Hardy, C. J. Mackey, local W. P. A. Administrator, C. J. Olson of the Regional Forest Service, Qgden, Utah, R. H. Rutledge, Director of Grazing, and Nevada Extension Director, C. W. Creel, in making approaches, thru the cooperation of Nevada's Congressional Delegation to the various federal agencies in Washington, a solution of the problem (money) began by the close of April and early May, when it was definitely assured that $80,000.00 had been secured, thus meeting fully the need for all material costs of the job. At the close of the report period, the proposed work was in full progress, with prospects of completing all phases of plans under consideration on this particular project. 3. In anticipation of completing the foregoing, Forest -4- COUNTY AGENT PROJECT Progress Report Date: November 1, 1939 PRG3RESS NUMBER: State Office No. 172 Clark County No. 12 Service officials, with local representatives, made reconnaissance survey of the entire Moapa area for additional work, for which plans would be submitted at an early date, thus enabling local interest a to proceed with such financing program as might become necessary to hold the Wellsiding C. C. C. Camp under supervision of the Forest Service for one, if not two or more, periods for which there is ample work of substantial interest to local, state and federal agencies. 4. The completion of a survey covering the lower Moapa Valley Flood Channel and drainage of approximately 1,100 acres of land lying in the very heart of that area by the Soil Conservation Service, and which provided the necessary data from which might be determined specifications with corresponding coats of each: ?a 5,000,a 10,000, end a 15,000 cfs capacity flood channel; and, ?the drainage of the indicated 1100 acres by means of open drain; and, if further experience would indicate, the installation of such tile drains that might become necessary to effect desired results. Virgin Valley Soil Conservation District: Early in the year it became evident that the C.C.C.Camp at Bunkerville was to be removed to other parts, when, thru urgent petitions to Nevada's Congressional Delegation, by the Virgin and Moapa Valleys Soil Conservation District Supervisors; in cooperation with Soil Conservation Service officials, Extension Director C. K. Creel, the proposed action for removal of the camp was definitely stalled. As one means of holding same intact, each Bunkerville and Mesquite pledged themselves to provide $1,000 each toward purchase of materials for a flood control program bo be carried out during the 1939-40 winter season camp period. However, as the season advanced, and as soon as it was definitely known that the Mesquite community would not participate in the proposed water facilities program, Mesquite withdrew its proposal to participate in providing the $1,000 toward holding the C.C.C.Camp, consequently leaving the entire problem of securing C. C. C. assistance and the development of an erosion-flood control program to the Bunkerville and Riverside communities. In consideration of Bunkerville's serious position, and with September 1939 floods sweeping Bunkerville's diversion dam COUNTY AGENT PROJECT Prograss Report Data: November 1, 1939 PROGRESS NUMBER: State Office No. 172 Clark County No. 12 out clean, cutting seriously into Bunkerville'a farm lands, and completely destroying 600 feat of canal bank for the Riverside ranchers, strenuous efforts were made to secure the cooperation of the Disaster Loan Corporation to finance a program that would meet requirements necessary to assure securing at least a aide C. C. C. Camp of 30 to 50 men thru whom work of most urgency might be done until a more substantial program of bank erosion and flood control might become operative on an overall watershed basis. Accordingly, petitions, correspondence and personal appeals were renewed for assistance of the Soil Conservation Service to proceed with the development of a program for holding C. C. 0. Camp buildings for a side C. C. C. Camp, for protection of their canal, intake, diversion dam, and farmlands with tetrahedrons,? the one structural facility that experience under conditions maintaining, proved to be permanently effective as a foundation for further protective work thru a brush-rock and tree program. Consequently, a program of bank erosion control work was outlined wherein the community agreed to provide the cost of material to be used by a side C.C.C. Camp of from 30 to 50 men for a period of five or more years,?the 1939-40 material costs amounting to $1,000, Which, after many attempts at securing the desired action, and following disastrous floods of September 1939, prospects of a financing program for the foregoing needs were definitely assured from each the Disaster Loan Corporation of Los Angeles, California, and the Clark County Farm Bureau, thru the Bunkerville Irrigation Company as the responsible borrowing agency for the community. Attempts to remove the C.C.C .Camp buildings at Bunkerville were overcome thru splendid work of Nevada's Congressional Delegation, in cooperation with the Forest Service, Soil Conservation Service and Extension Director C. W. Creel. The cry of Ho good water" was overcome thru the fine cooperation of the W. P. A. and the L. D. S. Church completing the line from the end of the SCS tank formerly built; finances to the extent of $1,000 were assured by the Bunkerville Irrigation Company; thirty "farm plans" and the inclusion of public domain improvement as recommended by the Soil Conservation Service were both secured,?everything asked for by the District Soil Conservation Service supervising personnel was provided for; yet, at the close of this report period, there was nothing in sight to indicate action in line with needs. The outlook is entirely conjectural. -6- COUNTY AGENT J ROJECT PROGRESS REPORT: progress Report State Office Mo. 178 Date: November 1, 1939 Clark County No. 18 Flood waters from upper reaches of the Virgin River watershed swept out diversion dams of each Mesquite, Bunkerville and Riverside. In Bunkerville, one farm was completely ruined, another seriously, four others dangerously approached; and the Riverside Canal seriously impaired. This condition has made delays in securing a side camp at Bunkerville extremely hazardous because of the approach of spring floods becoming a serious menace to the safety of the community. These serious aspects of a discouraging situation were, however, not without advantage. Thru the immediate action of Director C. W. Creel, Nevada's Congressional Delegation, and representatives of the Disaster Loan Corporation, a representative of the corporation, J. T. Seeley, Examiner of the Los Angeles office, made a thorough personal inspection of all damages done, hie findings resulting in a report showing; 1. A sympathetic understanding of Bunkerville's and Riverside's needs toward overcoming the flood menace in the area on a substantial basis, based upon actual need. 8. Readiness to assist by loaning local people such finances for such periods of time and on such terms as would meet needs of borrowers. 3.A. wholesome respect for people of Bunkerville and Riverside for their fortitude in meeting the problems concerned on a basis of repayment rather than outright grants. 4. Further withholding of dismantling the buildings of the C. C. C. Camp at Bunkerville. 5. Doubling of efforts by H. D. Sanford to secure necessary cooperation to assure securing a side C. C. C. Camp for the area for an immediate action program. County Art ana ion Agent COUNTY ^GHH' PRQJEC? PROJECT NUMBER Progress Report State Office #172 DATES! November 1, 1939 Clark County #12 NAME OF PROJECT: Flood Control - Soil Conservation The various items for consideration under this project can best be presented under: 1. The Virgin Soil Conservation District 2. The Moapa Soil Conservation District 3. Virgin River Watershed 1, The Virgin Soil Conservation District. (l) The Virgin Soil Conservation District in cooperation with the Soil Conservation, the Clark County Extension and Farm Bureau Service agencies failing to secure the establishment of a side CCC Carp in Bunkerville at the close of the year 1939 all help possible was extended toward the end of establishing this camp at the earliest date possible to avoid continued bank erosion at vulnerable points along practically the entire community's fans land and canal bank area, extending over a distance of approximately miles. Through continued appeals by local, county, state, and national agencies, technicalities were all eventually overcome, such as securing 34 farms plans, range management plans, when in March, though seasonally late, the side camp moved in,?and with a $1,000 loan from the Disaster Loan Corporation and an appropriation of $500 by the Clark County Commissioners, over 500 automobile francs and over 3,000 feet of 3/4 to 1 inch cable were secured for the construction of tetrahedrons. Twenty-two such tetrahedrons were constructed at one point, fifty at another point,?distance covered being approximately 1200 feet, This work, though lii&ted, during the September 1940 floods again proved its worth in that at one point, owing to the method of placement, proved only partly effective, whereas, at the other point, for 1000 feet, perfect performance resulted,?definitely proving the way to all future work of this type. Other items indirectly concerned with this bank erosion and flood control program and contributing toward a program of permanency are: (2)-District Farmer Farm plans 34 -Acres under Agree tent................ 984 ?Lumber of Farms...................... 113 -Acres of crop land. 2052.6 -?2? -Total Farm land acres.......... 4780.2 -Potential acreage that might, with continued programs of bank erosion control, be reclaimed and developed. 745.00 -Additional potential acreage that might be reclaimed under a watershed flood control water storage program.... 1255.00 Note: It should be borne in mind that these acreages are in an area where there is for the most part, an all-year growing season. (3) Range manager plans to be carried on in cooperation with the Division of Grazing and the Advisory board of the Division of Grazing. Acres involved..........................267,212.0 (4) Classification of farm lands according to use capabilities. As a consequence of farmers of the district extending their cooperation in items indicated herewith preparations have been made for the re-occupation of the Bunkerville CCC side camp early in November 1940. A balance of approximately $600 of the $1500 indicated heretofore, is on hand for further purchases of car frames and cable for use in tetrahedron structures. 2. The Moapa Soil Conservation District. (l) Completion of the Meadow Valley Rash Diversion Spillway by CCC boys under Forest Service supervision is an outstanding accomplishment. The importance of its fullest utilization will be best understood when,?seen in action at maximum floods of from 15,000 to 20,000 or more cfs., (14,000 cfs. is the highest known flow to reach this point), and which in turn will divert major parts of the flood stream over a dissipating flood plain with potentialities of reducing the main flow from 20 to 50 percent, thus greatly reducing flood damage hazards among farms and homes in Moapa Valley front ten to twenty miles below. In addition, this structure in conjunction with the flood plain provides a desiltation process that prevents silting of Lake Mead to an appreciable extent. It should be noted, however, that in order to insure a consistent degree of permanency to this work, the structures at the Wells Siding spillways and the Bowman. Reservoir, as well as for protection of life and property in areas below, there are two distinctly imperative needs; namely: Of first importance,?the inclusion of the upper reaches of the Meadow Valley Wash watershed under a responsible governmental agency that will open the way for: a. Practical Range Management; thereby institute a revegetative program to prevent the accelerated erosion that is taking place in the area; and, b. Construction of detention and desilting basins at especially Delmue, Saw Mill and Mathews Canyons. Of second importance,?-the realign tent, grading, enlargement of the lower Moapa Valley Flood Channel to such capacity that would permit an adequate carry-off of flood waters that by pass any or all structures that are now, or might become evident over any part of the upper or lower Meadow Valley ^ash watershed areas. (2) The Lower Moapa Valley Flood Channel and Drain. Following completion of the Flood Channel and Drainage Survey by the Soil Conservation Service in 1939, the Soil Conservation District petitioned the Forest Service in early 1940, with its CCC Camp facilities to consider the re-alignment, grading, and enlargement of the channel to 10,000 cfs. capacity during its 1940-1941 CCC Camp period; at the sane time, said district petitioned the Soil Conservation Service to assist in the construction of a drain through approximately 1100 acres of land in the very heart of the area. Finances for the two phases of work came to present a real problem for the area. Estimated costs ranged from approximately $80,000 to $130,000 for both the drainage and the flood channel work. To insure such a financing program was out of the question. Following a period of intensified attempts to meet the needs of the program it was finally concluded that approximately $2000 cash would fulfill the requirements of the drainage phase of the program; whereas, to meet the prime essentials of the Flood Channel Improvement program, approximately $3200 would be needed to provide a 10,000 cfs. capacity channel. It was assumed that CCC labor and CCC Camp facilities would be made available for both phases of work inasmuch as both problems were of semi-private public interest significance, especially that of the flood channel. a. Drainage Channel Accordingly through mutual memoranda of understanding between the Moapa Soil Conservation District Supervisors and the Soil Conservation Service, a dragline secured, arrangements for finances ($2000) from cooperating land owners and County Commissioners completed, over two and one half miles of drain were excavated. Details for the second unit of approximately four additional miles to drain is in a favorable stage for procedure. The cause for interruption earlier in the season having been overcome, it is anticipated that the program will be fully completed in accordance with plans during the early spring months of 1941. b. Flood Channel Action. Following controversial aspects during June, July, August, September and October of whether or not the Forest Service should proceed with the proposed program of Flood Channel Improvement, it was finally concluded late in October that that service should proceed; and, accordingly, the Charleston fountain Park CCC Camp moved into the Wells Siding CCC Camp P-206 during latter October. Following this clearance a meeting of representatives of each the Soil Conservation Service, the Forest Service, and the Moapa Soil Conservation District Supervisors, met and agreed to procedure providing for action to proceed with the program under Forest Service supervision in accordance to plans and specifications mutually agreed to by each the SCS, the Forest Service, and the Moapa Soil Conservation District Supervisors. Among other items concerned with this program, the last agency agreed to pay to the Forest Service in installments according to the following schedule: $1000 in December - 1940 $1000 in January - 1941 $1200 in February - 1941 c. Drainage District Organization. To insure stability in natters of finances for improvements and maintenance for each the drainage and the Flood Channel projects, preparations were, with the close of this report period, proceeding toward the organisation of a Drainage District under the Nevada State Drainage District law for the entire Lower Moapa Valley, under guidance of Leo A, McNamee, retained attorney for the Muddy Valley Irrigation Company working in very close cooperation with the Moapa Soil Conservation District Supervisors. The area to be served thusly, comprises approximately 7680 acres, of which at present, approximately 4400 acres are farm lands, and of which in turn approximately 2600 acres are at present crop land. As the drain becomes effective, an additional approximate 600 acres will become arable, whereas $00 or more acres now under cultivation will become greatly improved. The entire area will receive benefits, either directly or indirectly as a consequence of both the drainage and flood channel improvement work, besides avoiding heavy silting in Lake Mead as a consequence of halting an enormous movement of silt that would otherwise in time take place along the greater part of the seven or more miles of Flood Channel coursing through practically the very heart of the area concerned. d.Other items for consideration of the Moapa Soil Conservation District Supervisors, and for which tentative consideration has been given are: (a) Securing 35 farm plans to further interests of foregoing Flood Control and Drainage projects. (b) Reinforcing the Bowman Reservoir by way of preventing seepage leaks?as follow-up work in cooperation with the Forest Service and CCC boys. (c) Side wash Flood Controls in each the Logandale, Overton and Nepac (formerly Kaolin) areas of the Lower Moapa Valley in cooperation with the Forest, the Soil Conservation, Fish and Wild life Service agencies. 3. The Virgin River Watershed. Other items to which follow-up and preliminary consideration have been given are: (l) White Narrows Dam Site for Flood Control water storage near the Moapa Indian Reservation which has been given further consideration by the Nevada State Engineers office, the U. S. Army Engineers and the S, Geological Survey in cooperation with the Moapa Soil Conservation District Supervisors, the Muddy Valley Irrigation Company, the Moapa Indian Service. A contract for detailed study of foundation, side wall formation, and all other essentials toward final determination for a construction program is in course of preparation to be let in early November, 1940. (g) Raising of Arrowhead Dan or building a dam of such height on a site near the present structure that will serve the purpose of controlling floods only for a given period of years much longer than that of the present dam. (3) Specific study of the entire Virgin River watershed has been under consideration of District Supervisors of each the Virgin, the Moapa, the Pahranagat, the Meadow Valley Soil Conservation District's Supervisors in cooperation with the Forest, the Soil Conservation, Fish and Wild Life, and Division of Grazing Service agencies,?the objective of which has been to determine the most substantial course through which to effect soil erosion and flood control and water storage; to revegetate where possible, through improved management and practices, such range areas as are feasible for consideration; and to secure the highest use possible of all available arable lands commensurate with maximum use of waters for which storage light be provided for within the entire watershed. /County Extension Agent NAME OF PROJECT: Soil Conservation-Domestic Allotment The year'sa activities were marked by educational campaigns thru which detilas of the 1939 program were presented to groups and individual farmers by the office secretary and field supervisors with more effectiveness than at any previous year. There Mere S53 wheat allotment farms receiving $633.34 in payments. The 1940 wheat allotments were completed by latter August 1939 with 134 allotments, of 251 farms cooperating with the program. ." Ooaaty ibctc- ^ion Ji^geat Irogyaaa Report state Office No. 284 Date: Nwas&erl, 1939 Clnyk County No. 34