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is beach erosion as an important purpose for which a permit was sought and that was in the case of Delaware, but that is the only State that reported this as being one of the first three purposes of permit requests.
I am not trying to minimize the problem. I would say that the maintenance of a natural shoreline in the protection of an estuarine complex as a whole is just as important to assist as to try to prevent production of a new shoreline a couple of hundred feet out in what used to be an estuarine once upon a time.
I think that we are completely in sympathy with what it is you wish to find a solution for.
Mr. MORTON. When the Corps of Engineers undertook to widen the C. & D. Canal, the spoil from a good portion of the channel was put on the shore in the areas where the Government had spoil areas, but they didn't have enough spoil area to contain all of the spoil that they dredged up out of that channel.
I am sure you remember the problem we got into when they wanted to fill in some marshland and very important marshland. If this legislation had been in effect at the time that authorization was made by the Congress, what would we have been able to do to protect that marshland and the habitat that was destroyed by the Corps of Engineers ?
Dr. Cain. This bill as now written does not protect against what the corps will do on its own projects. This refers only to permittees.
Mr. MORTON. But let's assume that these areas, these marsh areas, were in the national estuarine system.
Dr. Cain. Then they would have been protected.
Mr. MORTON. I assume they would have been. It's the mouth of the Elk River. It's very important marshland and they would have been in the system.
Now the corps comes along and wants to widen the C. & D. Canal and make a 30-foot channel, and they say, "We haven't room to put it and we have to dump it overboard and we have to buy some property and dump it."
The easiest thing is to buy the low property, and they did. What would have been the situation if we had had this legislation and this had been in the national estuarine system? · Dr. Cain. The national estuarine system as described by this bill would be determined by what local government and State government own that they wish entered into the system for the purposes of joint cooperation and management with the Federal Government, of sharing the costs for example, and what Congress might authorize.
The area you are talking about might never get into the national estuarine system. On the other hand, it might go in early. I just don't know. I don't know how to answer your question.
Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Downing?
Mr. DOWNING. Mr. Secretary, I very much share the concern of my colleague from Maryland, Mr. Morton. As you know, much of the coastline of Virginia could be considered an estuarine area, I suppose. So the State of Virginia is deeply concerned about this matter, too.
At a meeting of the Fisheries Commission last week, they resolved that they had deep concern over this bill and over the power of the Federal Government to acquire land which may be vital to the State. This bill concerns me a great deal also.
In some areas along the coast there are communities which are right around and in the estuarine area. As Mr. Morton said, they are marshland communities. We have many of those. We have one large city which is adjacent to a marsh or estuarine area, and which, I suppose, in the future if this bill doesn't prevent, it will propose an extension of the city into the marsh area. There is no other place for it to go.
I can envision that this bill could stop that. We were looking over this chart which you provide for the record, which shows the estuarine habitat, and Mr. Lennon and I calculate that there are approximately 11 States which have suffered or permitted to suffer a loss of habitat of over 5 percent.
The rest of the States in the country have kept below that either due to their own laws or regulations
Mr. LENNON. Will the gentleman yield at that point?
Mr. Morton. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. MORTON. Yes; but I can tell you that all of the oyster rocks north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge are shut down because the water is so polluted. If that is not a loss of habitat, I am a monkey's uncle.
That would mean that we have lost in Maryland 50 percent.
Mr. DOWNING. This thought occurred to me. Why not make this bill effective in only those States who have suffered the loss of 5 percent or more?
Mr. Lennon suggests 3 percent. Dr. Cain. Well, I think we need to distinguish the kind of loss that Mr. Morton just referred to which is outside the purview of this bill, the general loss of quality of environment for shellfish for example, oysters, which is coming about by various forms of pollution rather than by dredging out or filling in over oyster reefs from the physical loss of habitat.
The interesting point that came up here is the spread of silt from dredging as a form of pollution and that as physical destruction. This issue has been recently and is even now under discussion in Lake Michigan where in extensive harbor dredging the Corp of Engineers had been depositing on the bottom of Lake Michigan the spoil and keeping a water depth over this deposit material so that there was still room for normal navigation.
They are now under negotiations with the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration and the States to stop this and cause the
deposition of harbor dredging spoil and canal dredging spill on land, so as not to destroy bottom.
The State of Michigan, Congressman Dingell's State, has very good legislation which impinges upon what the corps can do in its channel dredging on the River Rouge on the Detroit River.
They can't just pump this stuff and let it float away through the water to destroy habitat. If they are filling, they must dike and pump within the dike and keep the dikes maintained to avoid this kind of silt pollution.
One of the problems we have on our statistics is what kind of loss are we talking about and the figures which I presented and which are on the table that you have before you are direct losses to basic or fundamental fish and wildlife habitat to a depth of 6 feet and doesn't touch the kind of destruction that would come from siltation, which might go to very much greater depth or doesn't touch the kind of destruction that would be carried on by major Corps of Engineers' operations like the C. & D. Canal.
Obviously this bill doesn't solve the problem which the States and the Nation faces. It, we think, makes an important step in one direction.
Mr. DoWNING. Your chart indicates that the State of California had a high loss of habitat. Could you analyze that?
Dr. Cain. Yes, sir. The State of California has a long coastline, but its percentage of estuarine area is relatively small on that coastline. It is a rising coastline and has sharp rising beaches.
It is quite different from the eastern coastline. So they don't start with very much, but they surely haven't taken very good care of what they have.
Dr. CAIN. It has come about by the filling of bays for commercial development, for airfield development, for residential development. They build land out in the bays and then at the mouths of the rivers that come down from the coast range to the coast there are often small salty areas.
To find a natural salt marsh area on the coast of California is almost impossible today. I mean, natural vegetation.
Mr. DOWNING. Do your records show for the State of California that they have suffered a decline in sea and water resources or a decline in fish or oyster production as a result of this utilization of the estuarine areas
Do you have any records which would substantiate that?
Dr. Cain. We don't have any statistics that we can lay our hands on at the moment, Mr. Downing, but I will look into the question for
Mr. DoWNING. I would like to know if there is a relationship between the loss of this particular habitat and its consequent effect on the sea food and things which you say depend on the estuarine.
The cities are growing. They have to have more land. We have to weigh the comparative values, I think, between the value of habitat and the necessity for acquiring more land for local development.
Dr. Cain. The bill provides for this in the section 12 that I referred to. That clause starts on line 19: "* * * unless the Secretary of the Interior determines that the public interest requires the work to be
undertaken.” And if a city is growing and there is no place for it to grow, I am quite sure that the Secretary of the Interior would not find it possible to prevent the growth of a city,
As an illustration of the point, however, the States that have had the great loss that you see in this table of 10 or 15 percent or more are the States with the great urban conglomeration right at the shoreline: California, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York.
Mr. ROGERS. Will the gentleman yield ?
Mr. ROGERS. Suppose the Army Corps of Engineers decided an area could be dredged and the Secretary of the Interior says, no, it can't be. What happens ?
Dr. Cain. That would be a Corps project and under this bill Interior would not have control over the Corps' own projects.
Mr. ROGERS. You have to give a license for the dredging ?
Mr. FINNEGAN. Are you talking about the Corps doing this work themselves or somebody else doing it?
Mr. ROGERS. Let's say the Corps does it.
Mr. FINNEGAN. There is no license required as far as the Corps is concerned. They have to get an authorization from Congress. That's all.
Mr. DOWNING. Suppose a private owner wants to dredge.
Mr. FINNEGAN. If a private owner wants to dredge, he has to get a permit from the Corps of Engineers. Under this bill he would have to get one from the Secretary of the Interior as well to do the work.
Mr. DoWNING. Suppose he didn't get the permission from the Secretary of the Interior.
Mr. FINNEGAN. Then, the work couldn't be carried out unless there was a higher interest involved.
Mr. ROGERS. Did you say that the Executive order requires the Corps of Engineers now to get the advice of the Interior Department?
Mr. FINNEGAN. There are two situations. The first is the Executive order that applies when the Corps does their own work. When they do the dredging or channelization themselves under authorization of Congress, they have to consult with the other Federal agencies and make sure that there will not be disposing of untreated waste.
The second situation is the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act where if the Corps does the work themselves or grants a permit, they are required to consult with the Secretary of the Interior and get our advice as to whether the permit should be issued, or if it should be issued with conditions.
Mr. ROGERS. You mean that hasn't been working out?
Mr. FINNEGAN. That hasn't been working out. I am sure they will be here to explain it further, but the Corps has been taking the position that they are charged with a responsibility of taking care of navigation and that, while these other things may be important, they haven't got the authority to take care of fish and wildlife.
Mr. ROGERS. Even though the Executive order requires it?
Mr. FINNEGAN. Sir, the Executive order applies only when they do the work themselves.
Mr. ROGERS. What about the law ? Didn't you say the law required them to take into account your view, the Coordination Act?
Mr. FINNEGAN. The Coordination Act requires the Corps to get our views, but the problem has been that the Corps has not sufficiently considered our views.
Mr. ROGERS. How are you ever going to come to some determination when you are at odds. Shouldn't there be some machinery to decide what is the dominant issue?
Should we let one agency go off on one tangent and one the other without some means of resolving it?
Mr. FINNEGAN. The bill provides for an issuance of a permit by the Corps and the Corps would take care of the problem of navigation. If they, for example, thought that navigation would be hindered, they would refuse to issue a permit and the question would never come to us.
If they thought navigation would not be hindered, they could go and issue their permit. The applicant would have to get one from us on the effect on the estuary from a pollution standpoint. We would expect to work out an administrative procedure with the Corps to avoid any duplication of effort.
Mr. Downing. Back to the hunting club for just a minute, the hunting club that, say, loans or leases a thousand acres. Would this bill take them over?
Dr. CAIN. No.
Mr. FINNEGAN. If they are under bylaws, regulation, zoning of some sort where they can keep the land as hunting land, there is no problem.
Mr. DOWNING. Who sets the bylaws?
Dr. Cain. If it stays in its traditional use, unchanged, there is no problem.
Mr. DoWNING. Thank you so much. I would like to see if there has been any loss of seafood and wildlife production in the State of California. Thank you very much.
Dr. Cain. You would like the data on California only?
(The following letter from Congressman Mailliard and a statement from the Fish and Wildlife Service, both pertaining to the above, follow herewith :)
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C., March 13, 1967.
DEAR MR. DINGELL: On March 6th, Dr. Stanley A. Cain, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, appeared before your subcommittee to testify on H.R. 25, and other identical and similar bills, authorizing the Secretary of Interior in cooperation with the States to preserve, protect, develop, restore, and make accessible estuarine areas of the Nation.
In the course of his testimony, Dr. Cain inserted in the hearings record a tabulation by State showing the loss of important fish and wildlife estuarine habitat. California, although having one of the smaller amounts of estuarine acreage, had the greatest percentage loss of habitat of all the States listed, (i.e., 67 percent).
Dr. Cain further noted in his prepared statement that: “The (California's] high loss is attributable to a large extent to the fact that since 1950 the San Francisco-Suisun Bay area has lost 192 thousand out of 294 thousand acres."