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RIVER AND HARBOR IMPROVEMENTS.
The funds with which the works for the improvement of rivers and harbors were prosecuted during the last fiscal year were derived from the appropriations by the act of August 11, 1888, and such balances of former appropriations as were available. No appropriation for these works was made at the last session of Congress.
A brief statement, derived from the reports of the officers in charge of the several works hereinafter given, sets forth the condition of each improvement, the extent of work performed during the last fiscal year, the amount expended, and, in compliance with the provisions of the river and harbor acts approved June 23, 1866, and March 2, 1867, an estimate of the amount required for its completion, and of the amount that can be profitably expended in the next fiscal year.
In the preparation of these estimates regard is necessarily had, as a general rule, to the more intimate acquaintance of the engineer officer in charge with the requirements of each locality; the estimates have, however, been carefully revised and amended in this office when deemed advisable, the most economical administration of the works being considered as well as the average of the appropriations made by Congress for each work during the past few years.
Reports are also appended of the work accomplished in the removal of wrecks obstructing or endangering navigation, as provided for in section 4 of the river and harbor act approved June 14, 1880, and enlarged by provision in the river and harbor act of August 2, 1882.
Reports upon the examinations and surveys provided for in the river and harbor act of August 11, 1888, so far as the work has been done, will be found appended to this report, and the remaining reports will be submitted from time to time as soon as possible after the execution of the work, for transmittal to Congress at its ensuing session.
Under the authority given to the Secretary of War in section 12 of the river and harbor act of August 11, 1888, harbor lines have been established at the following localities : Boston, Mass.; New York, East River between Fifty-ninth anıt Sixty-fourth streets, New York City; Staten Island, New York; Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va.; Savannah and Brunswick, Ga., and Marquette, Mich., of which details are given fur. ther on in this report.
The above section provides that beyond such established Jines no piers or wharves shall be extended or deposits made except under such regulations as may be prescribed from time to time by him.” As no penalties are prescribed for the violation of this law it is recommended that the attention of Congress be called to the omission with a view to securing the necessary legislation.
Examinations were made whenever required by committees of Congress of proposed bills authorizing the construction of bridges upon which the views of the War Department were desired. Of the bills so examined since my last report to the close of the last session of Congress fourteen originated in the Senate and nine in the House of Representatives.
Examinations were made during the fiscal year of such plans and locations as were submitted by parties interested of bridges proposed to be built over navigable waters subject to the approval of the Secre. tary of War. A brief statement is given of the action had in such cases.
Reports made in compliance with the requirements of section 2 of the river and harbor act of July 5, 1884, and section 4 of that of August
5,1886, of instances where bridges, causeways, or other structures erected or in process of erection do or will interfere with free and safe navigation, and also of instances in which piers, breakwaters, or other works built by the United States in aid of commerce or navigation are injured by a corporation or an individual will be found in appendixes X X and Y Y, respectively.
The engineering works in charge of this office have been divided into five divisions, and officers of the corps assigned as division engineers to overlook the work, as follows:
West of the Rocky Mountains : Pacific Division, Colonel Geo. H. Mendell. East of the Rocky Mountains: Northeast Division, Colonel Henry L. Abbot; Southeast Division, Colonel Wm. P. Craighill; Southwest Division, Colonel Cyrus B. Comstock; and Northwest Division, Colonel Orlando M. Poe.
Tbis arrangement for the execution and supervision of the work of the Corps of Engineers is authorized by the new regulations, approved by the Secretary of War February 4, 1889.
Attention is invited to the necessity for legislation to prevent the obstruction of navigable waters, and to protect public works against trespass or injury. Senate bill No. 27, Fiftieth Congress, first session, which passed the Senate March 22, 1888, with a slight addition to section 5, and an additional section relative to liability of vessels, would, it is believed, accomplish the purpose, and it is recommended that Congress be requested to give the matter early consideration. The fol lowing is a copy of the bill, with proposed additions in italics :
AN ACT to prevent the obstruction of navigable waters and to protect public works against trespass
or injury. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall not be lawful to cast, throw, empty, or unlade, or cause, suffer, or procure to be cast, thrown, emptied, or unladen, either from or out of any ship, vessel, lighter, barge, boat, or other craft, or from the shor«, pier, wharf, furnace, manufacturing establishments, or mills of any kind whatever, any baliast, stone, slate, gravel, earth, rubbish, wreck, filth, slabs, edgings, sawdust, slag, cinders, ashes, refuse, or other waste of any kind, into any port, road, roadstead, harbor, haven, navigable rivers, or navigable waters of the United States which shall tend to impede or obstruct navigation, or to deposit or place or cause, sutter, or procure to be deposited or placed, any ballast, stone, slate, gravel, earth, rubbish, wreck, filth, slabs, edgings, sawdust, or other waste in any place or situation on the bank of any navigable waters where the same shall be liable to be washed into such navigable waters, either by ordinary or high tides, or by storms or floods, or otherwise, whereby navigation shall or may be impeded or obstructed: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall extend or be construed to extend to the casting out, uvlading, or throwjug out of any ship or vessel, lighter, barge, boat, or other craft any stones, rocks, bricks, lime, or other materials used, or to be used, in or toward the building, repairing, or keeping in repair any quay, pier, wharf, weir, bridge, building, or other work lawfully erected or to be erected on the banks or sides of any port, harbor, baven, channel, or navigable river, or to the casting out, unlading, or depositing of any material excavated for the improvement of navigable waters into such places and in such manner as may be deemed by the United States officer supervising said inprovement most judicious and practicable and for the best interests of such improvements, or to prevent the depositing of any substance above mentioned under a permit from the Secretary of War, which he is hereby authorized to grant, in any place designated by him where navigation will not be obstructed thereby.
SEC. 2. That it shall not be lawful to build any wharf, pier, dolphin, boom, dam, weir, breakwater, bulkhead, jetty, or other structure outside established harbor-lines without the permission of the Secretary of War in any port, roadstead, haven, harbor, navigable river, or other waters of the United States in such manner as shall obstruct or impair navigation, commerce, or anchorage of said waters ; and it shall not be lawful hereafter to commence the construction of any bridge, bridge-draw, bridge piers and abutments, causeway, or other works over or in any port, road, roadstead, haven, harbor, navigable river, or navigable waters of the United States, under any set of the legislative assembly of any State, until the location and plan of such bridge have
been submitted to and approved by the Secretary of War, or to excavate or fill, or in any manner to alter or modify the course, location, condition, or capacity of the channel of said navigable waters of the United States, unless approved and authorized by the Secretary of War: Provided, That this section shall not apply to any bridge, bridge-draw, bridge piers and abutments the construction of which has been heretofore duly authorized by law, or be so construed as to authorize the construction of any bridge, draw-bridge, bridge piers and abutments, or other works, under an act of the legislature of any State, over or in any stream, port, roadstead, haven, or harbor, or other navigable water not wholly within the limits of such State.
Sec. 3. That all wrecks of vessels, and other obstructions to the navigation of any port, roadstead, harbor, or navigable river, or other navigable waters of the United States, which may have bexi permitted by the owners thereof or the parties by whom they were caused to remain to the injury of commerce and navigation for a longer period than two months, shall be subject to be broken up and removed by the Secretary of War, without liability for any damage to the owners of the same.
SEC. 4. That it shall not be lawful for any person or persons to take possession of or make use for any exclusive pumpose, build upon, alter, deface, injure, obstruct, or in any other manner impair the usefulness of any sea-wall, bulkhead, jetty, dike, leveo, wharf, pier, or other work built by the United States for the preservation and improvement of any of its navigable waters, or boundary marks, tide-gauges, surveyingstations, buoys, or other established niarks, nor remove for ballast or other purposes any stone or other material composing such works.
SEC. 5. That every person, persous, or corporation offending against the provisions of this act shall, for each and every such offense, forfeit and pay a penalty of two hundred and fifty dollars, besides such other sum as may be found, in any action for the recovery of the penalty or penalties incurred under this act to be the expense of making good the damage incurred or of removing to a proper place the things deposited in violation of this act, such penalties to be recovered by action in the name of the United States in any district court within whose jurisdiction such offense shall be committed, or in any district wherein the defendant may be found, said action to be instiinted by the district attorney for such district at the instance of any person complaining
SEC. 6. Any damage for injury done to any of the property of the United States mentioned in section four of this act by any vessel shall be a lien upon such vessel, her machinery, apparel, and furniture, the payment of which may be enforced by the United States in a suit instituted in the admiralty court of the district wherein said injury was done, or in the district where said vessel may be found.
Sec. 7. That it shall be the duty of officers and agents having the supervision, on the part of the United States, of the works in progress for the preservation and improvement of said navigable waters, and, in their absence, of the United States collectors of customs and other revenue officers, to enforce the provisions of this law by giving information to the district attorney of the United States for the district in which any violation of any provision of this act shall have been committed.
Under sections 9 and 10 of the river and harbor act of 1888, persons or corporations owning or controlling bridges over navigable waters of the United States, obstructing the free navigation of said waters, were notified in twenty-nine instances to so alter the bridges as to render navigation through or under them free, easy, and unobstructed, and in each case a reasonable time was prescribed within which such alteration is to be made.
Section 3717 of the Revised Statutes requires that “whenever the Secretary of War invites proposals for any works, or for any material or labor for any works, there shall be separate proposals and separate contracts for each work, and also for each class of material or labor for each work."
The restrictions imposed by the section in a certain class of cases operate injuriously. For instances, it not infrequently happens that appropriations of small sums are made for improvements which may be grouped within certain bounds or regions of no great extent, such as the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, or the sounds of North Carolina, etc. As the law now stands, each individual improvement must be ad. vertised and contracted for separately, though the work be the same in all, say dredging. A bidder in proposing for each work must do so without any regard to the other works in the region. He may be the
lowest for one work but not the lowest for any other, and he is awarded the contract for the one work only, of course. To get his plant and force to the region and remove it therefrom costs just as much for one work as for several, and his price for each work, to make him secure, must be such as will provide for this transportation of plant in addition to the cost proper of doing the work.
In such cases considerable economy would result, and more work could be done at each point appropriated for, if the restrictions imposed by the statute were removed. The restrictions might still remain where the nature of the work is essentially different and the improvements are not in the same region of country.
South Pass of the Mississippi River.-During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1889, the channel has been maintained as required by law, except from December 28, 1888, to January 4, 1889, both dates inclusive.
Section 5 of the river and harbor act of August 11, 1888, authorizes the Secretary of War to make such rules and regulations for the navigation of the South Pass of the Mississippi River as to him shall seem necessary or expedient for the purpose of preventing any obstruction to the channel and injury to the works, and prescribes certain penalties for violations of rules and regulations made by him in pursuance of the act.
Rules and regulations were made by the Secretary of War, and published in newspapers and widely distributed. There have been numerous violations of these rules and regulations, and the parties have been indicted by the grand jury. It is understood that the attorneys for the defense maintain that while Congress undoubtedly had authority to establish the rules and regulations, the power could not be delegated, and therefore the rules and regulations established by the Secretary of War are unconstitutional. The decision of the United States circuit court in the matter has not yet been reached.
In view of these facts the United States attorney for the eastern district of Louisiana recommended that no action be taken in the last violation of the rules and regulations reported until a decision of the court is reached, which recoinmendation was concurred in by the Attorney General.
The following draught of a bill is submitted with the recommendation that Congress be requested to act upon it in order to secure the objects desired:
AN ACT to prevent any obstructions to the navigation of the South Pass of the Mississippi River, and
any injury to the works therein constructed. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That for the purpose of preventing any obstruction to the navigation of the South Pass of the Mississippi River, and any injury to the works therein constructed, the following rules and regulations are hereby established:
1. Steam-vessels navigating the South Pass are required to reduce their speed to not exceeding ten miles per hour, and from the pilot's station at Picayune Bayou to the sea end of the jetties the spoed shall not exceed six miles per hour.
2. All vessels anchoring in the pass shall take position near the eastern bank of the pass above a point marked by a post painted white, and below the island at the head of the pass; and vessels so anchoring shall put out such extra moorings as may be necessary to prevent their being blown athwart the channel and thus endangering the navigation of the pass, whenever required to do so by the United States Inspecting Officer of the works for the improvement of the pass.
3. No master or other person in command of a vessel drawing more than 12 feet of water, shall enter the jetty channel from sea with such vessel until after a descending vessel which has previously entered said channel from above bas passed to sea, and likewise no such vessel descending the river shall enter the chaunel at the head of the pass until after an ascending vessel, which shall have passed the head of Goat Island, has passed through the entrance at the head of the pass.
4. All vessels discharging or waiting to discharge ballast at Port Eads must be moored to the bank by lines, and no vessel shall discharge ballast into the Gulf of
Mexico within a distance of five miles from the sea ends of the jetties; nor shall asbes or other refuse matter which may be liable to cause a shoaling or filling up of South Pass be dumped therein.
5. The dredge-boat G. W. R. Bayley shall have the exclusive right of way over all vessels navigating South Pass while she is at work therein, and all vessels in passing her must be governed by her signals; she shall give the usual steam-whistle signal for passing to her port or starboard, and this shall be responded to and obeyed by the passing vessel on the order of its master or pilot.
6. Tow boats with tows are not permitted to go down the pass after dark, but must anchor above the head of the passes till after daylight.
The term "South Pass” as herein employed shall be construed as embracing tho entire extent of channel between the upper ends of the works at the head of the pass and the outer sea end of the jetties at the entrance from the Gulf of Mexico.
SEC. 2. Any person who shall willfully violate any of the above enumerated rules or regulations shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall pay a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, and undergo an imprisonment not exceeding six months at the discretion of the court.
ATLANTIC COAST AND GULF OF MEXICO.
IMPROVEMENT OF RIVERS AND HARBORS IN THE STATES OF MAINE
AND NEW HAMPSHIRE.
Officer in charge, Lieut. Col. Jared A. Smith, Corps of Engineers.
1. Lubec Channel, Maine.—This channel lies between the eastern extremity of Maine and Campo-Bello Island, belonging to the Dominion of Canada. Originally the channel was but 5 feet in depth at mean low water, and but 2 feet at low water of spring tides.
The original project of improvement adopted in 1879 proposed widening and deepening the channel by dredging, where necessary, from the Narrows to the Western Bar Beacon, so as to give a width of 200 feet and a depth of 12 feet at mean low water, or 9 feet at low water of spring tides. This part was completed in 1883.
The present project contemplates increasing the width to 275 feet, and to 300 feet in the bends. Length of channel 24 miles.
The amount expended upon this improvement to June 30, 1888, was $148,989.97.
The resulting improvement to navigation has been great, as it has made a channel 12 feet deep at mean low water for a width varying from 200 to 278 feet, besides a stone jetty at the narrows to direct the current.
The channel, however, is not straight, and tidal currents are very strong so that the thoroughfare is not as well adapted to the necessities of the commerce as could be desired.
During the last fiscal year there has been expended the sum of $503.26. This expense was for preparatory work, as the appropriation of August 11, 1888, became available too late to commence dredging before spring.
Under the last appropriation a contract has been let for continuing the work, and under this contract the improvement will be fully com. pleted as heretofore approved : July 1, 18-8, amount available.....
$10.03 Amount appropriated by act of August 11, 1888.
July 1, 1889, amount expended during fiscal year, exclusive of
liabilities outstanding July 1, 1888.... July 1, 1889, amount covered by existing contracts.
July 1, 1889, balance available.
(See Appendix A 1.)