OCR Interpretation

The Idaho scimitar. [volume] (Boise, Idaho) 1907-1908, November 02, 1907, Image 3

Image and text provided by Idaho State Historical Society

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88056114/1907-11-02/ed-1/seq-3/

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Now in process of segregation and to be reclaimed :
Cedar Creek Canal Co., Cassia County.
Platt Irrigation Co., Bear Lake County_
Mud Lake Reservoir Co., Fremont County..
Salmon River Project, Cassia County.
Owyhee Irrigation Co., Owyhee County....
Twin Falls Pump System, Cassia County...
Grand Canyon Canal Co., Fremont County.
These lands vary in price with a perpetual water
right, from $15 to $35 an acre, with a maintenance
charge for water of less than $1 per acre.
Some of the arid and semi-arid states to which
this act applies have not taken advantage of it at
all, few have done much under it, and none except
ing Idaho have approached the limit.
There is no field more inviting to capitalists, there
is no work a state administration could perform
which would bring more certain and lasting benefit
their commonwealth than the encouragement of
Carey Act enterprises.
The confidence with which capital views the open
ing of lands in irrigated regions, and the assurance
with which money is invested are demonstrated by
Grand total
this contributory fact:
Milner is the town at the headgate of the Twin
Falls North Side project, for which a sale of land
recently held at Jerome. Gooding is the town
adjoining the tract now being opened by the Idaho
Irrigation Company, whose first sale of lands will
the 14th of November. Already an electric
interurban road is projected between the towns of
Milner and Gooding, a distance of seventy miles.
Just as the settler has no fear of his future when
he buys and locates upon irrigated lands, so the
capitalist has no fear of investing his money in the
advanced appliances of civilization in the irrigated
occur on
Idaho in its legislative enactments, in the attitude
of its state administrations, and in its completed
projects furnishes an object lesson and an inspira
tion for all the arid region.
Congress, on June 17, 1902, passed the most com
prehensive and far-reaching of all irrigation laws.
Congress, in line with the unbroken policy of the
Government to promote home-building, was anxious
to aid in reclaiming all arid land susceptible of recla
Nearly every representative in Congress
mat ion.
from the arid states had some plan which he was
His bill was drawn with more or less
reference to his local surroundings. What was good
for Idaho did not fulfill the requirements of Arizona,
and California could not be satisfied with a law
which exactly suited Nevada.
Congress did not want to pass a number of in
dividual acts, and all proposed legislation by West
representatives had met with opposition from
other Western representatives. Congress was will
ing and anxious to act, but was confused. Some
few powerful interests and individuals took advan
tage of this lack of unity among Western representa
tives and easily prevented legislation on a broad and
comprehensive plan. This was
Congress assembled on the first Monday in Decem
ber, 1901. On that first day of the assembling of
Congress in December, 1901, the Senators, Repre
sentatives and delegates from seventeen states and
territories, representing the entire arid and semi
arid belt, met in conference and appointed a com
mittee of seventeen, one from each state and terri
tory, to frame a general irrigation law.
mands and necessities of the different states and
territories were so at variance that it required the
utmost patience, liberality and yielding of views
the part of all to harmonize the conflicting interests.
Finally, however, the committee submitted the re
sults of its labor (which with few changes is the
present act) to all the representatives from the sev
enteen states and territories. It was promptly rati
fied by them, and with this powerful force behind
the measure, it passed Congress and became a law
the situation when
The de
without much difficulty.
The law fully explains the intention of the gen
eral Government and is clear and explicit. By its
provisions all of the money derived from the sale
of public lands is set apart—after deducting the ex
penses necessary to maintain the United States Land
Offices—and is to be used by the Secretary of the
Interior to build reservoirs and canals to reclaim
desert lands which are too difficult and too costly
for private capital to reclaim.
The lands under the canals constructed by the
Government are to be taken up by the settlers un
der easy conditions. The laws of the respective
states and territories are to be in full force as to
the use and distribution of the waters, and canals
are to be turned over to the settlers when certain
stipulations are complied with. The reservoirs and
works necessary for their protection and their man
agement and operation remain the possession of the
Government until the Government itself, by specific
act of Congress, shall otherwise provide.
The settled policy of Congress to stimulate private
enterprise in the development of arid wastes is not
changed by this act. It is not the design of the
Government to store flood waters or appropriate
streams which are necessary for the successful car
rying on of irrigation works already constructed
by individual or corporate effort, but it was con
templated that the work done by private parties
should be supplemented through Government aid.
For illustration : All the waters of Boise River
have been appropriated. A vast amount of flood
water which now runs to waste is being stored
through a system of reservoirs at or near the source
of the stream. This impounded water will be used
in reclaiming vast tracts of land along the Boise
River which cannot be reached by the natural flow
of the stream. The water rights already acquired
along the river will of course be respected and
The design of the law is to charge enough for the
lands irrigated under the act to pay for the cost of
the construction of the work, and this fund is to
be used in other projects. The fund is thus made
a perpetual one and will be utilized until all lands
susceptible of irrigation are irrigated.
Under this act land shall be subject to entry only
under the provision of the homestead law, the com
mutation clause being limited, and in tracts of not
less than forty or more than 160 acres ; and the
right to the use of water for land thus entered shall
not be sold to any one land owner for a tract ex
ceeding 160 acres.
There have been three withdrawals of land in
Idaho under the National Reclamation Act. Under the
Minidoka project, Cassia and Lincoln Counties, 455,
000 acres; Payette-Boise project, Ada and Canyon
Counties, 735,000 acres; Dubois project, Fremont
County, 564,000 acres. Of these lands there will be
redeemed when work now being carried on by the
Government is completed: On Minidoka project,
130,000 acres; on Payette-Boise project, 372,000 acres.
The Government has appropriated : For Minidoka
project, $1,889,000; for Payette-Boise project, $2,
There has been placed in the national reclamation
fund in the neighborhood of $40,000,000 derived from
the sale of public lands, and all of this is being used
in various enterprises, and millions of dollars in
addition will be required to complete the work al
ready commenced. No project has as yet com
menced to repay the Government for the cost of
construction. The Government works have been laid
on broad foundations. They are permanent and en
during. All the money derived from the sale of
public lands, and which will come into the reclama
tion fund for several years to come, is needed for
the completion of work already begun. Within a
few years, however, and just as fast as the projects
now being redeemed are completed, the cost of those
projects will begin its return to the fund, and other
new projects will then be safely inaugurated. The
act has been sufficiently tested, and the various pro
jects under it carried on successfully to the point
of demonstrating its great value and practicability.
A brief statement of various projects will show
the national character of the act, and make plain
what a tremendous factor it is in the building of
homes in the arid region.
The Salt River project will cover about 160,000
acres of land in the vicinity of Phoenix and Mesa,
Arizona, and will be completed in 1909. The lands
in the project are mostly in private ownership.
The Yuma project will irrigate 84,000 acres of land
in Arizona and 17,000 acres in California.
The Uncompahgre Valley project will reclaim 150,
000 acres of land in Delta and Montrose Counties,
Colorado. This work will be completed in 1909.
Garden City project will irrigate 8600 acres in
Southwestern Kansas. The land is all in private
ownership and is under an existing irrigation sys
tem. This work is practically completed.
The Huntley project reclaims 30,000 acres of
land in Southeastern Montana, and is completed.
The Sun River project involves the ultimate recla
mation of 256,000 acres tributary to Sun River, Mon
tana, nearly all of which is public land. Water will
be available to irrigate a portion of it in the spring
of 1909.
The Milk River project will ultimately reclaim
250.000 acres in the Milk River Valley, Montana.
North Platte project will supply water to 200,000
acres in Wyoming and 200,000 acres in Nebraska.
The Truckee-Carson project will irrigate 350,000
acres of public land in Western Nevada. Water is
now ready for delivery to 50,000 acres.
The Rio Grande project will irrigate 180,000 acres
in New Mexico, Texas and Mexico.
The Carlsbad project will redeem 20,000 acres on
Pecos River, Eddy County, New Mexico. The land
is mostly in private ownership. The work is prac
tically completed.
The Hondo project will irrigate 10,000 acres near
Roswell, New Mexico.
The Lower Yellowstone project will irrigate 66,000
acres in Northeastern Montana and Northwestern
North Dakota, now owned about equally by the
Government, the Northern Pacific Railroad and in
Three pumping projects are contemplated in West
ern North Dakota, which will reclaim in the neigh
borhood of 40,000 acres.
The Klamath project will irrigate 190,000 acres in
Klamath County, Oregon, and Modoc and Siskiyou
Counties, California.
The Umatilla project embraces 20,000 acres im
mediately south of Columbia River and east of
Umatilla River, Oregon.
The Belle Fourche project will reclaim about 100,
000 acres north and east of the Black Hills in Butte
and Meade Counties, South Dakota.
The Strawberry Valley project provides for the
irrigation of 60,000 acres in Central Utah, near
The Okanogan project will supply water for 8650
acres in Okanogan Valley, Northern Washington.
The Yakima Valley project contemplates the irri
gation eventually, under a comprehensive system, of
340.000 acres in the Yakima Valley, Washington.
The Shoshone project when completed will irri
gate 150,000 acres of public land ; 120,000 acres on
the north side of the Shoshone River and 30,000 acres
on the south side, all being in Wyoming and about
seventy-five miles east of the Yellowstone National
Park. The project will be pretty well completed in
For most of these projects water must be stored,
and sometimes carried many miles in large canals
before it is diverted to the land. Sometimes miles
of expensive tunneling through mountains must be
done. In nearly every project adjustment must be
made with individuals who have acquired rights.
Indian lands, some ceded, and some still belong
ing to the Indians, are a necessary part of some of
the projects.
This brief and most cursory reference to the va
rious projects will call attention to the obstacles, the
perplexities, and the varied conflicting interests

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