Water Resources People and Issues
Q: Approximately when did you work on this report?
A: From about July of 1934 to December '34. Cooke was still chairman of the
Water Planning Committee, but his interests were shifting in the other
direction. He was not replaced as chairman until he had the REA fully under
So by the end of '34 you had a report from the National Resources Board.
Then it promptly was replaced by other agencies with very similar
membership. It was at that stage that Wolman took over from Cooke as
Markham continued as a member; John Page was the
representative of the Bureau of Reclamation. Other members were the head
of the Soil Conservation Service, the head of the Fish and Wildlife group, the
chief hydrologist from the U.S. Geological Survey, the principal engineer
from the Public Health Service, and the principal engineer from the Federal
Power Commission. Barrows and Woodward; Thorndike Saville from New
York University; Ed Hyatt, state engineer of California; and four
nongovernment folks along with Wolman made up the total committee.
Q: Was Marshall Layton from the Geological Survey the chief hydrologist?
A: No. It was N.C. Grover. They then undertook to prepare, basin by basin,
an examination of problems and promising projects-construction projects and
investigation projects--for the whole country.
Q: This report was then submitted to the President?
A: It was submitted to the President on November 9, 1936. The device for doing
so was that under the old Public Works Planning Act the President was
empowered to prepare a program of public works. They used this as the
legislative authority on which they then proceeded. This continued for a
period of years. The National Resources Board, National Resources Planning
Board, National Resources Committee-it went through various names but
retained substantially the same top membership--never had solid legislative
authority from the Congress. Congress was unwilling to establish them as a
permanent, well-grounded organization; they lived by executive orders and
broad interpretations of other legislation. Marion Clawson describes the
process in New Deal Planning [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1981].