Water ResourcesPeople and Issues
No. I had no direct involvement. I knew some of the people who were doing
the drafting and I took part in meetings when it was being discussed. The
points I raised are ones which I'm sure other people raised too. They had to
do with the importance of requiring the agencies to indicate the whole range
of alternatives that were available and making an effort to suggest what would
be the consequences of each alternative. I did not do any of the drafting of
Now, even before this time the Corps had established a floodplain information
program. In what way, if any, were you involved in helping to establish that
As we completed the studies of the changes in urban occupance and were
exploring implications, one of the ideas that surfaced and received a good deal
of support was that communities could be more intelligent in dealing with
flood problems if they were provided with information about flood hazards
and about the kinds of measures they could take to deal with a flood hazard.
This was most dramatically exemplified by the Tennessee Valley Authority
staff and with the assorted consulting services they had given to their
communities. We held a workshop at the University of Chicago in which we
tried to explore this idea. Gene Weber came from the Corps. Jim Goddard
and a number of other people attended. Out of that and other measures (I
can't pretend to know all of the other activities that were going on) the Corps
decided to establish a floodplain information service. Legislative authority
was obtained, although it probably was not necessary, in 1960, as I recall.
Is that when Jim Goddard came over?
No, it was after House Document 465 that Jim Goddard came to the Office
of the Chief. But the first systematic exploration of the idea of what ought
to be done was at a meeting out at the University of Chicago that went on
over a couple of days. During the same period we had stimulated the USGS
to prepare its flood-hazard map of Topeka and had begun discussions of
comprehensive flood-hazard mapping for the entire Chicago metropolitan area
by the USGS.
What is your evaluation of the Corps' information program since that time?
Has it been successful, in your mind?