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Saving the Good Earth: The Mississippi Valley Committee and Its Plan

by Harold L. Ickes

Secretary of the Interior and Public Works Administration

February 1934

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R.I. Nesmith, New York

Like the bedeviled Gadarene swine, rushing down a steep place to destruction, the fertility of millions of American acres is being swept from the hillsides and lost in the sea. Not lack of rainfall but misuse of water is responsible for the twin blights of drought and erosion that are laying waste once prosperous farming country.

The Mississippi Valley Committee, appointed by the President, is directed to draft a plan for the twenty-seven states drained by Ol' Man River. How the committee functions, how its plan, conserving water and soil, will deal with erosion, forestation, flood control, agriculture, navigation, power, is here described by the Chicago lawyer who was called by President Roosevelt to head the Department of Interior and a few months later was given the gigantic task of organizing and directing the Public Works Administration.


Kay Davis, University of Virginia, © 2001-2003