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CONGRESS

CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.

L E T T E R

FROM

THE SECRETARY OF WAR,

TRANSMITTING,

WITH A LETTER FROM THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, REPORTS ON PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION AND SURVEY OF CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA., WITH A VIEW TO SECURING A CHANNEL OF INCREASED DEPTH FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO TO THE TOWN OF BOCA GRANDE.

JUNE 17, 1919.-Referred to the Committee on Rivers and Harbors and ordered to

be printed, with illustration.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, June 16, 1919. The SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith a letter from the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, of this date, together with report of Mr. J. M. Braxton, assistant engineer in charge, dated August 1, 1918, with map, and report of Col. Glen E. Edgerton, Corps of Engineers, dated April 4, 1919, on a preliminary examination and survey, respectively, of Charlotte Harbor, Fla., made by them in compliance with the provisions of the river and harbor act approved August 8, 1917. Very respectfully,

NEWTON D. BAKER,

Secretary of War.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,

Washington, June 16, 1919.
From: The Chief of Engineers, United States Army.
To: The Secretary of War.
Subject: Preliminary examination and survey of Charlotte Harbor,

Fla.

1. There are submitted herewith for transmission to Congress report dated August 1, 1918, with map, by Mr. J. M. Braxton, assistant engineer in charge, and report dated April 4, 1919, by Col. Glen E. Edgerton, Engineers, on preliminary examination and survey, respectively, authorized by the river and harbor act approved August 8, 1917, of Charlotte Harbor, Fla., "with a view to securing a channel of increased depth from the Gulf of Mexico to the town of Boca Grande."

2. Charlotte Harbor is situated about 70 miles south of Tampa Bay, and is one of the best natural harbors on the west coast of Florida. The original channel depth through the entrance was about 19 feet. The existing project, adopted by the river and harbor act of July 25, 1912, provides for a channel 300 feet wide and 24 feet deep at mean low water from the Gulf of Mexico to Boca Grande, the southern terminus of the Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railway just inside the entrance. This project was completed in 1913, and the channel has since held without expense for maintenance. The cost of the work was $31,141.62, of which local interests contributed $15,562.78. The improvement has materially aided in the development of an important phosphate port, having a normal commerce of about 500,000 tons annually, with prospects of future increase. The authorized depth, however, has been found insufficient for the vessels engaged in this trade, particularly those plying to European points. To meet the needs of navigation the district engineer submits a plan providing for a depth of 27 feet and for widening the channel to 500 feet at the bend, where some difficulty has been experienced. The cost of this work is estimated at $100,000, and he expresses the opinion that the locality is worthy of further improvement by the United States to this extent. The division engineer concurs in this opinion, subject to the contribution of at least one-fourth the cost by local interests.

3. These reports have been referred, as required by law, to the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors, and attention is invited to its report herewith, dated May 19, 1919, concurring in the views of the district and division engineers regarding the advisability of the improvement. The board states that when the existing project was adopted in 1912 the traffic pertained largely to one company and the future development of the port was more or less problematical. It was therefore deemed equitable to require liberal local cooperation in carrying out the work. The harbor has now become an important phosphate port, however, and is used by a number of interests. Under the conditions now existing, the board concurs with the district engineer in the opinion that it is proper for the United States to undertake the proposed improvement without further cooperation on the part of local interests.

4. After due consideration of the above-mentioned reports, I concur in the views of the district engineer and the Board of Engineers

for Rivers and Harbors, and therefore report that the further improvement by the United States of Charlotte Harbor, Fla., is deemed advisable to the extent of providing a channel 27 feet deep and 300 feet wide, increased to 500 feet wide at the bend, as proposed by the district engineer, at a total estimated cost of $100,000. No expenditures for maintenance are now contemplated. The full amount of the estimate should be provided in one appropriation.

W. M. BLACK,

Major General.

REPORT OF THE BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS

ON SURVEY.

(Third indorsement.)

BOARD OF ENGINEERS FOR RIVERS AND HARBORS,

May 19, 1919. To the Chief of Engineers, United States Army.

1. The following is in review of the district engineer's reports authorized by the river and harbor act of August 8, 1917, on preliminary examination and survey of Charlotte Harbor, Fla., with a view to securing a channel of increased depth from the Gulf of Mexico to the town of Boca Grande.

2. Charlotte Harbor is on the west coast of Florida, 70 miles south of Tampa Bay. The existing project provides for a channel 300 feet wide and 24 feet deep at mean low water from the Gulf of Mexico to Boca Grande, the southern terminus of the Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railway just inside the entrance. Within the harbor there is an extensive anchorage basin having a depth of 27 feet or more, with 30 feet up to the wharf at South Boca Grande. The mean range of tide is 1.4 feet. The total amount expended in securing the 24-foot channel was $31,141.62, of which local interests contributed $15,562.78. The project was completed in 1913, since which time the channel has held without expense for maintenance.

3. The commerce reported for 1917 amounted to 274,548 tons, valued at $1,438,640, of which 273,368 tons, valued at $1,366,840, was phosphate. This tonnage is less than it has been in recent years due to war conditions. The Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railway Co., the principal interest concerned, reports that the normal shipment of phosphate is now about 500,000 tons and that it is expected to increase to 700,000 tons in 1920. Phosphate shipments are generally made in vessels drawing 24 to 30 feet, and the improvement desired to meet the needs of this port is an increase in depth to 27 feet. No increase in width is required except in easing the bend near the inner end of the channel. It is estimated that such a channel will cost $100,000 and that no expense will be required for maintenance.

4. The district engineer is of opinion that the locality is worthy of improvement by the United States in accordance with the above estimate. The division engineer concurs regarding the advisability of the improvement, but in view of special benefits conferred to the railroad and phosphate interests, he believes that local cooperation to the extent of at least one-fourth of the cost should be required.

HD-66-1-vol 32

5. Since the shipment of phosphate rock began from this harbor in 1911, there has been a large increase in commerce, and it appears that the maximum has probably not yet been reached. When the existing project was under consideration it was found that a depth of 24 feet would accommodate the class of vessels desiring to use the port. Since that time phosphate-carrying vessels have increased in size, and it is now apparent that a depth of about 27 feet is necessary. In this connection it may be stated that Tampa, also a phosphate-shipping port, has a project depth of 27 feet. Charlotte Harbor is about 90 miles south of Tampa and therefore its use would save a vessel trip of about 180 miles, an important item at present high rates of transportation. Up to the present time this harbor has had the unusual advantage of requiring no expenditure for maintenance. Whether this condition will still obtain with the deeper channel desired can not be definitely determined, but the district engineer is of opinion that it will, and his views appear to be justified. In view of these facts the board concurs with the district and division engineers in believing that it is advisable for the United States to undertake the further improvement of this harbor to the extent proposed. When the existing project was adopted in 1912, the traffic was largely in the hands of one company, and the future development of the port was more or less problematical. It was therefore deemed equitable to require liberal local cooperation in carrying out the work. The harbor has now become an important phosphate port, however, and is used by a number of interests. The work contemplated is at the ocean entrance through Boca Grande, and in the opinion of the board it is proper for the United States to undertake this improvement without further cooperation on the part of local interests. The board therefore expresses the opinion that it is advisable for the United States to undertake the further improvement of Charlotte Harbor, with a view to securing a channel 27 feet deep, as proposed by the district engineer, at an estimated cost of $100,000. The full amount of the estimate should be made available in one appropriation.

6. In compliance with law, the board reports that there are no questions of terminal facilities, water power, or other subjects so related to the project proposed that they may be coordinated therewith to lessen the cost and compensate the Government for expenditures made in the interests of navigation. For the board:

PETER C. HAINS,
Major General, U. S. Army, Retired,

Senior Member of the Board.

PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION OF CHARLOTTE HARBOR, FLA.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE,

Jacksonville, Fla., August 1, 1918.
From: The District Engineer.
To: The Chief of Engineers, United States Army.

(Through the Division Engineer). Subject: Preliminary examination of Charlotte Harbor, Fla.

1. In compliance with instructions in letter of September 1, 1917, report is submitted of a preliminary examination of Charlotte Harbor,

Fla., authorized by the item of the river and harbor act approved August 8, 1917, reading as follows:

The Secretary of War is hereby authorized and directed to cause preliminary examination and surveys to be made at the following-named localities:

Charlotte Harbor, Fla.

2. Charlotte Harbor, Fla., is a large bay on the west coast of Florida, 70 miles south of Tampa Bay. Its entrance is through Boca Grande Pass.

Within the main entrance is Charlotte Harbor proper, which may be considered to extend from Gasparilla Island to Punta Gorda. Charlotte Harbor is one of the best natural harbors on the west coast of Florida. The original channel depth through Boca Grande Pass was about 19 feet. The present channel at Boca Grande has 24 feet at mean low water and a width of channel of 300 feet. After passing through the improved channel at Boca Grande, there exists a wide expanse or anchorage basin, covering about 350 acres and having a depth of 24 feet at mean low water.

Of the 350 acres, about 250 acres have 27 feet or more and an average depth of 30 feet up to the dock at South Boca Grande, constructed by the Charlotte Harbor & Northern Railway Co. Charlotte Harbor is about 5 miles in width, having two equal arms extending eastward for a distance of 11 miles and northward for 11 miles. Punta Gorda is at the head of this bay on Peace River, which empties into Charlotte Harbor at its northern extremity.

3. The following table gives reference to previous reports on the improvement of Charlotte Harbor, Boca Grande, and Peace River:

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Preliminary examination of

Charlotte Harbor and Peace
Creek, Fla.
Preliminary examination of

Charlotte Harbor, Fla.
Preliminary examination of
Charlotte Harbor, including

San Carlos Bay, Fla.
Preliminary examination of

Peace River, Fla.
Survey of Charlotte Harbor and
Peace Creek, Fla.
Preliminary examination of House ...

Boca Grande and Charlotte
Harbor, Fla.
Preliminary examination of House...

[blocks in formation]

181

58th..... 2d.......

1714 Unfavorable.

Charlotte Harbor, Fla. (12-
foot channel extension).
Review by Board of Engineers.. Comm..
Survey of Charlotte Harbor, Fla. House...
Preliminary examination of ...do?
Charlotte Harbor, Fla.

1904

1
699
121

60th.
62d..
63d..

1st.
2d.
1st.

Do.
Favorable..
Unfavorable.

: With map.

Favorable only for dredging in Charlotte Harbor at an estimated cost of $30,000. • Favorable to 23 feet over the bar at an estimated cost of $35,000.

Favorable to 25 feet over the bar at an estimated cost of $140,000. Favorable to 24 feet over the bar at an estimated cost of $40,000, provided local interests contribute onehalf of the original cost.

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