Pick-Sloan Plan for Missouri River Basin. Graphic restoration by Al Barrus
On wartime Saturday nights , the bar at Omaha's reigning hostelry, the Fontenelle on Dodge Street, filled with young lieutenants and captains. There they met the young women of Omaha, danced to the music of Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey, drank, and talked. As the aviators left the hostel on the last Saturday of March 1943, they walked out into
an unusually warm night. The rapidly melting
snow splashed droplets of dirty water on their uniforms.
Within a month, the same snowmelt caused
eight of the Missouri 's tributaries to spillover their
banks. The main stem itself flooded between Pierre
and Rulo. A total of 700,000 acres was submerged;
damages amounted to almost $8 million.
The Missouri went wild, as it had done many times
before. Between May 6 and May 11, the rains came.
Another downpour drenched the basin from May 15
to May 20. Once more, the Missouri went out of its
banks and flooded 540,000 acres. Then another 9
days of rain caused the Missouri to rise and inundate
1,240,000 acres, many of which had been underwater
only days before. The estimated damages
amounted to $32 million. The floods interrupted
training, interfered with wartime production, and
ruined crops needed by American allies overseas.
The combined freshets, known as the "Flood of
'43, " had a long-term impact on the Missouri basin.
The flood became a catalyst in markedly changing
the mission and program of the Omaha District.
Colonel Lewis A. Pick's concerns as Missouri River
Division (MRD) Engineer included the rising flood. A
graduate of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute in
1917, Pick was a 26-year veteran of the Corps of
Engineers. He had been the New Orleans District
Engineer just after the record-breaking Mississippi
River floods of 1927 and had served as Secretary of
Commerce Herbert Hoover's engineer assistant on
the Relief Commission to the stricken area. As Division
Engineer, Pick directed the enormous military
construction program in the Missouri River basin
and developed his proposal for Missouri River control
and postwar development.
Following the 1943 flood, lower basin interests asked the House Flood Control Committee to hold a
special May meeting. Pick described the damages
caused by the new flooding. His appearance and
the requests of local interests caused committee
members to pass a resolution directing the Board of
Engineers for Rivers and Harbors to review previous
planning reports on the Missouri. The Board was to
identify necessary modifications to the main stem
flood control program. The Committee limited the review
to flood control only from Sioux City to the
High water from the Flood of '43 near Bismark, ND.
Following normal Corps procedures, the Board assigned
the review to MRD. Pick and Colonel R. E.
M. Des Islets in Kansas City and Colonel Ole Hoaas
at 1709 Jackson reviewed the "308" reports, hydrographic
surveys, and data compiled by other agencies.
The Corps conducted three public hearings,
and Pick discussed the review study before the
Flood Control Committee in June 1943. He completed
his report on August 10, less than 3 months
after receiving the job.
Rather than limiting his review to a flood control
program, Pick exceeded his assignment and considered
many factors related to the Missouri. Previous
river development in the valley had been oriented
toward specific projects rather than a broad program.
His dramatic 13-page proposal shifted the
emphasis from single-purpose to multiple-purpose
concepts. Pick's plan envisioned a vastly expanded
Federal water policy in the basin. It also went far beyond the Flood Control Committee's request for a
review of the main stem flood control program.
Pick recommended that the Corps construct
multiple-purpose dams in the Dakotas. These dams
would store flood-producing water and use it to provide
hydroelectric power, wildlife and recreation facilities,
a navigable channel , and irrigation, as well
as water for domestic and sanitary needs. He also
expected other benefits from the control of floods,
including the protection of lives and property and
the stabilization and encouragement of economic
development. As he later explained, his primary purpose
involved the control of surplus water by diverting
it " from the wrong to the right place at the right
time in the required volume."
In part, Pick intended for his plan to satisfy local interests.
For years, they had demanded protection
from damaging floods, and they had become discouraged
by the apparent futility of controlling
floods by levees. Pick contended that "complete
protection against all floods of record by levees
alone is impracticable." He did believe that previously
authorized flood control works, including
levees and reservoirs, should be completed as supplements
to the dams he proposed above Sioux
The plan proposed progressive development. Pick
concluded that it would not be feasible to construct
all the multiple-purpose units simultaneously. He
recommended an orderly four-phase approach as
circumstances and funds permitted.
The main stem projects were to be built, operated,
and maintained by the Corps of Engineers. The
Corps would arrange with other agencies for use of
the water stored in the reservoirs after provision of
sufficient storage for flood protection . Similarly, details of the plan would be formulated in cooperation
with other Federal agencies and local interests.
Specifically, the amount of water to be made available
to the Bureau of Reclamation for irrigation
would be determined "after close collaboration with
that agency." Power development would be planned
with the Federal Power Commission. Because the
Pick plan was only a framework, lacking details until
coordinated with other interested entities, it did not
include a realistic evaluation of costs and benefits.
The projects that Pick proposed are described in
Projects Proposed by Pick
There was considerable uncertainty regarding future
development in the basin, with or without the Pick
plan. The Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors
agreed with Pick that retention of surplus waters for
a variety of uses would benefit the basin. The Board also accepted his position on the impracticability of
a detailed monetary estimate of benefits. There was
consensus on the magnitude of the flood problem,
the need for more protection, the legitimacy of large
expenditures, and the soundness of Pick's proposal.
The Board recommended expansion of the authorized
program to include Pick's plan.
Two of the Federal agencies affected by the Corps'
proposals supported the Pick plan. The Department
of Agriculture saw the plan as a constructive approach
to water use in the basin and promised its
cooperation. Federal Power Commission Chairman
Leland Olds saw the plan as a basis for resolving
conflicts of interest through additional storage reservoirs.
Commissioner Harry W. Bashore of the Bureau of
Reclamation was less willing to accept Pick 's assessment
and the dominant position of the Corps on
the river. He wrote a detailed respon se to Pick's
plan, emphasizing his "governing principles" of
water management, the extent of the Bureau's interests
in the Missouri basin, and the importance of
integrating the work of the agencies into a truly
comprehensive plan. His governing principles centered
on the concept of the agency with the ''dominant
interest" in a multiple-purpose project controlling
the project after consultation with other
The Bureau of Reclamation contended that the
waters of the Missouri River and its tributaries west
of or entering above Sioux City were more useful to
more people if utilized for domestic, agricultural,
and industrial purposes rather than for navigation
improvement purposes. Bashore criticized specific
projects in the Corps' plan, including dams on the
Yellowstone, the proposed reservoir at Garrison,
and plans for diversions into the Dakotas. He applauded
the open-ended call for possible changes in
the number and size of the proposed main stem
On 31 December 1943, the Chief of Engineers,
Major General Eugene Reybold, sent the Missouri
River development plan, along with review comments
from the concerned Federal agencies and his
own approval, to the Flood Control Committee. He
noted that representatives of the agencies had conferred
in Washington . Based on these talks, he
thought it was evident that accomplishment of the
development plan depended on the coordinated efforts
of Federal, State, and local governments. Reybold
emphasized the framework nature of the plan
and the necessity of flexibility to meet "changed
conditions that may arise in the future."
Reybold accepted Bashore's contention that the
dominant interest should be considered in the construction
and management of specific projects.
Nevertheless, he thought achievement of maximum
flood control required that the Corps build, operate,
and maintain the main stem dams; prescribe the
flood control storage pools of the multiple-purpose
reservoirs on tributaries; and coordinate reservoir
operations in the entire basin. Reybold contended
that the location, size, and amount of storage behind
the main stem dams were of "vital importance
to the ultimate development of the entire basin." He
supported the flexible Pick plan, acknowledging the
probable necessity of modifying the development
program and the construction of additional reservoirs
on the tributaries by the Bureau.
Projects Proposed by Sloan
Although Pick's proposal covered a number of water
resource questions, it did not examine the relationship
between the proposed flood control plan, the upstream uses of water, and the 9-foot channel project
between Sioux City and the mouth that was under
consideration by another congressional committee.
The Flood Control Committee had assigned the
Corps to review and report on flood control below
Sioux City. Pick had done that in a dramatic manner
and in doing so had opened many related water development
issues confronting the basin, Congress,
and the President.
The broad issues implicit in the Pick plan disturbed
Bureau of the Budget Director Harold D. Smith. He
wanted details on proposed benefits and costs, estimates
of appropriations from the Department of
Agriculture regarding supplemental land use treatment
programs, and further consideration of potential
development of hydroelectric power. Smith
asked Congress to defer action on the Pick plan
until submission of a report by the Bureau of Reclamation, which he expected by 1 May 1944. He was
concerned about the inability of the Bureau of the
Budget to determine a realistic cost for water and
land resource improvements in the basin before reviewing
the plans of the concerned departments.
Other interests in the Missouri basin also wanted to
delay action on the Pick plan. Governors from upriver
states knew that the Bureau of Reclamation
was working on a report concerning development of
irrigation and power. These uses were more important
upstream than flood control and navigation. To
obtain consideration for the Bureau's plan,
supporters felt they had to slow the evaluation of
the Corps' plan. Governors Lester C. Hunt of Wyoming, Sam C. Ford of Montana, and John Moses of
North Dakota asked the Flood Control Committee to
delay consideration of the Pick plan . Then they
appealed to the House Committee on Rivers and
Harbors, which was considering the 9-foot channel
provision in the omnibus rivers and harbors bil1.
Upstream interests feared there would be too little
water for the 9-foot channel and the expansion of irrigation. The new 9-foot channel provision was
based on a demand of 32,000 cubic feet per second
(c.f.s.) for navigation. The Governors pointed out
that the average flow for the past 14 years at
Kansas City had been only 37,600 c.f.s. The excess
was inadequate for the other competing needs.
The House Flood Control Committee acknowledged
that concessions to the upstream states would be
judicious. The Committee recommended that no
new demands be made on the river's water by the
pending legislation and that some proposed main
stem storage be transferred to the tributaries with
the Corps' approval. The bill was reported favorably,
with a request that the Pick plan be included in the
omnibus flood control bill.
The House approved the two bills. The rivers and
harbors bill (H.R. 3961), with the 9-foot channel provision,
passed on 22 March 1944. The flood control
bill (H.R. 4485), with the Pick plan, passed on
May 9. Upstream interests shifted the focus of their
activities to the Senate where the political balance
was more favorable because the Senators from the
Western States traditionally voted as a bloc on
In the Senate , Wyoming's Joseph C. O'Mahoney
chaired a subcommittee concentrating on national
economic planning for the postwar period. "America
is determined," he said, "that our returning soldiers
must not face the 'apple economy' that greeted
them after the last war. " O'Mahoney was a prominent
New Deal Democrat with considerable seniority
in the majority party. He belonged to the bloc
of western supporters of irrigation. On 5 May 1944,
4 days before the House passed the Pick plan, he presented the Senate with the Bureau of Reclamation's proposal for development of the Missouri.
In the making since 1939, the Bureau's report
carried the name of William G. Sloan, Assistant
Director of the Region 6 office in Billings, Montana.
Like Pick, Sloan had served with the Army Corps of
Engineers during World War I. Before the war, he
had managed the Department of Agriculture's drainage
investigations in Wyoming and Montana. Afterward,
he practiced as a private engineer in Boise,
Idaho, and, from 1932 to 1936, as special engineer
to the Twin Falls Canal Company in Idaho. He joined
the Bureau in 1936.
After passage of the 1939 Reclamation Act, Sloan
was assigned to prepare a basinwide water resources
development plan, as presented in table 2.
All beneficial uses of water were to be taken into
account in the formulation of a plan most likely to
yield " the greatest good to the greatest number of
people." Sloan's plan had been in preparation about
5 years when the Pick plan accelerated its completion.
William G. Sloan, Assistant Director, Region 6, Bureau of Reclamation, Billings, Montana, and Colonel Lewis A. Pick, Missouri River Division Engineer, coauthors of the Pick-Sloan Plan
The Bureau's report assumed that farming would remain
the primary basis of the basin's economy. At
the time, the area under study contained over 4 million
irrigated acres, about 12.5 percent of those
acres in Federal projects. Most of the acreage was
in the upper basin west of the 100th meridian. There
was practically no irrigated land in the eastern half
of the basin, except along the Platte River in
Nebraska. The Bureau recommended doubling the
irrigated land; 4,760,000 new acres would receive
full treatment and another 547,000 acres would receive
supplementary water. Seventeen powerplants
would generate 4 billion kilowatt-hours annually. The
decline of population would stop, the tax base would
expand, and prosperity and stability would prevail.
The Sloan plan was rooted in the tradition of the National
Reclamation Program. Founded in 1902, the
Bureau of Reclamation reported to the Assistant
Secretary of the Interior for Water and Power Development
in 1944. The statutory purpose of the
agency was to provide for the conservation, development,
and use of water and land resources in the
17 Western States.
The initial intent was to benefit family farms through
a Reclamation Fund financed by the sale of public
lands in the Western States. The Secretary of the Interior
was to use the fund to construct projects to irrigate
new farmland available for purchase by private
owners. From this base, the Bureau progressed
rapidly toward multiple-purpose development.
Like the Corps, the Bureau reported to Congress.
However, the Bureau did not depend on Congress
for initiation of planning, project authorization, or,
initially, even appropriations. The 1902 law made a
member of the President's Cabinet responsible for
determining the location and priority of prospective
projects and for planning and constructing them.
This was a substantial procedural difference from
the relationship of the Executive and Congress in
Until financial difficulties hampered its programs,
the Bureau considered the Reclamation Fund as
sufficient "appropriation." When other sources of
money were sought, the Bureau 's leadership recognized
the value of hydroelectricity as a product of
its dams. Starting with the Imperial Valley irrigation
project, approved in the Boulder Canyon Dam Act of
1928, hydroelectric power became the key to a successful
extension of Federal reclamation. The
Bureau committed itself to maximum power development
as part of each new reclamation project,
exploited fully the hydroelectric potential of reclamation
works, and adopted a multiple-purpose approach.
In 1943, the Bureau directed its concern to stabilization
of the population and economy in areas that
suffered periodically from drought, recommended
large multiple-purpose projects, and expanded its
area of interest downstream. The Corps shifted its
emphasis from navigation to flood control, recommended
multiple-purpose projects, and placed emphasis
on upstream control measures. Each of the
agencies developed independent ideologies based
on its history and jurisdiction, as well as the interests
of its own geographical clientele. The plans
of Pick and Sloan engaged the Corps and Bureau in
In the basin, the Corps and Bureau plans were "second only to the war in general public interest" during the fall of 1944. Depression , drought, and
flooding had made deep impressions on the region .
People wanted Federal help, general planning, and
specific project proposals-the things promised in
The fate of the two plans rested with congressional
committees that weighed the alternatives and essentially
decided on future development. Congress
wanted a plan that provided the maximum benefit to
the greatest number of people over the longest
period. Even though the chairmen of the key committees
tried to meet the lofty objective, their subjective
perceptions were still critical. Representative
Will M. Whittington of Mississippi and
Louisiana Senator John H. Overton were both southern
Democrats and supporters of the Corps of Engineers.
Pick's upper Missouri reservoirs could contribute
to flood control in their home states, and
Whittington considered flood control to be the "dominant interest" in the Missouri River basin.
Open spillway gates at Big Bend Dam
Overton and Whittington were both experts in and
advocates of flood control and rivers and harbors
legislation. On the other side, Senator O'Mahoney
headed support for the Bureau's development proposal.
He sought statutory assurance of the priority
of irrigation in states west of the 98th meridian, where annual moisture averaged less than 20
inches a year.
O'Mahoney emphasized the dichotomy on the Missouri
between the semiarid upper basin and the
water-abundant lower basin. To protect their interests,
upper basin advocates wanted a guarantee
that State Governors and Bureau officials could review
and comment on Corps projects that might infringe
on their water use. O'Mahoney sought to
achieve this through amendments to the pending
bills for the 9-foot channel and the Pick plan.
Senator Overton chaired the Commerce Subcommittee
that considered both bills. The subcommittee
reported favorably on the channel improvement project
without reference to the O'Mahoney amendments.
The next month, when Overton's group considered
the flood control bill containing the Pick
plan, the amendments were again rejected. The
Commerce Committee considered them redundant
and possibly unconstitutional. Moreover, the amendments
proposed changes in water use policy beyond
the jurisdiction of the Committee.
O'Mahoney publicly deplored the fragmented subcommittee
approach to Missouri River legislation.
He said it was "time we legislated by river basins,
not by projects." Yet, he vowed to continue seeking
laws specifying the primary rights of people west of
the 98th meridian to water flowing through their
Upper river advocates were more concerned with a
threat even greater than the Pick plan and the navigation
project. Missouri Valley Authority (MVA) bills
were introduced in Congress between August 1944
and February 1945. Their passage would delay
project funding, change the Sloan plan, and alter
the relationship between the special interests and
The MVA threatened the access of water activists to
the legislative process. It would shift power from
Congress to the Presidency on river issues. A regional
development authority would have contractual
and other broad powers. Within 2 years, recommendations
on development in the basin would be
made. "If not affirmatively disapproved by the
Congress" within 4 legislative months, its plan
would "be deemed to be effective."
There was considerable momentum for establishment
of valley authorities. In 1933, President
Roosevelt had convinced Congress to establish the
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a unique Government
corporation vested with development and
management of water and related land resources in
the basin. Unlike the Corps of Engineers, the TVA
was guided by one set of laws covering the many
aspects of its work, including land as well as water
resources. Also, unlike the Corps, TVA needed only
the approval of the appropriations committees of
Congress to begin construction.
After the TVA survived its first court tests in 1936
interest in regional administrative authorities developed
in other river basins. President Roosevelt was
still in "hearty accord" with the concept. He stated
in 1944 that the TVA's activities had brought "many
kindred improvements which go to make for increased
security and greater human happiness." Roosevelt sought to apply the TVA concept to other
basins, including the Missouri.
Missouri basin water activists sharply differed with
Roosevelt on the idea. The TVA emphasized flow of
authority from the top. Basin interests believed
Roosevelt advocated direct government as opposed
to representative government. They did not share
his desire for central direction.
Bureau supporters trusted the Bureau to observe the system of Western States' water law. The 1902
Reclamation Act required the Bureau to do so, but
the Corps and TVA were under no such constraint.
A working relationship existed with Bureau officials.
A plan of projects was prepared based on interaction
between upper basin interests and Bureau
planners. Bureau adherents were not interested in a
regional administrative authority for the Missouri.
The Corps also had its constituency in the Missouri
basin. This group included the congressional committees
that dealt with water resources matters and
advocates of protection from floods and an improved
navigable waterway. Satisfied clients provided
critical political support. The Corps drew upon
these beneficiaries for support during the legislative
period of 1944 and 1945.
So the lines were drawn over the issues represented
by Pick, Sloan, and the MVA. The Pick plan,
with its emphasis on flood control and navigation,
drew its strength from lower basin interests and
their advocates in Congress, notably Overton and
Whittington. Support for Sloan 's plan for irrigation
and hydroelectricity came from upriver and had
articulate congressional backing led by O'Mahoney.
Both groups of interests agreed on one thing: they
opposed the creation of an MVA.
Control room at Big Bend Dam
This consensus brought the two groups together.
The vehicle for the coalition was the Missouri River
States Committee (MRSC), a conference of Governors
established in 1942 that advocated headwaters-to-mouth planning. As natural resources
scholar Marion Clawson noted, MRSC "cogently
pointed out that water development in any part of a
basin unavoidably affects water use and water
quality in other parts of the same basin and that the
same water often has value for several purposes."
The MRSC provided a structured organizational vehicle
for development of a basin consciousness, exchange
of information, and unified support for a development
plan. To crystallize thinking for headwaters-to-mouth development, find a basis for bargaining
among interests, and settle conflicts through
coalition building, the MRSC sponsored several
meetings in the summer of 1943. Pick and Sloan attended
them and presented their respective plans.
The MRSC pressed Congress for acceptance of the
Sloan and Pick plans and the 9-foot channel. In
early August 1944, it petitioned the President, Congress,
and the Federal agencies to conclude and
adopt a coordinated plan. Seven of the eight states'
representatives voted for a proviso in the resolution
that " nothing done in the interests of flood control
or navigation shall adversely affect the use of water
for irrigation west of the ninety-seventh meridian."
President Roosevelt attached the MRSC resolution
to a September message to Congress. He inferred
that the resolution advocated creation of an MVA,
although it did not refer to a regional authority. The
Governors, however, expressed their desire for development
by the Corps and Bureau based on coordination
of the agencies' plans as approved by Congress.
Roosevelt misunderstood the strength of opposition
to an MVA in the basin. His effort to control policy
implementation and substitute Presidential priorities
in water project decisions customarily made by congressional
committees failed. There would be no realignment
of the traditional relationships between
the legislative and executive branches.
The Corps and the Bureau aided Congress by providing
the committees a suitable alternative to the
MVA. Instructed by their agency heads and urged by the MRSC, Sloan and John R. Riter of the Bureau
met in October 1944 with Pick's successor, Brigadier
General Roscoe C. Crawford, and Gail A.
Hathaway, Chief of Engineering in the Office of the
Chief of Engineers. These men reconciled engineering
differences in the proposals and jointly endorsed
a combined plan. The merged plans were central to
a congressional strategy against expansion of the
institutional presidency under a regional authority.
The original plans differed in purpose and details.
They agreed on the basic concept of storage and
control of riverflow for multiple uses. Both proposed
a series of big dams and reservoirs on the main
stem above Sioux City. Differences in total reservoir
storage capacity amounted to less than 5 million
acre-feet. Both would develop hydropower where
feasible, after meeting primary demands for irrigation
or navigation and flood control.
The conferees based their agreement on allocations
of jurisdiction for the proposed development. The
Corps was responsible for determining main stem
and tributary reservoir capacities for flood control
and navigation. The Bureau would determine reservoir
capacities on the main stem and tributaries for
The two agencies made major compromises on proposed
main stem dams between Fort Peck and
Sioux City. They agreed on five in the Dakotas.
These would impound 72 percent of the new water
storage in the entire basin.
The Gavins Point reservoir, recommended by the
Corps, would contain 200,000 acre-feet of storage
and would extend from Yankton to Running Water.
Garrison, which was in the original Pick plan, would
go just above Stanton, North Dakota. It would impound
17 million acre-feet of water and extend over
100 miles westward toward the Montana State line.
Fort Randall, at the border between Nebraska and
South Dakota, would back water to above Chamberlain, South Dakota. Smaller than the Corps first
planned, it would store 5 million acre-feet. The conferees
accepted Big Bend, first proposed by the
Bureau, for development of a 250,000 acre-foot pool
Oahe, the fifth project, had been recommended by
both agencies. The compromise resulted in the
adoption of the Sloan version, which was far larger
than Pick's. Oahe would be built just above Pierre
and would store 19.5 million acre-feet of water.
The Corps had no plans for the Missouri and its tributaries
above Fort Peck and made no recommendations
for projects on the small streams flowing eastward
through the western Dakotas. The Bureau proposed
19 Montana dams with a combined storage
of 4.2 million acre-feet. In the Dakotas, the Bureau
wanted 15 dams, with a total storage capacity of
over 1.2 million acre-feet. The conferees recommended
development of these projects.
In the Yellowstone basin, two large reservoirs were
eliminated from the original Corps plans. The joint
report proposed 27 Bureau projects in Montana and
Wyoming. Storage capacity would exceed 4 million
acre-feet. Powerplants were included for eight of the
dams. Irrigation would be provided for 509,560
acres of new lands and additional water would be
provided for 204,500 acres.
Generators at Fort Randall Dam
On the Niobrara, Platte, and Kansas Rivers, the
agencies made some original plan adjustments.
Congress had previously authorized projects on the
streams, but the Pick plan asked for five more reservoirs.
The Bureau proposed 22. The joint recommendation
was for 25. Water would be made available
to irrigate 1,284,000 new acres, and power
would be generated at two of the dams. The projects
would also control floods and silt.
The joint report retained the lower basin projects presented in the original Corps plan. Six flood control
dams on tributaries in Missouri, the Metropolitan
Kansas City flood protection works, and a levee system
below Sioux City were previously authorized.
Pick recommended acceptance and expansion of
these projects complementing the main dams.
These agreements reflected the agencies' roles
mandated in national legislation. Objectively addressed
were the Corps' national mission of flood
damage abatement and the Bureau's role as well.
The joint report specified the agencies' dominant interests
in the Missouri basin.
It was a reasonable solution. The Corps and the
Bureau settled differences in the original proposals
with minor concessions and without loss of principle.
President Roosevelt saw the joint plan as only a
beginning and believed the issues confronting water
resources development in the Missouri basin still
called for an MVA.
At this stage of policymaking, Overton played the
critical role. He had a choice between bringing before
the Senate the flood control bill with the original
Pick plan or the rivers and harbors bill with the
9-foot channel. He chose the former; endorsed the
joint report, referred to as the Pick-Sloan plan; and
urged Senate approval without delay. Overton also
agreed publicly to O'Mahoney's revisions assuring
recognition for the rights of states in water, overcoming
the last hurdle. MVA legislation, on the other
hand, never made it out of committee.
On 22 December 1944, President Roosevelt approved
the Flood Control Act. He still wanted an
MVA, but he signed the law with the spoken proviso
that it in no way jeopardize the future establishment
of an MVA. But his was a forlorn hope. The PickSloan
plan would provide the framework for the development
of water resources on the Missouri and
the basis for Omaha District's major undertakings
on the main stem in the years to come.