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For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office


The appraisals published here were approved by the Secretary of the

Interior on February 23, 1944

This is a report on the appraisal of lands and improvements in the East Columbia Basin Irrigation District, which is one of the three irrigation districts of the Columbia Basin Project below Grand Coulee Dam in the State of Washington. By irrigation, this Bureau of Reclamation project will transform one million acres of potentially irrigable land, much of it now unsettled and unproductive, into a well watered, compactly settled, and highly productive region.

The project lands were classified and appraised under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior as provided for in Section I (a) of the Act of Congress of May 27, 1937 (50 Stat, 208) commonly referred to as the Anti-Speculation Act and the amendment to that act, known as the Columbia Basin Project Act. Under the terms of the Anti-Speculation Law (S. 2172, Chap. 269–1st Session 75th Congress), it is provided that the lands shall be impartially appraised in a manner and to the extent prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior for the determination of their value at the date of appraisal without reference to the proposed construction of the said project.”

The amount of land in each class, the appraised value of land and of improvements, and the total sums for each subdivision appraised are given in the tabulations, pages 1 through 272. Individual appraisals have been made for each tract of 40 acres or less and of each Government lot.

The summary tabulation on page vi gives the total acreage of the district by land classes, the total appraised value of land and of improvements, and the average value per acre. For convenient reference, and because of the importance of land classification in determining the appraised values, the areas in different classes are given as they were determined from the classification maps.

The original signed copies of the individual appraisals, showing all of the detail of the appraisement, are on file at the Bureau of Reclamation office at Coulee Dam.

A sample appraisal sheet is on page vii.


The land classification was conducted by specialists of the Bureau of Reclamation. Topographic maps made by the engineers of the Bureau were used as base maps. These topographic maps of one section each have a horizontal scale of 1 inch equaling 400 feet with contour intervals of two feet. The features of the land classification were mapped in the field and are based on a careful study of soil, topographic, and drainage conditions. Numerous soil borings and pits were put down to determine the nature of the soil profile, and laboratory tests were made to aid in the determination of soil texture and the occurrence of soil alkali.

The lands which were found to be suitable for irrigation farmingtermed "arable lands''-are divided into three classes according to potential productive value. Class 1 includes the best land, class 2 the intermediate and class 3 the least desirable of the lands suitable for irrigation development. Lands found to be unsuited to irrigation development and adjudged to have insufficient productive capacity to warrant their irrigation development-termed "non-arable" —were placed in class 6. Lands remaining in the latter class will not be supplied with irrigation water and will not be assessed for irrigation costs.

The lands placed in the same class but for different reasons are delineated, as well as the lands of various classes. Thus, it is possible to show whether land relegated to a poorer class is considered inferior to class 1 land because of soil, topography, drainage or a combination of factors.

The acreage of land, as shown in the summary tabulation on page vi, represents gross figures by land classes, except that alienated rights-ofway for State or Federal highways and for railroads have been deducted. Further deductions for rights-of-way for canals and townsites, and probably for county roads, may be anticipated. The classification of land in any particular class does not constitute a guarantee that all such lands will be placed under irrigation, since it may prove infeasible to build lateral irrigation ditches to all of the land so classified.

The land classification was found to provide an excellent basis for fixing values of different types of land, but due to variation in rainfall and other factors, lands of the same class in different parts of the project are not necessarily of uniform value. Lands in areas of higher rainfall are regularly cropped to wheat by dry farming methods, whereas in the dryer areas the principal use is for grazing.


Improvements were appraised separate from the land and were considered under the following headings:

1. Buildings.
2. Fences.
3. Domestic water.
4. Irrigation facilities.
5. Crop improvements.

6. Miscellaneous items. Buildings and fences have been appraised on the basis of an estimated replacement cost less depreciation for age, lack of proper maintenance, and obsolescence. This has been true regardless of the fact that in many cases the improvements are not now being used. Wells for domestic water which were found to contain water, and where evidence of value was obtainable, were appraised on the basis of depth and the going charge per foot for drilling, plus the value of pumps and other equipment. The value of clearing sagebrush and leveling land was appraised as an improvement provided it would have value to the new settler. This item was appraised at from $1.00 to $4.00 per acre where the sagebrush has been removed and the land leveled. In the few cases where the land was actually leveled and prepared for irrigation, the appraisal for leveling was higher. Crop improvements included such items as the value of orchards, alfalfa, and irrigated pasture. Under

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miscellaneous items were included improvements which did not properly fall under the other headings, such as stationary spray equipment in orchards.



The Anti-Speculation Law provides that the lands proposed to be irrigated shall be impartially appraised in a manner and to the extent prescribed by the Secretary of the Interior for the determination of their value at the date of appraisal without reference to the proposed construction of the said irrigation works and without increment on account of the prospect of the construction of said project." These appraisals were made in compliance with this law by three impartial appraisers, each of whom had many years of varied experience in appraisal work and in dealing with similar lands. The appraisers worked as a board and their appraisals are the result of consideration and agreement among the three.

Each appraisal was made by detailed examination of the property on the ground. Land classification data have provided the principal basis for variation in appraisal between soils and topography of different quality; but difference in present use, made possible by variation in rainfall, was an important, and in many cases, the deciding factor. In portions of the project rainfall is sufficient to permit regular wheat raising by dry-farming methods, whereas in other portions the present use is limited to grazing livestock. With soils of the same quality the values in the former areas are considerably higher than in the latter.


Improvements or changes in value of properties subsequent to the date of the original appraisal will be determined at the request of property owners, cost of the reappraisals being borne by the persons requesting them. The value of the additional improvements will be added to the totals shown in these tabulations.

1 See the sample appraisal sheet, page vii.

Summary of Land Classification and Appraisal of
East Columbia Basin Irrigation District
Land Classification



Class 1.
Class 2.
Class 3.

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(Jan. 1938)




File No. 20 28 30 0
County: Grant

Subdivision SWYSE%, sec. 30, T. 20 N., R 28 E. W. M., area 38.64 acres

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Value 1. Dwelling — 28' x 16', addition 8' x 12',

frame, shingle roof, not painted, 3
rooms, single construction, part of out-
side papered, cellar 16' x 16', part con-

crete and part board, concrete floor... $300.00
2. Chicken house-10' x 12', frame, board
roof, new, including runs......

35.00 3. Feed house - - 10' x 12', frame, board roof, floor, new.

35.00 4. Outhouse

10.00 5. Sheep Shed 20' x 20', frame, board

roof, partly built of old lumber, fair

75.00 6. Sheep Shed - 30' x 40', frame, metal

roof, built of scraps, part new lumber,
including pens and corrals

175.00 7. Straw Shelter — 48' x 24', straw sides,

and roof, wire support, including pens
and corrals


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Total value of buildings.


Fencing: None.

Domestic water: None.

Total value of irrigation facilities (detail on opposite side): None.
Total value of crop improvements (detail on opposite side): None.
Miscellaneous improvements (detail on opposite side): Clearing and leveling 10 acres
at $2.00....

...$20.00 We certify that the foregoing appraisal is true and correct to the best of our knowledge and belief. Thos. F. RODDY


S. J. McDONNELL Appraiser


Appraiser Dated at Ephrata, Washington, March 24, 1939.


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