Title 43

SECTION 2521.5

2521.5 Annual proof.

§ 2521.5 Annual proof.

(a) Showing required. (1) In order to test the sincerity and good faith of claimants under the desert-land laws and to prevent the segregation for a number of years of public lands in the interest of persons who have no intention to reclaim them, Congress, in the Act of March 3, 1891 (26 Stat. 1096; 43 U.S.C. 327, 328) made the requirement that a map be filed at the initiation of the entry showing the mode of contemplated irrigation and the proposed source of water supply, and that there be expended yearly for 3 years from the date of the entry not less than $1 for each acre of the tract entered, making a total of not less than $3 per acre, in the necessary irrigation, reclamation, and cultivation of the land, in permanent improvements thereon, and in the purchase of water rights for the irrigation thereof, and that at the expiration of the third year a map or plan be filed showing the character and extent of the improvements placed on the claim. Said act, however, authorizes the submission of final proof at an earlier date than 4 years from the time the entry is made in cases wherein reclamation has been effected and expenditures of not less than $3 per acre have been made.

(2) Yearly or annual proof of expenditures must consist of the statements of two or more credible witnesses, each of whom must have general knowledge that the expenditures were made for the purpose stated in the proof. Annual proofs must contain itemized statements showing the manner in which expenditures were made.

(b) Acceptable expenditures. (1) Expenditures for the construction and maintenance of storage reservoirs, dams, canals, ditches, and laterals to be used by claimant for irrigating his land; for roads where they are necessary; for erecting stables, corrals, etc.; for digging wells, where the water therefrom is to be used for irrigating the land; for stock or interest in an approved irrigation company, or for taxes paid to an approved irrigation district through which water is to be secured to irrigate the land; and for leveling and bordering land proposed to be irrigated, will be accepted. Expenditures for fencing all or a portion of the claim, for surveying for the purpose of ascertaining the levels for canals, ditches, etc., and for the first breaking or clearing of the soil are also acceptable.

(2) The value to be attached to, and the credit to be given for, an expenditure for works or improvements is the reasonable value of the work done or improvement placed upon the land, according to the market price therefor, or for similar work or improvements prevailing in the vicinity, and not the amount alleged by a claimant to have been expended nor the mere proof of expenditures, as exhibited by checks or other vouchers. (Bradley v. Vasold, 36 L.D. 106.)

(c) Expenditures not acceptable. (1) Expenditures for cultivation after the soil has been first prepared may not be accepted, because the claimant is supposed to be compensated for such work by the crops to be reaped as a result of cultivation. Expenditures for surveying the claim in order to locate the corners of same may not be accepted. The cost of tools, implements, wagons, and repairs to same, used in construction work, may not be computed in cost of construction. Expenditures for material of any kind will not be allowed unless such material has actually been installed or employed in and for the purpose for which it was purchased. For instances, if credit is asked for posts and wire for fences or for pump or other well machinery, it must be shown that the fence has been actually constructed or the well machinery actually put in place. No expenditures can be credited on annual proofs upon a desert-land entry unless made on account of that particular entry, and expenditures once credited can not be again applied. This rule applies to second entries as well as to original entries, and a claimant who relinquishes his entry and makes second entry of the same land under the Act of September 5, 1914, cannot receive credit on annual proofs upon the second entry for expenditures made on account of the former entry. (41 L.D. 601 and 42 L.D. 523.)

(2) Expenditures for the clearing of the land will not receive credit in cases where the vegetation or brush claimed to have been cleared away has not been actually removed by the roots. Therefore, expenditures for clearing, where as a matter of fact there has been only crushing, or rolling, or what is known in some localities as railing the land will not be accepted.

(3) No expenditures for stock or interest in an irrigation company, through which water is to be secured for irrigating the land, will be accepted as satisfactory annual expenditure until a field examiner, or other authorized officer, has submitted a report as to the resources and reliability of the company, including its actual water right, and such report has been favorably acted upon by the Bureau of Land Management. The stock purchased must carry the right to water, and it must be shown that payment in cash has been made at least to the extent of the amount claimed as expenditure for the purchase of such stock in connection with the annual proof submitted, and such stock must be actually owned by the claimants at the time of the submission of final proof.

(d) Procedure where proof is not made when due. Authorizing officers will examine their records frequently for the purpose of ascertaining whether all annual proofs due on pending desert-land entries have been made, and in every case where the claimant is in default in that respect they will send him notice and allow him 60 days in which to submit such proof. If the proof is not furnished as required the entry will be canceled. During the pendency of a Government proceeding initiated by such notice the entry will be protected against a private contest charging failure to make the required expenditures, and such contest will neither defeat the claimant's right to equitably perfect the entry as to the matter of expenditures during the 60 days allowed in the notice nor secure to the contestant a preference right in event the entry be canceled for default under said notice.

(e) Desert land entry in more than one district. When a desert-land entry embraces land in more than one district, the required annual proofs may be filed in either district, provided proper reference is made to the portion of the entry in the adjoining district, and the entryman must notify the authorized officer of the adjoining district by letter of the date when the annual proof is filed.

(f) Extensions of time. (1) The law makes no provision for extensions of time in which to file annual proof becoming due subsequent to December 31, 1936, on desert-land entries not embraced within the exterior boundaries of any withdrawal or irrigation project under the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902 (32 Stat. 388), and extensions for said purpose cannot therefore be granted. However, where a township is suspended from entry for the purpose of resurvey thereof the time between the date of suspension and the filing in the local office of the new plat of survey will be excluded from the period accorded by law for the reclamation of land under a desert entry within such township and the statutory life of the entry extended accordingly (40 L.D. 223). During the continuance of the extension the claimant may, at his option, defer the making of annual expenditures and proof thereof.

(2) Extensions of time for making desert-land proofs were authorized by the Acts of June 16, 1933 (48 Stat. 274; 43 U.S.C. 256a), July 26, 1935 (49 Stat. 504; 43 U.S.C. 256a), and June 16, 1937 (50 Stat. 303; 43 U.S.C. 256a). Such acts affect only proofs becoming due on or before December 31, 1936. For that reason, the regulations which were issued thereunder have not been included in this chapter.

(g) Submission of proof before due date. Nothing in the statutes or regulations should be construed to mean that the entryman must wait until the end of the year to submit his annual proof because the proof may be properly submitted as soon as the expenditures have been made. Proof sufficient for the 3 years may be offered whenever the amount of $3 an acre has been expended in reclaiming and improving the land, and thereafter annual proof will not be required.