Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Fighting for Our Right to Irrigate Our Farms and Caretake Our Natural Resources

               Klamath Falls In Reverse!! Eastern Everglades Flooding

In Klamath Falls the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) shut the Water off. In this
Florida Community; BOR is flooding the residents out. BOR has announced that
it intends to begin bulldozing private homes in September. Residents contend
that BOR is offering them about 10% of the actual value of their homes.
Editors and Talk Show Hosts interviews are available with Madeleine Fortin,
President East Everglades Legal Defense Foundation, 305-255-7098  

Paragon List: These Fla. Folks are going to need our help!

Mr. Bob Jones, President
Paragon Foundation
1200 White Sands Boulevard, Number 10
Alamogordo, NM 88310

Mr. Jones;
Mr. Walley suggested I write to you and tell you the story of my community
and ask for your help. The community I live in is called the “8.5 Square
Mile Area” by government agencies. I call my community Pariah, Florida. It
lies along the eastern edge of Everglades National Park. Several thousand
people live here. For the most part they’re Cuban. They came here from
Cuba because they believed that they would be treated with fairness and
honesty by our democratic government. Little did they know what was going
to happen to them.
The community is made up of small, family owned farms and ranches. Most
farms are five to ten acres in size. Over half the land in the community is
used for some form of commercial agricultural production. We produce
tropical fruit and winter vegetables, herbs, cut flowers and honey. People
have plant nurseries. They raise pigs, goats, horses and chickens.

The area has been granted flood protection by Congress on three separate
occasions, but because of radical environmentalists hiding in state and
federal government agencies my community has been flooded unmercifully
since 1994 in an effort to force people to become “willing sellers.” In the
process of flooding us the government agencies involved in “restoring” the
Everglades have managed to flood the entire Miami-Dade County area twice in
a one year period. So far there has been at least $1 billion in flood
related losses and 14 flood related deaths throughout the urban and
agricultural areas of the county. The agricultural community in the
southern part of the County is literally on it’s knees. Fifty year old
avocado and mango groves are dead. To the government they’re just more
“willing sellers.”
Flooding has destroyed my community’s way of life. Over half the 55 miles
of unpaved roads in the community are no longer passable to regular
vehicles. Year after year, people have lost crops, orchards and livestock.
The flooding is not a natural event-it has been engineered by the government
agencies that are supposed to be “restoring the Everglades.” As one man who
was forced by the flooding to become a “willing seller” said at a public
meeting, “You use water as a weapon!” Another man told me just before he
sold his home to the government, “They’ve killed the American Dream.”

In 1989, Congress passed the Everglades National Park Protection and
Expansion Act. This Act told the park it could buy up all the vacant land
in Northeast Shark River Slough. It also told the Corps of Engineers to do
two things: provide the park with a more natural hydrologic regime, and to
protect the communities that would be impacted by this. The exact
legislative language reads, “The Secretary of the Army is authorized and
directed to construct a flood protection system to protect the developed
land within such area.” (PL 101-229, Section 104, paragraph 2c)

The Corps developed the Modified Water Delivery Project to do what Congress
had ordered. This project was Congressionally approved and fully federally
funded in 1992. How could they screw this up?

In 1994, all forward movement on our little flood protection canal stopped.
It seemed the park wanted a “buffer zone.” In the years since then the
Corps has developed a “compromise alternative” which puts a canal up the
most populated street in the community. This leaves half of the community
unprotected and costs over three times as much as the original project. The
Corps doesn’t even have Congressional authority to condemn land outside the
foot print of the original project and funding for the project is uncertain.
In the process of choosing this “compromise” solution the Corps, along with
it’s allies, the National Park Service, the Fish & Wildlife Service and the
Corps local sponsor, the South Florida Water Management District, has
committed fraud, violated NEPA, abused the Endangered Species Act, committed
numerous violations of it’s own administrative procedures and wasted over
$15 million in tax money-all in an effort to take our homes and farms away
from us!

It’s bad enough for the government to do this us, but in the process of
holding up completion of the Modified Water Delivery Project, the involved
agencies are unable to release water into the park in the volumes necessary
for ecosystem functioning. Rather than let the excess water out to tide,
the water is being stockpiled in the state owned Everglades north of the
park. This has turned the area into an inland sea. More than half the tree
islands are dead and endangered species are being impacted. Because of the
hydrology of the area, water stockpiled above the surface in one place will
soak into the ground and raise the ground water throughout the County. When
there is a heavy rainstorm the water has nowhere to go and the entire County
floods. The agricultural area just south of my community has been
devastated by the flooding.

It seems that all over the United States rural communities are under siege.
Excessive regulation in the name of “preserving the environment” prevents
reasonable use of our land while unfair trade treaties flood our markets
with cheap foreign produce. Small rural communities are often poor,
sparsely populated and politically powerless. How can we protect ourselves
from the actions of our own government? Perhaps if other communities like
mine can band together we can make our voices heard in Washington. This
letter is a formal request for assistance from the Paragon Foundation. Can
you help us with media support? If we had access to the media we might be
able to get enough nation-wide support to turn the tide before it’s too

Thank you for your interest in my community’s problems. I hope we can work

Madeleine Fortin, President
East Everglades Legal Defense Foundation
21801 SW 152 Street
Miami, FL 33187
phone 305-255-7098
e-mail <mfortin@bellsouth.net>

J. Zane Walley, Advocate For Rural America
A Paragon Foundation Grantee www.paragonpowerhouse.org/

Jay – I spoke to Atlanta bureau - the story on the Florida town has
been approved - so it is a go - they are working on it now - I forwarded
your other e mail to bureau chief and correspondent - should be done
sometime next week.

Thanks, NY liked it.
William LaJeunesse, Fox News


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