Cross-country convoy planned
By JEFFRY MULLINS, Associate Editor
ELKO, NEVADA - 7/24/02 - - Jarbidge Shovel Brigade members are
planning a cross-country convoy to southern Florida this fall to
support agricultural producers who
say they are being swamped out by the federal government. The
local brigade will team up with Klamath Bucket Brigade and
volunteers from Ohio to lead a fund-raising auction similar to
one that helped raise money for farmers in Oregon's Klamath
Basin last year. Brigade members say the problem in Dade County
is similar to those in Elko and Klamath because it involves
placing the needs of endangered species above man's property
rights. But Shovel Brigade attorney Grant Gerber said farmers in
Florida are facing a situation opposite Klamath's - instead of
having their water shut off by the federal government, they are
More flooding is planned this year, according to David
director of the Dade County Farm Bureau. Damage to crops has
exceeded $100 million, he said.
The Shovel Brigade was successful last year in affirming Elko
of way on South Canyon Road at Jarbidge, where listing of bull
the Endangered Species Act has held up repair of the road.
contacted Gerber for help when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
irrigation water to preserve lake levels for short-nosed sucker
coho salmon, also listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The critter being blamed for southern Florida's problem is a
"The environmentalists claim that flooding is necessary to
Sable Seaside Sparrow," Friedrichs wrote in a letter to the
bucket brigades. "Imminently qualified scientists have
claims, but the federal government is persisting in bringing
our families by destroying our private land."
Agriculture is the second-largest industry in Dade County, home
metropolis of Miami. Farmers grow citrus fruit, avacados,
tomatoes, and a number of other crops, as well as ornamental
Instead of a "Sagebrush Rebellion," farmers in the
area are planning
"Sawgrass Rebellion." Sawgrass is the preferred
nesting ground of the
The Army Corps of Engineers has been manipulating water levels
for several years, Friedrichs said Thursday, "with flagrant
their own prescribed procedures."
He said the agency has allowed water levels to rise and, coupled
rains that have been falling the past week, the water table is
high it is
harming the roots of plants. The trees could begin dropping
said, or even die because of the flooded roots.
"So our situation has moved from one of antagonism and
outright critical," he said.
In 1989, Congress passed a law calling for the Army Corps of
construct flood protection around the area, Friedrichs said. It
years of scientific study to come up with the plan, he said.
"Everybody agreed that this project would deliver the
Everglades National Park," Friedrichs said, as well as the
supplies for agriculture, industrial users such as rock mines,
public consumption. All agencies, including the U.S. Fish &
Service, agreed to the plan.
That was 13 years ago, but still nothing has been built.
In the mid-1990s, the agencies begin working to modify the water
plan because of the endangered sparrow, Friedrichs said.
Scientists reportedly have made recordings in which they can
he said, but "I'm not real sure they've ever actually seen
The science used to determine the listing has never been
said. Congressmen on the House Resources Committee last week
that would amend the Endangered Species Act to allow such
Meanwhile, the south Florida economy is suffering.
"The bottom lines is they'd just as soon farming go away
down here in
Dade and they could do something else with the land, and it's
classic illustration of the government's desire to take property
they can," Friedrichs said.
Farmers on Florida's west coast also are being affected and will
in the "Sawgrass Rebellion," according to Don Lester
of Naples. He
about 4,000 people from his area will join the convoy in
Friedrichs and Lester said they were impressed with the success
shovel and bucket brigades in getting water restored to Klamath
Farmers in the basin have been getting their full water supply,
Bucket Brigade President Bill Ransom, but water release
being lowered because of a return to drought conditions.
The official classification of another "dry" year will
more lawsuits over Klamath's water, he said.
Ransom said he couldn't put a dollar amount on the losses, but
have reported drops of 50 percent or more in sales.
Dale Rapp of Darby, Ohio, said farmers and other property owners
join the convoy. They still have hundreds of shovels that the
Shovel Brigade sent to help in their successful battle against
government. Plans to buy out farmers for a wildlife refuge have
dropped, he said.
The Darby case was similar to Klamath's in that soldiers were
perpetuity" for their service to the country, then the
take it away. Rapp said the government doesn't like the current
which private farmers own the water rights in the valley.
Gerber said it may be time to start collecting shovels again.
shovel, which once stood on the courthouse lawn, will be taken
Florida convoy as well as a giant bucket built for Klamath's
Gerber said cross-country convoys were in the planning stages
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred. They were postponed
spring after the government agreed to restore water to Klamath
Despite the delays, the property rights movement is gaining
interests are being affected, according to Jay Walley of Paragon
in New Mexico. Walley is helping publicize the convoy and
He said the protest is garnering broad-based support that
community, Indians and blacks, as well as white farmers and
Smaller property owners are becoming more affected by the
movement, he said.
"So it takes on an entirely different complexion now,"
Instead of just going after farmers and ranchers and loggers and
the environmental movement is taking its toll on small
owners in semi-rural settings.
He said the tools being used to separate property owners from
go by various names, but all amount to "condemnation by
Recreationists are another group that has joined the battle.
Mike Martsolf, president of Nevada United Four-Wheelers, said
ready to get involved.
Brigade members plan to start the convoy around the first of
branch would begin at Klamath Falls, Ore., and another at Darby.
convoy would travel through Elko.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any
copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair
use without profit or payment for non-profit research and
educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]