P E T I T I O N
We, the undersigned Petitioners, are gravely concerned over the past and present, as well as future actions proposed, of the South Central Florida Flood Control District as it relates to conservation and protection of natural wildlife. Each of us, as taxpayers, both of the State of Florida and of the United States, is concerned with the expenditures of both Federal tax moneys as well as State moneys in financing the various operations of the South Central Florida Flood Control District.
In recent months, much notoriety has been given to the fact that wildlife is being destroyed in the western areas of Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties, as well as parts of Hendry and Collier Counties, because of the operation of the FCD in maintaining water levels in conservation areas #2 and #3 to such an extreme height that it causes destruction of the deer, hogs and many other species of natural wildlife. One of the largest deer herds in South Florida has diminished to practically nothing in the last two years because of the intense flooding of conservation area #2.
Inasmuch as it is the tax dollar that makes the operations of the FCD possible in the building of the canals, levees, pumping stations and other projects, the interest of the farmers and developers are being protected by this agency; however, the conservation of wildlife and other natural resources should also be given adequate consideration.
A better understanding and a closer cooperation is imperative among the Corps of Engineers, the FCD and all other State and Federal agencies and officials entrusted with the preservation of the Florida Everglades and the wildlife therein.
It is hopeful that the proposed canal, being considered by the Corps of Engineers and the FCD, to furnish water to the Everglades National Park, be routed around the eastern perimeter of conservation area #3, so as not to destroy or disturb the natural habitat of the wildlife therein.
We are concerned and desire to have brought to the attention of all the citizens of this State, the financial matters and budgets of the FCD, which is responsible to the Corps of Engineers. Originally, this project was estimated in the vicinity of $200 million, and now is close to $400 million with proposals for another $100 million being considered. Since most of these moneys (80%) is contributed by the Federal Government, we believe that Congress should take a close look and perhaps conduct a full scale investigation into the financial operations of these agencies.
We as taxpayers and Conservationists strongly urge a full open discussion and study be made concerning the present, and future operation of these agencies, both financial as well as operational. This we believe to be in the best interest
of all citizens of Florida and the many others who wish to utilize the Everglades and the National Park facilities. There is but one Florida Everqlades.
We therefore ask the Governor of the State of Florida and our Congressional Representatives to set forth such measures as are necessary to preserve it in its natural state and to safeguard the natural wildlife therein by regulatory water control levels compatible with their natural habitat.