Media Contact: Tozier - Int. 4306 | Information Service
For Immediate Release: April 24, 1959

Commissioner of Indian Affairs Glenn L. Emmons today strongly urged the Army Corps of Engineers to take action "at the earliest possible date” to eliminate a flood threat to tribally developed pasturelands on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation in Florida.

The problem, Mr. Emmons said, is caused by an unfinished Corps of Engineers anal, designated as L28, which pours water out onto an area of extremely flat ground where it meets the natural flow from the northwest across the reservation and piles up in and around 2,850 acres of improved pasture. If a strong southeast wind should occur when the water is flowing out of the canal, the improvements might well be totally destroyed.

In a letter to Major General E. C. Itschner, Chief of Engineers, Commissioner Emmons pointed out that the Seminole Tribe spent $69,982 on the pasture improvement work last year and has budgeted an additional $49,200 for the purpose in 1959.

Mr. Emmons also said it was his understanding the hazard could be eliminated merely by extending the canal a comparatively short distance to the south where the gravity flow of the discharged water would be away from the reservation.

“As trustee for the Indian lands,” Commissioner Emmons wrote, "this Bureau believes that any further prolonged delay in correcting the situation would be inexcusable. We strongly urge that action be taken at the earliest possible date to extend the Canal far enough to the south so that the Indian lands and development works will be fully protected against any further threat of damage or destruction."