Julie's Reports and Articles

Updated November 27, 2007

Darby Update - Spring 2002

Rural Ohio still under siege by TWO federal government agencies and TWO laws


In late March, the print media in central Ohio published a story, quoting a press release dated March 13, 2002 by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  In the article FWS said it had given up on plans for a proposed Federal wildlife refuge in Madison and Union Counties in west central Ohio.

In early April, this writer received an email from the Region 3 Director, Thomas Larson (headquartered in Ft. Snelling, MN), stating that FWS had "chosen the Local Conservation Action Alternative," or LCAA, rather than proceed with plans to establish a refuge.  He suggested a meeting, seeking my ideas on such an LCAA.

A letter to the editor to the local newspapers was submitted, and one paper, The Madison Press published my concerns that FWS was not done with our area, but the County Commissioners and local mayors remain complacent.  The village of West Jefferson has an astute City Council President, and Bob Gose is becoming more active in his concerns.  West Jefferson has a National Scenic Byway bisecting it (U.S. Route 40, the Old National Road), complete with accompanying restrictions and regulations. 

Both Darby Creeks, the Big and Little Darby Creeks, are State and National Wild and Scenic Rivers, so there is plenty to be concerned about! 

This time of year in the breadbasket of America is a time of frenetic activity and farmers are readying their fields and equipment for planting. It is a time when government agencies count on receiving less attention and involvement from those who must work at their careers in order to survive.  Attendance at meetings by local residents drops and the NGO and government representatives craft policy and rules with little outcry.  It's a time when other family members need to pitch in and attend meetings in their parents and spouse's place.

The assault continues on the prime farmland under private ownership continues by a second federal agency as well. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that they seek "local citizen involvement" for "watershed planning" for the "Darby Watershed," in order that voluntary compliance with the Clean Water Act is assured by "volunteer monitoring." The "citizen action group" is over 75% paid employees of the state and local government and paid employees of the local 'partnership' of non-governmental organizations.

The NGO involvement in our area consists of grant writers painting vivid verbal pictures of all the money that the area will get for "volunteer water testing kits" and "canoe trips" to seek out "impairments" in streams that have none.

Local citizens seem unable to stop the continued harassment by those from outside the community to take over its control.  No matter how many attend the meetings and voice their concerns and ask, "Why do we need a plan here when our waters are the cleanest in the state?" the Delphi Technique, consensus building and conflict resolution appear to be the order of the day.

Both the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) are formidable contenders in this area. Like so many other places across America, we must continue to use tools such as the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) to seek ways to slow and stop government encroachment on private lands and rural cultures.

Please visit the website, www.propertyrightsresearch.org  as it evolves into a property rights, resource providers, consumers, and freedom website of national importance.  This website stands ready to receive your input and ideas, letters to the editor and article submissions (please be sure to have the date, author, title, and website address of the article included for verification).

At the Articles button is a national map at which you may 'click' on your state for articles specific to it, or click the National button for articles of larger scope.

Julie Kay Smithson

213 Thorn Locust Lane

London, OH 43140

[email protected]


1-740-857-1239 (voice / no fax)

The Darby Story also known as "The (Mussel)Shell Game"

Like a sideshow barker at a carnival, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service was the first part in the 'shell game' that came to Madison, Union, Champaign and Clark Counties PUBLICALLY in early 1999.  The first ruse was a "proposed national wildlife refuge" encompassing over 50,000 acres of prime farmland, in order to 'restore wetlands and protect endangered species,' using the Endangered Species Act as the acquisition tool. While the USFWS Draft Environmental Assessment document  (273 pages) had EIGHT pages of species listed, only TWO species were even living WITHIN the "Study Area," the clubshell and riffleshell mussel, and a third, the Indiana Bat (keep in mind that we are in OHIO!), has not been seen in 60 years, and is probably EXTINCT!

No matter that in so doing, the results would have been devastating:  restoration of stagnant waters that were directly above the Teays underground river, an aquifer only eleven feet below the land surface (clean drinking water table), and right in the middle of the earthquake fault that runs north-south along a state highway in the 'study area.'

In a conversation with Ron Arnold, author of the book Undue Influence, an expose' on the collusion between foundations, environmental groups and bureaucrats, light was shown on who was funding and driving the attempt to take Ohio's finest farmlands out of human use:  grants given by the George Gund Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Columbus Foundation, dating as far back as 1988.

The biggest lightning bolt of truth came when we learned, from copies of the Internal Revenue Service Form 990s of these grants, was the wording:  "For Darby Bioreserve, including hiring Riverkeeper for citizen-based protection of the Big and Little Darby Creeks."  Next was learned that "Bioreserve was a United Nations designation, and that the lands sought, ostensibly by USFWS, were not only on a "Wanted List" belonging to the UN, but also were one of the Nature Conservancy's "Last Great Places," a list of 200 areas on earth where TNC touts their interest in "protecting" these "Last Great Places."  Coincidentally, most if not all of this list of 200 are ALSO UN Biospheres!

The citizens of the area, along with the many businesses (most of them agri-businesses, like the second largest John Deere dealership in North America), rose to the alarm and created enough public outcry to cause USFWS to have to 'fold its tents' and stop the project. 

Only three months after the furor had died down, the area came under the second wave of attack, this time coming from the Environmental Protection Agency and its intentions to implement the Clean Water Act by "voluntary participation" in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and other "projects," not the least of which was (and continues to be as of January 2002) the "Darby Creek Watershed Project" and its "Watershed Planning Group." These groups get all the counties in the "Darby Watershed" to join a group whose outcome is based on "consensus," a group whose major players come from urban Franklin County. Dozens of groups such as the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, numerous state agencies plus the EPA, etc. The timeline for implementation of this 'project' is March 2003, and the salaries alone for the two paid employees who 'faciliate' the program are over $500,000.00 over five years! This is for a 2 1/2-year 'project.'

Please keep updated by visiting http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org  often!

Page 1 (you're here) Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5

A series of columns on property rights, resource providers (farmers, loggers, miners, ranchers, and recreationists) and the continuing situation in west central Ohio, first with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and then with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by Julie Kay Smithson, property rights researcher, author, speaker and activist. New Book of Vital Importance Available!

February 2002 Darby Update

February is certainly unusual in west-central Ohio in 2002: Snow is non-existent and the temps have been above normal for much of the new year.

Both Stewards Of the Darby (SOD) and Citizens Against the Refuge Proposal (CARP) held meetings recently, apparently to assess the current situation with the EPA-driven efforts to implement the restrictive Clean Water Act in a community that has exemplified stewardship and clean water WITHOUT federal, state or local restriction/directives.  Both groups have met sporadically over the past year since US Fish & Wildlife Service publicly stated that it had given up in its attempt to create a Federal wildlife refuge in Madison and Union Counties in Ohio. 

http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org continues to be an excellent and ever-expanding and improving research/resource tool for those interested in disseminating facts:  Not only the situation in the Darby Plains/Darby Watershed area of Ohio is available for the reading/printing, but also the dilemmas that resource providers, homeowners and others with land and water use issues, is here to help!

January 2002 Darby Update and Website Announcement!

As of January 1, 2002, the No Darby Refuge website, created in August 1999 by Jim Slaughter, and grown into a fine property rights website that has helped many to learn about various different issues relating to property rights in general, and the Darby area of Ohio in particular, is undergoing some major changes.

Jim has suffered some health problems and has handed over the reins to Julie Kay Smithson, who is very proud to 'inherit' this wonderful site. However, Julie has never run a website before, so the webmaster duties will be capably handled by Gerry Ullery of Dolphin Enterprises.  Both Julie and Gerry are looking forward with excitement to the new look of the site, which will remain as user-friendly as ever!  Please check http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org  often, and recommend it to your friends!

November 2001 Darby Update

While the "Darby Creek Watershed Project Watershed Planning Group" continues "full steam ahead" with its agenda, members of our local rural community feel that they must stay involved in order to know what's being foisted on us at every turn (Endangered Species Act, or ESA; Clean Water Act, or CWA; point and non-point source pollution, or PSP and NPSP; total maximum daily load, or TMDL; riparian buffers, or RB; the "Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program" or CREP; conservation easements, or CEs; and "alphabet soup" ad nauseum).

Because one agency appears to have been kept away, we must keep in mind that others have taken their place, and those who seek to acquire, by whatever means possible, our rural lands and heritage, have not given up, and shall not. A famous saying: Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, is never truer than today!

Networking with others in like situations/dilemmas has meant a trip to western Nevada to speak to both American AgriWomen (AAW) and California Women for Agriculture (CWA) as well as American Women in Forestry.

While we are getting better at something that the "environmental" groups have used for years (networking), it is still a "mixed bag" of response. Some are enthusiastic and ready to meet and mingle with other resource providers (farmers, ranchers, miners, loggers, recreationists). A few are of the fatalistic, "we've already lost" mindset. Others are shocked by the facts ("the United Nations and foreign creditors have been in cahoots to collateralize our country's natural resources???"). Still another contingent "goes ostrich," and tunes out the truth.

On the return trip, a lovely visit with Wayne Hage and his wife, Helen Chenoweth-Hage, at their Nevada ranch was scheduled, only to be cut short by the rustling (read: stealing or theft) of 62 head of neighboring rancher Ben Colvin's cattle, and the subsequent "sealed-bid only" auction of them at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction facility at Palomino Valley, NV, five hours away. The Hage's, ever the reliable neighbors and patriots that they are, were up and away at 4 am to drive through snow for 5 hours, to stand up with their neighbor and try to help.

How many readers have seen Ben Colvin's story in the national print or television media? If not, why not?

The buyer of the cattle was a 19-year-old from California who used his grandmother's credit card for the purchase. Please keep in mind that these cattle did NOT belong to the BLM, and were Ben Colvin's property. Mr. Colvin has adjudicated grazing rights, which gives him up to 7 miles of grazing for his cattle from each water source on his ranch. His cattle were NOT guilty of trespassing, and he does NOT owe any fines to the BLM. Facts aside, an agency of the Federal government, a branch of the same Department of the Interior (Gale Norton) whose U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Park Service, continue to work de facto (without law) to decimate America's ability to remain independent.

Why, you ask? Our natural resources, and our ability to use them to take care of our needs and maintain our freedom, have been collateralized to foreign creditors to keep us begging for loans. The reasons for not being "allowed" to access and utilize our natural resources (timber, grazing, farming, and mining, along with recreationalist pursuits) are publicized as being: to preserve endangered species, "protect" water quality and old growth timber, etc. The truth is that collateral loses value when it is used. Collateral, in the eyes of the creditor, must be kept pristine, so that if the borrower defaults on the loan, the creditor recoups his/her investment by TAKING THE COLLATERAL. Please think hard and long on this, dear reader!

Our ability to consume locally-produced products at affordable prices not only saves on "fossil fuel consumption" by saving on the distance that the goods (gas, food, lumber, minerals, medicines, etc.) are transported, but also keeps us free and independent as a country. This is what America is all about. Our great and God-blessed country has in the past led the way for others to emulate. We have set the standard for others; that is precisely why so many come to our shores to live and realize "the American Dream!"

By using the resources and sweatshops/cheap labor of other countries, we are contributing to their continued servitude. Purchasing something made in China, for example, does not elevate the standard of living for the average Chinese laborer. The revenue generated serves only to perpetuate the terrible poverty that enshrouds those faraway countries. While Americans may visit the tourist areas of other countries, they do not see the rural custom and culture that is being destroyed. Our own country is at high risk of the same happening; we simply must realize this fact, and stand together in this time of opportunity. We have the chance to make things better, not only for us, but for people everywhere, but NOT succumbing to false advertising/guilt trips! Knowledge of truth is a powerful asset; being kept in the dark by other than the truth is a terrible persecution.

This reporter is encouraged by the exchange of email addresses, problems, possible solutions, and energy that happened in Sparks, Nevada, and sees a light at the end of the tunnel that is NOT a train!

She asks that everyone reading this update consider/continue to make phone calls, send emails (and letters and faxes when they once again become possible), attend meetings, and talk to everyone everywhere about this. It is NOT just in someone else's backyard: it is in YOUR backyard, whether you are
yet aware of it or not, and in your neighbor's backyard, and your family and friends' backyards!

Please go to our Links page and spend time at the websites listed there. Consider the truth, and ask others to read http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org 

It does not matter if the reader be rural or urban, American or anywhere else on the planet: this giant environmental hoax that is simply business and generated by the profit motive, is EVERYWHERE.

August/September 2001 Darby Update

August and September in Ohio, in the Darby farmland: Nothing appears to be moving but the tasseled corn. The "dogs days of summer" preclude most activity within our 200-year-old rural culture. The soybeans ripen, the cicadas sing, and the air is pregnant with anticipation at the fall harvest. However, this apparent lack of action should not lull the residents into a false sense of security, because the elected officials and non-governmental organizations continue to work feverishly for their agendas. For example, there is now a large group calling themselves the "Darby Creek Watershed Project," comprised of "stakeholders" whose eighteen month "vision" and "mission" is to "protect water quality" to initiate a "watershed planning process. " While we who live within this "watershed" have repeatedly asked those who are heading this project, what IS it that needs to be done to improve upon what we are ALREADY doing, and doing without GRANT MONEY, we have yet to receive a real answer. They blithely attempt to smooth over our concern at having questions regarding the NEED for this, and wax ecstatic over the stakeholders who will "all have a say" in "the process." The facilitators of the two meetings held thus far have reassured the area's residents that compliance will be strictly voluntary. The website that has been set up for this "project" is owned and operated by none other than The Nature Conservancy, and emails to that site, http://www.bigdarby.org go to Jan Burkey, of TNC.

The implementation of the Clean Water Act for the ENTIRE Darby Watershed, which includes both the Big and Little Darby Creeks, involves eight counties, and could ultimately have an even greater and more permanent impact on the area than the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's "proposed federal wildlife refuge." 

In fact, our area is crawling with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees, ostensibly taking "water quality samples," and trespassing on a regular basis on private property. License plates from as far away as Georgia (a white sport utility vehicle whose driver was trespassing on private property, and was "collecting endangered species") have been documented, and the formerly friendly rural mood has darkened. No Trespassing signs are multiplying rapidly, and residents maintain a loosely organized "neighborhood watch" program over one another's farms and homes, much more so than in the
"good ole days."

Travel to distant places, to speak about property rights issues, has been dampened by the horrific events of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Even farmers whose fields received irrigation water, bought and paid for, "too little, too late" in the Klamath Irrigation District of southern Oregon and extreme northern California, struck a truce and vacated the Headgates of the "A" Canal in Klamath Falls, choosing rather to help their city neighbors in the East with donations and supplies.

Life will go on, and one Oregon farmer said it well: 

"We may now be expected to go to war for America, little knowing if we will even have farms to come back to, because of the undue influence and pressure that is destroying our American custom and culture as resource providers due to the Endangered Species Act and the uninhibited lust that the non-governmental agencies (notably the Nature Conservancy and the Sierra Club among others) have for our lands. Almost one hundred years of 'sweat equity' are valued at as little as $28 per acre, and our wildlife refuge inhabitants are suffering, too, at the hands of those who profess to love wildlife, the 'environmentalists'"

July 2001 Darby Update 

July in Ohio, characterized by the three H's: heat, haze and humidity, and truly the dog days of summer! July found various Stewards of the Darby attending several meetings, from Madison County Farm Bureau to zoning. A presence at each of these events is so important! Also in mid-month, Julie and Wiggles Blue Heeler traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, to attend the second annual Freedom 21 Conference, hosted by Henry Lamb's Sovereignty International. Julie's trip was made possible by the generosity and kindness of Thomas Cochran (Zanesfield, OH), who was a longtime scheduler for the 700AM WLW Radio talk show, Bill Boshear's SciZone, which has a 38-state radio listening audience, and global coverage through the ability to listen on the Internet. As the month closed, plans were in the works for a trip to take much-needed supplies to the beleagured farmers in the Klamath Basin (Oregon/California).

June 2001 Darby Update 

While local and state elected officials continue to discount the "alive and well" status of the "proposed Little Darby National Wildlife Refuge," the Madison County Commissioners held a secret meeting in late May, closed to the general public and the press, with officials from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Governor's office, to discuss the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) "in lieu of" the proposed refuge. Apparently, the above entities believe that P.T. Barnum's saying is false. They seem to concur that you CAN fool all the people (within the Study Area and the rural community) all the time.

CREP is more akin to opening the door for US Fish & Wildlife Service than it is an "in lieu of" proposal. Saying that the proposed three hundred foot setbacks from ALL streams in Madison County is "strictly voluntary," the "behind closed doors" bunch is contradicting themselves. If this proposal were so grand, why would they meet in secret to foist it on our community?

A meeting was held by Stewards of the Darby (SOD) at the Rosedale Bible College on June 26th, to discuss CREP. About thirty-five were in attendance, including London attorney Chris Brown, who spoke at length, warning the audience of the pitfalls of CREP, and its danger to private property rights. "Don't sign ANYTHING," he was quoted as saying.

Julia Cummings, of Madison Soil and Water Conservation District, was in attendance, and offered her "take" on CREP, being a proponent. She was outnumbered, and was given many reasons for the opposition to the CREP program. When asked what the farmers were doing wrong, that called for CREP to regulate them, she could offer not a single reason. Other events attended by refuge and CREP opposition, to hand out literature and talk to the public about our area and property rights, was the Capitol Cruisers drive-in in West Jefferson on May 5th and June 2nd; there was a SOD tent at the first annual London Strawberry Festival from June 13-16.

Please continue to contact us with your knowledge of these issues wherever they may surface, your questions about property rights, and how we may help you, and your prayers and support!

http://www.propertyrightsresearch.org continues to be a firm bastion in the defense of property rights and other American freedoms!

May 2001 Darby Update 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service have NOT given up and gone away! The "Proposed Little Darby National Wildlife Refuge" is still alive and "well."

Between the Madison County Commissioners' plan to acquire 1,000-foot setbacks from ALL streams that flow through Madison County; to the State of Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture and the Governor's Office meeting, not with local landowners (the real stakeholders), but with
"local officials" to discuss "alternatives," we are far from being out of the woods!

Thomas Larson, Chief of Ascertainment and Planning for Region 3, FWS, says in a recent email:

"Subject: Status of the Proposed Little Darby NWR
Date: 4/20/01 6:07:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]

Dear Miss Smithson:

I am writting (sic) in response to your inquiry as to the status of the Little Darby National Wildlife Refuge proposal. Since last fall the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has put the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) development process on hold, waiting while Ohio Congressional representatives explore options for addressing natural resource related issues in the area of the Little Darby Creek. As you probably know, the Governor of Ohio has recently asked the Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture to meet with local officials in the proposed refuge area to discuss the available options to achieve natural resource objectives in the area.

The Service is still waiting on any further action regarding the completion of the EIS to give the Congressional delegation and the Governor's representatives ample opportunity to explore all avenues that could result in meeting the needs of the local community while ensuring the preservation of the natural resource of the area. Thank you for your continued interest and active participation in the discussions related to the long term preservation of the natural resources of the Little Darby Creek system.

Thomas J. Larson
Chief, Ascertainment and Planning
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building
1 Federal Drive
Ft. Snelling, MN 55111-4056
Fax: 612-713-5285
Planning Web Site: http://www.fws.gov/r3pao/planning/ "

You may e-mail Governor Taft at [email protected]

Governor Taft values your views and opinions, and his staff monitors these messages. If you would like a written response to your concerns, please include your mailing address in your e-mail. Responses are sent via U.S. mail. You will not receive a response via e-mail. If you'd like to contact Governor Taft by U.S. postal mail, address your correspondence to:

Governor Bob Taft
30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215-6117
Phone 614-466-3555 or 614-644-HELP
Agriculture [email protected] 614-728-6200 614-466-4346
Natural Resources [email protected] 614-265-6565 614-261-9601
I'm off for Eureka, Montana, with a black walnut log in the pickup truck, ready to stand by Jim Hurst and the timber industry in America, to "return the favor" that they rendered to us so kindly last Labor Day weekend, when the famed Jarbridge Shovels were hauled to Ohio in Mr. Hurst's Grim Reaper semi! www.loghaul.com