The Byrd River Flood

Mary Flodin

Some things never change.

Inspired by the true story of the 1995 Pajaro River flood in Watsonville, California, "The Byrd River Flood" is an adaptation excerpted from the thriller, Fruit of the Devil. It portrays the social, emotional, environmental, personal, and political causes and costs of locating farmworker housing on the flood plain of a major river.

Since the founding of Santa Cruz in the 1800s, the Pajaro Barrio has been destroyed by water and buried in mud, only to be rebuilt in the same location, flood after flood. The most recent "costliest storm in NorCal history," the El Niño flood of 2020, played out eerily like all other major floods documented since 1880, including the 1995 disaster portrayed here.

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About The Author

Mary Flodin

Mary Flodin

Before settling into the writer’s life, Mary taught environmental education, English, and art for over twenty-five years in California public schools.

She lives in a cottage on the Central California Coast with her husband — a retired NASA climate scientist — and their dog, koi, chickens, and gopher herd, where she spends her time practicing permaculture gardening, plein air painting, making pottery, bird watching, swimming, and enjoying life on the Monterey Bay … and, of course, writing.

An early draft of Fruit of the Devil was a finalist for the Pen Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. Fruit of the Devil is Mary’s first published novel.