December 03, 2016
2016 rough year for water but time to build on solutions
the rain subsides and our waters begin to clear, many Southwest Florida
residents will breathe a sigh of relief. But for those of us who make our
living on the water, we will continue to suffer from the lasting effects of the
The lower Caloosahatchee estuary suffered immensely this year. Large areas of seagrass and oyster beds died as a result of sustained, high volume freshwater discharges into the estuary. To many folks, seagrass and oysters may not be a glamorous subject, but they are the foundation of our estuary and yield an immense economic benefit to southwest Florida’s economy. All of our marine species, from the fish we eat to the dolphins and birds that attract tourists and entertain our residents, depend on healthy estuaries. Unfortunately, these oyster and seagrass beds do not regrow overnight- it takes years of proper management to repair the damage inflicted by mere weeks of high volume freshwater discharges.
In the words of a good friend, Magnus Gunnarson, “Nature is resilient- but we have to give it opportunities.” Magnus is the VP of Mustad Hooks - the largest fishing hook manufacturer in the world. Mustad, along with dozens of other multi-million dollar companies who make a substantial amount of money as a result of a healthy marine environment are very concerned about the issues facing Florida’s waterways. Our state's estuaries have been in a long term decline, threatening Florida’s $9.3 billion fishing industry. Mustad is not alone, dozens of leading outdoor corporations have joined the fight, including YETI, Costa Sunglasses, Orvis, Simms, Patagonia, Seadek and many others.
Incoming Florida Senate President
The restoration of the Everglades is a multifaceted effort, and
increased storage, treatment and southern conveyance of water from Lake
Okeechobee is essential to alleviating the harmful discharges into the coastal
estuaries. There are many projects south of the lake at various stages of
completion, including the Central Everglades Planning Process (CEPP),
restoration strategies, modified water deliveries to
Sadly, 2016 was a rough year for water in Florida. Florida Bay experienced a massive seagrass die-off due to lack of freshwater flow, while the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers experienced damaging discharges killing seagrass and oysters due to excessive freshwater flows. People are outraged, and now Senator Negron is giving us an opportunity to be part of a science based solution to help save the Florida that we all know and love. Science, common sense, and a duty to our children tell us that we need to restore the flow of clean, freshwater to the Everglades where it belongs. We are excited and optimistic that our policymakers will listen to the indisputable science and do what’s best for Florida and our economy.
Visit captainsforcleanwater.org to sign the #NowOrNeverglades Declaration and become a member of our organization. The fishing industry represents only a fraction of the affected businesses in Florida. If you care about the future of Florida should consider joining Captains for Clean Water. We need your support today to fight for clean water and healthy estuaries.
Daniel Andrews is founder of Captains For Clean Water.