Welcome to the latest installment of a new feature on the Orvis Fly Fishing blog, the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a weekly roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. From the new rumblings about Pebble Mine to climate change to public-lands issues, we’ll share links and offer ways that you can make a difference–whether it’s calling a legislator (such as Flordai Governor Rick Scott), sending an email, sharing information, or making a donation. Working with our friends at Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Bullsugar.org, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.
If you know of an important issue–whether it’s national or local–that anglers should be paying attention to, comment below, and we’ll check it out!
Help Save The Everglades and South Florida’s Waterways and Coastlines
Last week, we told you about a coalition of Florida captains asking for Governor Rick Scott’s help in ensuring that the deep-water reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee is, as currently proposed, to small to ensure the health of the region’s waterways and coastlines. Watch the video above, created by #NoworNeverglades, to learn more. In a statement released yesterday, Captains for Clean Water said:
Last week, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) released a progress report on Senate Bill 10 (SB10) to the Florida Legislature. The SFWMD failed to use all of the tools available in Senate Bill 10 to find the “optimal configuration for the EAA Reservoir”, which it was tasked to do in the law.
Harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges have plagued the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers for decades. Meanwhile, Florida Bay has been starved of freshwater, which resulted in a 40,000-acre seagrass die-off in the summer of 2015. The SFWMD did not give SB10 a fair chance. They designed concepts for a reservoir that are simply too small, at the expense of America’s Everglades, our jobs and our economy. A larger project footprint with more filter marshes means less Lake Okeechobee discharges and more water for Florida Bay. The SFWMD refuses to explore options with a larger footprint. The State of Florida owns over 15,000 acres of land that is leased to sugarcane growers in the Everglades Agricultural Area. This land could be utilized for land swaps around the proposed reservoir site to increase treatment capacity and further decrease Lake Okeechobee discharges, and send more water to Florida Bay.
After nine public meetings and input from hundreds of fishing guides, recreational anglers and many other Floridians asking for a better option, the SFWMD delivered a report that failed to address our concerns. Governor Scott has the ability to get this project back on track, and provide a bright future for America’s Everglades. To do this, he must instruct the SFWMD to give us an option that follows the intent of the law and includes a larger footprint with more water treatment capacity so our estuaries will get more benefits from this project.
All partners in the #NoworNeverglades coaltiion are asking anglers and all other concerned citizens to TAKE ACTION today by calling the Governor’s office (850-488-7146) or by sending an email (which is easy to do by clicking here).
The goal is to get as many calls and emails to the Governor’s office as possible, to convince him that SFWMD must use ALL of the state-owned land in the Everglades Agricultural Area to find the optimal configuration for the reservoir.
Click here to learn more and to make your voice heard. The time to act is now!
Revived Pebble Mine Reignites War Over Expansion
Last week, Bloomberg Environment posted a round-up of what’s going on with the new Pebble Mine plan, which was recently accepted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. There’s a lot of information that we don’t know yet, as well as some intrigue about how a new Pebble would actually make any money.
According to Sahm Adrangi, chief investment officer of New York hedge fund Kerrisdale Capital, “Pebble has been telling different versions of the same story for a very long time now. They’re the boy who cried wolf.” Adrangi says that he also stands behind the scathing report on the mine project he wrote last February, in which he said, “the upfront capital costs necessary to build and operate the mine are so onerous that the mine isn’t commercially viable.”
Harnessing the Collective Power of Outdoors Lovers
Last year, the Outdoor Industry Association launched a campaign called Together We Are a Force, as a way to break people out of their “siloed” interests (hiking, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, etc.) and come together to support public lands. In the video above, Amy Roverts os OIA, Whit Fosburgh of TRCP, and Land Tawney of BHA talk about how important such collaborations will be going forward.