Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a weekly roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. 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!
1. Governor DeSantis Makes More Moves to Help Everglades
We’ve been applauding Florida’s new Governor, Ron DeSantis, for a couple weeks now, and he shows no sign of slowing down in his campaign to re-envision the way state government thinks about Everglades restoration and solving the state’s water-quality problems.
- As of today, 6 members of the controversial, Big Sugar-friendly South Florida Water Management District board have heeded the call to resign. (See here, here, and here.)
- DeSantis’s first appointment to the board is Chauncey Goss, a Florida water advocate and son of former U.S. Rep. and CIA Director Porter Goss.
- The governor has also signaled that those members who have not yet resigned will come under more pressure soon.
- Finally, DeSantis has asked President Trump to force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep the water level of Lake Okeechobee lower during the dry winter season, to avoid huge discharges later in the year.
To learn more about what’s happening with the Everglades in this fast-moving atmosphere, listen to the latest episode of the Tom Rowland Podcast, featuring Capt. Josh Greer, fishing guide and shop owner; Capt. Daniel Andrews, Executive Director of Captains for Clean Water; and Shannon Estenoz, COO of the Everglades Foundation.
2. Former Public Face Pebble Mine Nominated to Lead Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy’s nominee to lead the state’s Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation is Jason Brune, who served as the public face of the Pebble project from 2011-13, appearing at public events and in front of the Alaska Legislature as a proponent. When Anglo-American, the company Brune worked for, pulled out of the Pebble project in 2013, Brune left the company.
As you might imagine, many anti-Pebble advocates are against the nomination. At a recent public hearing, their voices were heard:
“His whole background is too heavily weighted in favor of mining,” Mark Niver said, calling into Friday’s hearing from the North Slope.
Michele Martin of Anchorage said the state has ample organizations and agencies dedicated to economic development, and that should not be the role of DEC.
“I would submit that the job of the commissioner of the DEC is not to be focused on development, which is usually a code word for turning the living world into dead commodities,” she said.
“What we need in the Department of Environmental Conservation is people who are committed to preserving the natural world in Alaska.”