Wednesday Wake-Up Call: 02.21.24

Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Trout UnlimitedBackcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation PartnershipThe Everglades FoundationCaptains for Clean WaterVoteWater.orgBonefish & Tarpon Trust, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.

1. Discharges from Lake Okeechobee Begin, Flowing Higher Than Expected

Nutrient-rich Lake Okeechobee water flows through the Franklin Lock, on the Caloosahatchee River, 30 miles upstream of the estuary.
Photo courtesy Captains for Clean Water

As we reported last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began discharging Lake Okeechobee water through the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers to lower the lake level before the wet season. These discharges can cause serious problems in the estuaries of both rivers by lowering the salinity and and adding nutrients that promote algae growth. When the Army Corps announced the discharges, they published that they would be sending 1,800 cubic feet per second into the St. Lucie and 4,000 cubic feet per second into the Caloosahatchee, but it turns out that these are averages, and the actual daily numbers can be much higher–sometimes twice as high. (For real-time monitoring, check out eyeonlakeo.com, run by Todd Thurlow.)

Fishing captain, anglers, conservationists, and marine biologists has all expressed concerns about the effects of these discharges, especially if they continue beyond the scheduled 25 days. At risk are seagrasses and oysterbeds, which are vital to the estuarine habitat. Follow Captains for Clean Water on Instagram for the most up-to-date news.

Click here for more on WFLX

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2. Bipartisan Conservation Poll Shows Increasing Concern Over Environmental Issues in Western States

Photo by:  B. Pierce, Montana Angler

An annual bipartisan survey on conservation in Western states found an increase in voter concerns over climate issues from land and water use to wildlife populations and wildfires. 

The 14th annual Conservation in the West Poll from the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project said anxieties regarding many environmental topics had reached new highs.

“Issues that are the highest in 14 years of conducting this survey,” said Lori Weigel, one of the project’s pollsters. “They are at the highest levels of concern ever.”

Click here for more on Colorado Public Radio

3. Take Action to Protect Fragile Flats in Belize

The Belize Flats Fishery Association (BFFA) is a non-profit group in Belize, a country that has long been a beacon of environmental conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Our nation has strived to protect our unique ecosystems not only for the benefit of our people, but also for those who wish to experience the beauty and bounty of Mother Nature. However, in recent times, we have seen an alarming shift towards exploitation and destruction.

One such instance is the increasing number of coastal development projects that are wreaking havoc on our habitats. In this case, development at Angelfish Caye known as ‘Will Bauer Flats’ located within the shoals of South Water Caye Marine Reserve. This reserve is one of seven protected areas which forms part of the Belize Barrier Reef System, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The project is set to build a high-end “Eco-Resort” and Private Residential Complex at the expense of destroying flats habitats associated to seagrass, corals, mangroves by extracting 16 thousand cubic yards of sediments from the ocean floor. 

Please sign this petition today so together we can ensure Belize remains a model for environmental stewardship while safeguarding livelihoods dependent on its rich natural resources.

Click Here for More Info and to Sign the Petition

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