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 Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, VoteWater.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.
Above is a great, informative video from Captains for Clean Water in which Capt. Daniel Andrews answers commonly asked questions about red tide. Given the state of current red-tide blooms in Florida, this is a good way to get yourself up to speed on the topic and learn how red-tide is affected by poor water quality and is linked to Everglades restoration.
1. Huge Red-Tide Blooms in Florida Linked to Poor Water Quality
Although red tide is naturally occurring and has bloomed frequently in the past, this year’s massive blooms seem to be partially a result of nutrient-rich water flowing from the land into the estuaries along the coast. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix, but as Dr. Steve Davis from the Everglades Foundation explains in the video above, by restoring wetlands that filter dirty water, we can limit these occurrences in the future. Of course, the biggest such project on the planet is the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, which has the potential to cleans billions of gallons of polluted, nutrient watch every year.
- Red tide and massive seaweed blob threaten Florida beaches, on CBSnews.com
- Seagrass is dying by Tampa and Sarasota as red tide worsens. Is Florida doing enough? on bradenton.com
- 2023 South Florida Environmental Report on captainsforcleanwater.org
2. Everglades wading birds have a banner nesting season, thanks to heavy rainfall
There’s also a bit of good new from South Florida:
Late wet season rainfall and a tropical storm in 2021 produced a banner year for Everglades wading birds, according to the latest tally by the South Florida Water Management District.
Across the expansive marshes, from water conservation areas in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, to Everglades National Park, the number of nests counted in the 2021 season surged past 100,000. That’s comparable to nesting in the 1930s and 1940s, the report said, when drainage work had just begun across the mashes. The number is the second highest since counting began.
Big-water events such as this prove the concept behind Everglades Restoration: if we send more clean water through the system, the habitat and wildlife will respond positively. The problem with relying solely on Mother Nature to provide the water as rainfall is that dry years will certainly come. By building the infrastructure to send more water south from Lake Okeechobee, we can lessen the effects of those tough years.
Click here for the full story on wusf Public Media
3. To be clear, our work for Bristol Bay is not over
At the end of January, we celebrated a monumental milestone in the effort to stop the proposed Pebble mine when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized Clean Water Act safeguards in the headwaters of Bristol Bay. After over a decade of advocating for these protections, Bristol Bay residents and business owners celebrated the decision and were echoed by supporters across the country who know just how important the Bristol Bay region is.
While we celebrate and thank the EPA for these safeguards, we must remember that Bristol Bay is not fully safe yet.
Meghan Barker dive into some of the details to understand exactly what Clean Water Act safeguards mean, and why our work is far from over.