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.
1. Gov. DeSantis Commits Billions for Everglades Restoration
At a press conference in Bonita Springs, Florida, yesterday, Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged to allocate more than $3.5 billion over the next four years to help with the future of conservation in the state–with much of that money going toward Everglades restoration and related projects.
Following the successful fulfillment of his first-term funding pledge made four years ago, yesterday Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his commitment to continue to drive Everglades restoration forward as a priority with Executive Order 23-06 and a new pledge of $3.5 billion over the course of his second term to “continue this historic momentum and conserve Florida for future generations.”
The restoration of America’s Everglades is paramount to Florida’s clean water-based economy and the Governor has made a concerted effort to ensure Florida significantly invests in its future. A reliable source of clean freshwater for 9 million residents and countless tourists is at stake. Today’s announcement demonstrates that Everglades restoration and Florida’s resilience remains a top priority for the second term of his administration.
On its website, the Everglades Foundation released this statement:
The Everglades Foundation applauds Governor DeSantis’ four-year record commitment of $3.5 billion for the Everglades. The Governor’s bold agenda will undoubtedly lead to more progress in Everglades restoration and in addressing Florida’s water quality challenges.
Click here for the full story on fox4now
- Record State Funding Commitment Announced, on evergladesfoundation.org
- Gov. DeSantis pledges $3.5 billion for Everglades restoration, on cbsnews.com
- Carbon Sinks in the Everglades, on evergladesfoundation.org
2. EPA Restores Clean Water Act Protections for Streams and Wetlands
In late December, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a new rule that formally restores federal Clean Water Act protections for streams and wetlands that sustain fish and wildlife and hunting and fishing opportunities.
The new rule will replace the previous administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which significantly narrowed Clean Water Act protections for intermittent headwater streams and non-floodplain wetlands like prairie potholes. The new rule also largely restores Clean Water Act protections that had been in place since 1986, but with important changes to reflect recent federal court decisions, an extensive scientific record, and a robust public stakeholder engagement process.
Click here for the full story on trcp.org
3. Understanding the Importance of the Recent Bristol Bay Conservation Easements
Last week, we posted about how 44,000 acres of critical Bristol Bay habitat has been permanently protected through an agreement between The Conservation Fund and Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust and the Pedro Bay Corporation. An article on savebristolbay.org explains why this land deal is so important to any future attempts to revive the Pebble Mine Project:
These new land and water protections also cover a portion of the designated northern transportation route vital for access to the formerly proposed Pebble mine. The conservation easements now prohibit development and execution of any right-of-way agreements needed to develop an industrial road across Pedro Bay Corporation lands. The Pedro Bay Rivers Project literally serves the Pebble Limited Partnership a roadblock in any future attempts to develop essential elements of the mine plan.