<p>More than 350 fishermen, outdoorsmen and concerned citizens gathered at the Historic Burroughs Home in Fort Myers on March 3 for the inaugural “Restore Clean Water Gala.” Fishing legends and TV personalities, including Blair Wiggins, George Gozdz, Rob Fordyce, Peter Miller and Carter Andrews were on hand to show their support for cleaning up Florida’s estuaries. Host of TV’s “Flats Class” C.A Richardson emceed the event, and Zac Jud, Ph.D. motivated the overflowing crowd with his explanation of the challenges and possible solutions to the manmade problems that degrade water quality in South Florida. When event organizer Sawyer Smith asked for financial assistance, the response was overwhelming with pledges totaling more than $300,000.</p>
<p>Captains for Clean Water co-founder Capt. Daniel Andrews said “We are extremely grateful to everyone who came to the Restore Clean Water Gala to champion a cause that means so much to all of us. We are truly humbled by the support we received. It was an inspiring night, and we cannot thank our supporters enough.”</p>
<p>Co-founder Capt. Chris Whitman said, “Habitat loss from decades of water mismanagement has Florida’s most prized fishing areas on life support; from the lakes of central Florida all the way to Florida Bay, anglers are the canaries in the coal mine and we have joined together to protect our industry which represents well over a $9 billion contribution to Florida’s economy.”</p>
<p>Captains for Clean Water also works to unite stakeholders by finding common ground to fight for clean water and to promote long-term, science-based solutions to the South Florida water crisis.</p>
<p>Captains for Clean Water is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that advocates for healthy marine ecosystems in  Florida by improving water quality.  CFCW was formed under a year ago when a group of fishing guides from Fort Myers decided they had enough of Florida’s poor water management practices and it was time to stand up and protect their livelihood and way of life for future generations. Through education, awareness, and taking their authentic message to our elected officials, waters that have been compromised by years of mismanagement can be restored and Florida’s estuaries can be preserved.</p>
<p>In the face of large-scale propaganda campaigns funded by outside special interests, Captains for Clean Water is working to educate and inform Floridians about this extremely important issue. All funds raised are used to help Floridians better understand this critically important issue and the scientifically supported solutions available to our state.</p>
<p><strong>Photos from Florida Weekly:</strong>
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