Fly Fisherman Magazine: Captains For Clean Water—a grassroots effort to restore the Everglades

February 3, 2021

By Hilary Hutcheson

That’s how it played out 15 years ago, when Captain Chris Wittman ventured from his home in Fort Myers, Florida to explore the Everglades, as he’d done since childhood. He figured it would be an enjoyable trip, like the others.

Wittman’s open truck window ushered in the din of waterfowl, insects, amphibians, and mammals as he drove through the low-lying sawgrass marshes, wet prairies, and tree islands famously known as the River of Grass. He mused that the eco- system’s charm caught him off guard. As a fourth-generation South Floridian and veteran fishing and hunting guide, he had spent his life immersed in the state’s enchanting natural exhibition, so he didn’t expect that on that day he’d be particularly taken aback. But it’s no wonder, since the Everglades, hosting almost 70 threatened and endangered wildlife species, is one of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth.

But the defining experience that happened next, Wittman says, was out of this world.