Captain's Blog

SB 10 Passes House and Senate!

A Letter From the Founders of Captains for Clean Water:

Today marks an important day for the history of the Everglades. The Florida House of Representatives followed the lead of the Senate, and passed Senate Bill 10. This bill provides $800 million in funding to create a dynamic reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, in the Everglades Agricultural Area. The reservoir is needed to provide freshwater to Florida Bay, and to alleviate discharges to the Caloosahatchee and St Lucie Rivers.

Captains for Clean Water was founded just over a year ago. When we started, many anglers did not understand the importance of the Everglades, and how the flow of water throughout the state affects our fisheries. Environmental groups have struggled for decades to get this done. Anglers and fishing guides are heavily impacted by the faults in Florida’s water management system, but have never organized and spoken up on this issue. From the unnatural Lake Okeechobee discharges to the man-made hypersaline conditions and seagrass die-offs in Florida Bay, Florida’s fisheries have taken a beating in the past year. Understandably, fishing guides became angry- as their offices were being destroyed. Recreational anglers were also stripped of opportunities to have successful days on the water with family and friends. Captains for Clean Water provided an opportunity for folks to get involved. We brought hundreds of people to Tallahassee, we organized letter writing campaigns and encouraged people to call their legislators. But most importantly, we educated anglers and raised the level of awareness and concern in the angling community to unprecedented levels- an achievement that is far greater than any piece of legislation that will ever be passed.

As we take a moment to celebrate the passage of this bill, take a step back and consider how far we’ve come as a community in the last year. Captains for Clean Water started as a group of fishing guides in Southwest Florida with no experience in community organizing, advocacy or legislative affairs. To top that off, we didn’t start with a small project either- we picked the largest environmental restoration project in the world to tackle first because we wanted to make meaningful change. We were very fortunate to be able to put together a passionate, experienced and well respected board of directors, as well as a team of advisors who provided us with invaluable guidance along the way.

The angling community has transformed immensely in the last year. With help from our ambassadors, as well as companies such as Mustad Hooks, YETI, Orvis, SeaDek, Simms, Costa and many more, Captains for Clean Water pushed this issue to the forefront of the angling community. We received support from all over the country from fishing guides, recreational anglers, and from folks who only make it down to fish South Florida once every few years.

Each and every person that got involved with this issue made a difference, and should feel proud. We’ve taken the first step toward the long-term solution to this problem that we all deserve  But we still have a long way to go. Since its introduction, Senate Bill 10 underwent several drastic changes. It’s not what we originally hoped for, but it’s a lot better than where we stood a year ago. We’re not popping champagne bottles until we can float from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay. There’s a long road ahead, and policymakers and water managers have proven to us time and time again that we need to hold their hand all the way until the end. As anglers, it’s hard to get excited about pieces of paper being signed in Tallahassee. There is no end for us until the damaging Lake Okeechobee discharges and hypersaline conditions in the estuaries cease to occur, providing seagrass and oyster beds an opportunity to return to their former glory across the estuaries of South Florida.

Moving forward, we need to continue to build momentum. Without continuing to build support, we will never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Captains for Clean Water will continue to work with all interested stakeholders- as the voice of anglers who make a living, recreate or travel to Florida- to see that those in charge of competing this project do so as planned, and ensure that Florida will continue to be the fishing capital of the world. We would like to extend a huge “Thank You” to the Florida Legislature for providing us the opportunity to continue the fight. Although we still have a long uphill battle ahead, we reached an important milestone with the passage of this legislation which is now on its way to be signed by the Governor. When sportsmen come together on an issue, we don’t put it to rest until the problem is solved. Thank you for allowing us, a group of captains, to fight for clean water for all Floridians.

Sincerely,
Capt. Daniel Andrews & Capt. Chris Wittman

Wilbur Smith Attorneys at Law donates $100K to Captains for Clean Water
Florida Senate Takes Important First Step in Saving the Everglades after NowOrNeverglades Sportfishing Day! 

28 Comments

    • Whole heartedly agree! Keep presure on by attending HANDS ACROSS THE SAND May 20

      Cape Coral Yacht Club beach -11:30 we will paint banners, & join hands at noon to keep up the pressure for CLEAN WATER!

      Help us form a line in the sand from the boat ramp to the pier contact: Rose Young 239 540-5836

  1. That’s great news! I live on the East coast of FL and have watched the Indian River Lagoon loose all its grass. Maybe in a few years it will return once the discharges stop. Thanks to all that fought so hard to get SB 10 passed!

  2. Thanks so very much for all your hard work and your continued efforts on behalf of all concerned Floridians

  3. Thanks for your dedication and huge contribution to getting this issue to this point. Hang in there and let’s push it to completion.

  4. I wish to congratulate you on your success. As you say, there is much more to be done. The real problem is the ruination of the soil by big-ag interests and especially big sugar. Until that problem is solved, we are just kicking the can down the road. The greed interests of big-agriculture are not going to let this happen if they can help it. As you are learning, politicing in a democracy is all about compromise. Typically, it involves the many trying to get the greedy, powerful few to compromise and their idea of compromise is to give as little as they can to get as much as they want. They ultimately don’t care at all about really solving the problem. They just want the easiest path to riches. The richness of nature in its abundance and beauty, with an early morning sunrise on the water is essentially beyond their ability to be able to comprehend. The only kind of wealth they care about is the kind that can be measured in dollars and cents and this goes for the politicians who work for them, too. So, what is in store for us in the future? What about habitat down stream in the everglades itself? Will it also be affected, damaged and killed by the runoff from the new lake, as has been the sea habitat, just offshore? What about Florida Bay? Will the contaminated sludge not do the same to it, as it has to us along the Caloosahatchee or the Saint Lucie? Are we simply aleviating the stress on the environment in one area only to transfer that stress to another? What is this going to do to the water quality in the area of the new resevoir and downstream through the whole huge and amazing river of grass? Have you traded “peace in our time” for an even greater war over a much greater area later, just so we could get a compromise settlement with big-ag and big-sugar? Big-ag and big-sugar must be made to pay for the mess they have made. The amount of actual revenue they actually pour into the economy of South Florida is all out of proportion to their profits and hardly a drop in the bucket, when measured against the impact of shutting down the urban giants in the tri-county, on the southeast coast, when their drinking water becomes so polluted by this new drainage plan as to make those places uninhabitable. This is something that we have to think long for. The short term victory is wonderful and you are to be congratulated but the long term results may make this victory into a huge defeat, in the long run. So, please don’t stop working on this or your grandchildren may never know what that early morning sunrise looked and felt like in your day.

    • All very good points. We need to take the longer view and not become complacent with this small first step.

    • Well said Franklin. I’m glad someone spoke to the harmful chemicals that man exposes to our environment; all the way from big industry to consumers like ourselves. The solution is to come up with environmental options that are gentler and all- natural rather than the use of man-made chemicals, fertilizers, and pesticides. I too worry about the habitat down stream in the everglades. This is a good 1st step but we need to do more. It starts with education and voting with our dollars.

  5. Way to take action and get the ball rolling in the right direction. This is a huge milestone. Keep it up!

  6. Good job and it will be nice when this actually gets under way. Please write up a progress post to inform every one of the predicted and proposed timelines and any issues along the way. Getting the money is one battle and actually implementing is another battle in itself.

    Thank you for the great push and opening the eyes of the public to this serious issue.

    Bad sugarcane industry!!! They should be ashamed of themselves.

  7. Stop the government price supports for big sugar and they would certainly be more willing to give up some of their land that the conservation projects need. Make them compete on the world market without the unfair price supports they now get. Same for big ag. Maybe the fishing industries shoul hire their lobbyists!

  8. Jim Collier

    Franklin Waters above is right–the powerful want to give as little as they can to get as much as they can. We have to keep the pressure on these legislative and administrative bodies until the vision of clean water becomes reality. Let’s hope Rep. Mast can deliver in his mission to fast track this series of projects through the Federal process.

    Thanks to Daniel and Chris for all these connections and effort. All our members and supporters should enjoy this moment. We all need to k eep some ammo in reserve for the fights ahead!

    Onward!!!

  9. Congratulations to all involved in the Captains For Clean Water
    movement!! Just goes to show what can be accomplished when a band of committed folks come together to solve an immensely difficult problem. Well done y’all- you should be very proud!!

  10. Captain Daniel and Captain Chris,
    Thank you for all your hard work and for what you are accomplishing! Your patience, persistence and determination are paying off for everyone. Keep up the good work!
    Clean water ahead,
    Doug and Jo-Ann Greene

  11. “Captains” has distinguished itself as a first-rate operation and I can’t thank you enough for the countless hours you donated on behalf of our natural resources. I know there was an opportunity cost to your work and know you would rather be on the water than in the hallways. As you note, this is just a first step in what has been and will continue to be a long battle. Keep it up.

  12. Exciting news! Thank you for educating so many to this need! Yes, we have a ways to go, but what a tremendous next step! So many groups all over our state have come together for our fresh and ocean waters, we just have to keep it up! Again, so grateful for all you have done and looking forward to doing more. Our water is worth it.
    Tiffany Grantham

  13. Great to hear and well written article.
    I like the part where you state this needs to be followed through to the end.
    Thank you everyone for the hard work!!
    Please count on my full support!!!
    Capt. Joe Sullivan
    Cape May NJ – Islamorada,Fl.

  14. This battle will be ongoing for generations to come. We have begun to raise awareness and must continue to educate our children, grandchildren, and great great great grandchildren. We all leave our footprint. Let ours be one of restoration for future generations.. CAPTAIN CATHY MADIGAN EAGLE

  15. Thank you so much for your hard work and long hours. I proudly display my Captains sign. You all are the best!

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