Posted by CCA Florida
Last Updated: 21 July 2016
CCA Florida continues to be horrified by the damage being done to our estuaries by the management of the water in Lake Okeechobee. Using our proven methods of advocacy and lobbying CCA will continue to work on behalf of recreational anglers to insure the long term health of our marine resources including clean water.
In addition to working on numerous fishery management and recreational fishing access issues, CCA Florida has also taken several action steps due to the damaging green algae bloom which originally appeared in Lake Okeechobee this year and has since found its way in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. CCA Florida has taken the following actions in the last couple of weeks on behalf of its members:
- CCA Florida's Chairman has written Governor Rick Scott and has urged him and other leaders to take immediate action to relieve damaging discharges out of Lake Okeechobee into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. We asked the Governor to make water quality the highest priority for the remainder of his time in office. Additionally, given the Governor's economic orientation and focus on Florida jobs, the letter reminded the Governor how important recreational fishing is to Florida's economy and to the state's tourism industry. The letter also encouraged the Governor to visit the affected areas in Martin and Lee counties immediately.
- CCA Florida's Chairman has written the Assistant Secretary for Civil Projects of the Army Corps of Engineers, Jo-Ellen Darcy, urging her and her staff to take whatever tactical and strategic actions necessary to provide some immediate relief to the effected estuary systems. The letter to Ms. Darcy implored her and the rest of the ACOE staff to develop more efficient practices to shorten the time frame for CERP project implementation. It currently takes the Corps about 7 years to study prospective restoration projects, which is totally unacceptable. The letter also invited Ms. Darcy to pay a visit to Martin and Lee counties.
- CCA Florida's Chair has also written a similar letter to the Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District, Peter Antonacci.
- CCA Florida continues to communicate with Army Corps of Engineers operatives at the local levels and have encouraged them to be creative and consider all options when managing discharges out of Lake Okeechobee.
- In Washington, CCA continues to monitor the current Water Resources Development Act legislation making its way through committee in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, to make sure vital Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) foundation projects are authorized and funded as well as key elements of the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP), and important CERP component.
- Water quality in the state is highest advocacy priority for CCA, which has devoted countless man hours among staff and volunteers to these important habitat issues.
- CCA Florida participated in the first ever Indian River Lagoon Summit in June, and will continue to be an active advocate on several Summit follow-up initiatives. In part, the Summit was organized in response to an algae bloom in March which was responsible for a massive fish kill in the Banana River.
- CCA Florida continues to be a leading voice fighting against draconian proposals to close hundreds of square miles of marine areas in Southeast Florida to recreational fishing and diving. As part of an effort to oppose these ideas, CCA continues to emphasize the importance of water quality solutions instead of overly ambitious marine and reef closure efforts.
- CCA Florida continues to encourage its members to actively write, email, and call their state and federal political leaders to urge them to make Florida's water management solutions their highest priority. It's an election year, so legislative leaders will be particularly interested in what is on the minds of their constituents.
CCA Florida will continue to work with our political leaders in Tallahassee and Washington, as well as administrative heads of key state and federal agencies who have a hand in Florida's water management. This will continue to be a priority issue for many years to come.