By Karl Wickstrom
No one, not even the Shadow, knows just what the lawmakers will do in their last days, but one thing is certain: We must keep up the pressure to stop the discharges from inland or have to swallow more of the pollution that poisons our estuaries in wet times. Following is content from the forthcoming April issue of Florida Sportsman Magazine.

Toxic algae clots the St. Lucie River, summer 2016, one of many consequences of manmade Lake Okeechobee drainage.

If miracles really happen, let’s have a big one, please. Right now.

Let the Florida Legislature, in its waning weeks of confusion and endless politicizing, pass a statute calling for a reservoir in Big Sugar country that could capture excess Lake Okeechobee water and, finally, stop the horrid discharges to the coasts.

Then, in the best tradition of miracles, see Governor Scott sign such a statute and lead the way for funding of these crucial projects.

It’s a longshot, as miracles tend to be.

These reforms have been advocated for decades but have been blocked by status quo forces that put subsidized profits way ahead of clean and productive waters.

Now, however, there seems to be powerful momentum for real change.

The Florida Senate, at the committee level, has approved a comprehensive bill that embraces the basics of the Plan Six Flowway that we’ve pushed for more than a decade, mostly talking, I’m afraid, to the hearing impaired.

The proposed legislation filed in both the Senate and House directs the state to acquire land south of the lake and build conveyances to move water into the Everglades and Florida Bay instead of into east and west man-dug coastal canals.

Big Ag forces, rich almost beyond measure, are fighting the legislation by pushing for a reservoir north of Lake O. Independent expert scientists say that north-of-thelake steps would do little to no good in stopping the estuary gushers of pollution.

Anglers and nearly all conservation groups , including the Florida Wildlife Federation, Audubon Florida, Everglades Foundation, Florida Oceanographic Society, Sierra Club, Rivers Coalition, BullSugar, Captains for Clean Water, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and others of substance are strongly supporting the southern reservoir cause.

Still, we do wish that even more entities would be aboard in forceful ways. After all, our outdoors resources and quality of life are much, much too valuable to treat with anything less than a collective expression of outrage and demand for change.

Personally, I like this kind of policy pledge:

“We’re plenty mad about the discharge disgraces, and we’re not going to take it anymore!”

TAKE ACTION NOW

PLEASE

Take immediate action to fix Florida’s water crisis by urging your Legislators and Governor to pass Senate Bill 10 (SB 10) and House Bill 761 (HB 761), which will call for the purchase of land south of Lake Okeechobee to store, clean and convey water south to the Everglades.

CALL

Need help to call your legislator in support of these bills? Dial the (free) Bullsugar patch-through line at 1-844-505-2887 or contact other advocates of the legislation.

TEXT

Text the word “SOUTH” to 91990 to receive up to the minute text updates and calls to action on your phone.

WRITE

You can find your state representative’s Tallahassee address by Googling “Find my State Representative.” A personalized letter from you means a lot.

ATTEND

RSVP now to attend Now Or Neverglades Sportfishing Day on April 11th at Gladesdeclaration.org/action or plan on another trip to Tallahassee where you can make your voice heard.

ONE GOAL

Stopping the damaging discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and estuaries. Restoring the flow of clean, fresh water to the Everglades, Florida Bay and the Florida Keys.

First Published Florida Sportsman Magazine April 2017

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