June 29, 2017

Florida: Recreational Fishing and Boating Groups Urge Support of Federal Funding for Everglades

In a recent letter to Congressional leaders, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) joined 18 other national recreational fishing and boating groups to urge support of increased federal funding for Florida Everglades restoration.

The letter urges Congress, during FY 2018 budget deliberations, to support “increased funding levels to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Department of the Interior to expedite the completion of congressionally authorized Everglades and South Florida ecosystem restoration projects and the rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike.” The state of Florida, in a cost-share agreement with the federal government, has already appropriated more than $1 billion more than the federal government.

At issue in the Everglades is the dire need of restoration to the historic southerly flow of clean water from Lake Okeechobee (Lake) to the Florida Bay as well as reducing the frequency of releases from the Lake to the Caloosahatchee River, to the west, and St. Lucie Rivers, to the east.  Nutrient and sediment filled runoff released is not naturally cleaned through the Everglades system historic flow and causes catastrophic coastal algal blooms and seagrass die-offs resulting in severe environmental and recreational angling and boating impacts. 

Florida, the Fishing Capital of the World, boasts over three million recreational anglers, which has a significant economic impact.

The letter was also signed by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT), Captains for Clean Water, Center for Sportfishing Policy (CSP), Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF), International Game Fish Association (IGFA), Marine Industries Association of Florida (MIAF), Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA), Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), Snook and Gamefish Foundation (SGF), and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP).

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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