There is no shortage of conservation issues that are important or should be important to anglers. Human development affects virtually every corner of the globe, and whether large or small, its impacts are felt by our water bodies, watersheds and the flora and fauna that call them home. With so many issues out there, it is hard to be apprised of it all. Add in the fact that conservation issues often become "celebrities", rising to the top and shadowing other, often equally important, issues and staying informed is even more complicated. Following are just a few of the many issues that need more attention and involvement from anglers, be sure to give them a read.
A spotted sea trout from Florida's San Carlos Bay. The bay is influenced by excess water discharges from Lake Okeechobee, which turn the water brown and add pollutants to the estuary (photo: Chris Hunt).
Florida's Dirty Little Secret
"You've heard of Big Oil. The Big Three from Detroit. And, of course, the Big Lebowski. But have you heard of Big Sugar?," writes Eat More Brook Trout's Chris Hunt. Chances are, you haven't, but it is time you had. Big Sugar is the reason countless gallons of fresh water are annually diverted from its natural course by the Army Corps of Engineers in an effort to satisfy the needs of the mass agricultural development of the sugar industry.
The effects of this unnatural diversion of fresh water into Florida's estuaries, Hunt explains, are significant. "The Corps, through a system of diversions and locks, sends the excess water--and all the nitrates, phosphorus and fertilizer in it--into the estuaries on either Florida coast. The normally emerald green waters of these coastal oases turn dark and foreboding. Stained. Brown. Dirty. As this tainted water finds its way down the rivers and into the estuaries, the victims are the ecosystems these coastal bays and lagoons nurture ... and everybody who treasures them." Read about what's going on in three part series.