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  1. Went with my buddy Captain Tom Ross on the madden voyage of his new to him 2003 Maverick Master Angler. We launched at OR at dawn, ran the twisty turn, out the pass and headed south. Early morning high tide, so we had outgoing water all morning. Light winds from the S-SW. Blue skies with some clouds during the day, but no rain (and even nicer, no lightning!). The water was murky in most places, but we were able to sight fish in real shallow water. We were throwing soft plastics paddle tails and GULP! jerk shads in new penny for the most part. Seems like dark colors with chartreuse paddle tails worked best. We probably caught 60-70 fish, mostly trout and snook, with the occasional jack, sail cat and snapper in the mix. The boat ran great, and plowed through the afternoon chop on the run back with no problem. A very nice day.
  2. So Will I

    God destined the earth and everything it contains for all peoples and nations. A few weeks ago at my Church (Calvary Chapel), Pastor Andrew Wooddell (Worship Ministry Leader) presented a topical message about the heart and purpose behind worship, what true Biblical worship looks like, and what our response should be to His revelation. Our closing worship song that day was "So Will I", a song written by Joel Houston, Benjamin Hastings and Michael Fatkin and recorded by Hillsong United among others. This message and the lyrics to the song have been on my mind in my prayers since that Sunday. The song glorifies God as Creator who "spoke to the dark and fleshed out the wonder of light", who created the stars and galaxies with the "vapor of Your breath". The writers suggest that if the stars were made to worship, if creation sings Your praises, if every painted sky obeys You, if the mountains bow in reverence, if the oceans roar Your greatness, if the wind goes where You send it, if the rocks cry out in silence, then "So Will I". Like the song says, I find God's heart in everything He has done, but especially in the beauty of nature and his creation. I am so blessed to be able to explore, camp and fish on the waters all over the state of Florida. I've seen some amazingly beautiful places and things in the course of my journeys and I am so thankful. So, I created this little slide show to honor God and to bring awareness to the ecological disaster that has hit our state. The creation belongs to humanity as a whole. Yet the current pace of environmental degradation is seriously endangering the supply of many natural resources, not only for the present generation but more important for generations yet to come. The situation in South Florida has become particularly acute. Florida's estuaries are at tremendous risk. The cyanobacteria blooms discharged from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers have created significant health risks for all of us here in South Florida as well as our visitors, pets and wildlife. Thousands of acres of grass flats have been destroyed. Millions of fish and other aquatic life have been poisoned. Voters in 2014 voted overwhelmingly (more than 75%) to set aside one-third of all real estate transaction fees to purchase and manage conservation lands. The initiative should generate nearly $800 million annually over a 20-year period. But, the money is being wasted by our elected officials who have instead spent the money on existing operating expenses. This violates the spirit of the voters' mandate. A major goal is to build reservoirs to capture some Lake O water instead of releasing it to the coastal estuaries. There, the nutrient rich water could be cleaned over time and the natural sheet flow southward to Florida Bay could be restored bringing much needed clean, fresh water to the Everglades, the South Florida aquifer and Florida Bay. One solution is waiting on Congress for a vote--the EAA Reservoir and the Central Everglades Project will provide approximately 50% reduction in Lake O discharges. We need action now! Do what you can to support the organizations that are advocating sound water management policy for our state's waters. Support candidates who are in favor of this legislation. And pray. Without ceasing.
  3. Great day in the Everglades National Park yesterday with my buddy Mike fishing on his awesome HPX-18. That boat will fly! Post-front, blue bird sky with warming temperatures. These transition periods present great opportunities to catch multiple species. We fished from the East Cape Canal to the Shark River area and inside in Oyster Bay before making the run back to Flamingo (just in time to exit before the barrier went up at West Lake at 7:00 p.m.!). Big numbers of black drum, red drum, snook, trout (with a few snapper, cat fish and jacks thrown in) and 1 tarpon in the air early in the morning. Surprisingly (based on recent reports) we caught more redfish than snook, though we had 7 or 8 really nice robalo. The black drum and most of the trout were caught with live shrimp on jig heads as were some of the snook and redfish. Many other snook, red fish, trout and the tarpon hit soft plastics (mostly paddle tails in natural color with some sparkle and chartreuse tails) rigged weedless. Here are a few pictures from the day.
  4. As reported by CCA Florida in August 2016, the South Florida Water Management District (the District) proposed a plan designed to bring much needed fresh water to Florida Bay. The District applied for permits to make some rather minor changes to existing infrastructure in Miami-Dade County which, when completed, will provide additional clean fresh water to the headwaters of Taylor Slough, a primary source of fresh water to Florida Bay in Everglades National Park. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved permits in December 2016 which could double flows of fresh water to Taylor Slough and ultimately increase water flows to Florida Bay. On January 12, 2017, the District Governing Board approved several significant construction contracts as part of this plan, specifically including: Rebuilding a section of the L-31 West Levee and Weir, Installing 10 plugs in the L-31 West Canal, and Sealing the discharge basin at the S-332D Pump Station to reduce seepage. Once completed, these important projects will move billions of gallons of fresh, clean water each year from the C-111 canal to the L-31 West Canal and into the headwaters of Taylor Slough. Phosphorus content of the water to be delivered into the slough is below federal standards. This will provide much needed relief to Florida Bay where high salinity levels have led to seagrass die-offs and other habitat degradation. CCA Florida continues to support these District plans and is hopeful these projects can commence immediately. CCA encourages any individuals and groups who support the health of Everglades National Park and Florida Bay to back these important projects. Vital seagrass, marine habitat, and several species of fish in Florida Bay will be immediate beneficiaries.
  5. As per CCA email update on 8/31/16: The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has proposed a plan which could bring near-term relief to Florida Bay. The District has applied for permits to make some rather minor changes to existing infrastructure in Miami-Dade County which, when complete, will provide additional clean fresh water to the headwaters of Taylor Slough, a primary source of fresh water to the Bay in Everglades National Park. The District estimates these projects could double the flows of fresh water to the slough and increase sheet flow to Florida Bay. During an average year, Florida Bay gets 45% of its fresh water from rainfall. The balance comes primarily from Taylor Slough, so any projects which facilitate fresh water flows into the slough should provide strategic benefits to the Bay. Current salinity levels in the Bay are too high which have led to seagrass die-offs and other habitat degradation. District plans include additional connectivity of the Frog Pond detention area to the L-31 West Canal, removal of existing water gates, the re-construction of a portion of a L-31 West Canal levee between Everglades National Park and a water detention area, and the construction of a weir (a low profile concrete wall designed to facilitate steady water flow). The plan also involves other features which will help facilitate the movement of additional clean water into the Park, some of which are components of CERP C-111 spreader canal projects. The re-construction of a section of the L-31 levee would prohibit water from moving from the Park into a detention area during dry seasons. The plan includes other operational features using existing pump stations. Once completed, these important projects will move additional clean water from the C-111 canal to the L-31 West Canal and into the headwaters of Taylor Slough. Phosphorous content of the water is currently 4 - 7 parts per billion, which is well below federal standards. In other words, the water is clean. The District has pending permits before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Florida Department of Environmental Protection for the work, which can be completed before the onset of the next dry season. A key for the new flows to work is for Everglades National Park officials to allow the water to flow from these locations to the headwaters of Taylor Slough and eventually into Florida Bay. Computer models for this work demonstrate it will be successful. The cost of these projects is estimated by the District to be $3.3 million, and the District is ready to go with the construction should it receive the required permits. The funds are already in the District budget. Importantly, the benefits to the Bay from these projects do not rely at all on any new water flows from the north, that is, they do not depend on any water coming south from the drainage canals or any other source out of Lake Okeechobee. Nor do they require a project partnership agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers. CCA Florida supports this District plan and is hopeful all permits are granted immediately so that these projects can commence and can be completed by year-end. Vital marine habitat in Florida Bay will be an immediate beneficiary, as will the fish.
  6. The Everglades Needs You!!!

    To everyone who has voted to support the Everglades and restore the Flamingo Visitor Center at VoteYourPark.org Thank You. Please Keep Voting! . If you have had trouble voting PLEASE KEEP TRYING! . National Geographic has been working to fix the website and make it easier for people to register and vote. . If you are having problems voting, please message us and we will work with you to resolve the problem. . If you haven't voted yet, follow these step to register and vote: . 1. Go to the VoteYourPark to register & vote. . 2. Enter your email address and a password. . 3. Check your inbox for a VoteYourPark email . 4. Open the email and click to confirm receipt. . 5. Return to VoteYourPark & vote Everglades . 6. Repeat daily until July 5 when voting ends. . .Vote early, vote often, vote Everglades! . THANK YOU