Late this summer, after the reality check of Florida's algal blooms and sea grass die off, a handful of Islamorada residents decided to take action. Florida Bay Forever was born. In just a few months, the organization has engaged thousands of others with one message:
Store water south of Lake Okeechobee to relieve the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries, and deliver more fresh water through the Everglades to Florida Bay.
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS
Thanks and kudos go to our kindred supporter, the Everglades Foundation, and to the dynamic group of Florida Keys residents who've taken action. Their combined efforts have made Florida Bay Forever's ideas a reality. We're now a recognized, viable, and respected organization representing Monroe County. We educate and advocate for long term solutions for a healthy Florida Bay and south Florida aquatic ecosystem.
EYE ON THE PRIZE
The mission at Florida Bay Forever is to spread the word in Monroe County, and get residents to do more than click or browse, but to take action. How? Well, we maintain a vibrant web, newsletter and Facebook presence with more than 3,000 engaged members. But that's not all.
Letter writing has its place, and we did plenty of that. But we needed local, state and federal community leaders to see and smell the grave state of affairs. So first, we went face-to-face on the water and toured the Florida Bay dead-zone with these key players:
- Congressmen Carlos Curbelo,
- Senator Anitere Flores,
- Debbie Mucarsel-Powell,
- Monroe County Commissioners and staff; and
- Islamorada Mayor, Councilmen and staff.
Local press published articles on the tours. And positive policy change was a direct result. Florida Bay Forever:
- Had an active hand in the passage of an Islamorada and Marathon Everglades Resolution, which specifically prioritizes a land buy in the EAA to bring more fresh water south; and
- Helped support Monroe County Commissioners to redraft their original Everglades Resolution to incorporate the importance of an EAA land buy.
WELL, THAT WAS INSPIRING! SO WE:
- Co-sponsored the Florida Bay Forum with Everglades Foundation and FIU;
- Supported the NowOrNeverglades effort;
- Presented to the Upper Keys Board of Realtors and Upper Keys Rotary;
- Partnered with Teens for Oceans and Girl Scout Troop #151 to assist in public outreach; and
- Acted as Grand Marshall of the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce Holiday Parade.
BUT NOT WITHOUT YOU
Our members. Our heart and soul. Your personal commitments. Your financial support. Your sign-on advocacy. Your ACTION. Our growing group of nearly 150 members is the key to our current and future success - to the demise or survival of the Florida Bay!
Enjoy the holiday season. Rest and regroup. Get out there and enjoy this ecosystem we're fighting for! We hope we can count on your continued support of our efforts in the new year.