Florida Bay Forever joined a number of conservation partners last week to welcome the new Army Corps Lieutenant Colonel Todd Polk. NPCA, Audubon, Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, and representatives from the South Florida Water Management District and folks from Everglades National Park met in Flamingo to tour some of the hardest hit areas of the Florida Bay.
Travelling over pea-green water, the flotilla rafted up near Johnson Key to get a look at an area affected from the seagrass die-off of 2016. A spotless sky was only dotted by osprey, white pelicans, and gulls. Dolphins frolicked and fish were jumping. The overwhelming beauty of the wild surroundings created an irony that was not lost on anyone as the group engaged in the serious conversation of conservation and preservation.
As the conference ensued in the outdoor boardroom, everyone added a layer to the Florida Bay story. Be it about “what used to be,” resilience, funding, economic impact. . . . No stone was left unturned as the earnest professionals attempted to impress upon the new Colonel the value of the Florida Bay and the value of managing water in the state of Florida.
The Colonel listened, took notes and soaked in the stories. He was surely impressed with the cohesiveness of the message coming from organizations across the state. To put it simply, water is life. The task ahead is complex and massive and yet progress can and must be made.