All photography provided by Troy Wheatley
Florida Bay forever: advocating for the bay
Florida Bay Forever is a grassroots movement dedicated to educating Monroe County citizens about the Florida Bay and Everglades National Park and to call for immediate action on Everglades Restoration in accordance with the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEPP); specifically advocating for the prioritization of the purchase of land and building of a fresh water reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee as it will most significantly affect change in the Florida Bay.
what's the plan?
First, we build formalized membership - keeping the conversation and day to day on FaceBook but moving the structure of the group to the website can efficiently engage members in active communication with policymakers. The goal of Florida Bay Forever is to attract 2000 members by the end of the the year 2016.
Simultaneously, we create a political action plan; structuring it to encompass the following:
- Policymakers - Who are they and how can we tailor a campaign to shape their thinking?
- Current Policy - What policies are being created? How can we most efficiently weigh in on them?
- Partnerships - Who can we partner with to grow this call to action?
- Educational Opportunities - How can we communicate the endless details of Everglades Restoration in terms we can all undersatnd?
- Kids - How can we get kids involved in learning how science and civics intersect? They are our future voters.
Florida Bay Forever communicates with members through a monthly email and special Call to Action emails when a specific need arises. The group asks its members to pick up the phone, send an email, and have the conversation with a friend to keep this conversation alive.
why act now?
We have all watched with astonishment and horror at the degradation of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. While our hearts go out to these communities, we must realize we have to act now to prevent similar scenarios in the Keys. We need to advocate today to prevent future sea grass die offs, algae blooms and decline of our Florida Bay. It would be shameful to wait a minute longer to act to bring fresh water and a change in policy to how water coming to the Florida Bay is managed.