FWC Talks Conservation
TakeMeFishing.orgRodney Smith, editor of Coastal Angler Magazine, pointed out that Florida is the flattest state in the union, and with our limestone topography Florida's springs are also in jeopardy of substantial impacts. Already 33 percent of Florida's counties are reporting water shortages that may relate to climate change. He spoke of observable changes in the Indian River Lagoon where he grew up and emphasized the need for anglers and boaters to understand what could happen in the next few generations. At the FOWA conference, Smith, who is also founder of Anglers for Conservation, received Bass Pro Shop's Pass-it-On Award. So his dedication and concern for future generations of anglers is a constant focus for him in his publications and non-profit organization.
During panel discussions including all of the above speakers, Tommy Thompson, Executive Director of FOWA and moderator for the newsmakers' session, asked the panel what could be done. Cooper pointed out that all politics are local, and it is critical for Floridians to speak up about issues that concern them. Audience members emphasized the importance of getting word out about the importance of fish- and wildlife-related recreation to Florida and the extended benefits to real estate, tourism and quality of life. Wiley said that reducing carbon footprints, minimizing energy waste, protecting and restoring habitats, connecting wildlife corridors and building resiliency are all things that we can and must do.