Patagonia Retailers in Florida Contribute $25,000 to Bullsugar Alliance in Fight for the Health of the Everglades and Coastal Estuaries

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From Patagonia:

Patagonia retailers in Florida contribute $25,000 to Bullsugar Alliance in fight for the health of the Everglades and coastal estuaries

Immediate action needed to restore critical flow of freshwater south to Florida Bay and halt damaging discharges of polluted water to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers

Ventura, Calif. — Thirteen Patagonia flyfish dealers in Florida have stepped up their commitment to solving the water crisis in the Everglades by making a $25,000 Patagonia Environmental Grant to Bullsugar Alliance, a non-profit grassroots activist organization with its sights set squarely on the science-backed solution of creating storage and filtration marshes south of Lake Okeechobee.  This action is required immediately to provide needed freshwater to Florida Bay while halting the damaging discharges of polluted water to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers and coastal estuaries.

Patagonia’s wholesale environmental grants program fosters the opportunity for their sale representatives, wholesale dealers, local environmental groups and customers to work together on local issues that matter to them most.

Last year, Bullsugar and others from the Keys, Miami, Stuart and Fort Myers wrote the “Now or Neverglades Declaration” in support of over 200 Everglades scientists who believe it is essential to acquire land to store, treat and send clean fresh water from Lake Okeechobee south, instead of diverting that water untreated east and west. The declaration also urges acting now before development in the former Everglades condemns the three impacted estuaries to “irrevocable destruction.”

“50,000 acres of dead seagrass in Everglades National Park, toxic algae coating the St Lucie Estuary, even saltwater intrusion into Miami’s well water — are all caused by blockage of water that used to flow south,” said Chris Maroney, co-founder of Bullsugar Alliance. “With Patagonia’s support, this issue can get the national attention it deserves, plus — they’ve restored ecosystems ravaged by dams before. The dike holding back Lake Okeechobee is the most environmentally destructive dam in the country, but no one outside of Florida knows it.”

Patagonia’s southeastern sales rep Jay Decker initially reached out to Sandy Moret of Florida Keys Outfitters in the spring of 2016 about resources Patagonia could offer to help break up what Moret had described as a 30-year logjam. “To me there is no more captivating, challenging or rewarding resource than our magnificent tarpon fishery,” said Moret. “Unfortunately we are in imminent danger of losing this treasure forever.”

In a letter to Patagonia, Moret added “Bullsugar is getting the attention of the public and policy makers in Florida…We know the science, but without the political will we will continue to delay and postpone solving the problem. We need to pressure bipartisan representatives who understand South Florida’s water supply, the health of Everglades and Florida Bay needs be of highest priority in Tallahassee.  We must hold them accountable.”

Tom Morgan from Appalach Outfitters put it in the most black-and-white terms possible: “Money is available to resolve most of the Everglades drainage problems; the political will is not. Fisherman worldwide should take a stand. Stop the finger-pointing, the Everglades must be fixed now.”

Patagonia Dealers who contributed to the Patagonia Wholesale Grant:

Appalach Outfitters, Apalachacola
Old Florida Outfitters, Santa Rosa Beach
Boca Grande Outfitters, Boca Grande
Oyster Creek Outfitters, Saint Augustine
Black Fly Outfitters, Jacksonville
AMI Outfitters, Anna Maria Island
Tampa Bay Outfitters, Tampa
Mangrove Outfitters, Naples
Florida Keys Outfitters, Islamorada
Salt Water Angler, Key West
Ole Florida Outfitters, Boca Raton
Travel Country Outfitters, Orlando
Orlando Outfitters, Orlando

Ways to learn more and get involved in the fight for the Everglades:

  • Sign the Now or Neverglades Declaration
  • In Florida, call 844-505-2887 to speak to your state lawmaker in support of Senate Bill 10

For more information please contact:

Chris Maroney, Bullsugar Alliance
Chris Gaggia, Patagonia

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