Environmental Angler: June 2019

Florida Waters and Our Economy

by Keith Lozott, Contributing Writer

Peninsula- A piece of land almost surrounded by water or projecting out into a body of water.  Florida is exactly that, a beautiful, majestic piece of property surrounded by water on all three sides not including the Panhandle, which is amazing on its own.  People from all over come seeking refuge from sleet, snow, subzero temperatures, being land locked, the need to see the beach, experience saline estuaries and mangrove shorelines year after year.  Our economy is dependent on tourism, snowbirds, the beautiful beaches, our world class rivers for fishing, boating and our extremely sought after real estate.  As a real estate professional for over 20+ years I see first-hand that the values of our homes are based on our location and proximity to water.  The entire state’s property values depend on clean beaches, clean lakes, healthy estuaries and river systems.  If these waterways crash as a result of pollution or improper water management, the state’s citizens will suffer a catastrophic blow to their homesteads. Think about this for a minute:  Take a stretch of ten homes on the St. Lucie River or Caloosahatchee River for example; let’s say their property values drop by $100,000 each during algae laden water dumps, that’s $1,000,000 in property value loss, which is a tiny example considering how many homes are on the water in these areas valued well over a million and multi-million dollar ranges.

Research shows that the 156 mile stretch of the Indian River alone contributes over 7 billion dollars to the local economies.  Contemplate this:  I have a flats boat valued at $35,000, way too many fishing rods valued at $3,000+, boat and trailer registration $100 give or take per year, the cost of trips, drinks, ice, tackle, and bait only mention a few and I’m only one guy in the family of anglers throughout the state that are just like me.  The money spent by anglers alone is astronomical by itself.

Florida’s economy depends on clean water and beaches; free of red tide, algae blooms, and water dumps into our estuaries.  I’m not saying this is an easy solution and it will take time to solve but I know we can work together in a bipartisan way to get this done right so that we can ensure the longevity of our amazing state.  My daughter and all the kids that live here deserve to experience Florida’s waters the same as you and I did growing up in this great state!  So, join a water quality advocate group, donate time and money if you have extra for the cause. Groups like Captains For Clean Water and CCA Florida are great places to start.  Now get out there today and fish hard, enjoy the beaches, and take your family and friends with you.

Keith Lozott

The Fishing and Real Estate Guy!