From the Perdido River at the Alabama border to the St. Johns in the Northeast and the Everglades in the South, our river systems and the bays at their mouths are emblematic of our state. The rivers supply our drinking and irrigation water, recreation and habitats for many species, such as the Gulf sturgeon, black bass and river otters. Their beauty is part of what it means to be in Florida.
Over the years, the Federation has acted to save these systems, with a focus on the Apalachicola and it’s now depleted oyster fishery, the northward flowing St. Johns that bisects Jacksonville, and the now dammed Ocklawaha River near Ocala. Our rivers need sound management to ensure sufficient flow and conservation of surrounding lands. Equally important is the reduction of nitrogen and phosphorus which create harmful algal blooms. Our bays, such as Florida Bay, Tampa Bay and Apalachicola Bay, are all under stress as the bays are only healthy when their riverine water supply is healthy. If we want to keep Florida the fishing capital of the world, we must save our rivers, bays and estuaries.