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Captains for Clean Water holds successful fundraising gala

March 15, 2017
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Captains for Clean Water raised more than $310,000 in one evening to fight for science-based solutions to save our estuaries and the Everglades.

More than 350 fishermen, outdoorsmen and concerned citizens gathered at the Burroughs Home Friday, March 3, for the inaugural "Restore Clean Water Gala." Fishing legends and TV personalities, including Blair Wiggins, George Gozdz, Rob Fordyce, Peter Miller and Carter Andrews, were on hand to show their support for cleaning up Florida's estuaries. Host of TV's "Flats Class" C.A Richardson emceed the event, and Zac Jud, Ph.D. motivated the overflow crowd with his explanation of the challenges and possible solutions to the manmade problems that degrade water quality in South Florida. When attorney Sawyer Smith, one of the event organizers, asked for financial assistance, the response was overwhelming with pledges totaling more than $300,000.

"We are extremely grateful to everyone who came to the Restore Clean Water Gala to champion a cause that means so much to all of us," Captains for Clean Water co-founder Capt. Daniel Andrews said in a press release. "We are truly humbled by this initial wave of support to help us move our efforts forward. It was an inspiring night, and we cannot thank our supporters enough."

Article Photos

An overflow crowd at the Burroughs’s Home pledged more than $300,000 to support the work of Captains for Clean Water. Courtesy photo.

The organization is now working to transport as many fishers and outdoorsmen and women as possible to attend the Now or Neverglades Sportfishing Day on April 11 in Tallahassee. The goal of the event is for local people whose businesses are dependent on water quality to meet face to face with legislators and share how the water quality crisis has impacted their lives.

"If everyone knew about our water problems, they would have been fixed decades ago. In the face of large-scale propaganda campaigns funded by outside special interests, Captains for Clean Water is working to educate and inform Floridians about this extremely important issue," said Co-founder Capt. Chris Whitman said. "All funds raised are used to help Floridians better understand this critically important issue and the scientifically supported solutions available to our state."

Captains for Clean Water also works to united stakeholders by finding common ground to fight for clean water and to promote long-term, science-based solutions to the South Florida water crisis.

Captains for Clean Water is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that advocates for healthy marine ecosystems in South Florida by improving water quality. A group of fishing guides from Fort Myers had enough of Florida's poor water management practices and founded the organization last year. Through Everglades Restoration and local watershed projects, waters that have been compromised by development and agriculture can be restored and Florida's estuaries can be preserved.

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