A crowd of more than 100 supporters gathered in front of the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce Thursday, Aug. 4, to sign the Now or Neverglades Declaration. The waters of Southwest Florida are a national treasure that power the economy and shape our way of life.

“This is a very important issue to all of us,” said Daniel Andrews, of Captains for Clean Water, one of the guest speakers. “We all have a vested interested in the quality of our water and the Everglades.”

Andrews was joined by SCCF’s Natural Resource Policy Director Rae Ann Wessel and City of Sanibel’s Director of Natural Resources James Evans – two more champions of scientific solutions to the serious issues facing our waters and Everglades.

“We know what the impact is on our ecological resources,” said Evans. “We are learning what the impact is on our economy….It’s really time to start making decisions about the Everglades based on science, not politics.”

Scientific opinion is that increased storage and treatment of fresh water south of Lake Okeechobee, and additional flow from the lake southward, is essential to restoring the Everglades, Florida Bay and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. Florida’s fishing, boating and tourism industries that depend on these estuaries are at risk, as well.

“It was gratifying to see such a varied group of supporters who are united in solving this very real problem,” said Chamber President Ric Base. “We appreciate everyone who took their time to come out and add their voice to this imperative cause.”

To join the more than 21,000 supporters who have signed the Now or Neverglades Declaration, visit www.gladesdeclaration.org.