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Good News from the Everglades. with Steve Davis

Description: This week, my guest is Steve Davis, chief scientists for the Everglades Foundation. Steve gives us an update on the Everglades restoration project, which will benefit fisheries and clean water throughout Florida and not just in the Everglades. And it’s an optimistic report, which we don’t always have when we report on conservation issues. So stay tuned for some good news—for a change!
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Podcast Transcript:

Tom: Hi, and welcome to the "Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast." This is your host, Tom Rosenbauer, and my guest this week is Steve Davis. Steve is the chief scientist for the Everglades Foundation. And unlike a lot of conservation stories these days, there's some really good, encouraging, positive news coming out of Florida and all the water problems they've had down there. So, I'm delighted to have Steve on the podcast and tell us what's been going on lately. Steve also gives, you know, in case you've been living in a vacuum for the past 10 years, Steve gives a really good synopsis of the issues with the Everglades and with Florida Water Management in general, the Florida environment, and then goes on to tell us what's happened recently. So I hope you enjoy that and I hope it'll get you up to date on what's going on down there.
But first, the Fly Box, where I try to answer your questions. And if you have a question for the Fly Box, you can either just send me an email or you can attach a voice file, and you can send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I read them all. I don't answer them all, but I read them all. The reason I don't answer them is well, sometimes I don't have an answer and I can't find an answer. The other reason I don't answer 'em is because I may have answered that same question recently. So anyway, some of them I know are repetitious, but if you keep asking the same questions, then I'm obviously not getting through to you. I need to try a different approach.
So the first question is from Matt from Ohio. I'm sure you've addressed this before, but maybe it's been a while and worth asking again. In regards to attaching leader to fly line, I'm finding a variety of opinions on loop to loop connections versus nail knots. I realize both options have pros and cons. Have you ever had a time when this decision really made a big difference in your fishing? Thanks for your time. Hope you're getting outside. Well, thank you, Matt. Yes, I am getting outside. And yeah, there are lots of opinions, both pros and cons. And you'll find that in most aspects of fly fishing, there are some very strong opinions and, you know, all of you, I urge you to find out, ask some advice, but find out for yourself. Find out what works best for you.
And honestly, you know, the loop to loop connection where you have a permanent loop on the end of your fly line and then you have a perfection loop on the end of your leader and you attach 'em loop to loop is very convenient, it's very strong. I've never had one of those loops break and it's relatively smooth. And honestly, that's what I use. I just take the permanent loop on the fly line. You know, occasionally, I see a little wear on those permanent loops and then I have to attach my leader with a nail knot. You know, after three or four years, you use sometimes, there's a little bit of the core exposed on those loops.
But I use them all the time and I don't find that they hang up in the guides. I don't find that it hinders my casting. Occasionally, I will hook a fly on that connection but when I hook a fly in that connection, it's because I screwed up in my casting. I through a tailing loop and that's why it caught. It's not a problem of the connection, it's your problem when you hook those things. So I don't have a problem with it. You know, if you get your leader inside your guides, you got a big fish and it makes a run, you just point your rod tip at the fish and it'll slide through the guides fine. Now, the nail knot, it is a smoother connection. And if you feel that that loop to loop connection is hindering your casting or you don't like, you feel it hangs up in your guides, then by all means, try a nail knot.
It's very strong as well. It's a permanent connection unless you then tie an extra piece of heavy monofilament and put a loop in that and then you got another loop to loop connection. Disadvantage of the nail-knotting your leader directly to your fly line is that it's permanent and you don't have a loop to loop connection so you have less stuff going on there. Decide you're gonna go from a 12-foot to a 7.5-foot leader without a lot of rebuilding your leader and lots and lots of blood knots, you're gonna have to cut it off and tie another nail knot. And I don't know about you but I don't like tying nail knots. They're not easy. They're doable, especially with a tool or two, but they're not easy.
So anyway, I've never found an instance where I thought it affected my fishing one way or the other, but I am sure you're gonna find other opinions out there. Let's do another email. This one is from Brian from Maryland. My primary trout rod is a 10-foot, 3-weight euro nymphing rod. But I also like using a traditional fly rod to cast fly line for trout on small streams and to catch panfish, which is usually what I'm catching when I take my kids out to a local pond to cast their spinning rods. Could you please suggest a rod, length and weight, for an all-round option for small streams in panfish? Incidentally, I really enjoy your fly-tying videos both alone and with Tim Flagler. You've both been really helpful as I've taken up fly tying.
Well, you're very welcome, Brian. I enjoy those Monday sessions and I know Tim does too. We have a lot of fun with him. Regarding your rod, I would say that for those purposes, small streams and panfish, you want something between 7.5 and 8.5-feet long and you probably want a 3 or a 4-weight line. You know, with panfish, you just want a lighter rod that's more flexible, that'll be a little bit more fun to catch. And a little bit longer, say 8 or 8.5-feet long, is sometimes an advantage if you're fishing from a canoe or a boat or a dock. That little bit of extra length helps you out in ponds. And it's really not much of a hindrance in small streams.
People tend to go with rods that I think are too short in small streams. You have trouble holding line off the water to avoid drag and usually, you can either get a decent roll cast or an overhead cast in really, really tiny streams. There's usually a little bit of an opening that you can cast. So, I would recommend something in that range. If you want specific models, at the lower end of the price range, I would suggest, for your purposes, a 7.5-foot, 4-weight Clearwater or a 3-weight, either 3 or 4 and 7.5 foot would be a nice rod. In the Recon, if you wanna step up a bit to a rod made in the Orvis rod shop, I would say the 8-foot, 4-inch Recon for a 3-weight would be a lot of fun on small streams and with panfish.
And then if you wanna go a whole hog and go with the Helios 3, the best of the best, I would say either a 7.5 or 8-foot, 4-inch Helios 3 in the F, Helios 3F. Those would be my recommendations. Those are the rods that I use in small streams and for panfish. So, you know, but anything really. Anything between 7.5 and 8.5 feet long for a 3 or 4-weight line will be just fine.
Rip: Hello, Tom. This is Rip Wooding [SP] in Rocky Mount in North Carolina, and I've got a question about fly-tying glues. In one of your podcasts several months ago, I heard a brief discussion and then when I went back to try to hear it again, I couldn't find the podcast. Anyway, what is the difference between Zap-A-Gap, Flymen, Z-Ment, super glue, Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails, and the Wapsi head cement? And then, of course, you've got the UV resins. So I know that most of them are cyanoacrylate, but what is the uses of each one? When is it better to use 'em? I had a watch, Tim Flagler's, one of his fly-tying videos, and he had a small bottle with a very narrow spout and he would put one drop on his threads. I got a bottle, tried it, and then put the pin back into it and the next day, the pin was stuck in there until the end of time. So I guess you need to wipe that down a little better. I should have done that. Anyway, I will look forward to your answer. Thanks a lot.
Tom: Well, Rip, you know, this is a question that gets asked constantly and it's confusing. And basically, it's confusing because all of these things do about the same thing. They secure stuff to the hook, whether it's thread or it's a material that's particularly slippery and might slip out when you tie it in. And they all work about the same. You know, Zap-A-Gap, Z-Ment, super glue, they're basically all cyanoacrylate or, you know, super glues, crazy glues. They're all about the same formulations. Zap-A-Gap is a little bit more viscous and Zap-A-Gap and Fly Tyers Z-Ment are pretty close, I find, in viscosity and they both work really well for fly tying. Normal super glue will work well too.
I mean, you can even finish off your head and just put a drop of that stuff and you don't even have to whip finish. So, they make it nice and easy and they do hold stuff really well to hook. The disadvantage of super glues is that they leave a white residue finish and it just doesn't look that good. You know, if you want a nice, glossy head on your fly, you're not gonna get it with super glue. You're gonna get kind of a dusty, white look. And that's fine, you know, for most people, and I'm sure the fish don't care, but sometimes, we wanna tie a fly with a nice, glossy head so we use head cement, which is, I think it's a lacquer, and it's a different kind of solvent. It's not cyanoacrylate, but most head cements are lacquer-based, some of them are water-based, and they leave a more glossy finish on the fly.
I like head cement sometimes where I wanna put a drop of some kind of glue on the hook but I don't want it to dry right away. Sometimes, you know, you're working with other materials and you don't want that super glue to stick to your fingers, head cement is better and it takes a little bit longer to dry. It takes like five minutes to dry. And sometimes you want a little bit longer drying, so you use head cement. And then there's UV resins. UV resins are great. They're quite strong, but the problem with UV resins is if you put it under something where it's not gonna be exposed, it may not cure properly.
So you wanna use UV resin as a coating on the outside of a fly body or the head of a fly. If you're tying a crab fly where you're sandwiching a couple pieces of Velcro or something, you don't wanna use UV resin there because it won't cure properly. So, but they're all interchangeable and, you know, I have all three honestly. I have super glue and head cement and UV resin on my fly-tying bench. None of them are terribly expensive, and just reach for the one that you think is best suited for the purpose. Okay. Let's do another email. This one is from George from Maine. As a frequent binge listener of your podcast, I often find myself asking so many questions that you always answer along the way. I've been an avid angler for a number of years and fully immersed myself in the fly fishing world about six years ago.
I do some teaching on the sport as well through the scouting organization. That's opened my eyes to the fact that there's much more to this sport than catching fish and casting beautiful loops. I was wondering what comes next. I would like to make it a bigger part of my life as my passion lies here. Do I try and get a part-time job at a fly shop? Do I join an organization like TU? Do I volunteer for nonprofits like Project Healing Waters? Or, do I potentially become a guide? I can't help but think that there might be something I can offer to others. Networking is huge in this sport, but I wanted your opinion on how to maybe move forward. I can't see the good in keeping it all to myself. Thanks for everything you do for the sport and for all you do in encouraging all anglers to keep fishing.
Well, George, that's a great philosophy. And I think it's kind of a natural progression in fly fishing. You know, first, you just wanna catch fish and you wanna catch a bunch of 'em, and then you wanna catch a big one. And then you wanna catch the hardest one and then maybe you wanna start sharing this great passion with other people, and so you've kind of progressed in your fly fishing. And I think that all of those things that you suggested are great. Project Healing Waters, you know, another one is Reel Recovery for men with cancer or Casting for Recovery, which is helping women who have survived breast cancer or are dealing with breast cancer in some physical and some emotional and mental therapy.
There's an organization called The Mayfly Project, which is an organization that mentors foster kids in the pleasures of fly fishing. So, there's many, many things out there. You know, even just, as you said, working part-time in a fly shop, you know, you can help people. People come into fly shops for help and someone with an attitude like yours would be an asset to any fly shop because you wanna share and you wanna help. So, those are all great ideas. You know, becoming a guide, if you need this extracurricular fly fishing activity to help with your income, then becoming a guide is great. You need to love working with people for any of these things, but especially being a guide, and, you know, good guides are all really good teachers. The best guides are all really great teachers.
So, you would probably make a great guide as well. So, I think that all of those ideas, I think you already have mentioned all the great ideas that you can use to share your love of fly fishing. Here's an email from Lee from Rock Hill, South Carolina. I want to give a shout-out to the Orvis store in Charlotte, North Carolina. It's a joy to shop there. Well, thank you, Lee. I also wanna give a shout-out to my new home of South Carolina. At age 64, you can get a lifetime hunting and fishing license for $9. Yep, you read that right, $9. I just got mine. That has to be the bargain of a lifetime. Now, for my question, when it comes to fly fishing, I'm a stereotype. I'm an old, white guy and I wear a vest. I wanna carry more flies, so I looked at the Orvis waterproof sling packs.
It just seems like they would be constantly falling off my shoulder and the waterproof zippers don't slide easily. I can probably live with that, but I need your advice on one thing. When I'm standing waist-deep in a stream, my vest is everything right there. No fumbling around for stuff. At first blush, the same scenario with a sling pack is very different. You have to hold the pack and hold your rod and deal with the waterproof zippers, then search through all the internal pockets. It just seems like a lot of work for very little gain. Please tell me the reality of moving from a vest to a sling pack. Okay. Well, Lee, I'm an old, white guy too and I traded in my vest, I don't know, 12, 15 years ago, for a sling pack.
And although I have thoughts of moving back to a vest, I haven't. I'm just so attached to my sling bag. You know, they don't fall off your shoulder because there is a second strap that you attach very easily to the sling bags. And when you bend over, they don't fall off your shoulder or they don't roll around the side of your body. So, they keep it secured there. So, that isn't an issue. And I find that when I just slide the sling pack around in front of me, I've got everything right there in front of me. I don't have to root through too many pockets. I don't use a lot of those internal pockets. I often just shove stuff in the sling bag. One of the things that you mentioned is that the waterproof sling pack, those zippers can be difficult to open.
And unfortunately, it comes with the territory. If you're gonna have a waterproof zipper, it has to be a little stiffer. So yes, those are a little bit tougher to open. However, if you go to a standard sling bag and not a waterproof one, those slide very easily just as easily as a zipper on your vest pocket. And, you know, I don't find any downside to a sling pack. It stays out of the way behind me. When I'm not rooting for something, it's all hanging in my back. A landing net hangs very well in the sling pack and it's easy to reach. And when I need something, I just unclick the strap that holds it to my body, sling it around, grab what I need, and put it back.
So, I don't know what to tell you. If the idea of a vest still appeals to you, then don't worry about being a stereotype. Use what's most comfortable for you. But I would try a non-waterproof sling bag. Unless you fall in a lot or unless you're fishing in a lot of rain, those zippers are quite tough. So try a standard sling bag. Go into a store, put one on, have them show you how to attach it, and see how it works for you. Here's an email from David from Georgia. Love the podcast. I never try to miss an episode. I've recently gone down the rabbit hole of tying shrimp and crab patterns for some upcoming saltwater trips. I typically avoided tying these because they're just different and seem intimidating.
I've watched many videos and finally got over my fear and gave them a try. My question is specifically in regard to shrimp and crab eyes. I've learned to make my own using the butt sections of spent trout leaders, tiny crab beads, a lighter, and some UV epoxy. I even use ultra-fine UV glitter mixed with epoxy to make orange and green eyes because that is what the YouTube pattern called for. All this being said, how much does this really matter, color, size, UV spectrum, reflectivity, etc. on crustacean flies or even baitfish patterns? I would think adding eyes does help in these patterns and, to some extent, in baitfish patterns.
Since nature has given many fish and other creatures false eyes on their tails as a defense mechanism to avoid predators, they must matter at least a little. When targeting the species in salt, will eyes on our flies make a significant difference, and how specific do we need to be about the details of these eyes? Do eyes matter to certain fish and not to others? Do water conditions matter in regard to adding eyes? I know you like to limit bead colors on your freshwater fly, can the same principle be applied to salt patterns? I appreciate your thoughts on this. So David, yeah, a lot of things to discuss here.
One is that I do think eyes are important on baitfish patterns. Baitfish have big eyes and they're pretty prominent and I think it may be a trigger to fish. That being said, some very good baitfish patterns, you know, I don't often put eyes on my Lefty's Deceivers and they work just fine, but I think eyes are important on baitfish patterns. I'm not so sure about crab and shrimp patterns. I mean, one of the best, still most effective crab patterns out there is Del's Merkin. And that fly, although it has bead chain or it has a bead chain or solid metal eyes on it, those are just for weight and they're not really supposed to look like the eyes of a crab because they're in the wrong place for eyes on a crab.
So, and that fly doesn't have any eyes on it and it's one of the most effective flies. So, I'm not so sure on shrimp or crab patterns. It's just something that's pretty easy to add to a shrimp or crab and it makes them look a little bit better to our eyes. Whether it matters to the fish, probably not. So, and crab and shrimp, maybe, on baitfish, probably. That's my answer. And regarding color, you know, if you're putting eyes on a crab or a shrimp, I don't think that color matters. I mean, you can try to match the eyes on the crab or shrimp. Generally, I just make all my eyes black on crab and shrimp patterns and I don't worry about it.
On baitfish patterns, I just put one of those 3D eyes on and, you know, there's the fire color and the ice color and I just use whatever is handy. As long as I have an eye on there, I think it works fine. And as far as UV reflectivity, I don't hold any stock in that, so I don't worry about it. But I think, so that's basically my opinion, my opinion only. But you asked for my opinion, and there it is.
Brian: Hey, Tom. Brian here from Boone, North Carolina. Thanks so much for having me on the podcast today and answering my questions. I'm relatively new to fly fishing. I started about two years ago. I've been fishing most of my life but picked up a fly rod in 2020 and I've just not been able to go back to conventional fishing since picking up my first fly rod, which was an Orvis Encounter. And now I'm using a Clearwater rod with a Battenkill disc-drag reel. So, I'm really, really enjoying that rod. But you answered some questions for me back then as well and I never came back on the show to thank you for that. So, I do apologize. It's taken me two years to come back and thank you. But I'm really interested in hearing your commentary today on using an indicator when nymphing versus fishing without one.
I just tend to have better luck without an indicator. Some of my reservations for using one is just the commotion it causes on the top of the water. And also, to be honest with you, I'm just not very confident in my ability to water load with it. I really struggle to get that line up out of the water with a heavy indicator attached to my leader. And lastly, I've just not had any luck fishing the middle of the water column. I've caught all my fish either on the top with dry flies or I've caught them, you know, floating them down on the bottom of the water. And I know that indicator's purpose is just to try different depths, it's really there to serve as a guide, you know, to see when you're getting potential strikes and when to set the hook, but I've just not had a whole lot of luck with it and I'm just not very confident with using it going forward.
But I know that fly fishing is a journey and it's a journey to try new things and new methods. So, would you even suggest I go back? And if so, what are some tips that I can do to get better at using it? Would love to hear your pros and cons on the subject. And then lastly, I just would like to get some advice on an upcoming trip. I'm considering doing "The Rocky Mountain Fly Highway" this summer. What's the best way to go about doing that if I have just a week to take for this vacation? I'm also considering coming to Manchester. I'd love to come visit the Orvis flagship store and see the rod shop that reopens and looking for also some advice on public waters without giving away all of your secrets. I also like to small stream fish and I really enjoy hiking in all four service roads around my area, so I'm open to some hiking and fishing that way as well. Lastly, I promise to not take two years to come back and thank you, but really do appreciate everything and look forward to your response. Thanks, Tom.
Tom: Brian, this is an unusual situation. Most people have trouble when they take their indicator off, you say you're having trouble using the indicator. I think that maybe your problems with the water load comes from not maybe using an indicator that's a little bit too big and not lifting that indicator off the water when you make the water load. So lifting the indicator off the water but still keeping your flies and the rest of your leader in the water and then doing the water load may help you doing that. It sounds like also, you're probably probably don't have a long enough piece of thin tippet between your indicator and your flies.
If you say you're just fishing mid-water, you should be able to get a little bit deeper. You should be bumping bottom every once in a while. Unless the fish are actively feeding on a hatch, they may be feeding in mid-water, but generally, you wanna get a little bit deeper. So I think that by adding a longer, thinner tippet below that indicator by modifying your leader, maybe putting a tippet ring, putting a tippet ring where your leader tapers down to about 3x or 4x, put a tippet ring there, and then tie a piece of 5x monofilament on the tippet ring and have that...put the indicator right above the tippet ring and then make that final piece of tippet material one and a half to two times the water depth, that should get you down better.
The thinner tippet will help it drop down and you should be getting a little deeper. So those are the tips that I can give but you didn't say what kind of indicator you use, so I'm not sure. But try a little bit smaller indicator maybe and a longer tippet and heavier flies or maybe a little split shot on your leader and see if that helps. Regarding your trip to "The Rocky Mountain Fly Highway," the best thing that I can recommend, because conditions are gonna change, you didn't say what time of year you're going. You're gonna have, you know, possible rainstorms, you're gonna have possible drought and low water, warm water temperatures. So, I would wait. I would wait until about a week before you go on that trip, before you finalize your plan.
It sounds like you're driving and you're gonna be, you know, driving from point to point and fishing from your car. I would wait and then I would check fishing reports on the Orvis Fishing Reports or check with fly shops in the area you intend to fish and see which rivers or lakes are fishing the best. You know, be a little bit flexible in your itinerary so that you can hit the best conditions at whatever time of year you're gonna be going. Regarding coming to Manchester, there's a lot of public water in the Green Mountain National Forest which runs down the center of the state. Lots and lots and lots of public water. But you really don't have to worry about that so much in Vermont because unless the land is specifically posted against...unless the land says, "No fishing, no trespassing," then you are gonna be okay to fish pretty much anywhere you want, park anywhere you want as long as you're not blocking somebody's gate or driveway, as long as you're off the road.
If it's not posted, you know, you're welcome to fish there. You'll see a lot of signs in Vermont that say, "No hunting, shooting, or trapping," which pretty much means that fishing and trespassing or hiking is just fine. You won't's rare to see a no-fishing sign in Vermont. I can't think of a single place where I've seen a no-fishing or trespassing sign. Oh, yeah, I can think of one place. One place. One place only in the whole state. So you don't have to worry about that. You're gonna be able to find lots of water. And the best thing to do is when you get to Manchester and go to the flagship store, ask the people in the fishing department what's fishing best because the Battenkill is a great river, but it's very moody.
The small streams in the area are much more reliable during the summer and the fish are a lot easier. So, anyway, I hope that helps and I hope you have a great trip. Okay. Another email. This one is from JJ. Hi, Tom. I have a hand-me-down TLS Power Matrix, 8.5-foot, 5-weight, two-piece, which after a live chatting with an Orvis rep, I believe would have been considered a Recon quality back when it was manufactured years ago. It has some sentimental value, so I'm thinking about retiring it before I break it and getting something new. My question is, with the improvement in rod building technology, would you think a current Clearwater rod is of higher quality than a 20-year-old Power Matrix?
I've become accustomed to this rod, but after casting someone's new entry-level rod, I was surprised how much I liked it. Could it have also just been the advantage of the extra length I was noticing? That was a 905. The only other rod I have is a 10-foot, 8-weight for Erie Steelhead, so I'm not very experienced with the nuances of other 5-weights. Well, JJ, yeah. You know, rods do get better with every generation. The Orvis philosophy is we don't come out with a new series of rods unless it's an improvement on a previous generation. We don't develop new rods just to develop a new rod. And I would say honestly that a current Clearwater is going to be a better rod than the TLS Power Matrix that you have.
It's gonna be stronger, gonna be a little bit lighter and feel lighter in the hand, and it's gonna be more accurate. It's gonna bounce less. It's gonna have better recovery, better tracking, as they say. So, yeah, I think that a new rod is probably gonna be a pleasant surprise for you. And, you know, they just keep getting better and better every year. So I think that it may be time to retire that old Power Matrix. Not a bad rod, still will do the trick. So, you know, hang on to it, but I think that 905 and a Clearwater or a Recon is gonna be a revelation. Here's an email from Luke from Norway. Just moved here from South America. I moved here just before the river season ended last year and only got a half-day session on a river before breaking my rod and not having the finances to replace it.
Now having replaced and upgraded my gear and with the rivers about to open again, I would love to hear your opinion on how to decide on the length of my tippets when making my own tapered leaders. Luke, that's a great question, a really great question. Here's my philosophy, only my philosophy, on tippets. If you're fishing a streamer, you want a short, stiff tippet. You know, if you're fishing a streamer or the floating line, you wanna cut way back to a short, maybe, I don't know, 15 inches of 2x for fishing streamers. And then generally, for dry fly and nymph fishing, I like to use a longer tippet. Most of the leader formulas give you about a 20-inch to a 24-inch tippet if you look at 'em.
I like my tippets longer. I like my tippets 3 to 5 feet long. I think it gives me extra insurance against drag with a dry fly and a nymph, and it's helped sync nymphs with a longer tippet. So, I go 3 to 5 feet depending on conditions. And the only time you'd want, I think, a shorter tippet on a trout leader would be if you got a lot of wind. You know, if you've got a windy day, you're not gonna be able to straighten 5 feet of 4x or 5x in that tippet. And generally, the fish aren't as spooky and aren't as picky about drag on a windy day, so you may be able to get away with a 2-foot tippet. So, those are just some guidelines and I hope they help.
Here's an email from Gary from Derby, Kansas. Thanks again for such great podcast. I listen to it every week, and being fairly new to fly fishing, July will be a year. I have learned a lot from the Orvis books and your podcast. I have two questions. Here in Kansas, there's a local stream that is stocked with trout in the winter. While fishing in my go-to spot and dead drifting a size 12 raw egg under a stimulator, I hooked a fish, which after an exciting fight, turned out to be a large carp. I knew the stream has carp in the deeper areas, which brings me to my question, do carp push the stock trout or do they share the same areas?
Question two. At my local fly shop, I ran into an older gentleman and we started talking. I asked him if he fished the trout stream and he said, "No," and advised me not to as well saying it makes you a lazy fisherman and that it teaches bad habits. His main point being that fishing in stocked areas gives new fly fishers the impression that trout fishing is easy and you don't learn the skills needed if you were to go to areas where trout are native. He ended by saying that stocked trout don't hit what they should, meaning you could toss anything to them and they'd hit it like panfish tend to. Do you agree with this? Thanks for all you do as always.
So Gary, question one, yeah, carp are amazingly adaptive to both cold and warm waters and you'll find them often side by side with trout in a stream. And I am not sure if they push the trout. I don't think trout push carp around. I'm not so sure if carp push trout around. I've seen them both side by side in rivers feeding fairly closely. So I think that, you know, carp tend to go to a little bit slower water than trout and sometimes deeper water although carp will move into shallow, calm areas, we call 'em flats, in a river to feed. They're looking for crayfish and nymphs and stuff like that. And they will move into, you know, different kinds of water than trout will feed in.
Trout are gonna sit in the current and wait for the food to come to them where carp tend to cruise and look for their food and they don't like or need as much current. Although that being said, I've caught carp in relatively fast current too. So, they're gonna be all over the place but I'm not sure. I'm not sure if they push each other around or not. Regarding stocked fish and that advice, you know, you're just starting in fly fishing and you need some confidence. You need to catch some fish. And yes, stocked trout in the first few weeks after being stocked don't know what they're doing and they will hit almost anything. But, you know, after a few weeks, they settle into pretty much natural feeding and stocked trout can be... I have found that a stocked trout that's been in a river six months or more can be even more selective than a wild trout.
Wild trout tend to sample different things because they've grown up, you know, switching from food to food, whereas stocked trout were raised to be selective. They were fed pellets. They were fed one thing for the first part of their life and they tend to get...I think they tend to get super selective. So, I don't think that, you know, once a stocked trout has been around for a while, I don't think they're pushovers and I don't think you should have any insecurities about fishing for stocked trout. You're gonna be catching trout, you're still gonna have to do most things right. And yeah, when they're first stocked, they can be really easy but not after that. So, don't believe everything you hear. And you will learn lots of things fishing for stocked trout that will be valuable to you when you go to fish some wild trout streams.
Here's an email from James from Tennessee. Thank you for the podcast. I wanted to ask a question about the product lifecycle of a fly rod. I do not think you've gone into detail about this before and I understand if this answer is vague. Lately, I've noticed numerous companies release new or revamped versions of some of their mid-tier or upper-level rods. This got me to thinking, how does a fly fishing company such as Orvis determine when it is time to revamp or upgrade a rod model? Does a product lifecycle of a rod relate more to "Keeping Up With the Joneses" or is the rod technology in development increasingly fast enough where revamped or new and upgraded models are needed every so many years? Thank you for any response you can provide.
That's a great question, James. And I've been planning on having Shawn Combs, head of rod development at Orvis, on a podcast for a while and I'm gonna do that quite soon and talk about this very question. But I think it's a matter of both things. When you have a rod in your line, it generally goes through a life cycle where the first couple of years, the rod really takes off in sales and we can't make 'em fast enough. And then, it starts to plateau out and all the while, all the while, you know, as soon as one new rod comes out, we're already looking at the next generation. The philosophy at Orvis is that we don't come out with a new rod model unless it is a significant performance improvement over the previous generation.
I'll give you a good example. The Helios 3, which has been around for, I don't know, five years maybe? I can't remember how many years. I've been at Orvis for so long. But this rod just continues to sell. It hasn't plateaued yet. It's just so popular, you know, and we're always working on a next generation. But again, you know, hopefully, what we hope is that the product reaches kind of the downward part of the plateau in its lifecycle when we've come up with an improved rod. So how do you improve rods? Well, you make 'em lighter if you can, you make 'em thinner if you can. You especially increase the damping or the elimination of vibration in a rod after the cast so that it casts more accurately.
And it's not just new materials, it's new tapers, a new way of applying those materials to the rod and in different amounts and directions. So, there's a lot of things involved. But, you know, it's really a matter of both. It is "Keeping Up With the Joneses," but again, our philosophy is that we don't change a rod series until we've got a better rod series. And this goes for everything from the Encounter and the Clearwaters up to the Helios grade rods. So, you know, people talk about an older rod and the newer rods are going to be better. They're gonna be stronger, they're gonna be lighter, they're gonna be more accurate, and we will hopefully continue on that path.
Steve: Hi, Tom. I'm Steve in Washington, D.C. My question concerns fly casting, but it is mostly about the design of fly rods and fly lines. And I thought of this question when I was reminded recently of what I think is a manufacturer's standard for the designation of the weight of a fly rod. And that standard, as I remember it, is that it is equivalent to the grain weight of each foot in the first 30 feet of a fly line that optimally loads the rod. So, for example, a 5-weight rod would be optimally loaded with 150 grains, 5 grains per foot times 30 feet, 150 grains. The relevance of this, if there is any, to my fly casting is that it occurred to me that maybe I ought to be a lot more careful before extending the amount of fly line outside the tip top when I'm trying to make a nice cast beyond 30 feet or beyond the amount that properly loads the rod or optimally loads the rod.
Certainly, particularly on trying to make a long cast, I will often put a lot more line than 30 feet outside the tip top, and maybe that's just dumb or at least wrong. It also occurred to me that maybe that manufacturing standard, which I probably read more than 20 years ago, has been overtaken by technology and that now, rods and lines and the optimal matching of the two and the length of line that would optimally load the rod is altogether different. I can imagine, for example, maybe I ought to just pay attention to the length of the head that is described on the packaging of the fly line and assume that putting the head outside the tip top is really what I'm aiming or ought to be aiming to do if I'm optimally loading the rod. Well, there you have it. A bit of a geeky question, but on the other hand, I must tell you, Tom, that after the Flagler-Rosenbauer homage to CDC of a couple three weeks ago, I think you're gonna have to concede the floodgates are nearly open to geekier conversations on the podcast or at least I hope so. Thanks.
Tom: So, Steve, you're exactly right in that fly lines are standardized. So a 5-weight needs to fall within...or a 6-weight or a 7-weight, whatever, needs to fall within a particular grain range in the first, I think it's 35 feet, maybe 30 or 35 feet, of the line. Now, you know, the rods or most rods are really kind of optimized to cast around 40 feet so that, you know, if you're casting much beyond 40 feet, you probably don't wanna hold a lot of line in the air. You wanna shoot the remaining amount of line. There are times, if for a super long cast, that you may wanna hold a little bit more line in the air. But, you know, and there's some leeway above and below 35 feet certainly where the rod is gonna perform admirably, just plain, old false casting or standard overhead cast or roll casters. There's quite a bit of leeway there.
And although fly lines are standardized, the thing is that fly rods are not. So, you will see some rods out there where they say they call for a 5-weight line, but really, they don't bend very much until you get beyond 35 or 40 feet, that's holding a lot of line in the air, and they're really super stiff with 35 feet of line out there. I would consider that rod underlined and really needs a heavier line size. So, rods are not standardized. At Orvis, we pretty much...our philosophy is that we build a rod to line size. And yeah, you can overline a rod usually pretty well. You can overline at one or even two line sizes and the rod will perform quite well.
Underlining a rod by going to a lighter line doesn't usually work as well because the line isn't flexing the rod. It isn't building up that energy in the rod. So, I'm kind of rambling here but I think you get what I'm saying. In other words, the short answer is that yes, fly lines are standardized, no, fly rods are not. So, you really have to try. That's why we recommend that before buying a rod, you try it. And again, there are some rods that are... Generally, you don't see many fly rods out there that I would consider overlined, in other words, you need to go to a lighter line, but there are plenty of rods out there, not Orvis rods, that are awfully stiff and really, you know, they feel powerful when you wiggle 'em in the fly shop and they feel light, but they could be quite stiff when you get a fly line on 'em.
All right. That is the Fly Box for this week. Let's go talk to Steve about recent updates in the Everglades situation. Well, my guest today is Steve Davis, who is the chief science officer for the Everglades Foundation. We've been working with Everglades Foundation, God, since, you know, I don't know, maybe 15 years since the beginning of the CERP project. And as you know, if you follow any Orvis social media or you get the catalogs, you know that the Everglades are a major focus for Orvis's conservation programs. We believe this is a national, international treasure and there are solutions to the problems that are occurring in South Florida with water. We've got solutions. The money is starting to flow in. People are excited. And Steve, will you just, for people know, there are gonna be people listening who are not familiar with the problem, can you just give us like a three-minute summary, the nutshell summary of what's been going on in Florida? And then an update obviously.
Steve D.: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely, Tom, and it's great to be on with you again. Everglades Restoration is really a series of fixes, infrastructure projects to South Florida. And many people may not know that South Florida was replumbed by the Army Corps of Engineers beginning, my goodness, but really going back to the 1920s and '30s when the Herbert Hoover Dike was built around Lake Okeechobee, 1960s when the Kissimmee River, the 100-mile meandering Kissimmee River was straightened into a canal that was 50 miles long. And then of course, south of Lake Okeechobee, the River of Grass was completely replumbed and compartmentalized. So, the river [inaudible 00:51:39] flowed, it was a series of lakes.
And at the end, Everglades National Park and Florida Bay down before the Keys only got water when there was a surplus in the water conservation areas that were cut off from Lake Okeechobee, the historic head water supply. So it was this series of drainage efforts and levee construction that really changed the way water flowed in South Florida to the point where it doesn't even resemble the natural flow. Now, when water from as far north as Shingle Creek and Orlando, that water hits Lake Okeechobee, it's sent to the eastern West Coast where that water isn't wanted, where it actually does much more harm because not only is it an unnatural volume of freshwater being sent to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries, it's now carrying loads of pollution and oftentimes, toxic algae.
So Restoration is the infrastructure, water infrastructure needed to help us redirect that flow from the lake, that 700-square mile freshwater lake, and sending it south. And we do that with storage, large reservoirs, we do it with treatment wetlands, because we need to deal with the pollution that's in that lake water, and we need to remove some barriers to flow like bridging Tamiami Trail and getting that water ultimately into the park. So, we've been at this for 22 years, but we have seen more progress really in the last few years and we're just really thrilled to be able to report on some of the recent funding and projects that we're seeing moving along.
Tom: And there's been some developments. In fact, you and I recorded a podcast, what, about a month ago, an Everglades update, and we decided not to run it because so much was happening. And so you wanna give us an update on what's going on, say, in the past couple months in Everglades Restoration?
Steve D.: Sure. Well, one thing that's happening is that this process that's going to lead to a new rulebook for Lake Okeechobee, and it really is a rulebook. It's a set of rules that the Army Corps of Engineers will use to operate the structures around Lake Okeechobee that will dictate how much water is sent east and west and how much water can go south and how much water is available for water supply, and this is the Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual. It's coming in for what looks to be a very smooth and good landing. That plan will result in 37% reduction in those unwanted discharges. That's an enormous volume of water that will not be sent to those coasts again where it's not wanted. Instead, that water will be sent south to the Everglades.
And so what we'll see with this new lake schedule that will be implemented beginning 2023 is a plan that aligns the operations of Lake Okeechobee, that historic heart of the Everglades, and watershed for all the water that would flow south. It'll align the operations of Lake Okeechobee with the goals and objectives of Everglades Restoration. So, that will be aligned and really, will benefit all of our environment, aquatic ecosystems from rivers and estuaries, freshwater wetlands, all the way down to the mangrove coasts, and the seagrass meadows of Florida Bay will realize the benefits of that just next year. So, that's exciting.
We had an effort to undermine that process in our Florida Senate and it seems as though we were able to tamp that down with an outpouring really of pushback from the fishing community, Captains For Clean Water, Everglades Foundation. We mounted an effort to get folks up to the Capitol and really voice our concerns about this bill that would have tied funding for Everglades Restoration Projects to this Lake Okeechobee schedule that they wanted to see changed so that it would provide more water for agriculture for sugar. So, it was an effort to really undermine the progress that we've made. We were able to push back. What we have now is a bill that has a lot of that negative aspect stripped out of it.
And I don't know any more detail than that and can't say how I would grade the bill in its present amended form, but it's certainly much better than it would have been. And that was because, quite frankly, because the fishing community recognizes the importance of protecting our water, reducing those discharges, and sending more of that water to the South. The last thing to report on is Everglades funding. And, my goodness, we've seen some really incredible numbers come out of Tallahassee once again. Another robust year of funding recommendation, Governor DeSantis sticking to his commitment of $2.5 billion over four years for Everglades and water quality projects, and we're seeing $352 million for Everglades Restoration in this current budget.
The federal government put $1.1 billion from the bipartisan infrastructure package into Everglades Restoration and the President's most recent budget that was announced earlier this week includes $407 million for Everglades Restoration. And the key there, with that $407 million, is they expect that up to $300 million of that will be dedicated towards that Everglades agricultural area reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. So, getting that project moving is really exciting and we're just thrilled to see that schedule for project construction staying on track.
Tom: And that reservoir is really essential, isn't it? Because we're sending more water south, planning on sending more water south to the Everglades and Florida Bay, but that water is heavily nutrient-laden and polluted. And as I understand it, the reservoir is a way of cleaning that water in a more or less natural manner.
Steve D.: It is, and it serves a few purposes. I think the most fundamental purpose is that reservoir allows for a new outlet for water from Lake Okeechobee as the lake levels are rising. So again, if the goal is to reduce discharge from the lake, you've gotta find places to put water, and filling that reservoir is going to be one of the highest priorities as lake levels are rising and the threat of discharge to the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie increases. So, reconnecting the lake back to the South, that's important. Holding that water and using it when it's most needed delivers the timing benefits that are so critical to South Florida.
Many of the biological processes, wading bird nesting, fisheries production, that's all tied to the seasonality of water and rainfall in South Florida. And so getting the timing right will really be helped considerably with this reservoir. So, storing and treating then becomes tied to the fact that this reservoir has a 6,500-acre treatment wetland associated with it. So, think about that as like a giant Brita filter to remove the contaminants from that water as it comes from the lake to that reservoir. And before we send that South, we guarantee that that water will be substantially cleaner and provide the maximum benefits all the way to the South. And so with Everglades Restoration and having those treatment wetlands south of the lake, the more water we divert to the South, the more we're sending clean water south and the less polluted water we're sending east and west, and that's the fundamental goal of Everglades Restoration.
Tom: And so that should benefit fisheries on the east coast of Florida, the west coast of Florida, the Everglades, and Florida Bay, all those fisheries should be enhanced, right?
Steve D.: That's right. And so the reservoir, we look at that project as really a win-win-win situation because it helps us to improve conditions on both coasts, maintaining the proper estuarine salinity levels to protect those seagrass and oyster habitats. It helps to manage Lake Okeechobee levels in a better way for the submerged aquatic vegetation to provide habitat and also to improve water quality in Lake Okeechobee. And by sending that water south, we're delivering the benefits all the way down to Florida Bay that are needed to build really drought resilience in that into the system right now that seems to suffer. Every year that we have a drought, there's no flow going into the lake. We see hyper-salinity conditions develop and folks know that story of seagrass style. So, it really solves our problems around the coast as well as throughout the middle of the peninsula.
Tom: So, the new reservoir that's gonna be built, the water that's coming out of that and flowing south, will that be regulated or will it be more or less a natural flow? Will there actually be a valve or something to regulate the amount of water going south?
Steve D.: I think that's an important point to make, and many people just have this vision in their mind when they think of Everglades Restoration, that it's putting it back to this sort of natural free-flowing environment. And it will never be sort of that ecosystem again. It will always be a managed Everglades. And it's in large part because we are on a very flat, very low-lying landscape here in South Florida. And so in order to provide flood protection for the millions of us that live along the lower east coast, I live in Miami, we have upwards of 3 million people in our county, in order to provide flood protection for those communities, there needs to be water control, water management.
And so, yes, to your question, the reservoir, its delivery of water to the stormwater treatment marshes, that delivery of water into the water conservation areas will all be controlled as that water passes through the water conservation areas. And once it gets to Tamiami Trail and flows under those bridges of Tamiami Trail that have been constructed and are allowing hydration, new hydration of Shark River slew, at that point, it's a free-flowing environment. So, once that water hits Tamiami Trail, then it's free-flowing all the way down to the coast and is no longer manageable. And so that's what we want, to get to the point where we're meeting the flow needs of the park of Florida Bay, and that is, you know, the finish line for water in this ecosystem.
Tom: And will this also benefit freshwater supply for South Florida? I mean, the population is growing down there and I know that freshwater for drinking, for household use has become a problem. Will this benefit that as well?
Steve D.: Yeah, and folks have also heard that famous line that water is also for fighting. And so we certainly have disputes over that water in Lake Okeechobee, but the beauty of this new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual is that it actually increases water supply for the agricultural areas around Lake Okeechobee. So, having a little more water in the lake allows us to have much greater benefit around the system. So, for every gallon of water that we're sending south from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades, we're not only deriving those environmental benefits that we often talk about, we're also recharging the Biscayne Aquifer that millions of us down here depend upon.
And you think of all the hotels on South Beach and all the millions of residents that are down here and the tourism industry, we all depend on that Biscayne Aquifer for our water supply. So, every increment of water that we're not wasting and dumping and causing impacts on both coasts by sending that water south, we all benefit from it as well.
Tom: So, you said that this project will actually benefit South Florida agriculture. If that's the case, why was there this pushback in the state government regarding the funding of the project? Because it sounds like the pushback was derived from the agricultural industry? What was their issue with what's going on?
Steve D.: I don't know exactly what drove it, but the only thing that makes sense is that it's about control. And they have historically benefited from this water management infrastructure that causes so much harm. So, in general, they fight to maintain that status quo that we're all suffering from. And we have to recognize that that water infrastructure, you know, back in the '20s and '30s, it was about agriculture. It was about providing, draining land, providing water to grow crops in this wonderful climate we have down here. You can grow crops year-round. And so it really is an effort to maintain that status quo. So, it's about control. And in the current lake schedule, they have a zone where if water levels start dropping in the dry season, which they typically do, we reach a point where basically, all other users are excluded and they have this luxury amount of water available to them.
What this new lake schedule does is it takes them out from the front of the line and it puts us all on equal footing. We truly have a new balanced lake schedule that balances the needs of all the users, including those that don't want the water that's being sent to them. And I'm thinking particularly about Fort Myers on the West Coast and Sanibel as well as the city of Stuart and those communities on the East Coast. We now consider all of those that are affected by Lake Okeechobee water on equal footing. And so some of that control that they've had where, you know, all other users are shut off, that probably concerns them because it means that, you know, they're no longer at the front of the line and at the back of the line. Now, they're on same ground as the rest of us.
And, you know, I think that makes sense given Florida's demographics and population change over the last 80 years or so since this infrastructure was really completed and it recognizes that we are no longer an agriculture state. We are now a tourism and real estate and boating and fishing. So, and it all depends on clean water. And so having a lake schedule that aligns with Everglades Restoration that focuses on getting the water right, that's gonna benefit Florida's economy. Our governor gets that and, you know, we're moving in the right direction.
Tom: Steve, what do you see as future threats to this program and what can people do to make sure that we stay the course in all these projects? I mean, there are numerous projects other than the reservoir to clean up Lake Okeechobee and get more water south. But what do you see as some threats that we should be aware of?
Steve D.: Well, some of the future threats are going to be the same as those we've been dealing with historically, those that try to undermine Everglades Restoration progress, those that try to fight for the status quo that we know we don't benefit from in our state's present and future economy. We know that growth is a constant issue and not all growth is bad. We've shown that we can densify areas in South Florida and have no impact on Everglades Restoration progress. But it's the sprawl, it's the ever, you know, push out westward along the edge of the Everglades that really impacts our ability to complete restoration the way it was envisioned, the way we could deliver the maximum benefits.
So, you know, suburban sprawl is gonna be a constant struggle. Water quality issues, they don't go away. In fact, they generally get worse. And so we're gonna continue to fight these water quality issues, which means we need more stringent controls at the nutrient source problem as well as installing and constructing more of these treatment structures, treatment wetlands to clean up the water. And innovation will also aid in solving some of these water quality problems. We need more cost-effective solutions for removing things like phosphorus out of the water that we know causes impact. And then, of course, we've got climate change and sea-level rise down here in South Florida. As I mentioned earlier, we're a flat, low-lying landscape. That makes us vulnerable to sea-level rise. And communities down here are developing and implementing resilience measures to deal with that.
And so we need to be not only the advancers of Everglades Restoration, which we've, you know, been doing for, we're going on 30 years next year. So we've been moving Restoration forward, but we're also going to need to be the sentinels of what we restore and protecting against these issues as well as sea-level rise and understanding how to protect our cities while also protecting these investments that we've made in Everglades Restoration. Because as long as there are people in South Florida, we're going to be benefiting from this ecosystem, and the healthier it is, the more we're going to benefit, our economy will benefit. It's gonna provide us with water supply for decades to come, perhaps, you know, over a century. As people are living here, they're going to benefit from a restored and protected Everglades.
Tom: And as I understand it, I've become painfully aware that projects like this that are multi-year, every year, we have to fight for funding, right, because this is split between Florida and the federal government. And it's not like they're gonna cut us a check for the next 10 years, that every year, we have to go through funding issues for these projects.
Steve D.: That's exactly right. And that, I think people just assume that our elected officials want to give us money every year. Some do.
Tom: Yeah.
Steve D.: Some do, but that's not the case. And so building coalitions and having effective folks walking the halls in Tallahassee and in Washington, D.C., that is the only way that this happens. And it really is a year-to-year grind. And it certainly helps when you have folks like, you know, Governor DeSantis that gets the importance of clean water to Florida's economy. Politics aside, and in fact, politics are aside in Everglades Restoration issues. We generally see good and strong bipartisan support certainly within our state legislature and Florida delegation and Washington, D.C. They are all on board with it because they get it. They know that Florida's future depends on this. But it's sort of beyond South Florida and it's beyond the State of Florida in both Tallahassee and Washington respectively where we work to get the funding that we need to complete this job.
The federal government is vested in Everglades Restoration. Many people don't realize that. They might wonder, why is the federal government involved? Well, the federal government is the, you know, entity that constructed this flood control project that is causing all this harm today and they helped us to develop and authorize the plan that fixes our water issues. And so they are committed to solving this problem. And at this point, it's really a funding issue, that year-to-year grind of getting the funding we need to finish the job and the Everglades Foundation is leading that effort. And I'm proud of what we've been able to achieve, especially in these last few years of robust funding.
Tom: Yeah. And so people in every state in the United States should stay on top of this and encourage their elected representatives to continue to fund this and, you know, check into the Everglades Foundation website occasionally to see if there are issues that they should be supporting at their level, because Everglades is a national park. We all own it, right? It's not just...
Steve D.: It's a national park, it's one of the best places in the world to fish and boat. And, you know, millions of people come down here every year whether they're going to the beach or whether they're going to, you know, fish, Florida Bay. It's all connected and, you know, it's imperative that we restore the Everglades. This is America's Everglades and it goes well beyond Everglades National Park. So, yeah, people should absolutely be in support of this. And really, it's the model for ecosystem restoration that our country can really capitalize on in many systems around the country. You think of Chesapeake Bay, you think of coastal Louisiana, all these areas really have been following the lead of Everglades Restoration, and even the Great Lakes. So, this is more than just about Everglades. It's really about ecosystem restoration and the importance of water to our nation.
Tom: And I mean, it's a great positive feeling that things are actually happening, that we're not just wringing our hands and giving up on this amazing, amazing resource, wilderness area really.
Steve D.: And it works. We know that it works. The projects that are, you know, coming close to completion, they're delivering benefits beyond what we anticipated. So, we know that it works and we also know that it's worth the investment. And that's how people have to view this. It's an investment in our natural resources and an investment in our future.
Tom: And people should not only contact their local representatives, but they should support the Everglades Foundation by donations and joining and staying in touch.
Steve D.: Yeah. I encourage folks to check us out, You can catch us on all the social media channels, and feel free to reach out. I would love to engage with folks that have any questions.
Tom: Yeah. And the Everglades Foundation has been one of Orvis's prime conservation partners for many years and we've been proud to work with Everglades Foundation and Captains For Clean Water who are really, really beating the grassroots drum and doing a very effective job of it.
Steve D.: It's been a great partnership with Orvis and just helping us to, you know, that reservoir that we talked about earlier, you know, just helping to get that project planned and authorized and now, my goodness, under construction. We never would have thought we'd see that happen. Orvis has been a champion for that and certainly our other partnerships with Captains, and it's a team effort.
Tom: Orvis used to, you know, pick a conservation project or two per year and raise funds and raise awareness for it, and then, you know, move on to another project the next year. And we realized a number of years ago that that isn't the way to do it. You gotta pick a lane, you gotta pick an important project, and you gotta stick with it for a multi, multi, multi-year campaign. So, you know, it's been one of our primary projects for, God, I don't know, 10 years or so, and we're proud of all the progress that's been made. We're proud of all our partners.
Steve D.: Well, yeah. Again, we thank you all and we're proud to partner with you and the progress that we've seen just over the last five years, you know, the uptick in funding, it really...things are firing on all cylinders right now, and now is a good time to be on board with this issue.
Tom: Yeah, and let's keep it up.
Steve D.: Yeah.
Tom: Keep the pressure on.
Steve D.: Exactly.
Tom: Well, thank you, Steve, for updating us. It's always great to hear good news on the conservation front. And thank you, again, for all the amazing work you guys do down there on the ground. And we will continue to follow your progress and continue to stay the course and we will see the fisheries improve in Florida.
Steve D.: Absolutely. And it's great to be on with y'all as always, Tom.
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