Follow the Water will be released this Friday to show the importance of restoring the Everglades

July 12 – The importance of the Florida Everglades can’t really be overstated.

Restoration and sustainability projects have been underway for years and an upcoming film will focus on those efforts.

Follow the Water is a project created by Simon Perkins, the president of Orvis, a company offering fly fishing equipment since the 1860s. The film follows Perkins’s journey along the 240 miles of water from Orlando to Florida Bay.

Perkins joined Good Morning Keys on KeysTalk 96.9/102.5FM this morning to talk about the film.

Perkins said, “So much of not only our business, but also our personal passion, relies on the natural resource. Many people enjoy it just like we do and these resources we’re talking about, it’s important for them to be sustainable for businesses and also for those passions to exist in the future, so we really feel it’s our role, we’ve got to do our part to make sure they’re around for not only us in the future, but also future generations.”

Follow the Water will discuss the natural flow of fresh water and how it’s been altered to the brink of almost the collapse of the ecosystem.

Perkins explained, “The Florida Bay only receives 25 to 50 percent of the fresh water it needs. That’s not sustainable. So many people enjoy Florida Bay and it’s not going to be around if there’s not something done about it.”

Perkins followed the water route, meeting guides and advocates playing a role in the Everglades restoration project. It’s the biggest water restoration project that’s ever been attempted.

The trip took about four days.

Perkins said, “It was just kind of a whirlwind because the area is so vast. Until you travel that entire length, you don’t realize how big of an ecosystem we’re talking about and it’s incredible and it all feeds Florida Bay, which itself is huge. This project is basically a re-plumbing of Florida that will have a huge, positive impact.”

The goal of the film is to break the issues down and make it easily understandable in an effort to bring more people on board to advocate for the restoration.

It’s been a multi-decades project.

Perkins said, “Unfortunately it’s one of those things that can be lost pretty quickly if it’s not something that we’re paying attention to and really advocating for. We have some great momentum. There’s some great projects that are taking place in all the different sections of the 240 miles.”

Florida has a $33 billion outdoor recreation economy. Florida Bay has more than 2,000 species of plants and animals.

Not to mention the 9 million people in south Florida who rely on the Everglades for clean drinking water.

Urban sprawl is also an issue in the Everglades – population growth always needs to be considered.

Perkins pointed out, “This is a really important issue to many on a national level, too.”

Orvis donates money to help conservation efforts and the Everglades restoration project really caught the company’s attention.

Perkins said, “We know how important the Everglades and all the resources that it feeds off of are…we also know how important it is to the industry. We support a lot (of conservation efforts). We have great partners who are really smart, who are working hard to help make sure that these places are around in the future. Florida Bay and the Everglades in so many ways it shaped what the sport has been today specifically with salt water because it’s just such an iconic place. In the world of water conservation, this is the mecca. This is the biggest project every attempted. We’re close to this potentially being the biggest success story ever in the history of water restoration in this country and that’s a big deal because those wins, those success stories, they’re inspiring, they’re case studies. It has kind of a domino effect for a lot of other projects that are in the works. So there are a number of reasons why this was such an important story on a national level and one that we’ve been really involved with for the last 30 years and unfortunately we know that the ecosystem doesn’t have another 30 years, but we’re close to this actually becoming something that has a sustainable future.”

The film will be on the Orvis homepage

Perkins said, “It’s a really fun, inspiring story to share because there are so many incredible people that have put so much effort into this and it’s just fun to be able to share that story with people and that’s what we’re hoping to do on Friday. It was incredible to be able to do that journey.”