Nov. 8 vote can save the life of a loved one


Rodney Smith is awarded an inaugural Charlie Corbeil Conservation Award in April of 2014 by event emcee Vince Lamb of Preserve Brevard.

Photo by Mike Gaffey

Foreword by Linda Wiggins

Rodney Smith may have been knocked down by a recent stroke, but he is far from out. His rapid recovery has no doubt been fueled by his passion to save the river that he raised his children and now grandchildren to love, the Indian River Lagoon.

The founding publisher of Coastal Angler magazine, Smith later founded the nonprofit Anglers for Conservation to manage and protect the marine lives that depend on the river and beyond. He won an inaugural Viera Voice Charlie Corbeil Conservation Award in 2014 for his efforts.

Here is his first published piece since his illness three months ago. He urges a call to action for voters to approve the half-cent sales tax measure placed on the Nov. 8 ballot unanimously by the Brevard County Commission. The purpose is to raise money for improvements to the health of the river. Or as the Anglers for Conservation-sponsored yard signs state popping up across Brevard: Love Our Lagoon.

You once had a friend; he is dead.
What caused it? Do we know why?
Our friend, the Indian River Lagoon
Is dying the death of a thousand cuts.
A hundred years, a thousand years or perhaps yesterday
Our friend will die.

Stand on the Eau Gallie Causeway bridge, look over the side, take a deep breath, what do you see. Think about it, what did the Indian River Lagoon look like 50 years ago? What will it look like 50 years from today? 

It's time to ask yourself, is our friend — the Indian River Lagoon dying? If your gut is telling you yes, then it's time to invest into changing the IRL's downward path. Are you going to help your friend?

With dipping dissolved oxygen levels throughout the lagoon and high water temperatures, the lagoon is changing different shades of brown and green. Fish kills are continuing; dolphins, manatees, and pelicans are still dying; seagrass is struggling, and the algae family is blooming.

Are you going to help your friend?

Take the time now to invest in the Indian River Lagoon's future for our property values, our tourism industry and our fishing/recreational industry. 

Our friend, the Indian River Lagoon is dying, will it take us all down with it?.