Water Quality Legislation Topic of Chamber’s June Luncheon

provided to The Santiva Chronicle

Members of the SanCap Chamber will hear updates on water quality and current related legislation plus the state of the chamber at the Wednesday, June 21, business luncheon, which takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Marriott Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa in Fort Myers. Guest speakers include Captains for Clean Water’s Daniel Andrews and SCCF’s (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) James Evans.

Clive Daniel Home and Simple Social Marketing Agency are sponsoring the June luncheon.

Co-founder and executive director of Captains for Clean Water, Capt. Andrews walked away from a full college scholarship to start his dream job as a fishing guide in 2011. As a full-time guide, Andrews spent more awake time on the water than on dry land.

At age 25, the fishing captain became concerned the estuary upon which he depended to make a living was being destroyed by toxic discharges from Lake Okeechobee at a rate that wouldn’t allow him to live out his career doing what he loved.

“It wasn’t an option to just sit back and watch the places I made my fondest memories as a kid knowingly destroyed by bad water management practices,” Andrews says.

In February 2016, Andrews cofounded Captains for Clean Water with Capt. Chris Wittman as a way of fighting for the places he cares about most. A year later, he made the difficult decision to walk away from his successful charter business to take on the role of executive director of the nonprofit to protect local waters for future generations to enjoy.

Evans joined SCCF in August 2020 as environmental policy director. In January 2021, SCCF appointed him as CEO, responsible for ensuring the nonprofit achieves its mission to protect and care for Southwest Florida’s coastal ecosystems. He has more than 24 years of experience working in South Florida ecosystems and expertise in water quality, environmental policy, marine biology, estuarine ecology, and environmental restoration.

Evans earned a B.A. in environmental studies and M.S. in environmental science from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. His graduate research focused on evaluating the influence of freshwater inflow from Estero Bay’s tributaries on the distribution and abundance of ichthyoplankton and gelatinous predators.

Prior to joining SCCF, Evans served as the City of Sanibel Director of Natural Resources from 2012 to 2020. He has served on numerous committees and boards, including Chair of the Lee County Coastal Advisory Council and the Southwest Florida Watershed Council, Co-Chair of the Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Partnership (CHNEP) Management Committee, and member of the South Florida Water Management District’s Water Resources Accountability and Collaboration group, the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force Science Coordination Group, the C-43 West basin Reservoir Water Quality Treatment Component Feasibility Study Working Group, and the Hurricane Ian Recovery Task Force Natural Resources Branch.

In 2022, the SanCap Chamber named Evans Citizen of the Year.

“Today, these men have their fingers on the pulse of what is happening in Tallahassee to help or harm our local water quality,” said John Lai, chamber president and CEO. “With water quality as the chamber’s top legislative priority, James’ and Capt. Daniel’s knowledge and involvement are crucial to our mission and the future of business on the islands.”

The chamber business lunch is a monthly networking opportunity held at various member locations. The chamber strives to provide speakers to discuss relevant business topics for the membership. Sanibel-Captiva chamber members receive meeting invitations by email. Cost for luncheon attendance is $35 for chamber members only.

Advanced registration is required to attend; walk-ins are not accepted. Register by 5 p.m. on Friday, June 16, at sanibel-captiva.org or by contacting Aaron Walton at aaron@sanibel-captiva.org or 239-472-8759. Payment is due at time of registration.

ABOUT SANIBEL & CAPTIVA ISLANDS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
The SanCap Chamber is dedicated to promoting the prosperity of its members and preserving the quality of life of the community. With more than 460 active Chamber members from both islands and businesses from Lee and Collier counties, the Chamber plays a key role in facilitating communication and cooperation between business, residents, and government to enhance the economic health of the islands. The Francis P. Bailey, Jr., Chamber Visitor Center is located at the entrance to Sanibel Island and has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors each year. VISIT FLORIDA named the visitor center one of 13 official Florida Certified Tourism Information Centers in the state. It provides comprehensive information about things to do, places to visit, and where to stay, shop, and dine. The chamber website sanibel-captiva.org receives more than 1.3 million website visits per year. For more information about the chamber, contact John Lai, president and CEO, at 239-472-2348 or John@sanibel-captiva.org.

 

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