The Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF) has become the International
Federation of Fly Fishers (IFFF), and our own Ron Winn was in
charge of selecting an updated logo. He helped select a design
that is recognizable to the old guard yet has a modern and enticing
look for new members:
an active Member Club
of the International Federation of
Become a Member of the IFFF
Only $35.00 Membership fees 1 year
senior (65+) - US - $25.00
Join the International Federation
of Fly Fishers
DUES are DUE
Each year between September and December the BFFA collects
dues from its members. These dues help us maintain the function
of our club by having funds to pay for such things as speakers,
postage, PO box rent, awards, tide charts, etc.
During the 25 years we have been in existence we have not raised
our dues and they will remain $20 for an individual,
$30 for a family,and $10 for a student. If you have joined from
May on in 2015 you do not have to renew for this coming year,
but if you joined before May in 2015 we ask that you do renew.
Please bring a check to the
next meeting, or mail it to:
BFFA of Brevard
PO Box 524, Melbourne, FL 32902
Please include: your snail mail address, email addresses and
BFFA is a proud supporter
Casting for Recovery
is a national 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization, supports breast cancer survivors
through a program that combines fly-fishing, counseling,
and medical information to build a focus on wellness instead
Please help support this program.
(*mark your check for Florida Chapter)
Dominic Agostini is....
about some good news about the lagoon!?."
View our list of 2016
We have been operating as a club
for 27 years.
One of our founding fathers Ron, Winn wrote the history of
the club on our About Us
like to make club outings a social and
educational opportunity. Plan on attending the next
outing with someone you dont normally fish with,
perhaps a new member. Also, share your boat with a
non-boating member. Just inform any Board member
(see the list in BackCast) if you have a boat to share,
or if you are currently boatless, and any suggestions
you have for a local destination.
We are planning an outing for the next couple of
months, so let us know your ideas.
the the Outings
page for details
Monthly Dinner Meeting:
Thursday, May 5th 6:30 PM
6:30 PM, Memaw's Bar B-Q, Eau Gallie Blvd.
Indian Harbour Beach
program for May will be presented by Eric Davis of Vero Beach.
He has fished the east coast of Florida for over 30 years. For
many years, Eric operated a fly shop and fishing store in Vero,
called the Backcountry. He now guidesin the Vero Beach and Fort
He will discuss fly tactics for fishing the Indian River. He
will speak on changing river conditions and how he has adapted
to these changes over the years.
He urges you to bring your maps to mark up with his secret places.
He will be happy to answer any questions you have about fishing
the Vero Beach and Fort Pierce areas.
Eric had fished a wide variety of locations around the world,
including the Amazon, the Bahamas, Christmas Island, Costa Rica,
Cocos Island, Hawaii, and the Florida Keys."
The recent fish kills in the IRL have spurred a pulse of interest
in fixing the problems of the Lagoon. This is a good reaction,
but must be tempered with practicality and logic. It is important
that we not abandon our past successful, if gradual, efforts
in favor of grandiose but impractical new ideas. Non-productive
emphasis on approaches not supported by past research can
quickly dampen the necessary enthusiasms.Increased funding
is necessary and helpful, but only if
spent on the best approaches.
We are fortunate to have a member, Marty Smith-son, with great
knowledge and experience concerning the IRL, its characteristics,
problems and needs. Martys discussion of the situation
occupies most of the newsletter this month. In it he points
out that algal blooms and fish kills have occurred in the
IRL for over 100 years and efforts to alleviate them have
had successes, such as peaks in seagrass coverage within the
past decade. Stresses on the Lagoon, in terms of increased
population and development, have increased greatly, but much
has been accomplished to control these stresses. Improved
regulations and better enforcement of existing regulations,
coupled with acceleration of programs such as muck removal
can go far in restoring the lagoon....Frank
Editors Note: Marty Smithson was Brevard Countys
first Stormwater Utility Director, former Director of the
IRL National Estuary Program, six years in private consulting
and currently the Director of the Sebastian Inlet District.
He has worked on Indian River Lagoon issues for 30 years
Frank Perkins asked me to discuss the current Indian River
Lagoon situation. He said to spill it all. No limits on article
length. To my close friendswho have heard recent rants, I
I like to put things in perspective, when addressing the Indian
River Lagoon crisis. But not necessarily when describing the
fish I have caught. Lately there have been a few suggestions
on how to clean up the Indian River. Someone suggested that
we filter the lagoon with pump stations to get rid of the
brown tide and green algae bloom. Sounds good, but is it feasible?
Using a small segment of the Lagoon for example, we can assume
at any given moment, there is approximately 7 billion gallons
of water between the Eau Gallie and Melbourne bridges. The
Melbourne water Treatment plant which serves customers within
a 100 square mile area, filters approximately 6 million gallons
per day. Thats a big operation. If a similar treatment
plant was constructed for the lagoon itwould take over 3 years
to filter the 7 billion gallons between the bridges. Thats
not a real feasible or cost effective operation. If we could
establish a million clams, mussels and/or oysters in this
same area of th elagoon each filtering 25 to 50 gallons per
day, the areas volume could be filtered in 4 to 9 months.
Now were talking! At least for this small segment of
We keep hearing, we need more inlets. My fear
is one day we may get them. Then we will be worrying about
something other than lagoon quality. Regardless, lets
put manmade inlets in perspective.Sebastian Inlet, a relatively
small inlet, has a tidal prism of 4 billion gallons exchanged
between mean high tide and mean low. The area influenced by
this flushing is limited to about 2 miles north and 2 miles
south of the inlet. Sounds like just the solution between
the bridges. Well, maybe. Currently State law prohibits the
construction of new inlets, with the exception of deep water
ports. We may be able to get a local legislator to try and
change that law. Until they discover that Sebastian Inlet
took 60 years to reach equilibrium, caused severe erosion
of the coastline before reaching equilibrium, was embroiled
in 10 years of litigation and cost several million dollars
eachyear to manage. We would need a new inlet this size every
10 miles to effectively flush the lagoon. Sebastian Inlet
is a tremendous asset. Biological diversity is higher around
the inlet, it provides a $200 million annual economic stimulus
and pulses salt water north past the Melbourne area maintaining
the salinity regime that makes the lagoon an estuary. But
the inlet however is poor at flushing the lagoon. Building
more inlets would come with extreme consequences and a very
What about pipes, culverts and pump stations? There is a large
pump station on Destin Harbor that has improved its water
quality. A pipe running out into the ocean feeds a pump moving
50,000 gallon sper minute. The pump is maintained to run eight
thours a day. Destin Harbor is 1.3 miles long by 1,000feet
wide. This large pump station has helped this relatively small
isolated pocket of water near Destin. By comparison, our stretch
of lagoon between the two bridges, previously discussed, is
3.7 miles long by 1.8 miles wide. Using the Destin harbor
pump station scenario, we are talking 10 months to turn over
the volume between the bridges. Maybe this would help, in
concert with established living reefs of oysters and mussels.
A cost-benefit analysis would have to be thoroughly evaluated.
There may be some merit in targeting small segments of the
lagoon for restoration. Especially the urban segments that
are ecologically dead and seem to struggle. Like taking one
bite of the elephant at a time. But, Im not hearing
many people wanting to take bites right now. They want to
eat it all and get the big fix. There have been many bites
or steps taken over the last 25 years that have helped the
lagoon. Stormwater regulations for every residential and commercial
development have generated countless ponds, basins, swales,etc.
Just look around. Drive the stretch of Babcock Street through
Melbourne and Palm Bay and look at all the commercial properties
that have modifiedt heir sites to capture or slow down stormwater.
Imagine what the Indian River would look like if none of these
modifications were required over the past 25 years. It would
be much, much worse than it is now. Creeks have been dredged
and more is needed. Many retrofit projects have been implemented
by cities and counties. But, not enough.Much more work is
Have all the efforts over the past 3 decades benefited the
lagoon? I believe they have. Consider this, in 2007, 2008
and 2009, the Indian River Lagoon had 15 percent more seagrass
than in 1943. The1943 seagrass distribution, digitized from
a beautiful set of aerial photographs, was adopted as the
restoration target in the 1980s. We said, if we could
achieve that level of seagrass distribution,we would claim
victory. All this wonderful sea-grass was flourishing in 2009,
in spite of septic tanks, manatees, rampant lawn fertilizing,
nuclear fall out, you name it. However, just as some were
beginning to cheer, we had 15 days below freezing with a low
of 25 degrees. Water temperature in Haulover Canal dipped
below the recommended serving temp for Michelob. A huge biomass
of tropical and semi-tropical animals died releasing their
stored nutrients. Even the drift algae disappeared which we
now believe was the buffer controlling nutrients in the water.
A result of this extreme meteorological eventset off cascading
responses leading to significantl osses of seagrass acreage
and marine life. In 2010 the disaster began with a superbloom
of several green algae species and a brown tide organism.
The epicenter of this bloom was in the southern Mosquito Lagoon
and northern Banana River. This devastating bloom started
in an area with no residential lawns, no septic tanks, no
urban development. But it started. And its pread to the vulnerable
urban areas where you would expect a eutrophic response. Thats
when all thefinger pointing started, pointing to all the ills
of urban development.
By 2012 we lost 100 acres of seagrass on the Sebastian Inlet
flood shoal. That was a shock to us considering the daily
flushing that occurs so close to the inlet. There may have
been a toxic effect from the residual algae bloom, versus
simple light attenuation that caused such a sudden loss of
seagrass. We are not certain, but, by last summer, in 2015
we gained 80acres of seagrass back. So, we have a level of
confidence that the system can recover. Stressed areas of
the lagoon, the urban areas, will need help and resiliency
needs to be bolstered. The lagoon will never be like it was
50 years ago. Not with its artificially expanded watershed
and a million people living next to it. But, it can easily
return to the conditions in 2009. And hopefully be able to
more easily sustain its health.
Making the necessary improvements in the lagoon will require
a unified approach. The new IRL Council under the National
Estuary Program is determined to do that. The existing management
plan for the lagoon needs to be updated and reprioritized.
Muck dredging is a priority. Identifying and removing illogically
situated or failing septic systems is a priority. Upgrading
our aging wastewater treatment plants from providing only
secondary treatment to advanced tertiary treatment should
be a priority. Continued stormwater retrofit projects and
significant reductions of residential fertilizer is a priority.
Aggressive actions to restore and reestablish ecological habitats
using living reefs and transplants should target prioritized
segments of the lagoon. Over the coming months the IRLCouncil
should be able to work with its unified members of counties,
cities and agencies to develop a revised plan with firm cost
estimates. Once that occurs, meaningful funding requests can
be made. Blank check requests in advance of a plan with a
realistic price tag only fuels distrust and frustration.
We are going to have some nasty events, like the recent fish
kill, as the residual algae species cycle through and dissipate.
It may take a few years to see a more normal nutrient balance.
I can see some positives from the last few years of Indian
River woes.There has been a new wave of public awareness with
renewed calls to action. The overall management program for
the lagoon has been restructured and new funding commitments
have been made. This should put IRL restoration and protection
on a firmer track.I hope we will see a fresh wave of young
students and professionals wanting to address the Indian Rivers
problems. We need new blood and passion to build upon the
experience of those of us trained in the1970s.
I would like to end on one last point to put things in perspective
and offer a little more confidence tha tthis estuary can recover
and rebound. My good friend,Jim Culberson, former Sebastian
Inlet District Commissioner and Inlet historian, sent out
an email referencing two newspaper articles from 1896 and
1902.He has allowed me to pass it along. Enjoy and ponder.
(REFERENCE ARTICLES in the column to the left)
there is a bright side to this mess, it is self-correcting.
It may take years, but the Lagoon will come back. Events like
this have been happening aslong as there's been a Lagoon System.
are articles from more than 100 years ago detailing problems
in the Lagoon.
The August 21, 1896 issue of the Advocate described the
mess with the following brief story; "Sebastian:
If there is not some change in the weather soon the fishing
industry will have a hard set back. The fish are dying by
thousands on account of the gas which is rising from the
mud in the bottom of the river, the water being low and
of a red muddy color. All the jelly fish are dead."
The following story appeared in the October 3,1902 edition
of the Advocate; "Micco: The river is above its
average level now, and at this point the water is in a peculiar
and very rare condition. For three or four weeks past it
has been muddy,perfectly green for a time, now brown or
reddish.The shore at places has been lined with dead fish,and
the general condition does not seem to beunderstood by the
a previous issue of our Newsletter:
"The Backcast" in PDF format
Get your BackCast delivered
you can receive a hard copy of the newsletter by postal mail,
we encourage you to sign up for email delivery. This not only
saves the club postage, but reduces the workload on our hard-working
secretary/treasurer who donates the printing and mailing every
month. Furthermore, you will view a color
version, rather than
black and white. To switch to email distribution, just contact
Some email programs attempt to automatically filter messages
they view as spam. This can result in messages from a suspect
address being diverted to your spam orjunk folders, rather than
your in-basket. If you fail to receive your newsletter in a
timely manner (we aim for delivery a week before the meeting),
check your spam and/or junk folders and inform your email program
that they are not junk.
Once an address has been associated with spam, it can only be
declared acceptable by you, the addressee. If our listing of
your email address is obsolete or contains an error, the delivery
may go astray in a non-obvious manner. If you suspect this has
occurred, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org from the correct
address and we will check our records. Note also that you can
view BackCast content, including program information, on our
web site, www.bffa-brevard.org as soon as it is published.
We strive to make the content of BackCast varied and interesting.
If you have comments or suggestions a message to the editor
is welcomeIf you still receive your BackCast by postal mail
and would like to get it by email, please contact Ron
Winn or Frank
Perkins to get on our mailing list
to those of you who have signed up for email distribution of
the BackCast. As a result we have significantly reduced our
postal expenses. Other who would like to receive a full color
electronic distribution, just call or email Frank Perkins or
If you experience problems in receiving the electronic edition,
contact either of us and we will correct the problem.If you
have requested email distribution in the past and havent
received it, please resubmit.
We encourage any member to attend a board meeting. They are
informal and more social than business. Come and enjoy the latest
news and jokes, and contribute your ideas for improving the
club. During tax season, the Board of Directors meets at Squid
Lips on Pineapple Ave on the river in Eau Gallie. The meeting
is on the normal day are at 6:30 PM. Some members arrive earlier
for dinner, at 5:00 PM.