Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Like our friend, Max Newport, Miss Vero has also wondered just who and why folks say the things they do in response to the articles posted on the TCPalm. Many a time when Miss Vero would read the comments, our eyes would glaze over the random and often noxious additions, until we spied the name of LDouglas. We were so impressed with the passion, research skills and obvious intelligence of this person, that we started on a little quest to find them.

Was LDouglas a man? Certainly many times when someone would respond to an LDouglas comment they would start out by saying "Well, Mr. Douglas..." or "See here, Mr. Douglas..." or "In reference to your point, Mr. Douglas..." and most assumed that this person, who commented with such authority and grace, must indeed be a man!

But Miss Vero had another thought. Perhaps, with our mildly twisted sense of humor and encyclopedia knowledge of pop culture, we guessed that this person was using the name LDouglas in reference to Lisa Douglas of Green Acres fame. The fact that most of the topics that LDouglas commented so passionately about were environmentally based, had to be a clue.

As luck would have it, LDouglas was indeed a fan of the Beach House and after some friendly emails, we persuaded LDouglas to contribute anything that she would like to contribute on Miss Vero's site.

The question still remains- Is LDouglas her real name, or is it really the reference to Green Acres? Well hunnies, we never did find out and to tell y'all the truth we don't really care! We just love the whole idea of it and we hope y'all will love it too.

Here is the first post sent in by LDouglas, from a little corner in Indian River County we call Green Acres - enjoy!

Is Indian River County looking for Industry?

Look no further than your own backyard. The Wildlife Foundation of Florida along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is putting together an initiative called the Florida Marine Fisheries Enhancement Initiative (FMEI). They aim to build 6 to 8 indoor or outdoor fish hatcheries as well as restore habitat for fish in the Indian River Lagoon and elsewhere in Florida. Plans are calling for facilities throughout the state to raise redfish, snook and seatrout to ensure the sustainability of the recreational fishing opportunities that made Florida the fishing capital of the world. I think IRC would be the perfect place for a hatchery and should step up and try to snag one of those facilities.

In case you didn't know, fishing isn't just a sport, it’s an industry. Texas and Louisiana have been so successful with their redfish stocking programs that redfishing has become a driving force of their economies. Fishing adds $8 billion to our economy in Florida and I think a fish hatchery in IRC would allow us to capture a bigger share of that money.

The initiative is a private/public partnership and they are actively looking for partners and sites. The cost for each site is expected to run somewhere between $8 and $10 million. I don't know if that includes the price of land or not but if so, we could probably save money by using land we already own. Like maybe the fish house in Sebastian, or even possibly the Environmental Learning Center. Or to dream big, the sewer plant in Vero. That property might be able to handle their design model for a full-scale mixed-use facility. The mixed use facility could include such things as a visitor’s center, boardwalks for ecosystem exploration, and research capabilities.

All of the Indian River Lagoon will be stocked regardless of where the hatcheries are located and they're worth supporting anywhere. But I think locating one here would not only give us an advantage of restoring habitat and repopulating the fish stocks sooner, it would be a great addition to our resume as an eco-tourist destination.

Now for the hard part. According to the FMEI's website, the funds will need to be raised “from industry, private donors, grants, governmental bodies, non-profits, academic and private fisheries research institutions, concerned citizens and other stakeholders”. FYI, stakeholders would mean restaurants, hotels, shops and other businesses that are supported in part by tourists. It also includes our county commissioners, economic business councils and chambers of commerce who are going to great lengths and expense to retain or attract what we have right in our own backyard- a viable industry that has yet to reach its full potential. Besides that, a sustainable fishing industry would be "green jobs" at their finest.

More information is available online here: http://www.supportfloridasportfish.com/

And here: http://www.ccaflorida.org/press_releases/2008/10_03_08_pr.html

Sustainability: “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

TTFN, LDouglas

We especially love that she signed it "TTFN" - "That's Ta Ta For Now", for all of y'all that didn't know!

Our little Beach House is certainly expanding and bringing out some talented folks that have some powerful messages. Too meaningful to be wasted on the comments site of the TCPalm, don't y'all think?




Anonymous said...

As Samuel, in my postings on the PJ comments, I have always been impressed with LDouglas and am pleased to see a forum for someone with so much to offer.
For many years, the industry of eco-tourism has been a wish, of mine too and this is where the county could direct economic development so easily.
I will be motoring down to the Commissioners offices often to see if we cannot influence.
One thing I have seen, in working with the talent we elected is that if you have an idea, do a brief position paper on it and present it to a commissioner. Makes them look smart, they like that! Then if they bite and they do, keep the knowledge coming, nothing too complicated.
LDouglas, how about a grant and hire a Joe Paladin, for the fish side, give them a flower and park them for the day, in the bleachers.

virtual vero said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
virtual vero said...

Very interesting. I wonder if the economic development board of the Indian River Chamber of Commerce is all over this idea. They are heavily subsidized by the county at the tune of $156, 410 for econ. development and $432, 338 for tourism development, so they should be working diligently -- especially in this economic climate -- to capitalize on opportunities and bring together private and public resources. Most of us would rather see fish hatcheries on the lagoon instead of a sewage plant.

pages 165 and 239,

I was surprised by the lack of response when Helene Castletine, dir. of econ. dev. of the chamber, remarked to the PJ about the closing of Three Avenues, "we're disappointed...it was a really neat place to go."


It would seem that with so many restaurants closing, so many stores leaving the mall, so many jobs being lost -- whoever is receiving taxpayer money to generate economic opportunities, including those dollars brought in by tourists, better be able to account for how effectively that money is being spent. And if the chamber of commerce is actively and effectively pursuing opportunities, such as the one LDouglas presents, they should be building public confidence by communicating with their "bosses."

However, in the interest of the environment, increased boaters (and their trash, filament, oil, propellers) does bring up new concerns impacting the health of our estuary.

Thanks for the discussion.

LDouglas said...

Samuel and Virtual Vero,
Thanks for the feedback, information and suggestions. I know there are trade-offs of promoting more fisherman to use the IRL. It's in some pretty big trouble as it is. (Check out the PJ's Nov. 1st. Thumbs Down "Ailing River" to get a glimpse of how bad.)
It's just that we're on to the trick cry "we need growth" so it's been replaced with the cry "we need jobs". Only they're not crying wolf this time and it's getting louder.

It's been my experience that the environment is often looked at as standing in the way of growth and jobs. And yet IMO, it's the ultimate source of jobs and income. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems to me that you couldn't have an economy without a harvest or by manufacturing things. You can't harvest or manufacture things without resources. Resources and harvests come from the environment.
I know I'm preaching to the choir but unless we start looking at it that way, our lack of jobs will pale in comparison to the next generations lack of jobs.

This is our opportunity to first separate growth as automatically equating to jobs, and then to think about getting them differently.

Thanks again...

Max Newport said...

Great idea Ms. Douglas. Replenishing and relying on our natural resources only makes good sense but is probably beyond the comprehension of our elected officials.

I'm afraid that the river in Vero is too grungy for me to enjoy or feel safe eating something that emerged from it. That is my first thought every time I drive by the sewage treatment plant.

Enhancing a non-polluting industry such as you suggest is exactly what this county needs. It may be too much of a reversion to the past of "old Vero" to please some of our more progressive newcomers but using the words eco-friendly may make them think that a prominent seafood industry in this county is something new.

Great article. My best to Arnold.

By the way, I may have figured out this sign on thing in a brief moment of computer coherence. We'll see.