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KWWhat’s a Florida Keys flat worth? Or how about healthy populations of tarpon, permit, and bonefish that frequent its shallow-water habitats? The answer is big bucks, according to a new study from the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. BTT states that flats-fishing is a significant money generator in the Keys, contributing more than $249 million to local economies. That number nearly doubles after factoring in fishing expenses and how earnings trickle down, said Tony Fedler, who conducted the research.

Lower Keys’ guides are banking on the study to help bulwark shallow-water habitats against mega cruise-ship interests in the region. Voters will decide on Oct. 1 whether the City of Key West will ask the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an environmental impact study of the potential dredging project in the harbor.

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Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.

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