September 22, 2020

River news


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Sen. Nelson Final Accomplishment (2018-12-21)

In its last gasps, the 115th Congress finally did pass Harmful Algal Bloom legislation. It was buried in S2200 (National Drought Information System). Section 9 of this bill mirrors the language drafted by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) as S1057 and by Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) as HR4417. [S2200-HAB Control Act] [S1057-Nelson] [HR4417-Bonamic] [HR4465-Mast]

Ranger Training Academy (2018-10-14)

Reserve your space for Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Training Classes on Oct 27, Nov 3 and Nov 10. You will learn how to serve as a volunteer Ranger, helping sample and protect our area waters. Contact John Cassani to reserve space or learn more: or call: 239-633-7274. [Flyer]

Is Water Farming A Solution? (2018-10-03)

Water farming (dispersed storage) is a good option for partially solving some runoff storage problems. However, if the concept is manipulated and gamed, the benefits can be marginal or non-existent. Rae Ann Wessel of SCCF raised this concept at the Brockovich forum. John Capece also comments. [Capece on Water Farming] [Erin Brockovich forum] [FRESP] [Exploring EAA Water Storage Option]

Calusa Waterkeeper September Newsletter (2018-09-19)

The September 2018 Calusa Waterkeeper newsletter is available online. It features Waterkeeper news and opinions on issues. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [September Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archive]

Florida Economic Water Summit (2018-09-14)

Get your tickets now for the Florida Economic Water Summit scheduled for 7pm on Oct 15 at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. $10 for program, $25 for program+dinner. The last Calusa Waterkeeper event sold out with 500 attending and hundreds turned away, so do not let the opportunity slip away. [Details] [Get Tickets] [Event Page]

If You Missed the Previous Screening (2018-09-18)

Audubon of Southwest Florida will show the award-winning documentary "Toxic Puzzle: Hunt for the Hidden Killer," at 6:30pm on Sep 20 in the Masonic Lodge, 10868 Metro Pkwy. Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani will answer audience questions after the movie. [Details]

Waterkeepers Lead on HAB Task Force (2018-09-17)

Since 2017 Calusa Waterkeeper has been rallying Florida Waterkeepers in support of state legislation to reactivate the Florida Harmful Algal Task Force by resuming activities of this legislatively-authorized, but unfunded initiative. The CWK board will adopt a new resolution to continue the push. [Resolution] [Call to Action] [National Waterkeepers] [Florida Waterkeepers] [2017 Editorial]

Naturally Occurring is Red Herring (2018-09-15)

Red tide cells may be "naturally occurring", and may travel from elsewhere in the Gulf, but when they get to our coast the cells feed off of land-based nutrient pollution carried by rainwater. The more cells eat, the more they reproduce, the longer the outbreak lasts, and the farther it spreads. [Graphic 1] [Graphic 2] [Graphic 3] [Graphic 4]

Toxic Puzzle Movie Show in Cape Coral (2018-09-15)

Join Cape Coral Wildlife Trust for the screening of Toxic Puzzle at Cape Coral Public Library on Mohawk on Saturday September 22 at 2 pm. Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani will be available after the program to answer questions. The show is FREE but pre-registration is required. Space is limited. [Flyer] [Reserve Your Seat] [Location Map]

U.S. House Must Act Before September 30 (2018-09-15)

By Sep 30 Congress needs to authorize additional funds for the US Harmful Algal Bloom & Hypoxia Research & Control Act. The Senate passed Bill Nelson's S1059 in 2017 but the House failed to act on HR 4417 offered by Democrats. HR 6645 offered by Rep. Mast (Republican) achieves part of the goals. [Florida Politics] [Sanibel] [Funding] [Disaster] [Hearing]

Toxic Algae Town Hall Attracts 450 (2018-09-15)

A full house attended the Aug 4 Town Hall on algal bloom health issues at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Speakers included John Cassani, Parisma Taeb, Jennifer Boddicker and Annisa Karim, Cyndy Nayer and others. The event raised over $3000 for Calusa Waterkeeper. [Town Hall]

Calusa Waterkeeper Cocktail Party (2018-09-15)

Calusa Waterkeeper would like to thank everyone who joined us for the cocktail party on September 10th in Fort Myers. Special thanks to Luann Fortune, Louis Eason, John Contisano III, and others for their kind donation and support. [Group Photo] [KC & Luann Fortune] [Sandra Frank & Louis Eason]

Toxic Algae Inhalation Effects (2018-09-15)

If you've been around blue-green algae blooms, chances are you've breathed in toxins. Everyone tested so far in a study of people who live and work around algae blooms in the St. Lucie River had "detectable levels" of the toxin microcystin in their noses. [TCPalm] [WINK News Video]

New Threshold for Fresh Water Release (2018-09-15)

The South Florida Water Management District governing board approved a new minimum threshold (from 300 cubic feet per second to 400 cfs) for dry-season freshwater releases to the Caloosahatchee River. But critics say the new rule will not provide enough water during dry times. 600-700 cfs is needed. [News Press] [ForShore]

Millions for New Research (2018-09-15)

Dr. Michael Parsons of FGCU was recently awarded a National Science Foundation to study the effects of harmful algae blooms and their pathogens in the Caribbean. Overall NSF and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences have awarded new grants totaling $30 million. [National Science Foundation]

Finding Solutions to Water Quality Issues (2018-09-15)

This summer's environmental disaster highlighted decades of water mismanagement and flimsy political will to resolve a range of notorious problems such as Lake Okeechobee pollutants or Billy's Creek fecal bacteria contamination. [Gulfshore Business] [Calusa Waterkeeper] [Captains for Cleanwater] [Billys Creek]

Dead Zone (2018-09-15)

A "dead zone," an underwater patch with no plant or animal life, has been found off the coast of Sanibel by Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation scientists. There is no oxygen in the water about 3 to 5 meters down to the surface, in some places all the way down to the bottom in about 8 meters. [Sanibel Captiva Islander]

Residents Report Health Problems (2018-09-15)

Doctors in southwest Florida say they've seen an increase in patients complaining of breathing problems. Monet Sexaure, who is four months pregnant, left her home in Siesta Key, Florida, and moved inland to an Airbnb in Sarasota after suffering symptoms from the toxic red tide. [NBC News]

Circus Transformus (2018-09-12)

Calusa Waterkeeper along with other civic groups participated at the Circus Transformus event at the Broadway Palm on Aug 25-26. Many thanks to Holly Rauen, Solemi Hernandez, her son Alex, John Paul, his daughter Beryl, Gene and Nan, Ruth and Jim, KC, his wife Ynda and others for manning the table. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3]

Myra Roberts Artwork (2018-09-12)

CWK expresses its gratitude to the local artist Myra Roberts who have generously donated some of her latest artwork to be used at CWK events' silent auction. We also thank Jim & Ruth Watkins, Scott & Teresa Simon and Donald Schwartz for supporting CWK through participation in our silent auction. [Donald Schwartz] [Scott & Teresa Simon] [Florduh] [Myra Roberts]

CWK Humanitarian Award (2018-09-12)

Calusa Waterkeeper presented Will Prather, owner of the Broadway Palm Theatre, with a Humanitarian Award for his service to community and support in protecting and preserving natural Florida. There is no businessman in the area upon whom so many civic and non-profit organizations depend more. [Photo] [The Prather Family] [The Broadway Palm Theatre]

Testing the Air Quality (2018-09-12)

The awful stench at the beach and sightings of dead fish are becoming an unbearable experience Southwest Florida residents and tourists are dealing with. It raises questions about the air we breathe, and why after months of problems, no government agencies have tested air quality. [WINK News] [Video 1] [Video 2]

Algal Bloom Bulletin (2018-09-12)

Karenia brevis (commonly known as red tide) are present along and offshore portions of southwest Florida, and not present in the Florida Keys. K. brevis concentrations are patchy in nature and levels of respiratory irritation will vary locally. [Aug 30 Report] [Aug 23 Report]

Billys Creek Test Results (2018-09-12)

Test results from the recent samples collected by Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani show that Billy's Creek in Fort Myers is still badly contaminated with fecal indicator bacteria and has been since 2001. [Sampling Results]

Ag Runoff vs Septic Tanks (2018-09-12)

With toxic algae blooms now erupting all over Florida, scientists are pointing a finger at one possible fuel source: pollution from septic tanks. There are more than 2.6 million septic tanks in Florida, according to FDOH. But less than 1% of them are being inspected to ensure they don't leak. [Tampa Bay Times]

Lake O Causing Red Tide? (2018-09-12)

A nonprofit marine research institution Mote's scientists discussed red tide at The Argus Foundation event "Meet the Minds: Red Tide - What it is, solutions and prevention" in Sarasota on August 30th. Mote scientists and an agricultural leader say there is no single cause or solution for red tide. [Herald Tribune] [Photo] [Septic Tanks] [Climate Change Effects]

Bloom and Bust (2018-09-12)

In their paper titled "Bloom and Bust: Toxic Algae's Impact on Nearby Property Values" David Wolf and Allen Klaiber of Ohio State University, analyzed algal bloom negative impacts on property values in 6 Ohio counties located along Lake Erie between 2009 and 2015. Hold onto your wallets! [Paper]

Meet the Waterkeeper (2018-08-30)

Join Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani on Society's rooftop bar for an informal "Meet the Waterkeeper" cocktail party. Admission is free. Reservations recommended by phone 239-334-0900 or via email 10% of all bar proceeds benefit Calusa Waterkeeper & Edison Pageant of Light. [Flyer] [Directions] [Facebook Page]

FGCU on a Mission (2018-09-10)

Dr. Bill Mitsch, a wetland ecologist and professor at FGCU, is on a mission to find out if Lake Okeechobee releases are supercharging red tide conditions. If his theory is proven correct, Dr. Mitsch believes this will be the concrete evidence needed to finally push lawmakers to solve this puzzle. [WINK News] [Video]

Algae Bloom Video (2018-09-10)

Quite a few canals have cleared up over the last week or so, but some of the spots where the cyanobacteria is still around are particularly nasty. Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Jason Pim shot a video in SE Cape Coral on Aug 9th. The picture is absolutely gruesome. [Video]

Fort Myers Shores Youth Fishing Club (2018-09-10)

Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani spent the morning with Fort Myers Shores Youth Fishing Club talking about water quality on Saturday, August 11th. My faith in humanity has been restored after learning how much these kids know and care about fish conservation and water quality. [Photo]

Climate Change is Making Algae Worse (2018-08-29)

Algal blooms are common in Florida and along the rest of the Gulf Coast, but they don't always get this bad. As air and ocean temperatures increase, the environment becomes more hospitable to toxic algal blooms in several ways, according to scientists and the Environmental Protection Agency. [The Washington Post] [Video]

Red Tide Stings Tourist Industry (2018-09-10)

A red tide and toxic algae bloom crisis is killing marine life and hurting the tourism industry across Florida's Gulf Coast. Local tourist boards are concerned the impact could be felt for a while, as news of the red tide spreads and more tourists cancel or adjust their trips. [The Wall Street Journal] [Photo] [Snowbirds] [Bloom & Bust] [Red Ink]

A Political Dilemma (2018-09-10)

Politicians led by Gov Rick Scott have disassembled the old model for living that required enforced regulation of development and protection of water, instead creating a state the governor calls "business friendly." We're now on the verge of an ecosystem collapse our young children will inherit. [Florida Weekly]

Breathing in HAB Toxins (2018-08-29)

People who live on the water, in boats at local marinas, say they have had no warning about what the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) fumes can do to them health wise. Red tide fumes are also harmful. The News-Press started a weekly feature to answer water questions. [News-Press] [Photo] [Video] [Inhalation] [Testing]

Public Health Responses to Algae (2018-09-10)

Dr. James Metcalf of the Brain Chemistry Laboratory in Wyoming samples cyanobacteria in the Caloosahatchee near north Fort Myers. Dr. Metcalf and co-authors suggest ways for Florida to improve monitoring, sampling, predicting and notifying the public of health risks in a recent publication. [Details] [Photo] [Publication]

Florida Snowbirds Hold Their Noses (2018-09-08)

Snowbirds come to Florida seeking refuge from long winters. Some return to north for the summer. Some set up permanent residence on the gulf. Those who are here now are getting a whiff of Florida's recurring environmental problem but this one has lasted longer than any in the past decade. [Star Tribune]

Tourist Rescues Turtle (2018-09-08)

Nylah Rampersad, a tourist vacationing in Florida rescued a sea turtle on Saturday, August 18th during a red tide outbreak on Sanibel Island. Rampersad saw the turtle laboring near shore. She kept it afloat until a team from SCCF arrived and took it CROW for treatment. [News-Press] [Photo] [Video]

Silence of Science on Red Tide (2018-09-08)

Suncoast Waterkeeper Andy Mele challenges voters to confront lawmakers at the polls. Andy calls for expanded research into the dynamics of harmful algal blooms. He also questions scientists on their assertions that red tide is not affected by freshwater discharges of nutrients and cyanobacteria. [Herald Tribune] [Andy Mele] [Suncoast Waterkeeper]

Septic vs. Agricultural Runoff (2018-09-08)

Is the septic vs. agricultural runoff debate really important or is it just another attempt to delay action by dividing our society against itself? The common element between septic discharges and agricultural runoff is people. Hence we must all be part of the solution in one manner or another. [PolitiFact] [Comment by John Capece]

Ignorant to Water Crisis (2018-09-08)

The Florida Department of Health is failing residents and tourists on many fronts when it comes to massive blue-green algal blooms and the spread of red tide. On Jul 31st, a Cape Coral meeting with ACOE, gathered at least 1000 concerned residents who expressed their anger and disgust. [News-Press] [Video]

Sampling the Caloosahatchee Bloom (2018-08-29)

James Metcalf, an internationally acclaimed expert on the brain damage caused by toxic algae spent a day sampling the Caloosahatchee River bloom along with Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani on August 22. They took a look at the public health implications of the ongoing water crisis. [News-Press] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Video]

Algae Health Effects (2018-09-08)

Dozens of people in and out of Florida have called poison control complaining about health problems from toxic blue-green algae. NBC2 News team uncovered there is only one agency in the entire state that says its keeping track of health-related cases tied to blue-green algae exposure. [NBC2 News] [Video] [Florida Poison Control Centers]

Smalltooth Sawfish (2018-09-08)

Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Jason Pim spotted critically endangered Smalltooth Sawfish - a Calusa Waterkeeper mascot - hanging out in the Cyanobacteria at Cape Coral pier on August 24. Smalltooth Sawfish is yet another marine species greatly impacted by harmful algal blooms. [Photo 1] [Photo 2]

Vote for Water (2018-09-08)

Journalist and Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Roger Williams offers clarity on the issue of water quality and life. Williams says he is an optimist and he knows we can fix the current water quality crisis. How? Vote. Vote for water. [Details] [Facebook Post]

Algae Effects on Smalltooth Sawfish (2018-09-08)

At a hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) questioned scientist Dr. Robert Hueter about the impacts harmful algal blooms plaguing Florida have had on marine life including Smalltooth Sawfish, which happens to be CWK mascot. [Video]

Coal Ash Disposal Regulations (2018-09-05)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a decision holding that the first-ever federal safeguards set by the Obama Administration for coal ash dumps do not sufficiently protect communities and the environment from pollution from that toxic waste. [Waterkeeper Alliance]

Massive Bloom of Political Cartoons Continues (2018-09-05)

Artists Cathy Cochrane, Bill Day, Dave Granlund, and Andy Marlette continue to churn out poignant political cartoons. They drive home the tragedy that is this year's relentless series of cyanobacteria and red tide blooms devastating Florida's freshwater bodies and our marine coastlines. [Crisis Actors] [Fragrances] [Tourists Flee] [Red Tide-Algae Swirl] [Horseshoe Crab] [#!*@ DEP]

AMHQ Interviews CWK Ranger (2018-09-05)

America's Morning Headquarters (AMHQ) inquired the Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Jason Pim to discuss the cyanobacteria outbreak from the perspective of a homeowner. "We need to enable leaders who are serious about basin management, regulation and development." says Jason. [Video] [YouTube Video]

Panel Puts Pieces Together (2018-09-05)

The Broadway Palm Theater was filled to capacity on Aug 14, to view a screening of the documentary film, "Toxic Puzzle: Hunt for the Forbidden Killer." A panel of water quality experts featured in the film along with Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani fielded audience questions after the movie. [Island Sand Paper] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3]

CWK Talk at Pellican Landing (2018-09-05)

Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani talked to a group of well over 100 at the gated community of Pellican Landing in Bonita Springs on August 22nd. Thank you to the Pellican Landing community for their involvement and support of Calusa Waterkeeper activities. [Photo 1] [Photo 2]

Algae Photos (2018-09-05)

Photographer Lynne Buchanan's blog, Changing Waters: Human Impact on Florida's Aquatic Systems, shows incredible photos that she captured of toxic algae bloom in its many different forms. [Algae Photos] [About Lynne Buchanan] [Algae Bloom Video]

Starpower to Scrappy Nonprofit (2018-08-04)

International businessman and activist K.C. Schulberg stepped to the helm of Calusa Waterkeeper as executive director, bringing a sterling Hollywood pedigree and fundraising firepower to the group, which spent the first two decades of its existence as a next-to-no budget, all-volunteer outfit. [News-Press] [Photo] [Florida Weekly]

Calusa Waterkeeper July Newsletter (2018-08-01)

The July 2018 Calusa Waterkeeper newsletter is available online. It features Waterkeeper news and opinions on issues. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [July Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archive]

Circus Transformus (2018-07-30)

Join Calusa Waterkeeper at Circus Transformus, a visually stunning, contemporary circus performance incorporating dance, acrobatics, aerial arts and other acts. Circus Transformus aims to entertain AND inspire its audience to rise to the challenge of healing our planet earth. [Information & Tickets]

CWK Board of Directors Meeting (2018-07-30)

The monthly meeting of the Calusa Waterkeeper, Inc. Board of Directors will be held on Wednesday, August 1st in the conference room of High Point Place. Members wishing to attend should contact the CWK President, Gene Gibson. [Email to Attend] [Location] [High Point Place]

Red Tide Plagues Gulf All Year (2018-07-30)

Not only has blue-green algae fouled the river & estuary but throughout 2018 red tide has been lurking in the Gulf of Mexico and flaring up to create an equally disastrous Harmful Algae Bloom (HAB). It has killed marine life and seriously damaged our region's tourism reputation. [Near Shore Pattern]

Toxin Data Alerts Region (2018-07-30)

Calusa Waterkeeper was the first to alert the Caloosahatchee region to microcystin toxins in the blue-green algae with June 26 data. This forced agencies into action. Then again on July 25, John Cassani sampled and reported even more alarming toxin levels, almost 10,000 times the safe limit. [July 25 Toxins Results] [June 25 Results] [June 29 Press Release]

Algae Raising Health Concerns (2018-07-29)

The national network news spotlight once again focused on our south Florida algae crisis. NBC ran a piece on July 29. It included interviews of Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Jason Pim and Conservancy of Southwest Florida Marisa Carrozzo. [NBC Nightly News Video]

Interview with Calusa Waterkeeper (2018-07-29)

Former Riverwatch/Waterkeeper board member John Scott interviews Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani on People's Voice Radio. The discussion focused on the massive & historic blue-green algal bloom affecting Lake O and our coastal estuaries as well as cyanobacteria test results by Calusa Waterkeeper. [Listen to the Interview]

CWK Rangers Meeting (2018-07-29)

A full house of Calusa Waterkeeper Rangers gathered at the Calusa Nature Center on July 28 for their monthly Saturday morning meeting. John Cassani commented at the impressive showing and the new faces interested in volunteering and graduating to Ranger status. [Photo]

Waterkeeper History (2018-07-29)

As unhealthy as many U.S. waterways are today, they were generally even worse 50 years ago before various citizen-led interventions. Not only were rivers often myopically dammed or otherwise altered in the 20th century, but unchecked pollution was poisoning aquatic ecosystems all over the map. [Mother Nature Network] [Photo]

Eco-disaster (2018-07-29)

"Our water, our homes, our livelihoods and our children have been put at risk over the last 60 years by South Florida Water Management, Big Sugar and, unwittingly, the Army Corps of Engineers", says Max Christian of St. James City. [News-Press Mailbag]

Calusa Waterkeeper in Spotlight (2018-07-29)

The HAB (Harmful Algae Bloom) and cyanobacteria crisis currently plaguing our South Florida waterways and estuaries has thrust Calusa Waterkeeper, John Cassani into the national and international spotlight as a leading authority on the issue. Thank you John for all your hard work. We appreciate you! [Press Headlines]

Bloom Discussion with Bill Nelson (2018-07-29)

Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani explained the current Caloosahatchee algal bloom to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson on July 5th in Fort Myers. Also participating in the discussion were Calusa Waterkeeper officers Gene Gibson and John Capece along with other civic group activists and concerned citizens. [News-Press] [WINK News] [NBC2] [Video1] [Video2] [Video3]

Rick Scott Tours the River (2018-07-29)

Environmental protection quickly is becoming a big issue in the 2018 election as more toxic algae blooms slime estuaries, kill sea life and choke coastal Florida communities with foul air. Florida's tourism-driven economy depends on clean water, and candidates are under pressure to offer solutions. [Ocala] [Photo] [News-Press]

Algae Crisis Only Grows (2018-07-28)

Massive toxic algae blooms smothering our waters is a problem that runs much deeper than what we see on the surface. This crisis will not be fixed tomorrow. There are too many pieces to this complex environmental puzzle to expect a quick solution. [News-Press]

Costly Sewage Problem (2018-07-28)

South Florida is spending millions of dollars to fix old sewer systems. There's nothing exciting or innovative about sewers, but with hundreds of people moving to South Florida every day and thousands more visiting, not taking care of our sewers threatens our environment and our pocketbook. [WLRN]

Caloosahatchee Estuary MFL (2018-07-28)

Calusa Waterkeeper (CWK) John Cassani submitted comments on the proposed MFL Rule revision for the Caloosahatchee estuary. CWK's comments capture the insufficiency of the proposed revision of the flow component to 400 cfs and the proposed definition of significant harm. [Comments Letter]

Algae Bloom Spread (2018-07-28)

This summer's algae bloom is the first widespread bloom of 2018, but John Cassani of CWK had seen it coming for a while. "It was just kind of like a powder keg ready to go off," he said. Corps increasing the flows on June 1, and topping that with the increasing temperature accelerated the situation. [News-Press] [Photo by Cassani]

What is an Algae Bloom (2018-07-28)

Algae is one of the planet's basic building blocks. It lives & grows in nearly every water body to feed the cycle of life. But add pollution - the phosphorus and nitrogen from farm fields and leaky septic tanks - and good turns to bad, fueling explosive blooms. That's when things get really rough. [Miami Herald] [John Cassani] [Photo] [Video]

Do Not Deplete 20/20 Funds (2018-07-28)

In a 2016 referendum over 83 percent of the voters of Lee County affirmed their support for the popular Conservation 20/20 program, which is vital to both our fresh water supply and our quality of life. Will the Lee County BOCC honor the will of the people regarding Conservation 20/20? [News-Press]

Toxic Puzzle Screening (2018-07-28)

Join us for the screening of a film by Bo Landin "Toxic Puzzle" Hunt for the Hidden Killer at 6pm on Aug 14 at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater. Q&A to follow with film contributors, John Cassani and others. Proceeds generously donated to Calusa Waterkeeper and Captains for Clean Water. [Flyer] [Purchase Ticket]

K.C. Schulberg CWK Executive Director (2018-07-28)

Noted community organizer and international media specialist, K.C. Schulberg was appointed Calusa Waterkeeper's Executive Director effective July 1, 2018. Schulberg's background merges film, television, marketing and fundraising with hands on civic engagement and community organizing. [About K.C.] [Resume]

Water Quality Forum (2018-07-28)

Dozens of concerned citizens joined Calusa Waterkeeper, Captains for Clean Water and SCCF for the Water Quality Forum that took place in Cape Coral on July 17th. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3]

Drone Documentation by CWK (2018-07-28)

Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Jason Pim along with David Anthony have been documenting the algae bloom growth over the course of several weeks. Some of the most recent videos captured by drone show heartbreaking images. Thank you Jason and all the CWK rangers for keeping up the good work! [Photo] [Video 1] [Video 2] [Video 3]

Algae Problems (2018-07-28)

The federal government has delegated most Clean Water Act Authority to the states for implementation. Florida has failed to enforce the water laws. It's not surprising that the Governor keeps trying to side step the water quality issue and blaming the feds. Fixing the Lake O dike won't fix problem. [Sun Sentinel]

Can Toxic Algae Be Stopped (2018-07-28)

Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani in his conversation with CityLab suggested that cutting back on massive amounts of fresh-water inflows would increase the salinity of the estuary, and hopefully discourage continued growth of this cyanobacteria. [CityLab]

4 Possible Fixes for Algal Blooms (2018-07-28)

Algal blooms have raged across much of the historic Everglades this summer, drawing the ire of residents and visitors and attention from national media. Four possible fixes for this crisis could include Caloosahatchee reservoir, EAA reservoir, Lake O regulation schedule and deep well injection. [News-Press]

FAU Poll on Algae Concern (2018-07-28)

86 percent of Floridians are concerned about the toxic algae blooms plaguing the state's east and west coasts, according to FAU poll released recently. Among the 800 registered voters polled July 20-21, 53 percent said they are "very concerned" and 33 percent said they are "somewhat concerned". [TCPalm]

Call for Algae Warning Signs (2018-07-28)

Lake Worth Waterkeeper Reinaldo Diaz showed CBS12 News a jar of algae-laden water collected at Canal Point near Lake Okeechobee in Palm Beach County. There were no signs along the waterway to warn the adults and small children who were fishing in the waters laced with toxic cyanobacteria. [CBS12] [Video]

Passing of Karl Wickstrom (2018-07-27)

Karl Wickstrom, 82, founder of Florida Sportsman magazine, tireless champion of clean water, marine conservation and recreational angler access, passed away Monday night, on June 25 in Stuart. Ten years ago he brought Calusa Waterkeeper (Riverwatch) into cooperation with east coast groups. [TCPalm] [Florida Sportsman]

CHNEP Funding Threatened (2018-07-27)

Federal funding used to study and help improve area waterways has been eliminated in the latest budget from the White House. Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) Director Jennifer Hecker confirmed this is a first for the program - at least in recent memory. [Charlotte Sun]

Charleston Park Water Unsafe (2018-07-27)

Finally, many years after being alerted to serious health hazards, the groundwater, that serves as the drinking water supply of of Charleston Park will be tested for pesticides. This is after the water already failed tests for bacteria, radium and other contaminants. This is our Flint, Michigan. [News-Press]

Cartoon Confusion: Laugh or Cry? (2018-07-27)

Artists Cathy Cochrane, Andy Marlette and MacGregor have both expressed commentary and reflected community emotions on the current algae bloom crisis. While cartoons traditionally evoke humor, sometimes the appropriate reactions are tears and anger. [Let Them Eat Cake] [Running Mates] [Water Colors] [Lake O Geyser] [Rep. Rooney] [Algae Monster]

Blessing of the Waters (2018-07-27)

Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani along with CWK rangers attended the Blessing of the Waters event on July 22 at Centennial Park in downtown Ft Myers. Group prayers & blessings were offered for SW Florida's impaired waters. John Heim presented a check for $700 to CWK on behalf of the group. Thanks! [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3]

Senator Rubio Acts on Algae (2018-07-27)

Although a late comer to the toxic algae bloom issue, Senator Marco Rubio introduced an amendment seeking funds to address the algal blooms. It allocates $5 million for EPA research and the USGS would also receive $200,000 whereas Senator Nelson's bill would allocate $110 million to bloom research. [Rubio Announcement] [Rubio Tours Bloom]

Donate to Calusa Waterkeeper (2018-07-27)

The 2018 Cyanobacteria Bloom thrust Calusa Waterkeeper into the news like never before. Why? Because its strategic plan implemented early this year prepared CWK to monitor an anticipated algae disaster and alert the public as it unfolded. Your dues & donations support this visionary leadership. [DONATE]

Algae Bloom Town Hall (2018-07-27)

Physician Dr. Parisma Taeb, microbiologist Dr. Jennifer Boddicker, and natural resources manager Annisa Karim will host a town hall on Aug 6 to discuss toxic algae blooms. Why does this keep happening? What can be done about it? Why hasn't anything been done about it? How can we change that? [Announcement] [Media Advisory] [Photo]

Nelson Seeks Algae Relief Funds (2018-07-27)

Senator Bill Nelson introduced a spending amendment that if passed would empower NOAA and EPA to declare and respond to severe algae bloom emergencies. His action is an end run on the U.S. House that failed to act upon HR4417, the companion bill to Nelson's S1057 that passed the U.S. Senate in 2017. [Nelson Action Announcement] [Nelson Amendment]

Toxins High in Cape Coral (2018-07-27)

Results of water samples taken on July 25 in Cape Coral waters show incredibly high levels of algae bloom toxins. Toxins measured many thousands of times greater than hazardous limits. [Toxin Results] [Lab Document]

Florida Algae No Surprise (2018-07-16)

It should be no surprise that south Florida continues to be an incubator for toxic algal blooms. Despite implementation of many nutrient reduction projects and BMPs, the trend has been for INCREASING phosphorus loads from some basins. [Phosphorus Discharges] [Report through 2016]

Waterkeeper Appeal DEP Grab (2018-07-11)

Florida's 12 Waterkeeper Alliance programs sent a letter to DEP asking them to abandon their attempts to assume wetland destruction permitting from the federal under the Clean Water Act Section 404(a). The federal government currently protects wetlands because states had failed to do so. [FL Waterkeepers Letter to DEP]

Algal Bloom Causes (2018-07-10)

Algal blooms happen in warm, still waters with high levels of nutrients like nitrogen or phosphorus. They also occur in rivers fed by fertilizer runoff from agriculture, sewage and industrial discharges, and urban stormwater. Climate change is increasing the frequency and occurrence of blooms. [Causes] [Effects] [Drinking Water] [Algal Bloom Info]

Algae Bloom Action (2018-07-10)

The toxic cyanobacteria bloom (blue-green algae) from Lake O to Cape Coral represents decades of failed water policy. Lax enforcement and underfunding has culminated in this harmful algae bloom (HAB) tsunami. Political leaders need to take actions recommended by Calusa Waterkeeper. [CWK Call to Action]

Caloosahatchee Algal Bloom Toxic (2018-06-28)

Results reveal high levels of toxins present in water samples collected by the Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani on Tuesday, June 26 at Caloosahatchee River locations from Franklin Lock upstream to LaBelle. The toxins greatly exceed EPA limits. [Lab Report] [Press Release]

Comments to SFWMD on MFL Rule (2018-06-14)

Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani submitted comments to SFWMD on their proposed new MFL (Minimum Flow & Levels) rule for the Caloosahatchee Estuary. Whereas SFWMD wants to establish 400 cfs as the rule's target flow, history and data show the need is for a minimum of 600 cfs. [MFL Comments to SFWMD]

Algal Bloom Briefing in DC (2018-06-14)

Senator Bill Nelson and Rep. Bill Posey hosted a briefing on Harmful Algal Blooms in DC on Monday, Jun 11. A series of presentation showed how Florida is at the center of this national water quality and health emergency. A series of scientists and agency administrators delivered HAB presentations. [Thur Intro] [FL HAB Map] [Toxins Impacts] [Hubbard Overview] [Kirkpatrick on Forecasting] [Stumpf on Freshwater]

May 2018 Newsletter (2018-05-18)

The May 2018 Calusa Waterkeeper newsletter is available online. It features Waterkeeper news and opinions on issues. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [May Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archive]

Calusa Waterkeeper Introductory Video (2018-05-18)

Calusa Waterkeeper now has a short introductory video linked to its web page. Produced by Pelican Media and funded through sponsor generosity, this video tells the story of our Waterkeeper program, its mission, jurisdiction, and how the public can join in the effort to protect our waters. [Watch the Video] [Rangers]

Our Grant Writing Machine! (2018-05-18)

Ruth Watkins, Calusa Waterkeeper Vice President, has been busily working to bring in grant revenues to help support our expanding organization. If you are interested in helping our group in this or other ways, consider joining one of our working committees. Waterkeeping requires the efforts of many. [Ruth Watkins]

A Good Problem to Have (2018-05-18)

The Executive Director position of CWK became vacant when Rienaldo Diaz left our local group to create the Lake Worth Waterkeeper program in Palm Beach County. Congratulations to Reinaldo! The ED position is responsible for fundraising and other tasks. Contact us if you are interested in applying. [Diving Into New Job] [He Fishes Too] [Email To Apply]

SFWMD Workshop (2018-05-18)

The SFWMD invites you to a workshop on June 1, 2018 10:00 AM - Noon at SFWMD Fort Myers Service Center, 1st Floor Conference Room, 2301 McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers. General subject matter to be considered: Draft MFL criteria components, draft rule language, public comments received and other. [Details]

Midtown Plan Redo (2018-05-18)

"It’s better than what they had last time, but I still don’t think it’s ready for prime time," said Gene Gibson, Calusa Waterkeeper President. That sums up the consensus of some of the city of Fort Myers’ biggest critics after hearing a new plan for midtown, downtown and the Gardner’s Park neighborhood. [News-Press] [Photo] [Video]

Toxic Chemicals Study Blocked (2018-05-18)

Officials with the White House and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tried to block a critical report on a class of toxic chemicals after a White House aide warned that a "public relations nightmare" would follow after its release, according to emails reported by POLITICO on May 14th. [EcoWatch] [Map]

How is Your Government Doing? (2018-05-18)

As the campaign season heats up, it is a good time to reflect upon the actions of the Florida Legislature and Governor on water & environmental issues. As in recent years some bad environmental legislation passed and was signed. Some were thwarted. Think about these when candidates seek your vote. [WGCU News] [Chiefland Citizen] [SCCF] [Sierra Club] [Surfrider Foundation] [Florida Conservation Coalition]

Arsenic in Dunbar & Pine Island (2018-05-18)

Disposal of water treatment plant wastes have created an arsenic contamination problem in Dunbar. The source of the arsenic problem in Pine Island is less certain. Both reflect government neglect in notifying the public of and dealing with potential public health hazards. [WUSF 1] [WUSF 2] [NBC-2] [Arsenic In Dunbar (starting minute 54:00)]

27th Annual Water Conference (2018-05-18)

Calusa Waterkeeper co-hosted the 27th Southwest Florida Water Resources Conference back in February. CWK Director John Capece organized the program that included John Cassani presenting on algal blooms and also hosting a Caloosahatchee River tour. Author Michael Grunwald was the keynote speaker. [Michael Grunwald] [Video] [River Cruise] [Presentations]

Downtown Boat Ramp Gone (2018-05-18)

The downtown Ft Myers boat ramp on which so many depended for work and recreation has been closed. The City suggests that boaters use the Oasis ramp. For more than a year CWK President Gene Gibson has been asking the City to plan for and construct a replacement ramp but progress is painfully slow. [News-Press] [Photo] [City of Ft. Myers]

Cleaning Up Billys Creek (2018-05-18)

Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann said, "My father learned to swim in Billy’s Creek, so I have a personal stake in making sure the next generation swims in Billy’s Creek.” Mann said. “We want our citizens to enjoy it and enjoy it safely and we’re not going to rest until it is indeed very safe.” [WINK] [Cassani] [Mann] [Video] [NBC2] [WINK]

Five Miles of Toxic Water (2018-05-18)

“These are some serious levels we’re really concerned about ... It’s nothing to take lightly,” Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani told the Fort Myers City Council. Cautionary signage really needs to go up. The probability of getting sick at such high levels of pollution ”is just about 100%. [News-Press] [John Cassani] [Photo] [Video]

Life-threatening Bacteria (2018-05-17)

Calusa Waterkeeper found bacteria, six times the level it takes to close beaches in Billy's Creek and brought it to the Fort Myers City Council.. It was consistently in the 3, 4, 500 range, way above the beach closure threshold of 71. [NBC-2]

Fecal Bacteria Storm (2018-05-17)

To help address the growing problem of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and cyanobacteria, Florida Waterkeepers asked legislators to reinstate the Florida HAB Task Force. The response to date has been that it would not be a popular budget item. Attitudes among Florida legislators need to change. [News-Press Op-Ed by John Cassani]

E. Coli Closes Franklin Lock Beach (2018-05-17)

The beach at Franklin Lock was closed much of this spring due to high bacteria levels. This beach is a favorite recreation area for inland families who cannot afford the time and money for trips to the Gulf beaches. Loss of safe access to this recreation diminishes our shared quality of life. [WGCU News] [Corps Press Release]

Earth Day Clean-up (2018-05-17)

On April 21st Calusa Waterkeeper members and friends participated in the Earth Day clean up at Dog Beach on Estero Bay as part of a national Waterkeeper Alliance clean-up week. Thanks to all who helped. Our Ranger Terry "Calusa" Nelson also did his share of clean-up of the Caloosahatchee River. [Group Photo] [Collected Trash] [Terry Nelson] [More Photos by Terry Nelson]

Seas the Day (2018-05-17)

Lee County school teacher Suzie Hassett invited Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Jason Pim to attend the "Seas the Day" Earth Day event on April 22 at the Cape Coral Yacht Club. Jason was invited to discuss the bacteria problem in the Caloosahatchee River that closed the beach recently. [Cape Coral Daily Breeze] [Photos]

Do Not Swim! (2018-05-17)

There’s a problem with Billy Creek. It’s not safe because of high levels of bacteria possibly from human or animal feces. Activists say the city, county, and state are playing the blame game. “Some of the agencies just have basically been looking the other way. [Hello SWFL] [Video]

Billys Creek Sewage Spill (2018-05-17)

Hurricane Irma caused 21 sewer overflows, dumping 35,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into Billy’s Creek. The city says they’re going to buy generators within a year to help. Ft Myers will spend a lot of money to add on to money that’s already been spent to ultimately solve the problem. [Wink News] [Video]

Enterococci Bacteria Results - Apr 25 (2018-05-17)

Enterococci bacteria (MPN/100 ml) sampling results for 4-25-18 by CWK. Cape Coral Shadroe Canal marine and Billy's Creek have extremely high levels. Other areas exceeding the Beach Advisory Threshold of 71 include Powell Creek and North Shore Park. [Details]

Ranger Terry Nelson Reporting (2018-05-17)

Ranger Terry "Calusa" Nelson used a Secchi Disk to measure water clarity in the Caloosahatchee Estuary on Apr 29. "Nice day on the water. Clarity continues to improve in the river. Over five feet in every location except the canal, where it's 3.3 feet." CWK will expand its water clarity monitoring. [Details] [Photo]

Ceitus Boat Lift 2015-2017 (2018-05-17)

CWK then CRCA opposed the removal of the Cape Coral Ceitus boat lift and challenged the City in court with other local stakeholders. The stakeholders ultimately withdrew their petition to avoid a potential prejudicial court outcome stemming from a FDEP interpretation of a previous consent order. [Areal Map & Details]

Recognition (2018-05-17)

Calusa Waterkeeper President Gene Gibson recognized Hank Appleton and the Cape Coral Power Squadron for their ongoing support, including providing water safety training for John Cassani's Rangers Academy. [Photo] [Cape Coral Sail and Power Squadron]

Ranger Academy Graduates 16 (2018-05-17)

A dedicated group of 28 people attended May 12th Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Academy at Lee County Regional Public Library in downtown Ft. Myers. 16 participants received their Calusa Waterkeeper certificates. This was the second course and graduating class of the Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Academy. [Photos] [Video]

Father and Son Share Concern (2018-05-17)

My son and I are now watchdogs of sorts — watch-waters is more accurate. From the bank or a canoe we look at water near us in a creek or a river on a regular basis. We measure its clarity, we locate the coordinates of potential problems such as fish kills or algae blooms, and we share that data.... [Florida Weekly] [Father & Son] [Nash Williams] [Online Edition]

Enterococci Bacteria Results - May 15 (2018-05-17)

May 15th enterococci bacteria results from Billy's Creek reflect a serious public health problem. City officials suggested the levels would decline after hurricane Irma but that has not happened. Levels have been this high off and on since 2001. [May 15 Results] [Apr 25 Results] [Toxic Water] [Do Not Swim]

New Normal and Other Editorials (2018-05-17)

John Cassani writes: Government regulators need to exercise care when they characterize environmental problems. Lt Col Reynolds of the Army Corps said harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Lake O were natural. Unfortunately, given the increasing prevalence of HABs, they are becoming the new normal. [New Normal] [Funding for Billys Creek] [Bacteria Storm]

Cape Coral Bimini Basin (2018-05-17)

Having previously turned a blind eye to high bacteria levels in Bimini Basim, Cape Coral is now raising the issue. Some wonder if they really care about safety or if it is simply a convenient excuse to remove resident boaters from the area so it can be developed into a commercial attraction. [News-Press] [Video]

W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area (2018-05-17)

On April 17 the Corps of Engineers announced they had closed the beach at W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area for swimming because of concerns about water quality. The beach remains open for sunbathing and recreational activities other than swimming. [Press Release]

Kids Sue Florida Over Climate Change (2018-05-17)

15-year-old Valholly Frank is one of the 8 Florida children suing Gov. Rick Scott for inaction on climate change. Valholly is daughter of Joe Frank and Rhonda Roff, long time members and former directors of Calusa Waterkeeper. [WLRN] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]

Thank You to FSW Students (2018-05-17)

Stephanie Frier and her Florida Southwestern State College Leadership Academy team raised $250 to buy Secchi Disk water clarity testing equipment for the CWK Rangers. The students even did a beach clean-up to boot. There's hope for the future with an upcoming generation like these civic minded kids. [Details] [Photo] [FSW Leadership Academy]

Save Our Water Summit (2018-05-16)

The News-Press Save Our Water Summit on May 11 attracted 400 attendees. Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani was part of a panel of experts speaking on regional water challenges. Constructive controversy surrounded many aspects of the annual assembly and its discussions. [News-Press 1] [News-Press 2] [Photo] [Video]

Resilience Workshop May 31 (2018-05-16)

Learn how green infrastructure can play a critical role in making South Florida’s coastal communities more resilient to natural hazards such as hurricanes and sea level rise. Through group discussions, activities, and presentations featuring green infrastructure projects from SW Florida. [Flyer] [Details & Registration]

Management Workshop Jun 26 (2018-05-16)

Lakes and Ponds Management Workshop, a half-day course will provide landscape professionals with knowledge and skills related to lakes and ponds management. Learn about the challenges that face healthy ponds and lakes in Southwest Florida. Discover how to make your pond healthy and beautiful. [Details & Registration]

Calusa Waterkeer Annual Meeting (2018-05-16)

Please join us for our annual membership meeting on Saturday, May 19, 2018, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, at the Franklin Lock south bank picnic area (1660 S Franklin Lock Rd, Alva). This will be a potluck meal, so bring a dish to share and a chair. Also, feel free to bring friends and neighbors. [Invitation Letter & Agenda] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]

Health & Wellness Fair (2018-05-16)

On May 19th CapeStyle Magazine will be hosting a Health and Wellness Fair that will include up to 25 vendors that will provide check ups, give health information and options, education and free refreshments. You can also donate blood and get skin, hearing and chiropractic checks. [Flyer] [Details]

Naples Downtown Boat Show (2018-05-16)

The Naples Boat Show in downtown Naples is an in water recreational show at Naples City Dock, Saturday and Sunday, October 13th and 14th, 2018. Free admission! The show will feature displays by marinas, boat dealers, other marine related businesses and food vendors. [Details]

Big Cypress Swamp Walks (2018-05-16)

Vermont has its leaf-peepers. Munich has Oktoberfest. Here in South Florida, we celebrate the fall season with ranger-led swamp walks in the Big Cypress National Preserve. Join SFNPT on October 27 & 28 at Clyde Butcher's Big Cypress Gallery and take a walk on the wild side. [Ticket and Details]

Ceitus Boat Lift (2018-04-30)

A series of aerial photos shows progression of sedimentation that has accumulated downstream of the channel where City of Cape Coral removed the Ceitus Boat Lift in 2008. Calusa Waterkeeper attempted to force Cape Coral to restore a structure but DEP was complicit in ignoring the requirement. [Aerial Photos 2013-2016] [News-Press Op-Ed] [Aerial Photos 2015-2017]

New Ranger Course Attracts 20 (2018-04-17)

A full classroom of 20 participants attended the first lecture of the 2018 Ranger Training Course. The Saturday classes run through May 12. The next session is April 28. Contact Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani if you would like to participate. [Rangers Course Flier]

City Council Discusses Bacteria (2018-04-12)

Calusa Waterkeeper will discuss bacterial contamination of Billy's Creek at the Ft Myers City Council meeting on Monday, April 16 at 4:30 pm in City Hall. Bacteria levels exceed Health Dept beach closure threshold 97% of the time since 2001. [Press Release]

Arsenic in Dunbar Groundwater (2017-12-01)

The City of Fort Myers is drawing sharp criticism from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and NAACP over its handling of test results on the Dunbar sludge site. The city failed to release results from testing that showed elevated levels of arsenic in groundwater at the site. [Wink News] [NAACP Action] [FDP Letter] [News-Press]

Billys Creek Bacteria Still High (2017-12-01)

Calusa Waterkeeper tested for the Enterococci bacteria in Billy’s Creek. Results show bacteria increasing continually upstream up to the filter marsh project at Marsh Avenue. The wastewater treatment plant nearer Seaboard St does not appear to be the primary source of bacterial contamination. [Bacteria Testing Results]

November 2017 Newsletter (2017-11-30)

The November 2017 Calusa Waterkeeper newsletter is available online. It features Waterkeeper news and opinions on issues. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [November Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archive]

Lake O Flows to Slow (2017-11-30)

The Caloosahatchee River and its estuary will get a little relief soon as the Army Corps of Engineers plans to slow releases. The target flow into the river through the St. Lucie Lock and Dam will be slightly less than 1.2 billion gallons a day. [News-Press]

The Oaks Rib Fest (2017-11-30)

LDRC is proud to announce the 6th Annual Smoke under the Oaks Rib Fest on January 13, 2018 from noon to 4pm! Please consider the possibility of sponsoring this event and receive tons of benefits for your business! [LDRC] [LDRC] [LDRC] [Facebook] [Instagram]

Your Brain on Algae (2017-11-29)

A new documentary about toxic algae and the growing body of scientific evidence that ties it to neurological diseases, “Toxic Puzzle,” presents the work of biologist Paul Alan Cox. Links between the BMAA algae toxin and ALS were first observed by Cox 20 years ago on the Pacific U.S. territory Guam. [Keys News] [Toxic Puzzle] [Trailer]

Green Amendment in NJ (2017-11-29)

An environmental rights constitutional amendment is being proposed in New Jersey. In contrast to Florida's proposed amendment, the NJ Green Amendment would be placed within Article 1 of the NJ constitution, making it self enforcing and thus not able to be diluted or thwarted by the legislature. [Proposed Amendment] [Press Release] [Florida Proposal]

Almost Dead River (2017-11-29)

Lynne Van Sciver from Fort Myers writes about the water problems she has experienced since moving to Ft Myers about 40 years ago. Whereas visitors saw that she once lived in a paradise, today the Caloosahatchee River is close to dead due to being manipulated, abused and neglected for way too long. [News-Press]

Save Our Creeks Annual Meeting (2017-11-29)

Save Our Creeks (SOC) will hold its annual meeting on Dec 10 in Palmdale. SOC is a strong advocate for Fisheating Creek, helping it remain the most natural of South Florida streams. Calusa Waterkeeper is a life-time member of SOC. [SOC Annual Meeting Announcement] [SOC Bylaws]

Lee County Rule Change (2017-11-29)

A Lee County advisory board has endorsed making changes in county development rules to ease way for construction of a million-dollar mansion on Upper Captiva. This will bring an end to county regulations & encourage pollution on the environmentally sensitive Gulf of Mexico coastline. [News-Press]

Ongoing Harmful Algal Blooms (2017-11-28)

Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) currently pervade the SW FL nearshore Gulf of Mexico. The blooms extend into Pine Island Sound, Charlotte Harbor and Caloosahatchee Estuary. Satellite imagery show where chlorophyll concentrations are highest, indicating an intense red tide. [News-Press] [Facebook]

Daltry on Regional Planning (2017-11-28)

Past planning practices are to blame for many of our regional water problems. Past directors of Calusa Waterkeeper - Wayne Daltry, Ray Judah a Rae Ann Wessel - explain the history of planning in SW Florida in a Florida Weekly article by Roger Williams. [Florida Weekly]

Annual Dues & Donations (2017-11-28)

Please renew your Calusa Waterkeeper membership and make a donation before year's end. Our group has made amazing progress in its new Waterkeeper programs, including algae & bacteria sampling, Ranger training & other advocacy activities. Support making our waters drinkable, swimmable, and fishable! [Donation Page] [Membership Renewal]

Bill Hammond Instructs Rangers (2017-11-28)

Environmental educator Dr. Bill Hammond was a guest lecturer at the Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Academy on Nov 18. The final lecture for John Cassani's first graduating class will be held Dec 2 at Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium. [Ranger Academy Class] [Hammond Lecture] [Bill Hammond]

Caloosahatchee Status, Nov 14-20 (2017-11-28)

Discharges from Lake Okeechobee continued at maximum practicable releases with average flows of 6,103 cfs to the Caloosahatchee at S-77. Discharges at S-80 averaged 3,288 cfs. To return lake levels below 16 ft the Corps will be forced to continue maximum discharges in all directions (E,W,&S). [SCCF Condition Report] [SCCF]

Deep Injection Wells (2017-11-27)

Deep injection wells have gotten little public support but it appears the state is moving forward with well sites north of Lake Okeechobee, without support from the federal government or environmental groups. This is a risky technology especially for areas reliant upon groundwater. [News-Press]

EAA Reservoir Public Comments (2017-11-27)

Calusa WaterKeeper John Cassani submitted comments to SFWMD on the scoping phase of the EAA Reservoir Project. CWK asks that modeling of stored reservoir water occur for Chlorophyll a, principal nitrogen species, specific conductance and total suspended solids under relevant residency scenarios. [Calusa Waterkeeper]

Strain After Irma (2017-11-27)

Re-routing of Lake Okeechobee overflow from south to east and west, and the extremes in weather patterns are straining the delicate and complicate systems in southern Florida. There is no way of predicting if Florida's ecosystems could hold out for the next 10 years. [Fort Myers Beach Observer]

FL Waterkeepers Demand Action (2017-11-21)

All 12 Florida Waterkeepers have signed onto a letter calling for the renewal of funding for the Florida Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) Task Force through legislative appropriations in the 2018 session. This is a necessary step towards protecting Florida waters, wildlife, visitors and residents. [HAB Position Letter]

UN Climate Conference (2017-11-21)

UF students Rock Aboujaoude Jr (from LaBelle) & Taymour Khan attended the annual UN climate change conference (COY13) in Bonn, Germany. They were the only US students attending. Their COY workshop was organized by Calusa Waterkeeper members as was Rock’s participation in COY-Paris & COY-Marrakesh. [Image] [Image] [Campus Climate Corps] [Facebook] [Intelligenstia International]

CWK Exec Director at SFWMD (2017-11-20)

Reinaldo Diaz of Calusa Waterkeeper spoke at the SFWMD Water Resources Advisory Commission meeting held on Nov 2, 2017. Most of the advocacy groups at the hearing made considerable oral and written responses to the proposed MFL revision by SFWMD. The District’s maintained the MFL at 400 cfs at S-79. [Meeting Agenda]

Environment & Constitution (2017-11-20)

A Florida Constitution amendment proposed for the 2018 ballot seeks to give people the right to a clean and healthful environment. However, a national "Green Amendment" activist says that as currently proposed the FL amendment has no real teeth and should be changed before consideration by voters. [The Ledger] [FL Constitutional Commission] [National Video]

National Wide Threat (2017-11-20)

The algae bloom threat is escalating from occasional nuisance to severe, widespread hazard, overwhelming government efforts to curb a leading cause: fertilizer runoff. Pungent & toxic blobs are fouling waterways. It’s a big, pervasive threat that as a society are not doing enough to solve. [Florida Daily Post]

Rising Sea Levels (2017-11-17)

Southwest Florida is among the most susceptible areas in the world threatened by rising seas. It’s impossible to stop this human-accelerated process, but with smarter planning, better building codes and land development, the process can be slowed down. [Florida Weekly]

6th UF Water Symposium (2017-11-17)

John Cassani, of Calusa Waterkeeper will be speaking at the 6th UF Water Institute Symposium on Feb 6 2018 from 1:30 pm. He will be presenting "In Support of Re-instating the Florida Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force: Establishing New Strategies for Monitoring, Prediction & Public Notification." [UF Water Insitute] [Symposium Announcement] [Calusa Waterkeeper] [UF Wate Institute website]

Key to Future of Florida (2017-11-16)

A 143-mile dike is crumbling and offers no major southern spillway. Dreadful algae blooms choke Florida's Lake Okeechobee and coastlines. In a Florida Weekly interview with the Calusa Waterkeeper, John Cassani, Florida Weekly's Roger Williams explores these and other south Florida water issues. [Florida Weekly]

Crocodile Tears (2017-11-14)

Some of the constraints SFWMD faces in sending flood water south from Lake O is weather and the physical design of the water management system - a system SFWMD has not seriously tried to fix since realizing the problem 30 years ago, mostly due to obstruction from industry & their front politicians. [SFWMD]

Ranger Training Workshop (2017-11-13)

The second workshop in the Calusa Waterkepeer (CWK) Ranger Academy training series will be held on Sat, Nov 18, 2017, 9:00 AM at the Calusa Nature Center Iona House. The workshop will review the ABCs of water management and other courses. See you there! [MAP] [UF] [Calusa Waterkeeper]

Business Lobby Should Support (2017-11-10)

In an open letter addressed to the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Eve Samples calls on the members of the Chamber to support the proposed development of the Everglades reservoir. Clean water and a thriving business climate are critical to the future of Florida. [TCPALM] [Cartoon]

Algal Blooms in Florida Bay (2017-11-09)

Algal blooms, which kill fish, suffocate seagrass and make life harder for those who rely on the Everglades estuary for their livelihoods, have surfaced again this year. “There is very little water in the bay now that doesn’t have some type of bloom." This might affect the fishing industry. [Keys News]

Waterkeeper 2017 Annual Report (2017-11-08)

The Waterkeeper Alliance 2017 annual report is out and the fight for drinkable, fishable, & swimmable water is stronger than ever. In the fiscal year, a new activism platform "Dive into Democracy" was born. The network challenged a rollback that could wipe out protections for cleaning up America. [Waterkeeper Alliance] [Website]

Another Wetland Development (2017-11-08)

At the headwaters of Six-mile Cypress, a developer plans to fill wetlands on a 159-acre site between Ortiz and I-75 just south of SR82 and north or Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium. This will Impact forested wetlands. The Corps is soliciting comments from the public. Time to act is now!! [US Army Corps of Engineers] [Weblink]

BMAP Comments (2017-11-08)

Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani analyzed the DEP BMAP report on nutrient reduction efforts for the Caloosahatchee Estuary. He discovered clearly deceptive accounting making it look like water quality is improving when it simply is not. [Calusa Waterkeeper] [Conservancy] [BMAP Cartoon]

Tainted Water Everywhere (2017-11-07)

TCPalm says the proposed reservoir south of Lake O will help end the water problems of St Lucie & Caloosahatchee Rivers. Though its years away, TCPalm is heartened to see SFWMD moving quickly on the project. Though some are fighting the project, surely, we need storage north and south of the lake. [TCPALM]

Modelling For Everglades (2017-11-07)

SFWMD has released some preliminary modeling for the Everglades Agricultural Area Storage Reservoir. The modeling looks at how several variations of the project would work, given a wide array of rainy and dry conditions over the past 40-plus years. [TCPALM] [SFWMD] [Map]

Climate Change 90% Manmade (2017-11-06)

A comprehensive review by 13 US federal agencies concludes that evidence of global warming is stronger than ever and that more than 90% of it has been caused by humans. The conclusion contradicts a favorite talking point of senior members of the Trump administration. [The Guardian] [The New York Times] [Climate Change Report] [NYT]

NASA Ends Mission GRACE (2017-11-03)

NASA and it's partners decided to end the GRACE satellite mission after the eighth of 20 battery cells on GRACE-2 failed. GRACE satellite mission deepened the scientific understanding of societies influence on water and land over the project period. A new satellite duo will soon take its place. [Circle of Blue]

Capece Speaks to Coalition (2017-11-03)

Dr. John Capece, board member of Calusa Waterkeeper, addressed the SWFL Justice4All Coalition at its Nov 6 meeting at the Naples Unitarian Church. His topic was climate change. Other panelists spoke on fracking, solar energy, sea level rise, and carbon tax. [Panel] [Suzanne Cherney] [Amy Clifton] [Pam Gharabally] [Sally Woliver] [Clifford Mitchem]

Carbon Dioxide Levels Surge (2017-11-02)

Levels of carbon dioxide (C02) surged at “record-breaking speed” to new highs in 2016, the United Nations weather agency announced. Carbon dioxide concentrations reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400 ppm in 2015. In 2017, short-term levels of 412 ppm have been recorded. [UN News Center] [Link]

Community Receives Education (2017-11-02)

The Sanibel community was invited to an environmental education event at the Captiva Island Yacht Club to hear about water quality issues. With hurricane Irma, the area experienced an extremely low tide, which had impacts on the ecology of the area. [Captiva Sannibel]

Clean Water is Our Life (2017-11-02)

John Benedict writes that there is one major embarrassment in SW Florida, the pollution of Caloosahatchee River! Politicians have sold us out for the wealthy agricultural industry and developers with the same motive. Isn't it time, we step up and demand a solution to this perennial problem? [Cape Coral Daily Breeze]

CWK MFL Comments (2017-11-02)

Calusa Waterkeeper (CWK) submitted comments to SFWMD on the draft revision of Caloosahatchee minimum flow criteria (MFL). CWK is opposed to setting the MFL at 400 cfs but support a MFL in the range of 600-800 cfs at S-79. Details in the report attached. [Calusa Waterkeeper]

Save the Everglades Rally (2017-11-01)

Join us in Naples on Saturday, Nov 4, in Naples at the intersection of Davis Blvd & US41 to raise pubic awareness of the needs for Everglades restoration projects throughout south Florida. A lecture at 10am precedes the rally at noon. Then at 3pm we move to Cambier Park for another rally at 4pm. [Description for FGCU Students] [Day of Action] [Rally Location] [Facebook Invitation for All]

EPA Blocks Scientists (2017-11-01)

Scott Pruitt just blocked expert scientists from EPA advisory board, citing the risk of conflicts of interest. The move represents a fundamental shift, one that could change the scientific and technical advice that historically has guided the agency as it crafts environmental regulations. [The Washington Post] [ABC News] [The Washington Post]

Criticizing Scott Over Water (2017-11-01)

The biggest environmental issue with governor Scott's administration is the systemic lack of enforcement and land use planning oversight, writes John Cassani in Oct 25 mailbag. This systemic error has resulted in decline in water quality of the states waters and putting a risk on public health. [News-Press] [Cartoon]

Scott to Push for Repair Plan (2017-10-31)

Gov. Rick Scott will push a $50 million proposal to speed up repairs for the Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee. The money, the governor said, would axe three years off the completion date, with the dike finishing in 2022. [Sunshine State News] [Florida Politics] [Press Release Statement] [Governor Scott Website]

Caloosahatchee Status Oct 17-23 (2017-10-31)

Freshwater flows from Lake Okeechobee and the watershed decreased slightly to an average of 9,028 cfs at S-79, over 3 times the harm threshold. Light remains limited throughout the river and estuary from dark, freshwater discharge that extends several miles offshore into the Gulf of Mexico. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Condition Report] [SCCF website]

Time to Ban Fracking (2017-10-30)

When will Florida legislators get the message that Fracking is not welcome in the sunshine state? asks the Treasure Coast newspaper editorial board. Florida still has the opportunity to chart a better course and avoid all the environmental consequences of fracking. Ban fracking in Florida. [News-Press]

Something in the Water (2017-10-30)

The government is failing to provide solutions to the water problems that one Lee county community is facing. The people of Charleston identified safe drinking water as their top environmental health concern. The officials heard the concerns, considered fixes and gave up.These residents need help. [News-Press]

Rangers Gather Water Data (2017-10-27)

Calusa Waterkeeper and Rangers are collecting basic water quality data from the tidal Caloosahatchee River. The data being collected include salinity, temperature and dissolved oxygen. Ranger & Director Ruth Watkins is monitoring Hendry Creek and Estero Bay. Ranger Terry focuses on the estuary. [Calusa Waterkeeper] [Water Quality Data] [Website] [Ranger Terry]

Irma Clean Up Updates (2017-10-27)

A debris cleanup project was conducted on the Caloosahatchee River, which may delay boaters at the Lee County Parks and Recreation Department's Alva Boat Ramp. The project extends through November and may result in delays for patrons at the ramp during this time. [Lehigh Acres Citizen] [Map] [Lee County Parks & Recreation]

Lake O Proposed Reservoir (2017-10-27)

The proposed reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, in conjunction with other planned projects, would "put a huge dent" in the current discharges plaguing the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers. "There's no silver bullet" to solving the discharges, Morrison of SFWMD said. [TCPALM]

Environmental Breakfast Award (2017-10-26)

Courtney Kern received a $1500 scholarship at the 20th Annual Environmental Breakfast hosted by Audubon. Courtney is an FGCU Environmental Studies senior & Student Naturalist with plans for grad school and a teaching career, perhaps as a professor. [Presentation by Tony Lee of FGCU] [Announcement by Dan Van Norman] [Breakfast] [Riverside Community Center] [Courtney Kern]

Send It South Not Realistic (2017-10-26)

Mitch Hutchcraft argues against unrealistic of the "send it south" water policy on Lake Okeechobee. He states that there are scientifically proven ways to improve the system and its time to let the professionals complete the projects that will provide the most relief to the entire ecosystem. [TCPALM]

Lake O Water Level Declines (2017-10-26)

As the Lake O water levels have declined to below 17ft, it is yet unknown when the Corps will slow releasing water into the Caloosahatchee River. John Capece of Calusa Waterkeeper says the Corps are operating with a lot of constraints. "They’ve just got a lousy hand to play." [Naples Daily News] [USACE]

Water Quality = Home Value (2017-10-25)

Florida Realtors research in 2015 showed that water quality affects your property value. A 1-foot decrease in water clarity (measured by Secchi disk depth) results in a fall of more than 400 million dollars in coastal county property value. [Florida Realtors Study]

Costs of Climate Risks (2017-10-25)

A Federal government report has revealed that climate change is costing the federal government hundreds of billion dollars in disaster assistance, flood control and crop insurance losses. The government has not undertaken strategic plans to manage climate risks. [The Hill] [ABC News]

Florida Panther Hot Spot (2017-10-25)

Roads in Collier County rank among the worst hot spots for vehicle collisions with endangered Florida Panthers. Advocates recommend wildlife crossings on 20 road segments in Collier and Hendry counties, some in the Calusa Waterkeeper jurisdiction. [Naples Daily News] [Hot Spots]

Caloosahatchee Pollution Plan (2017-10-24)

DEP is moving closer to its latest plan to reduce pollution flowing into the Caloosahatchee River and its estuary. There has been frustrations over the length of time it's taken to adopt the pollution loads. Calusa Waterkeeper also questions the legitimacy of DEP's reduction estimates. [News-Press] [SFWMD 2009] [Waterkeeper Comments]

Activists Demand Progress (2017-10-23)

Activists took Senator Joe Negron to task over the fulfillment of building the promised reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. This comes from concerns that the project might never materialize. [TCPALM]

Hurricane Irma Debris (2017-10-23)

A month ago Irma hit SW Florida and left behind piles of vegetation debris along the roads waiting for collection and disposal. After delays in the clean up process, Lee and Hendry Counties have opened bring it yourself public disposal and storage sites where residents are dumping off their wastes. [News-Press: Dumps] [News-Press: Profiteering] [Miami Herald] [Cartoon]

Grunwald on Cape Coral (2017-10-22)

In his expose on Cape Coral development, Michael Grunwald quotes Calusa Waterkeeper member and former president Wayne Daltry on past planning and future risks for the low-lying, fast-growing city. []

Climate Caucus Letter on CPP (2017-10-20)

The leaders of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus released a letter, signed by 25 caucus members, in support of the CPP and urging the administration to retain the regulations and "work to achieve solutions that will provide jobs, economic growth, and a safe climate for us and future Americans. [Details] [CCL News]

Salinity Flatlines since Aug 28 (2017-10-20)

The week of Oct. 10-16, freshwater flows from Lake O and the estuary decreased slightly to an average of 10,405 cfs at S-79, nearly 4 times the harm threshold. Light remains limited throughout the river from dark, freshwater discharge that extends several miles offshore into the Gulf of Mexico [Details] [News-Press]

EAA Reservoir Meetings (2017-10-20)

SFWMD will host two public scoping meetings on the EAA Water Storage Reservoir project. These meetings will be held on Oct. 23, at the John Boy Auditorium in Clewiston and on Oct. 26, at SFWMD headquarters in West Palm Beach. SFWMD staff will present the EAA project details and solicit public inputs [SFWMD News]

Tamiami Trail Modifications (2017-10-20)

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, along with many hunting and fishing organizations, is asking Congress to make water conveyance under the Tamiami Trail a priority, in order to relieve flooding in the Everglades and increase the flow of freshwater to Florida Bay. [Okeechobee News]

Energy From Waste Tour (2017-10-19)

Calusa Waterkeeper interns from Malawi joined students from FGCU to tour the Convata facilities in Florida to learn about the Lee County's solutions to waste management challenges and how the facility processes energy from waste material to meet the energy needs of the community. [Image] [Image] [Image] [Covanta]

Fluctuating Blue-Brown Water (2017-10-18)

There are freshwater catfish near Sanibel and the Causeway. Rae Ann Wessel, Director of Policy for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, said it's a side effect from the freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee following the heavy rainfalls of the past two months. [Fort Myers News]

Changes to Algal Bloom Bill (2017-10-18)

As Florida Waterkeepers, are calling on the Florida Legislature to reactivate and adequately fund the Florida Harmful Algal Bloom Task Force. The US Senate has passed a bill to improve the federal response to water pollution by amending the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act. [Ohio Country Journal] [ACT] [Senate Report]

Oil Drilling Plan (2017-10-18)

A State judge has issued a recommended order to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to issue an oil drilling permit for the Everglades. The project has been fought by environmental groups as it endangers habitats for some species. The project has no business being in the Everglades. [Sun Sentinel]

Opposing Legislative Language (2017-10-18)

Calusa waterkeeper signed on to oppose the language exempting FEMA from the requirements of the ESA. Without ESA, FEMA will be absolved of its legal responsibilities to safeguard endangered species in the most sensitive floodplain habitats and will undermine water quality downstream. [Center for Biological Diversity] [Website]

October 2017 Newsletter (2017-10-17)

The October 2017 Calusa Waterkeeper newsletter is available online. It features Waterkeeper news and opinions on issues. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [October Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archive]

Caloosahatchee Conditions (2017-10-17)

The week of Oct. 3rd -9th, freshwater flows from Lake Okeechobee and the watershed increased to an average of 13,800 cfs at S-79, nearly 5 times the harm threshold. Light remains limited throughout the river from dark, freshwater discharge that extends several miles offshore into the Gulf of Mexico. [Details]

Flooding as a Fact of Life (2017-10-17)

SW FL conservative residents are transitioning from a "people can build anywhere" and "climate change is not real" mindset to a "flooding is a fact of life" reality. This is the direct result of their lifetime of rejecting science in governance. [News-Press]

Caloosahatchee Estuary Loss (2017-10-17)

An algal bloom may be on the horizon due to the nutrient loads from the Lake O water releases. The discharges are damaging the Caloosahatchee estuary. John Cassani of Calusa Waterkeeper comments, "I think we’re past that threshold where damage has become an ongoing thing." Its an enormous impact. [News-Press] [Palm Beach Post]

High Hurricane Cost (2017-10-17)

As Lee County pushes for a "greater sense of urgency" by contractors removing Hurricane Irma debris, the county manager warned that preventing similar impact from a future storm could hit hundreds of millions of dollars which might eventually force county taxpayers to shoulder a large burden. [News-Press]

Editorial on Government Duties (2017-10-17)

During the hurricane season in Florida, it doesn't really matter where you stand on the science of climate change. The reality is that flooding is becoming a more prevalent problem, no matter what the reason, and state and local leaders should more aggressively work to prevent it. [Tampa Bay Times]

Lee County Drainage Concerns (2017-10-16)

The tropical depression and hurricane Irma may have passed, but flooding finger-pointing has just begun. Who is responsible - the county for allowing building in flood-prone areas and not warning buyers? Or is it agencies for not further damaging the environment to accommodate such foolishness? [News-Press]

Feb 2 Water Conference (2017-10-16)

The hurricane season was a wake-up call for engineers and communities as they are increasingly keeping climate change in mind as they plan roads, sewers and energy grids for the future. This is the theme for the upcoming 27th Annual SW FL Water Resources Conference co-hosted by Calusa Waterkeeper. [Endia] [The Changing Climate of Regulation & Funding]

SCCF River Cruise (2017-10-16)

Join SCCF on an Oxbow and Riverlore Cruise to experience the historic Caloosahatchee River. The 2.5 hour adventure begins by locking through the W.P. Franklin Lock in Olga.Cruises depart at 1 pm and return by 3:30 pm. For more information on dates follow the link. See you there!! [SCCF] [SCCF website]

Concerns Over Lake O Releases (2017-10-16)

Lake O releases into the Caloosahatchee River continues to raise water quality concerns. The releases will turn the river into a brown, murky water which will impact negatively on businesses on the beach by tainting the shores and driving away tourism. [FOX 4] [Naples Daily News] [SCCF] [USACE] [FOX 4]

Florida Legislative Forecast (2017-10-16)

Committees of the Florida Legislature are meeting in October in preparation for the legislative session to begin in January. Key themes are posturing for the 2018 elections and dealing with costs for and revenue losses from Hurricane Irma. [1000 Friends of Florida] [Legislative Webinar on Dec 6]

Irma Shatters Flow Records (2017-10-13)

Hurricane Irma created record shattering flow at Franklin Lock (S79) on Sep 11 & 12. The Corps measured discharge at 27,783 cfs, exceeding the previous records set in 2005-2006 by 25%. Measurements began in 1966 following construction of the lock and dam in 1965. [Recent Flow Data] [2017 Hydrograph]

Caloosahatchee MFL Reevaluation (2017-10-13)

Lee County submitted comments to SFWMD on the proposed MFL (minimum flows and levels) for the Caloosahatchee Estuary. Lee County asserts the data supports an MFL greater than 650 cfs rather than the SFWMD proposal of 400 cfs. The County urges SFWMD to work in collaboration with FDEP on this. [Details]

Audubon Environmental Breakfast (2017-10-13)

Audubon South West Florida, invites you to it's annual environmental breakfast. The event will be held on October 26 2017, at Riverside Community Center, Fort Myers. Please RSVP to See you there! [Audubon Invite] [Audubon SW Florida] [Riverside Community Center]

Ban Fracking in Florida (2017-10-13)

A group of Republicans from the House and Senate have filed a bill that would ban fracking in Florida, but it faces a tough journey without a scientific study to determine how fracking really impacts the environment. [Tallahassee Democrat News]

SFWMD Moving Foward (2017-10-13)

The SFWMD announcement to start moving more water south into the Everglades and Florida Bay is a welcoming development, as the heavy rainfall in 2017 has resulted in high water emergencies and wildlife endangerment. The SFWMD must really step up to protect the Everglades. Time is of the essence! [Sunshine State News] [WPTV] [SFWMD]

20 Years and Counting (2017-10-12)

Midpoint Memorial Bridge spanning the Calooshatchee from Cape Coral (Veterans Pkwy) to Ft Myers (Colonial Blvd) celebrates 20 years since construction in 1997. The project did generate its share of controversy when proposed, mostly NIMBY objections. [News-Press] [Bridge Revenues]

This Could be it! (2017-10-12)

South Florida cities have been injecting treated wastewater from treatment plants 3,000 feet deep into a series of caverns beneath the drinking water supply for decades. Now the same idea has been resurrected as a potential solution to harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges. [Palm Beach Post News] [Details]

Move Away from Coal (2017-10-12)

As the planet is moving fast towards renewable energy. The Trump administration continues to play down the scientific consensus on climate change and its consequences. To continue using coal is simply a poor out-of-date technology and a gamble on our future. [The New York Times] [EPA] [The New York Times]

What is Next? (2017-10-12)

A state agency charged with protecting Florida's waters is working on its 5-year review of the plan to reduce the amount of pollution flowing into the Caloosahatchee River and its estuary. FDEP met with local water quality experts and advocates on Oct. 10 to discuss the way forward. [News-Press]

Negron Claims Accomplishments (2017-10-11)

“My niche in the legislative process is writing down policy and budget objectives and then working to implement them in the process so something measurable is accomplished,” said Sen. Joe Negron (with a straight face) about issues his and previous FL Legislatures have failed to accomplish. [TCPalm News]

Stop Oil Drilling In Everglades (2017-10-11)

Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, blasted a state decision to renew an oil exploration permit in the Big Cypress National Preserve. “Protecting Big Cypress National Preserve is vital to preserving and restoring Florida’s Everglades." The state should be working to end oil drilling. [Naples Daily] [Florida Politics]

Too Little, Too Late (2017-10-11)

The Caulkins Citrus Company's 3200 acre grove in Palm City is now a water farm, storing water from Lake O discharges. But unless far greater storage capacity is achieved system wide, paying farmers to store a small fraction of the massive excess flow serves no real value to the estuaries. [Palm Beach Post News]

Irma Claims Tops $4.6 Billion (2017-10-11)

Property insurance claims from Hurricane Irma have approached $4.6 billion in estimated losses, according to the latest numbers from the Florida office of insurance regulation. Sarasota, Charlotte and Manatee county represent 3% of all Florida claims. [Herald tribune] [News4jax]

I Survived IRMA (2017-10-11)

It's been a month since Irma hit Florida and brought much devastation all around, but residents of the Everglades have found hope in the midst of the chaos. "It washes away the illness and cleans the land.” Osceola a resident said of hurricanes. “Everything feels clean now, the air feels lighter." [News-Press]

Irma Impact On Tourism (2017-10-10)

After Irma, dark colored water and bacteria along the beaches and other water bodies including the Caloosahatchee River, is affecting the tourism sector. The popular TripAdvisor web page shows that people are commenting on our poor water conditions. [TCPALM] [ Bacteria] [ Brown Water]

SFWMD Comments on LOWRP (2017-10-10)

“Live your lives.” That was the advice given by Marcy Zehnder of SFWMD Real Estate Division to those who own property in the footprint of a reservoir proposed as part of the LOWRP. It could be 5 to 10 years or longer before this plan is implemented. Plans could change over time. [Okeechobee News]

Is There Still Hope (2017-10-10)

With up to 6,000 cubic feet per second of water from Lake O now pouring into the St. Lucie River, it's hard not to despair. With the lake at 17 feet and rising — its highest level since Hurricane Wilma hit in 2005 — the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will now inspect the Herbert Hoover Dike on a daily [TCPalm News]

Hurricane Impacts On Fishing (2017-10-10)

Bass fishing in the Big O has beaten expectations since hurricane Irma stirred up the lake. "The Lake is fishing smaller because of the wind and stained water." said Kreiger, Roland Marine Center manager. Anglers have to find cleaner areas to which bass have retreated. [NBC-2] [Game & Fish] [Naples Dailoy News]

Four Plant Species Protected (2017-10-10)

Four plant species, found only in South Florida have been protected by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Services under the Endangered Species Act. The Florida Pineland Crabgrass, Pinelands Sandmat and Everglades Bully are now threatened species whilst the Florida Prairie Clover are endangered species. [Center for Biological Conservation] [Tamba Bay Times]

2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season (2017-10-10)

The 2017 hurricane season is about to break the 124-year-old record. If Tropical Storm Ophelia becomes a hurricane, it will be the 10th hurricane in a row. That's something that hasn't happened since 1893. [CNN News] [CNN News] [My Palm Beach Post]

Endangered Species Report (2017-10-09)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rejected petitions to list more than two dozen species as endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. On the list is a variant of a Carl Hiaasen favorite - the skink. [Fish and Wildlife Services] [Federal Register] [Hiaasen Book Cover]

Opposing Trumps Pick (2017-10-09)

More than 30 scientist's have signed a letter to the U.S Senator's opposing President Trump's pick to head NASA. The scientist's fear that Congressman Bridenstine appointment might de-prioritize NASA and lead to cuts to the climate satellite program funding. [Florida Politics]

Glades Co. Reservoir Concerns (2017-10-09)

Concerns raised by Glades County regarding a reservoir planned for their lands sound exactly the same as those raised by Calusa Waterkeeper back in the early to mid-2000's regarding C-43 Reservoir. SFWMD has been hosting meetings with Glades County officials and residents to discuss project plans. [Okeechobee News] [TCPalm]

Lake O Intensifying Floods (2017-10-09)

A combination of extra-high "king" tides, winds and rain is causing flooding in low-lying areas along the Treasure Coast.In Martin County, the problem is believed to be exacerbated by Lake Okeechobee discharges as such Army Corps will be reducing discharges from Lake O. [TCPalm News]

Gov. Scott Dike Tour (2017-10-09)

Coastal Florida will remain a victim of algae blooms until a restoration of the dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee and other Everglades projects are Completed. That was one message from Gov. Rick Scott, who flew into Clewiston on Oct. 9, morning to inspect the Lake and the Herbert Hoover Dike [Naples Daily News] [West Palm Beach]

No Beach in SW Florida (2017-10-09)

Parts of Southwest Florida experienced unusually high tides on Saturday Oct, 7. The increase in water level was caused by a combination of Hurricane Nate in the Gulf and a nearly full moon. Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, and Marco Island were some of the affected areas. [NBC2 News]

Ranger Training Academy (2017-10-05)

Starting Oct 14 you can attend Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Training Academy to learn how to serve as a volunteer Ranger, helping sample and protect our area waters. Contact John Cassani at 239-633-7274 for additional information. [Flier] [Ranger Academy] [Ranger Recruitment]

Nature Center Haunted Walk (2017-10-07)

Everyone anticipates (or dreads) the annual Haunted Walk at the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium in Ft. Myers. If you have not experienced this stroll through the Nature Center darkness, you should do it at least once. It is memorable. This is its 33rd year. [Details]

Caloosahatchee BMAP Meeting (2017-10-07)

SFWMD hosts a meeting to discuss the Caloosahatchee TMDL program and review the draft 5-year review of the Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP). The meeting is 10AM on Oct 18 at the Lower West Coast Service Center, 2301 McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers. [Final Modeling Report] [Background Files Storage]

Helping Train Future Waterkeeper (2017-10-06)

Linda Lamya, a graduate student from Malawi, is serving as our intern to prepare for creating the 1st Waterkeeper program in her nation. In November she hopes to take a train trip across the USA to meet other Waterkeepers. Donations are needed to support travel expenses, so please consider helping. [Linda Lamya CV] [Proposed Train Path & Stops]

La Nina Pattens (2017-10-06)

A weak La Nina pattern, possibly affecting weather and rainfall over large parts of the world, may develop and cool the Pacific Ocean in the final quarter of this year, the World Meteorological Organization said. This could lead to warmer than normal conditions for southeast US in the winter season. [Reuters] [Climate Prediction Center] [NOAA]

Lake O Water Level (2017-10-06)

Lake Okeechobee reached 17.16 feet above sea level as of Oct 9. This is the highest level in more than a decade and is a trigger for increased inspections of the vulnerable southern half of the Herbert Hoover Dike. The Army Corps of Engineers will begin daily inspections to ensure safety. [Palm Beach Post]

Mattos Raises Concerns (2017-10-06)

Linda Mattos, Director of Calusa Waterkeeper, attended the Ft Myers Community Meeting on Oct 5 and raised the issue of bacteria contamination of Billy’s Creek and other waterways. Councilman Johnny Streets followed up with City inquiries. [Councilman Streets Follow-up] [Linda Mattos Handout]

The Island Sand Paper (2017-10-06)

Once a month or so, The Island Sand Paper asks a community leader 6 Questions. This Oct, they have featured John Cassani, who is in his first year as the Calusa Waterkeeper. In his responses, Cassani explains more about Calusa Waterkeeper and the environmental issues around it. [Island Sand Paper News]

Waterkeeper Weekly Newletter (2017-10-06)

Read the Waterkeepers Alliance weekly newsletter to learn about the lawsuit Waterkeeper and partners have filed against EPA for withholding public information. Also included is how EPA budget cuts will impact certain watersheds. Follow the link to view the newsletter. [Waterkeeper Alliance Newsletter] [Waterkeeper ] [Twitter] [Facebook]

Another Newsletter Disclaimer (2017-10-06)

Views or opinions expressed in the Calusa Waterkeeper web site & newsletter are solely those of the author(s) & do not necessarily represent those of Calusa Waterkeeper. Comments & questions about editorial content & facts can be directed to John Capece, CWK Secretary. [Disclaimer Box] [Cartoon]

Executive Director Search (2017-10-05)

Reinaldo Diaz and Jack Green before him were both excellent ED's. But with Reinaldo beginning his Lake Worth Waterkeeper program in January, Calusa Waterkeeper will again be searching for a new Executive Director. Applications will be sought in November with interviews in early December.

Waterkeeper in Palm Beach Co. (2017-10-05)

Calusa Waterkeeper Executive Director Reinaldo Diaz received his license from Waterkeeper Alliance for the new Lake Worth Waterkeeper program in Palm Beach County. We are pleased to have helped Reinaldo achieve this status and look forward to cooperation after he departs Calusa on Dec 31. [7 New Waterkeeper] [Reinaldo Diaz]

Sea Grass Restoration Begins (2017-10-05)

On Oct 4 John Cassani & Reinaldo Diaz took Ryan Brushwood of Sea and Shoreline LCC on site visits to homes of those who volunteered their waterfronts for the CHNEP Sea Grass Gardening program. The project will create sea grass seed sources along the river to help repopulate the decimated habitat. [Pic 1] [Pic 2] [Pic 3] [Pic 4] [Pic 5] [Pic 6]

Chiquita Lock Inoperable (2017-10-05)

Cape Coral has a history of using their maintenance failings as an excuse for improper operational changes (even complete destruction) of the Spreader Canal structures (Ceitus and Chiquita). They want the Chiquita structure gone for their short-sighted property value/tax reasons. [NewsPress]

Waterkeeper Alliance Hiring (2017-10-05)

Waterkeeper Alliance is a global environmental movement uniting over 300 Waterkeepers organizations around the world. The Alliance is currently seeking candidates for the role of Organizer in the North Atlantic & Chesapeake Regions [Waterkeeper Alliance] [Details] [Logo]

Chiquita Lock Under Threat (2017-10-05)

Hurricane Irma delayed FDEP's review of Cape Coral's request to remove Chiquita Lock. The Cape first applied for a removal permit in Oct 2016, ten years after dismantling Ceitus Boat Lift. It outlasted its opponents in the Ceitus removal legal challenges from Calusa Waterkeeper and others. [NBC2 News]

Please, Not Again! (2017-10-03)

A tropical depression that formed Wednesday is forecast to become a hurricane as it heads toward Florida’s northern Gulf Coast. If it does strike Florida as Hurricane Nate, it’s expected to do so this weekend, likely early Sunday. Just what the US needs this year...another hurricane! [Sun Sentinel] []

Science Study or Can Kicking (2017-10-02)

Responding to Rep. Brian Mast’s call for another study on algae blooms, Dr. Mark Perry said, “Agencies have been working on this for years and have volumes of reports. We need to take action on this now rather than a couple of years from now." [TCPALM] [TCPPALM (2)]

Solution...Or New Problem (2017-10-02)

Reacting to claims that water solutions might come from the C-43 Reservoir in 2022, Calusa Waterkeeper member David Ceilley said, "It's just a bath tub, which could make it (the water) illegal to release the water back into the river." [NewsPress]

Post Irma Pollution Report (2017-10-02)

Florida DEP is publishing timely notices of pollution after Irma. Calusa waterkeeper produced a google map pollution report segmented based on category - waste water (sewage), industrial water, reuse water, storm water, diesel and oil. WWALS watershed coalition has also posted a similar map. [EPA] [Calusa Waterkeeper Map] [WWALS Map] [FDEP Page]

Irma Flushes Estuary Out to Sea (2017-10-02)

The Caloosahatchee River estuary doesn't really exist following Irma rain washing it miles into the Gulf of Mexico. The estuary is harmed when flows reach 2,800 cubic feet per second or above. Water quality scientists say flows exceeding 27,000 cfs ran down the river in the wake of Irma. [NewsPress]

Southwest Florida Rainfall (2017-10-02)

Southwest Florida is nearly 2 feet above average rainfall for the year yet has already had enough rain to beat the highest precipitation in the past 15 years. Lee and Collier counties are just above 70 inches of rain for the year, this has not happened in more than a decade. [NewsPress]

Bacteria Count Warning Criteria (2017-10-02)

EPA publishes standards for local agencies to follow in determining when warnings should be issued for drinking water consumption and for recreation waters contact. Both are important following a hurricane like Irma that can contaminate recreational waters and water supplies. [EPA Drinking Water] [EPA Health Criteria] [EPA Recreational Criteria] [Facebook] [Twitter]

Lake Okeechobee Water Flow (2017-10-02)

The combination of heavy rainfall, storm water runoff and Lake Okeechobee releases have driven freshwater miles into the Gulf of Mexico and has made the Caloosahatchee estuary virtually disappear. There is still water in the river, but creatures such as oysters, crabs and bait fish – are dying off. [NewsPress]

Enironmental Funding Lawsuit (2017-09-29)

Circuit Judge Charles Dodson of Tallahassee has set a trial for July 23-27 in a lawsuit over the state’s environmental land purchases funding that voters demanded through a constitutional amendment 3 years ago but which the state is ignoring or misusing. [Florida Politics]

Irma Collapses Seawalls (2017-09-28)

Seawalls collapsed when Irma pushed local waters away from the coast. Water washed out so fast that it stranded fish and marine mammals. This also removed the water force on the seawall that is required to balance the soil force pushing towards the water. [NewsPress]

Beaches Claimed Clean (2017-09-28)

Collier & Lee beaches got the all-clear after agency tests showed the water to have safe levels of bacteria. Florida Department of Health had issued a precautionary no-swimming advisory in the days after Hurricane Irma. Calusa Waterkeeper is doing its own testing and will release results soon. [NewsPress]

Sewage Spills After Irma (2017-09-28)

Fetid, stinking effluent rising from the depths of the Lee County sewer system added health risks and a final olfactory insult to residents who faced property damage, spoiled food, lost wages and disrupted lives after Hurricane Irma swept through Southwest Florida. [NewPress] [NewsPress]

Enough is Enough (2017-09-27)

Calusa Waterkeeper member Phil Schwartz writes that he has continually heard and read in the NewsPress that "The American people" agrees with this, or voted for that, all things pertaining to Trump. Climate change is a scientific fact of life. We cannot go on being lied to day after day. [NewsPress Mailbag]

Lake O Bacteria Level (2017-09-27)

Water levels are up after Hurricane Irma, and so are populations of bacteria in the water. Lake Okeechobee is at 16.21 feet, its second-highest level in 10 years, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.However, this time, the water is carrying an unusually high volume of bacteria kicked up by Irma [Wink News] [Wink News] [Wink News] [Wink News]

Nitrogen Pollution (2017-09-26)

Water scientists and government agencies met in Fort Myers on July 26 to talk about the ailing Caloosahatchee River and plans to rid the waterway of tons of nitrogen. More than 11 million pounds of nitrogen flow down the river each year, clouding waters and fueling harmful algae blooms. [NewsPress]

Fight Against Algae Blooms (2017-09-22)

The United States depends on the wealth of its unique waterways (from small streams, rural ponds and pocket wetlands, to mighty rivers, great lakes and massive estuaries) for its public health and economic well being. Yet as diverse as these water bodies are, many watersheds face common problems. [Grace Communication Foundation]

Precipitation Trends (2017-09-21)

Researchers have analyzed more than five decades of data from across North America to find that changes in non-extreme precipitation are more significant than previously realized. And the changes are greater than those that have occurred with extreme precipitation. [National Science Foundation]

Hurricane Irma (2017-09-21)

Disaster risk expert Stephen Strader, says intense population growth and urban coastal development have created a huge danger for disaster in Florida. Millions are without power in the state after Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes on record caused damage. [Scientific American]

Plastic Drinking Water (2017-09-21)

Research by Orb Media found out that plastic has contaminated tap water samples from around the world. This study warns, “Microscopic plastic fibers are pouring out of faucets from New York to New Delhi for consumption by people, pets, and livestock.” [SixDegrees]

UCMR4 Analysis 2018 (2017-09-01)

The EPA program "Revisions to the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule"(UCMR 4) will monitor drinking water for 30 chemical contaminants and 20 additional contaminants from 2018-2020. This monitoring data may influence future public water systems regulatory actions to protect public health. [Fact Sheet] [EPA]

Coal Mining in Indonesia (2017-09-01)

Indonesian mining advocacy network, JATAM, and international clean water nonprofit, Waterkeeper Alliance, released a report, “Hungry Coal – Coal Mining and Food Security in Indonesia,” indicating that coal mining is the major threat to Indonesian food security and a major land-use policy conflict that demands government intervention. [Waterkeeper Alliance]

EPA Sued Over Public Records (2017-09-01)

Environmental groups including the Waterkeeper Alliance and Sierra Club have sued Environmental Protection Agency for violating the U.S. Freedom of Information by delaying to release records about wastewater treatment rules for power plants .EPA actions is contrary to the public interest. [Reuters] [WaterKeeper Alliance] [waterkeeper.]

Time for Climate Action (2017-09-01)

Your support is needed today to help end our global reliance on fossil fuels and keep it in the ground.Please make a generous donation to the 2017 Clean and Safe Energy Campaign right now. Every dollar you donate will stop the deadly assault on our fragile climate and waterways. [Waterkeeper Alliance] [Waterkeeper Alliance] [Twitter]

Feigning Concern (2017-09-01)

On June 30 City of Cape Coral held a phone conference with DEP staff in Fort Myers and Tallahassee offices to discuss several items regarding the City permit application for removal of Chiquita Lock. Calusa Waterkeeper considers the two to be colluding in destruction of our water quality. [Chiquita Lock Meeting Summary]

Microplastics Study (2017-09-01)

Plastic accumulation in waterways has been gaining attention as a prominent pollution issue. The plastics that enter aquatic environments are generally larger in size and are then broken down into smaller fragments known as microplastics which accumulate and contaminate marine ecosystems. [Caloosahatchee Microplastic Proposal]

New Category of Disaster (2017-08-31)

Sen. Nelson wants EPA & NOAA able to declare a severe algal bloom disasters and determine how much money is needed to help the affected state or local government mitigate the associated damage based on toxicity, economic impacts & geographic scope. [TC Palm] [Less Not More]

Negrons Reservoir Plan (2017-08-31)

John Cassani supports Senator Negron's proposal to accelerate construction of a storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, through Senate Bill 10. He views the proposal as a bold step that's challenging the status actually doing what CERP called for almost 20 years ago. [Cassani SB10 opinion] [Proposal]

Methane Rule Repeal Fails (2017-08-31)

The Senate's 51-to-49 vote against repeal of the methane rule marked the first time since President Trump's election that an attempt by Congress to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn an Obama-era rule failed. This victory results from the work of many, including Waterkeepers. [Repeal of Methane Rule Fails ] [Act Now]

CWK Water Sampling SOPS (2017-08-31)

Calusa waterkeeper enteric bacteria sampling program utilizes water sampling guidelines, IDEXX COLILERT®-18 test method For the simultaneous detection of total Coliform and E.Coli in water and IDEXX ENTEROLERT method for the detection of enterococci in water. [IDEXX Colilert] [IDEXX Enterolent] [Calusa Waterkeeper]

SCCF Member Update (2017-08-31)

Florida's 2017 legislative session for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF), was adjourned on Monday, May 8, after a weekend extension. Thanks to all who engaged by making phone calls and sending emails. Your voice was heard and helped achieve some positive outcomes. [Legislative Recap]

Bacteria in Caloosahatchee River (2017-08-31)

Downtown Fort Myers is off the charts for total coliform and e coli," said John Cassani of Calusa water keeper who tested the waters and found high levels of the bacteria.He calls the event as a terrible mess that is putting a risk on public health and ecological problems. Dont go near the water!! [NewsPress] [Calusawaterkeeper]

Risking Fertilizer Fines (2017-08-31)

Despite warnings of steep fines for violating fertilizer rules championed by former Calusa Waterkeeper President, Marti Daltry, homeowners still feel it is worth the fine. Lee County introduced fines up to $500 for those contributing to algae blooms. [NBC-2] [Do Not Feed the Monster]

Algae Need State Attention (2017-08-31)

Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani writes in a NewsPress editorial how Waterkeepers in Florida came together to call for the Legislature to reactivate and adequately fund the Florida Harmful Algae Bloom Task Force to address this public health issue. [NewsPress]

US Withdraws from Paris (2017-08-31)

President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris Agreement, a monumental accord that is essential for the survival of life on our planet. This decision threatens our economy, environment and communities. [Waterkeeper Alliance] [NPR] [Reuters] [Waterkeeper website] [facebook] [Youtube]

Fort Myers Boat Ramp (2017-08-31)

Calusa Waterkeeper and the public are requesting the city to move the downtown public boat ramp before the Luminary Hotel has its groundbreaking. The company behind this work admitted that construction plans show no sign of slowing down regardless of the uncertainty behind the boat ramp. [NBC-2 News] [NBC-2 News]

Clean and Safe Energy (2017-08-30)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying mightily to roll back a 2015 rule that establishes the first-ever uniform limits for toxic water pollution from coal-fired power plants— Americas source of toxic water pollution. Waterkeeper Alliance is actively fighting this in court. [Waterkeeper Sues] [Waterkeeper Pollution Statement]

Blue-Green Algae Threat (2017-08-30)

Blue-green algae also known as Cyanobacteria is one of the oldest organisms known to man. Scientist believe that this toxic organism has inhabited the earth for over 3 billion years yet they know very little about it. The occurrences of blue-green algae are increasing in Caloosahatchee region. [Naples Daily News]

FL Aquifer Annual Conference (2017-08-30)

Managing Florida aquifers, annual conference will be held at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center, 1500 Sand Lake Rd in Orlando on Sep 20-21. [Announcement]

Scott Supports Paris Withdrawal (2017-08-30)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott supports Trump pulling the USA out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Scott believes that it was going to hurt jobs. No one knows exactly how pulling out of the Paris agreement will impact the USA. [NewsPress] [Florida Climate Change]

Harvey Rainfall Totals (2017-08-30)

During the week of Hurricane Harvey more than 16 inches of rain fell in Florida and Texas. But in Texas where they have actual topography to concentrate rainfall into flow ways, it creates far more serious flooding. [US Weekly Rainfall] [Texas Rainfall Totals] [Washington Post]

Harvey Devastates Texas (2017-08-29)

Hurricane Harvey bombarded a stretch of the Gulf Coast in Texas on Saturday with home-ripping winds and epic rains. As emergency officials scrambled to assess the extent of the damage, hundreds of thousands of people were without power after utility poles were knocked to the ground. [The New York Times] [The Washington Post] [Scientific America]

Extension of Review Period (2017-08-25)

The South Florida Water Management District has extended the deadline for public comment on the Draft 2017 Lower West Coast Water Supply Plan Update (2017 LWCWSP Update) from Oct 5th to Oct 27th, 2017.Please submit written comments to [SFWMD]

Florida Energy Summit (2017-08-25)

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will co-host the statewide 2017 Florida Energy Summit with the Broward Workshop. The summit will be held Oct 18-20 in Fort Lauderdale. The summit agenda features panel discussions on innovation in the energy sector. [Florida Energy Summit] [FDACS] [Broward Workshop]

Water Quality Data (2017-08-25)

Calusa waterkeeper and Rangers are collecting basic water quality data from the tidal Caloosahatchee River.The data being collected include salinity, temperature and dissolved oxygen.The data is being released and posted on the Calusa waterkeepers website. [Calusawaterkeeper] [Facebook]

Miami-Dade for Paris Agreement (2017-08-24)

Miami-Dade Commissioners affirmed the Paris Agreement on climate change, giving the symbolic and explicit backing that the county’s mayor declined to provide after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement. [Miami-Dade Endorsement]

Cost of EPA Elimination (2017-08-24)

Calusa WaterKeeper John Cassani writes about the dire consequences elimination of EPA will have on the quality of Florida waters.He wonders if reducing environmental regulations is really about jobs and less about satisfying political donors who are in the business of polluting the environment. [News-Press] [Cartoon]

Wise Regulations Can Work (2017-08-24)

SFWMD announced that farmers in the Everglades Agricultural Area have a 70% reduction in phosphorus levels since efforts begain in 1994. It shows that when necessary rules are imposed, an industry can comply and clean up its act while remaining in business. [Sunshine State News]

Lake Okeechobee Dike Repairs (2017-08-24)

Congress allocated $49.6 million to help repair the Herbert Hoover Dike on lake Okeechobee. The infrastructure prevents the lake from spilling over but has been in bad shape hence the need for rehabilitation. [WGCU]

Lawsuit Against Naled (2017-08-23)

Michael Hall, a Miami Beach Doctor, filed an emergency request in federal court against the use of pesticide Naled for aerial spraying of native marsh mosquitoes. He argues that the chemicals in this pesticide pose health risks to humans and animals, therefore need further investigation. [Miami Herald] [Miami Herald] [Miami Herald] [GoFundMe]

Western Everglades Meeting (2017-08-23)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District held a Project Delivery Team (PDT) meeting for the Western Everglades Restoration Project on Aug 29 to discuss WERP Adaptive Management and Monitoring. [Web Meeting Address] [Agenda ] [Western Evergrades Project]

Combating Algae Blooms (2017-08-23)

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast is seeking more than $2.3 million to fund research efforts towards combating massive algae blooms in Lake Okeechobee. Mast offered amendments of the fiscal year 2018 Energy and Water development bills so as to increase funding for environmental health issues. [TC Palm] [Press Release]

Florida Stands to Lose (2017-08-23)

Proposed budget cuts by President Trump could lead Florida losing $600 million that has previously helped to keep beaches poop free, cleaned up pollution from old chemical spills and tracked leaks in thousand of underground storage tanks.Pollution Cleaning actions could decline in the State. [Miami Herald] [Miami Herald] [Enviromental Defence Fund]

Cyanobacteria Concerns in Florida (2017-08-23)

Florida water ways hard hit with harmful algae blooms yet the department of Environment lacks policies to warn the public on associated risks. With effect from March 2018, EPA funded by USEPA, will begin Cyanobacteria monitoring exercises in 800 randomly selected Community Water Systems in the U.S [Florida Today] [Waterkeepers Issue Paper] [Calusa Waterkeeper Facebook]

High Projected Precipitation (2017-08-22)

Increased precipitation from a changing climate could pollute U.S. waterways with excess nitrogen, increasing the likelihood of severe water quality impairment from coast to coast, according to a new study by scientists of the Carnegie Institution for Science and Princeton University [National Science Education]

Kissimmee Treatment Wetlands (2017-07-31)

Water managers are considering several options for the establishment of water storage reservoirs, treatment wetlands, and ASR wells in the lands along the northwestern edges of Lake Okeechobee. These have the potential to help augment dry season low flows to the Caloosahatchee estuary. [Okeechobee News]

Lawn Obsession (2017-06-05)

In an NBC-2 report about homeowners violating fertilizer restrictions, Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani explains that the first 90% of our water's pollution typically comes from the first 10% of the runoff, which often comes in June or July.

Waterkeeper at CHNEP TAC (2017-06-05)

Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani delivered a presentation to the CHNEP Technical Advisory Committee about Matlacha Pass and associated TMDLs. He requested CHNEP analyze and consider developing position the issue and CHNEP is following up. [Jennifer Hecker Follow-up] [Presentation to CHNEP]

Green Light for Seagrass (2017-05-31)

Senator Jack Latvala sponsored a $1.5 million dollar appropriation in the state budget for 30 acres of seagrass restoration in the Caloosahatchee Estuary. The project was championed by David Ceilley of Johnson Engineering through the Snook Foundation. [Smaller Waterkeeper Seagrass Project] [Funding Request] [Snook Foundation] [Senator Jack Latvala]

Jean Turnbull, New Director (2017-05-31)

A NW Explorations charter customer since 2011, Jean is one of the most experienced mariners. Jean and her partner, Priscilla Myers, have cruised all over the world, including an almost one-year circumnavigation around eastern North America and an 18-week trip around Alaska's Inside Passage. [Photo] [NW Explorations]

Ruth Watkins, New Director (2017-05-31)

Ruth Watkins has over 30 years experience working for water quality-focused environmental organizations in the Pacific Northwest. Much of that time was spent coordinating with agencies, local governments and diverse groups to undertake multifaceted projects to protect vulnerable water resources. [Photo] [Jim and Ruth Watkins]

Climate Change Map (2017-05-31)

NOAA’s predictions show much of coastal U.S. under water by 2100. Yet, president Donald Trump has announced a U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord — a 2015 agreement among nearly 200 nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. [Sun Sentinel] [Video] [Map] [Sea Level Rise Viewer]

Retired Directors Thank You (2017-05-30)

Calusa Waterkeeper would like to thank this year's retired directors: Philip Schwartz, Wayne Daltry, Marti Daltry, Mary Rawl, Greg Rawl, John Scott, Ruth Scott, Mary Ruth Prouty, Mel Karau, Rob Wilson and Nargiza Abduvohidova for their great service and efforts to move our organization forward.

Reinaldo Diaz, Executive Director (2017-05-30)

Reinaldo Diaz is Calusa Waterkeeper's new Executive Director (ED). Reinaldo attended law school with the goal of pursuing a career in environmental advocacy. He will serve as ED until Jan 2018 at which time he hopes to form a Waterkeeper organization for Palm Beach & north Broward Counties. [Photo] [Background]

2017-18 Directors Elected (2017-05-30)

At its May 6 annual meeting, Calusa Waterkeeper President John Paul conducted an election for the 2017-18 Board of Directors. 8 directors were elected: John Paul, Gene Gibson, Ron Zimmerly, Linda Mattos, John Capece, Ruth Watkins, and Jean Turnbull. Officers will be elected by directors on June 8. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [2017-18 Board of Directors]

No ASR for Caloosahatchee (2017-05-30)

The feds recently scrapped ASR plans for sending excess stormwater 3,000 feet deep as a way to deal with heavy rains and Lake Okeechobee discharges that damage the St Lucie & Caloosahatchee Rivers as well as their coastlines. ASR wells were central to original C-43 Reservoir project design. [News Press]

Biosolids (2017-05-30)

Activists are trying to ban the use of biosolids, fertilizers produced from wastewater treatment plants effluent. Properly applied, biosolids can actually generate less nutrient runoff than conventional fertilizers. But biosolids sometimes contain heavy metals like lead & arsenic. [News Press]

Rowing (2017-05-30)

The Caloosa Coast Rowing Club which currently operates out of Cape Harbour in Cape Coral is planning to move the existing club to an area along the Caloosahatchee River on North Tamiami Trail at the same location where an appliance store currently sits and where a proposed boat ramp will be located. [North Fort Myers Neighbor] [Caloosa Coast Rowing Club Website]

Manatee (2017-05-30)

Manatees are moving to coastal areas as water temperatures rise, and they're gathering in large breeding herds at local beaches. During mating season you may see what's called a mating herd, and that's a group of manatees and most likely there are multiple males trying to mate with one female. [News Press]

How Green is Your State Rep? (2017-05-30)

You can see the environmental report cards on members of the FL House of Representatives. The Green Grades are based on 4 key votes in 2015-16. There were very few environmental votes in the 2017 session aside from SB10 and the Solar Amendment implementation. [FL Green Grades MAP] [FL Green Grades TABLE]

Lake O Levels (2017-05-30)

Lake Okeechobee is at its lowest since 2012 causing negative effects on everything from recreation to the health of the Caloosahatchee River. Lake O was at 11'0" on May 30. The past week flow at Franklin Lock has averaged only 418cfs, well below the 650 minimum needed for healthy salinity balance. [NBC2] [Chart] [Caloosahatchee Flow]

Arsenic (2017-05-30)

Lee County is once again looking for the chemical arsenic on Pine Island. That’s after documents surfaced from a few years ago showing arsenic levels hundreds and sometimes thousands of times higher than the federal government allows on private and public lands. [WGCU] [Map] [WGCU Series] [Data Charts]

Severe Loss of Biodiversity (2017-05-30)

Scientists say the earth has entered a new geological epoch, one defined by humanity's growing impact on the planet, climate, and ecosystems. The proposed name for the possible new epoch is the Anthropocene. Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani helped spearhead the biodiversity conference. [WGCU] [Photo]

Matlacha (2017-05-30)

The Matlacha Civic Association at its March meeting updated citizens on the Fire District lawsuit, water quality issues in Southwest Florida and the lawsuit against Cape Coral's annexation of property on Matlacha. John Cassani of Calusa Waterkeeper gave a presentation on SW Florida's water quality. [Pine Island Eagle]

Shame on You, Jasper! (2017-05-30)

A well-known floating bait shop is facing consequences after a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigation revealed workers were dumping human waste into the Caloosahatchee River. Jasper’s Bait received a $250 fine and a stern lecture from FWC officers. [Wink News] [Fox 4 Now]

Waterkeeper Weekly (2017-04-18)

Keep track of the great work and activities of the Waterkeeper Alliance around the world by reading the weekly newsletter. This past week again, you can get information about new legislative updates, or about the upcoming events and projects. [Waterkeeper Alliance Newsletter]

No More Constructions (2017-04-18)

Some Fort Myers developers use a little understood financial mechanism, tax increment rebates, to finance the construction of luxury high-rise condominium towers along the Fort Myers riverfront. According to Gene Gibson, resident of Fort Myers, this looks and smells like crony capitalism. [The News-Press]

CRCA Annual Member Meeting (2017-04-16)

The annual membership meeting of Calusa Waterkeeper (CRCA) will be held May 6 at 10:30 AM at the Franklin Lock south bank pavilion. After election of directors, President John R. Paul III is treating members to lunch by Gator Hammock, including Buddy Taylor's famous banana pudding. Don't miss it! [Agenda] [CRCA Bylaws] [Location: 1660 South Franklin Lock Road, Alva]

Problem Solver? (2017-04-14)

Fort Myers dumps about anywhere from 6 million to 11 million gallons of treated wastewater effluent into the Caloosahatchee River every day. Cape Coral faces a drought that has laid its canals low and could lead to mandatory water use cuts. A pipeline between the two cities would solve problems. [The News-Press]

Trump On The Everglades (2017-04-14)

A system that tracks the health of the Everglades is among the environmental programs President Trump wants to abolish. That system has been monitoring the threat of phosphorous, mercury and other damaging nutrients seeping into the ecologically fragile region. [The News-Press] [Trump Flies Over Everglades]

Partial Solution (2017-04-14)

SB10 provides for 0.24 million acre-feet of storage, but no cleansing, thus no way to send all the stored water farther south. Compared to the 2016 harmful flows to the Caloosahatchee (1.26 million ac-ft) it is only a 20% solution, much less considering the St Lucie excess flows. But it is a start. [TCPalm] [Half A Disastrous Year]

Caloosahatchee Apr 4-10 (2017-04-13)

Freshwater flow into the estuary at S-79 increased to an average of 726 cfs. The Caloosahatchee continues to exceed its Minimum Flow & Level (MFL) salinity at Fort Myers. Salinity is also above the suitable level for tapegrass in the middle and upper estuary and oysters in the lower estuary. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Condition Report] [More SCCF Reports]

Water Wars (2017-04-13)

According to Jim Gross, we are setting ourselves up for intense competition for water supplies. We are headed for water wars, perhaps on an unprecedented scale. He said the Water Resources Act (WRA) was designed to avoid this very thing. We need to return to the original intent of this legislation. [The Gainesville Sun] [WRA Chapter 373 - Water Ressources] [Jim Gross Executive Director of FDE]

Support SB10! (2017-04-10)

Calusa Waterkeeper, John Cassani, supports Florida Senate Bill 10, a bill that would allow for a reservoir to be built south of Lake Okeechobee. Please contact your legislator before April 12 in time for a vote of the full Florida Senate and support Senate Bill 10. [Details] [SB 10]

More & More Bizarre (2017-04-08)

As if the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms had not already broken enough records this year as a clear indicator of our planets slide into major climate change transformations, on Apr 6 the DC Tidal Basin was hit by two small tornado which downed several cherry trees and damaged many others. [DC Tornado Report] [March 1 News Box] [March 18 News Box] [Video]

Revised SB 10 Adopted (2017-04-07)

A bill that would allow for a reservoir to be built south of Lake O had senators vote yes. The amended bill decreases land purchases and storage, with a budget reduced from $2.4 billion to $1.5 billion. Still, for many, they are calling it a step in the right direction. [Wink News] [Video] [Vote Record]

Let Them Know (2017-04-06)

From Apr 10 to Apr 21, 2017, Members of Congress will be returning to their districts, it is an opportunity for you to attend town halls and meet with them. This is your chance to tell to your Members of Congress how important clean water is to you. Your voice matters. [Weekly Newsletter]

Compromise On The Reservoir (2017-04-06)

On Apr 4, Senate President Joe Negron filed a sweeping rewrite to his top priority of building a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee by abandoning plans to buy up to 60,000 acres of agricultural land and rely instead on state-owned sugar fields to store and clean water fed into Florida Bay. [Tampa Bay Times]

Caloosahatchee Mar 28-Apr 3 (2017-04-06)

Freshwater flow into the estuary at S-79 during the past week averaged 650 cfs. Periodic Scientists Conference Call Participants request increasing freshwater pulses to provide adequate flows to prevent estuary harm. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Conditions Report] [More SCCF Reports]

Annual Membership Meeting (2017-04-06)

The Calusa Waterkeeper annual membership meeting will be held at the south bank park at Franklin Lock on Saturday, May 6 at 10:30 am. This meeting is open to the Waterkeeper members. The new board of directors will be elected for the 2017-2018 term. [Location Map]

Fresh Deception About Lake O (2017-04-06)

The right-wind James Madison Institute in Tallahassee is again trying to use the current crisis to make things better for ag and worse for the FL environment. It is part of the effort to seize total control of Lake O by pushing out the Feds and permanently (not temporarily) raising waters in Lake O [Sun Sentinel] [Real (not fake) Science on Lake O] [Herbert Hoover Dike]

Ready For a Cruise by Boat? (2017-04-06)

Bill Jefferson is past commander of Cape Coral Sail and Power Squadron. He explains that Okeechobee Waterway is a great cruising area for small boaters. If you plan a trip by boat across Florida, you should take his advices: VHF radio channels, list of locks you have to pass through, and much more. [The News-Press]

Keep Manatees Safe (2017-04-06)

Boaters used to zipping across Estero Bay all winter have to stop. April 1 is when manatee zones go in effect in areas throughout Southwest Florida. Now that the manatees have been removed from the endangered species list, we should keep them safe by avoiding collisions. [The News-Press] [Good News for Manatees] [FWC Florida Manatee Program]

Trumps Targets Clean Power Plan (2017-04-05)

President Trump signed an executive order that will have grave climate impacts. The order rolls back many Obama Administration initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emission, including the Clean Power Plan – which aimed to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants 32% by 2030. [Waterkeeper Alliance] [Attack on Environment]

Is North Forgotten? (2017-04-05)

Some environmentalists are defending the land buy south of Lake O while ignoring the importance of storage and treatment north. A LOWP researchers study shows that a reservoir north of Lake O and 110 underground injection wells can reduce harmful discharges to coastal estuaries by 60 percent. [Okeechobee News] [A 60 Percent Solution?]

No Money for Land Buy (2017-04-05)

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said Negrons plan would probably not get federal support anytime soon, because there is no federal money for it. Buying up land could devastate farming communities, the Florida senator added, possibly turning them into ghost towns. [SaintPetersBlog]

Take Action (2017-04-05)

Conservancy of SW Florida needs Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Florida House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues to allow HB451 - the fracking ban bill - to be heard. Let's not let this bill die based on Leaderships refusal to give it a fair hearing. Give your support. [Send a Message]

Reject H.R. 1179 (2017-04-05)

HR1179 before Congress would require groups like Calusa Waterkeeper and Waterkeeper Alliance to pay the legal costs of the defendant anytime a citizen or group loses a case for any reason. The goal is to discourage non-profits from taking actions against polluters. It favors big corporations. [Newsletter]

Support EAA Reservoir Project (2017-04-05)

Currently, project planning for the reservoir is set to begin in 2021. Many groups are asking our legislators to move the time frame up in response to the prolonged state of emergency in 2016. Send Clean Water South is the rallying cry for groups supporting the proposed projects. [Send Clean Water South]

Attack on Environment (2017-04-05)

On Mar 28, President Trump signed an Executive Order seen as a demolition of Obama-era policies on coal mining, fracking, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. The budget outline the White House issued in Mar 2017 also called for defunding the Clean Power Plan that Obama announced in 2015. [USA Today] [Trump Video]

Complete Prohibition? (2017-04-04)

A bill that would ban fracking in Florida is dead. Sen. Dana Young, who sponsored the Senate version, said the states delicate geology and its reliance on massive aquifers for drinking water call for a complete prohibition. Advocates for the fracking ban said they think there still is hope. [Naples Daily News]

Good News for Manatees (2017-04-04)

Federal wildlife officials removed the manatee from the endangered species list on Mar 30. Salvaging manatee habitat has been one of the largest factors in the species comeback. Some biggest issues the species will continue to face are habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitat. [Tallahassee Democrat]

Fort Myers Land Plan (2017-04-04)

Gene Gibson, VP of Calusa Waterkeeper, spoke at the Ft. Myers City Council meeting in opposition to the City's proposed amendments to its Comprehensive Plan. The type of objections to the amendments are discussed in the OpEd that ran in the News Press. The City is pushing through unwise changes. [USA Today]

Cape Corals Water Shortage (2017-04-04)

Marguerite Schaeffer, Cape Coral resident, critisized Cape Coral officials for, as she said, their plans for building hundreds of more homes in an city that can't sustain green grass for its owners. The city officials are working on a solution, but there is no timeline to it. It may arrive too late. [The News-Press]

Fight For a Reservoir (2017-04-04)

A plan to build a reservoir to curb Lake O discharges is Joe Negrons top priority. The speaker of the House, Richard Corcoran, hasn't hinted at whether he will budge. His team has a little appetite for this project since state and federal governments are already planning a reservoir north of Lake O. [The News-Press]

Drought Conditions for Lake O (2017-04-04)

With below-average rain falling across the region and overall dry conditions, Lake O releases did not meet the minimal goal for 53 straight days, which means the Caloosahatchee Rivers health is in danger. Flows are controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with input from the SFWMD. [The News-Press]

Water Emergency (2017-04-03)

An advisory stage notice of irrigation water use has been issued by Cape Coral. Water levels in freshwater canal system are declining quickly. Waterkeeper and scientist John Cassani previously explained one of the reasons Cape Coral is running out of fresh water, removal of the Ceitus Boat Lift. [The News-Press] [Cassani on TV] [From Flood to Drought in Months] [Drought Expansion]

Fake Study? (2017-04-03)

After the Everglades Foundation touted a controversial economic study by saying the Clemson University investigators are solely responsible for the content of the report, a spokesman for the schools Office of Research Communications says he is not familiar with the project. [The Capitolist] [Everglades Foundation Study]

Conservation 20-20 Purchases (2017-04-03)

The Lee County Board of County Commissioners has unanimously approved the purchase of three new parcels for the Conservation 20/20 program. The three areas, spread across Lee County, represent 111.83 acres and costed more than $4.7 million. [Fort Myers Beach Talk] [The News-Press] [Conservation 20-20]

Caldwell on Priorities (2017-04-03)

State Rep. Matt Caldwell said on Mar 24 that the South Florida Water Management District and the Army Corps of Engineers should concentrate on the reservoir north of the lake. Finishing projects in the works should take priority over building a reservoir south of the lake, he said. [TCPalm]

Now Is The Time (2017-04-03)

Mitch Hutchcraft, member of the Governing Board for the South Florida Water Management District, is saying that now is the time for Everglades Restoration Project. The current project is the C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir that will store water for the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary. [The News-Press] [Cassani on Reservoir] [False Promise South of The Lake]

LDRC April Newsletter (2017-04-03)

Welcome to April and your LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation (LDRC) April Newsletter. We are excited about what is happening in Downtown LaBelle this month! Have fun checking it all out. [LDRC Newsletter]

Time to Get Involved (2017-04-03)

Jacki Liszak, president of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce, explained why the quality of the water surrounding Fort Myers Beach directly correlates to the residents quality of life. A reservoir is needed as soon as possible. Pass the bill, as one of the 68 projects authorized in CERP. [The News-Press] [Mitch Hutchcraft Editorial]

Clean Water Festival (2017-04-03)

The eco activist group SWFL Clean Water Movement invite you to the 1st ever Clean Water Movement Festival. Food, drinks, live music and fun are to be expected! During that event, David Sohn, candidate for Secretary of Agriculture, will be the guest speaker. [Flyer 1] [Flyer 2] [Flyer 3] [Facebook Event]

Do Not Miss This Show! (2017-03-26)

Premiering Apr 4-8 in St. Pete is the National Caravan Stage Company original production of Nomadic Tempest (a Climatopian Spectacle). They perform on a stage suspended from the masts of the Amara Zee, an old London river barge. CRCA held meetings on the ship when she docked in LaBelle last year. [Nomadic Tempest Flier] [QR Code Image] [March 31 Climate Conversation] [Show Details] [Tickets]

Cut on Corps of Engineers Budget (2017-03-24)

The White House proposed an array of cuts among which is a $1 billon reduction to the Corps of Engineers budget by 2018. This cut comes at a crucial time for Floridas environmental issues, since the Corps announced its support for the Everglades Restoration Project on Mar 14. [The News-Press] [Support from the USACE]

Everglades Main Problems (2017-03-24)

According to Pete Squibb, resident of Fort Myers and former wildlife biologist in Michigan, two main problems exist in the Everglades: Florida Bay only receives one-fifth the freshwater it historically did, and excess freshwater in Lake Okeechobee is unnaturally discharged via man-made canals. [The News-Press]

Drought Expansion (2017-03-23)

As the dry spell in Southwest Florida continues, the call to conserve water has expanded from Cape Coral to all of unincorporated Lee County. Lake Okeechobee water level is also at a critical point. NBC-2 affirms that 70% of Florida state is under drought conditions. [NBC-2] [Video]

Eikenberg on the Next Challenges (2017-03-23)

Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, discusses the foundation's goals and challenges in an interview. He explained that we need the land to build a reservoir, then store and clean the water, and send it down to Florida Keys. The solution seems achievable, but what is blocking us then? [The News-Press Video Part 1] [The News-Press Video Part 2]

World Water Day (2017-03-22)

A public address by Pope Francis on March 22 was followed by Watershed, a day of immersive talks at the Vatican that engaged audiences around the world via social media. Government ministers, researchers, artists, and much more assembled to speak at this occasion. [Water News Weekly] [Zenit]

Together For Clean Water (2017-03-22)

Marc Yaggi, Executive Director of Waterkeeper Alliance, wrote a letter adressed to every citizen seeking for their right: drinking clean water. It is to react to President Trumps Executive Orders and actions against environment. Support our organization during this fight. [Letter]

Hendry Approves FPL Land Use (2017-03-22)

Hendry County approved FPL's request to change land use on property intended for a new power plant called the Hammock Solar Energy Center. It will have a capacity to produce 75 MW of electricity. FPL has other property in Hendry County planned for natural gas power generation. [Southwest Florida Online] [Florida Power and Light] [FPL Hendry Energy Center Details] [FPL Hammock Details] [Location Map]

$1100 from Yucatans (2017-03-21)

Thank you to Tom Kolar, owner of the Yucatan Beach Stand on Fort Myers Beach who held a special event on St. Patricks Day and allocated some of the proceeds to Calusa Waterkeeper. John Cassani and Jack Green were there for most of the day which generated $1100 for Waterkeeper programs! [Beer Benefit on St. Patricks Day]

Waterkeeper Weekly (2017-03-21)

Keep a track of the great work and activities of the Waterkeeper Alliance around the world by reading the weekly newsletter. This past week again, you can get information about new legislative updates, or about the upcoming events and projects. [Waterkeeper Alliance Newsletter]

Beer Benefit on St. Patricks Day (2017-03-21)

On Mar 17, St. Patrick's Day, Jack Green and John Cassani hosted a Beer Benefit for Calusa Waterkeeper at Yucatan's on Fort Myers Beach. As for the last event held on Feb 16, interesting conversations and fun were there. Thank you to all who did participate. [Image 1] [Image 2] [Image 3]

Fundraising Gala at St James City (2017-03-20)

Matlacha Civic Association will hold a fundraising gala on Apr 2. Music, auctions, food and beverage are part of the event. Proceeds will be used to fight the Cape Coral Annexation, to replace the Ceitus Boat Lift Barrier, and to force Cape Coral to comply with the Clean Water Act. [Watercolors Gala Flyer]

Climate Change Confuses Plants (2017-03-18)

A record warm February fooled the DC cherry trees into a record early budding more than a week ahead of any previous year. Then a snow storm & hard freeze hit, damaging more than 50% of the buds & creating the longest delay between budding and peak blossoming, expected by Mar 24. Climate Confusion! [Bloom Dates Table] [Bloom and Bust] [Ice-encased Buds]

The Forgotten (2017-03-17)

Isadora Rangel, reporter for TCPalm, wrote an article about Glades residents and communities being forgotten when it comes to their opinion on the land buy South of Lake Okeechobee. Quotes, testimonies and graphs are used against this project. [TCPalm]

Michelle Graham for House Seat (2017-03-17)

In 2018, Republican Michelle Graham will run for the same seat as a did CRCA Director John Scott, who as a Democrat lost to Matt Caldwell for FL House District 79. Like John Scott, she will emphasize water issues in her campaign. [The News-Press]

Support From the USACE (2017-03-17)

The commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, announced in a statement on Mar 14 his support of Everglades restoration and the timeline of projects known as the Integrated Delivery Schedule. The SFWMD said they have: Heard. Understood. Acknowledged. And Appreciated. [SFWMD Statement] [USACE Statement] [Integrated Delivery Schedule]

Meeting in Cape Coral (2017-03-17)

Representatives from Cape Coral's government and private sector met with state elected officials and department heads on Mar 15 to discuss about pressing issues. One of them was the city's request for $2.5 million to acquire about 1,000 acres in Northeast Cape Coral for a reservoir. [The News-Press]

Suncoast Waterkeeper Sues Mosaic (2017-03-17)

Opposing the Corps of Engineers approval of new mines in Manatee County, Justin Bloom, executive director of Suncoast Waterkeeper said that for far too long, the phosphate industry has had its way with ineffective permitting and oversight. [Creative Loafing: Tampa Bay]

Water Wars Ongoing (2017-03-16)

Everglades Foundation, the James Madison Institute, Florida Sugarcane Farmers, etc. Florida water issues are in the center of the debates, and many groups are facing each other for a better water quality, or for personal interests. The water storage South of Lake O is the best example. [The News-Press]

What If EPA Goes Away (2017-03-16)

Scott Pruitt, leader of the Environment Protection Agency, wants to hand much of its duties back to the states. That would put the job of protecting Florida's natural bounty almost entirely in the hands of the state Department of Environmental Protection. Would DEP be up to this job? [Tampa Bay Times]

Cassani Speaks on Low Flows (2017-03-15)

Water levels in Lake Okeechobee are almost two and a half feet lower than they were this time in 2016. John Cassani, of the Waterkeeper Alliance, said the lack of discharges from the Army Corps of Engineers at Lake O Hoover Dike is resulting in a rise in the river's salinity from the Gulf of Mexico. [Video] [Fox 4 Now]

Thanks, Jim and Ruth! (2017-03-15)

Rangers Jim and Ruth Watkins are our March Rangers of the Month. Jim and Ruth live on Hendry Creek, a tributary to Estero Bay, and spend many hours on the water exploring the Creek and the Bay's Aquatic Preserve. Together, they are helping to watch over Hendry Creek and Estero Bay. Congratulations! [March Rangers Of The Month] [Join Us]

Indestructible Red Tide (2017-03-15)

A consensus from the panel of Mote red tide scientists admitted that at this point there is no sure way to eradicate red tide or significantly lessen its concentration. Red Tide are very dangerous for fish since it affect their nervous systems and can make them nervously excited to death. [Herald-Tribune]

FGBC Water Conservation (2017-03-15)

As Florida population grows and the demand for drinking water increases, the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC) develops and administers the "Florida Green" green building certification standards designed to increase the sustainability of Florida's built environment. [Florida Today] [FGBC Website]

One More Year for Water Farm (2017-03-15)

A St. Lucie County water farm will keep operating for at least another year. The South Florida Water Management District agreed on Mar 9 to a one-year, $542,836 contract extension with Evans Properties Inc. Water farms hold water until it evaporates into the air or percolates into the ground. [TCPalm]

The New Threat (2017-03-14)

Waterkeeper Alliance or its members were involved in nearly a quarter of all the Clean Water Act citizen enforcement actions initiated against polluters between 2005 and 2014. And it helped reducing pollution and improving living conditions across America. But nowadays the government is opposing us. [Waterkeeper Alliance]

Elections Changed The Rules (2017-03-14)

The Waterkeeper Alliance pointed out how the 2016 presidential election changed the decisions and the difficulty of the fight for a better protection of public health and environment. Read the attached edition of the weekly Dive Into Democracy newsletter, and subscribe! [Newsletter] [Subscribe]

Little Utility? (2017-03-13)

In a letter written by Jim MacBean to the editors of TCPalm, Okeechobee Waterway is being called a waterway of little utility. Jim asked if the use of that waterway for pleasure boaters was really necessary to keep that waterway open. [TCPalm]

Beaches Done Right (2017-03-13)

State Sen. Jack Latvala on March 3 outlined legislation increasing beach sand pumping funding to $50 million annually, requiring long-term planning, and establishing a new framework for scoring proposed renourishment projects. This is what climate change and sea level rise looks like here and now. [The News-Press]

Not Clean Yet (2017-03-13)

During 2016, South Florida Water Management District has circulated a set of maps plotting water quality that it says proves just how clean the Everglades have become. But according to Miccosukee Tribe, which has long fought the state over dirty water, says the SFWMD is not telling the whole story. [Miami Herald] [Everglades Pollution]

A 60 Percent Solution? (2017-03-13)

SFWMD board members on March 9, requested a presentation on a study showing that a reservoir north of Lake Okeechobee and 110 underground injection wells can reduce harmful discharges to coastal estuaries by 60 percent. Calusa Waterkeeper will evaluate this SFWMD assertion. [Politico]

List of Priorities (2017-03-13)

As the Florida Legislative session rolls on and bills impacting the lives of residents in the Southwest Florida region are heard and vetted, The News-Press editorial board has outlined its list of priorities. One of them is to keep water projects moving forward. Check these out. [The News-Press]

Watershed Council Program (2017-03-10)

The March 2017 Watershed Council program features guest speaker Noah Kugler, P.G., M.S., of H2O Geosolutions. Noah will be on the FGCU campus 1:30 - 2:45 on the afternoon of March 16 presenting his talk, "Geology of Florida: Challenges and Risks of Unconventional Oil Exploration. [Details] [Flyers]

Cassani On TV (2017-03-10)

Cape Coral is running out of fresh water, while tens of thousands of people rely on this water to irrigate their lawns. The city says the lack of rain is the cause, but according to scientist John Cassani, this can be partly attributed to the removal of Ceitus Boat Lift in 2008. [Wink News Video]

Clean Water Act Targeted (2017-03-10)

On Feb 28, President Trump signed an executive order to begin a series of actions that will allow uncontrolled discharges of toxic pollution into our nation’s waters. Waterkeeper Alliance has assembled an extensive commentary on President Trump's executive order targeting Clean Water Act. [Commentary On Trump's EO]

Citizen Seagrass Gardening (2017-03-10)

The CHNEP was notified that the Citizen Seagrass Gardening project has been approved. Calusa Waterkeeper rangers will focus on helping to restore seagrasses by planting them in protected enclosures at 4 sites along the river between the RR bridge and Edison Bridge. [Submitted Proposal] [Award Letter]

Rep. Rooney at Town Tall (2017-03-09)

U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney faced tough questions at a Naples town hall meeting on March 3. The Cape Coral audience had plenty on their minds, including clean water. Rooney seems optimistic about funds from the federal government to help with Florida water issues. [Video Rooney About Meeting]

Letter to Congressman Rooney (2017-03-09)

Roger Wood, the President of Greater Pine Island Civic Associationto, wrote a letter to congressman Rooney in regard to a Permit Application by Cape Coral to the Florida DEP to remove the Chiquita Boat Lock. "This would destroy the existing South Spreader Canal storm watertreatment system," he said. [Letter]

Calls to Hotline (2017-03-09)

People call the Waterkeeper Hotline, 239-444-8584, with a variety of observations and questions. One common question concerns the safety of swimming in our coastal waters. Florida Dept of Health periodically tests water for baterial contamination with results posted online. [Online Results]

Drinkable, Swimmable, Fishable (2017-03-09)

Read the attached article to know more about our new name, Calusa Waterkeeper, and the reason for joining the Waterkeeper Alliance. Jack Green also expressed himself about Fort Myers Beach water issues. "Our mission is to fight for clean water that is drinkable, swimmable, and fishable." [Island Sand Paper]

Our Water (2017-03-08)

Check this video about Southwest Florida Water problematics. From Lake Okeechobee to Gulf of Mexico, humans changed local seasonal patterns, and this has been a very old process in Florida's history. [Our Water]

Become Citizen Scientist (2017-03-08)

Scientific data shows the looming reality that will one day affect coastal property owners, the region’s ecosystems, and also local cultural ressources. The Florida Public Archaeology Network is today recruiting the public to become citizen scientists in monitoring historic sites. [News-Press] [FPAN Website]

Support Berta Caceres Act (2017-03-08)

On March 2, 2016, indigenous and environmental leader Berta Caceres was murdered by the national and local Honduran government and a multinational dam company. We, citizens, should contact our U.S. Rep and encourage her or him to co-sponsor the Berta Caceres Act. [Common Dreams] [Berta Caceres Act]

Spreader Barrier Dispute (2017-03-06)

The Cape Council is celebrating over the recent withdrawal of a lawsuit filed against it by CRCA & others. One tactic included Cape Coral's required public notices of related meetings that were never published. Is the consent order completed, voided or illegal. [News Press]

Who Is Right? (2017-03-03)

On the one hand, the Everglades Foundation said in a study that a water storage reservoir south of Lake O could create more than 39,000 jobs. But on the other hand, James Madison Study says it would rather cost 4148 jobs. A third study being realized in Clemson University might settle this. [WLRN] [The James Madison Institute Study] [Everglades Foundation Study]

Everglades Foundation Replied (2017-03-03)

The Everglades Foundation released on Feb 28 its own study on the economic benefits of building a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee, in response to James Madison Institute's study, in which it was said the project would cost Florida's economy $695 million a year and 4,148 jobs. [Miami Herald] [Everglades Foundation Study] [James Madison Economic Analysis]

Fertilizer Changes in Seminole (2017-03-03)

A new proposal in Seminole County wants to change the way people take care of their lawns, to better protect the rivers and lakes they swim in. If approved, the rules would for instance ban nitrates and phosphates in chemicals during the rainy season from June to September. [WFTV]

Chiquita Lock Removal (2017-03-03)

FDEP requested Cape Coral provide additional information concerning its planned Chiquita Boat Lock removal. Take a look at the enclosed response to this RAI. Calusa Waterkeeper has taken legal action after the previous removal of the Ceitus Boat Lift and opposes removal of Ceitus Lock. [Response to RAI] [Previous News Box]

Consequences of EPA Elimination (2017-03-02)

FL Rep. Gaetz introduced in Congress a bill that would abolish the EPA and send that authority "downstream" to the states. Calusa Waterkeeper Cassani asks whether a broad roll-back of environmental regulations is going to make a bad situation better. Perhaps easier for short-term profits. [Cassani Opinion in News Press] [Comments] [Gaetz Bill in Congress] [List of FL Impaired Waters]

February 2017 Newsletter (2017-03-02)

The February 2017 CRCA newsletter is available online. It features Waterkeeper news and opinions on issues. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [HTML Version] [Archive]

Equal Hit For Everyone (2017-03-02)

Towns south of Lake Okeechobee don’t cause discharges into coastal areas, but are being asked to carry the burden to fix the issue, community leaders told Treasure Coast Newspapers on Friday. “Everyone who’s a player in this needs to take an equal hit,” said former Pahokee Mayor J.P. Sasser. [News-Press]

Our Boards No.1 Priority (2017-03-02)

To the question "What do you want the Legislature to do during its 2017 session?" posed by News Press editor Eve Sample, the answers mostly reiterated that they wanted "Florida lawmakers to stop dragging their feet and fix our waterways by purchasing land south of Lake Okeechobee." [News-Press] [Facebook Question and Answers]

LDRC March Newsletter (2017-03-02)

LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation (LDRC) issued March edition of its Newsletter. "Spring" into what's happening this month in Downtown LaBelle and have fun checking it all out thanks to the enclosed March edition of LDRC Newsletter. [Newsletter]

Cherry Blossoms Come Sooner (2017-03-01)

This year the Washington cherry blossoms are on track to come sooner than ever before. On average, since 1960 peak blossom date has come a day sooner each 5.5 years. This winter DC has broken many records for high temp. But are our leaders in Washington discussing or even noticing? [Bloom Watch] [EPA Analysis] [Trend since 1960]

Prep For Sea Level Rise (2017-03-01)

South Florida is taking more steps to protect against climate change and the rising seas that already are spilling over into neighborhoods. “We have to do all we can to effect a slowing of climate change, of sea level rise, whatever we can do," said Broward Commissioner Nan Rich. [Sun Sentinel]

Dismantlng the Clean Water Act (2017-03-01)

Trump is trying to drain and destroy our wetlands, not drain the swamp in D.C. His Executive Order was not just a "meaningless tweet." EPA Secretary Pruitt has now begun the rulemaking process to significantly dismantle the Clean Water Act. [Notice to Review CWR] [Supreme Court Opinion] [Opinion Conclusion]

Would Trump Fund CERP? (2017-03-01)

The Florida Congressional delegation urged President Donald Trump to include projects in the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project in his Fiscal Year 2018 budget, in a letter dated Feb. 3. They described the impact this funding could have by explaining the importance of Everglades ecosystem. [Okeechobee News] [Letter]

Rebuttal Against Sugar Industry (2017-02-28)

Professor Jay O'Laughlin gave his answer to the five main arguments against Joe Negron's proposal to purchase 60,000 acres of land in the Everglades Agricultural Area. Quotes analysis and sharp rebuttals are listed in this document. [Jay O'Laughlin Answer]

Chiquita Lock Concerns (2017-02-28)

Cape Coral has applied to permanently remove the Chiquita Lock, which is meant to help isolate and treat stormwater runnoff from the city. Calusa Waterkeeper is challenging the application because the receiving waterbody, the Caloosahatchee Estuary, is already impaired for nutrient pollution. [Calusa Waterkeeper Objection] [Previous News Box]

World Water Day Presentation (2017-02-28)

On the occasion of the World Water Day celebrated on March 22, Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani will deliver a water issues presentation to the Rotary Club of LaBelle at its noon meeting at the Quart House Restaurant in LaBelle on March 21. [LaBelle Rotary Noon Meeting Location]

Land Purchase Economic Analysis (2017-02-28)

James Madison Institute (JMI) is a right-wing advocacy group with a mission for the advancement of practical free-market ideas on public policy issues. It released its economic perspective on the EAA water storage projects, stating its version of costs. [James Madison Report] [Economic Impact Report] [Source Watch]

One More Reason for Reservoir (2017-02-28)

An in-depth look at pending legislation shows raising the lake elevation would help but not stop discharges; adding a reservoir south of the lake would help a lot more. An Audubon scientist even said holding more water in the lake would “kill” the ecology there. [The Guardians of Martin County]

Risky Project in Port Everglades (2017-02-28)

Environmental activists are concerned that a project to deepen Port Everglades could damage Broward County's reefs. A former port engineer said there is a risk to lose the local reefs. Port Everglades Director Steven Cernak is intending on preventing that to happen by taking "proactive steps". [WPLG Local 10]

Waterkeeper Council in Mobile (2017-02-27)

Waterkeeper Council gathered in Mobile, Alabama, to strategize, assess our roles, and talk about how to grow and improve Waterkeeper Alliance. The organisation is on the right track in making sure that support is a high priority while also trying to expand to waterbodies that need protecting.

Canoe Contest Winners (2017-02-27)

At Swamp Cabbage Festival 2017 Canoe Contest, the first prize, the canoe, was won by Steve Lotts. Chris Kroft won the 4 person canoe/kayak rental, the second prize. And finally the third prize CNC and Planetarium annual Pass was won by Andrea McIntyre. [Drawing Winning Tickets] [Thanks, Joe!]

Exec Order Lowers Water Quality (2017-02-27)

Waterkeeper Alliance Executive Director Marc Yaggi states, "President Trump's action to slash regulation is more like a pollution prison sentence, subjecting our communities to increased exposure to polluted water, toxins, disease and economic burden for generations to come." [The Waterkeeper Weekly] [Motherboard] [Exec Order Text] [Subscribe]

Thanks, Joe! (2017-02-27)

Once again the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc. sponsored the canoe contest at the 2017 Swamp Cabbage Festival. This event has lasted as a tradition in Riverwatch since it has been more than 10 years we do the canoe contest every year. [Joe With The Winners] [Joe With The Volunteers]

Multi-County Problem (2017-02-22)

On Feb 21, Martin County Commissioners voted to set up a multi-county summit to discuss Senate President Joe Negron's proposal to buy lands south of Lake O for the reservoir. They claim the reservoir would have little effect on discharges and cause economic hardship on the communities south of lake. [TCPalm]

Clean All The Waterways (2017-02-22)

Dredging of muck from the bottom of Indian River Lagoon has begun. Sick waterway result of decades of pollution. To solve the region's water quality problems, the same thing needs to be done in the Caloosahatchee Estuary as well as in Lake Okeechobee. [Orlando Sentinel]

Seagrasses Are Disappearing (2017-02-22)

A growing recognition of the importance of seagrasses comes even as it is disappearing. Nearly a third of the world's seagrass meadows have died off since the 19th century. A number of studies indicate that they are now disappearing at an accelerating pace. [The New York Times]

Get the Lead Out (2017-02-21)

The nonprofit Environment Florida Research & Policy Center has published a report including new recommendations for removing lead from schools' drinking water and handed Florida an "F" grade considered as "well deserved", for its policies when it comes to monitoring lead levels. [Tallahassee Democrat]

Deeper Lake O is No Solution (2017-02-21)

Senate Bill 816 calls on the State of Florida to declare the rights of the state to ultimately control discharges of water from Lake Okeechobee and assume a leadership role in the rehabilitation of the dike. Florida Audubon Society said it “would place a world class wildlife paradise at risk." [Okeechobee News]

New Bill for Dike Repairs (2017-02-21)

A new proposal aims to speed up repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike to hold up to two more feet of water. The newest proposal calls for the state to match federal funds each year to speed up dike repairs. This could get repairs done by 2020. [WPTV]

The Definition of Lip Service (2017-02-20)

Thirteen members of Florida's congressional delegation from both parties heard about the harmful impact of red tide and toxic algae on the state's environment and economy in a meeting led by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan Wednesday in Washington, D.C. [Herald Tribune]

Thank You David Laties!