February 25, 2018

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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]

Why Not Clean It North? (2017-11-14)

The Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee are part of the Everglades. Don’t they deserve the same protection from excess nutrient pollution as the southern Everglades? There is need for flexibility in the design of the structures and operations and maybe consider sending it North. [Okeechobee News]

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 Politico.com 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. [Politico.com]

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 audubon.southwest.florida@gmail.com. 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] [TripAdvisor.com Bacteria] [TripAdvisor.com 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 quo...by 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 bverras@sfwmd.gov [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! (2017-02-20)

Calusa Waterkeeper Board member David Laties made a generous donation of two YSI Dissolved Oxygen / Salinity meters for the Calusa Waterkeeper Volunteer Ranger program. These are critical tools that enable the Ranger program to generate reliable data. Is there another generous donor out there? [David Laties Donation]

Congratulations Ed! (2017-02-20)

Calusa Waterkeeper Ranger Ed Ottenthal is our January Ranger of the Month. Ed spent a total of 63 hours on the water in January looking for water quality related events such as fish kills, algae blooms or wildlife problems. THANK YOU Ed! [January Ranger of The Month] [Join Us!]

Presentation to Political Group (2017-02-17)

On Wed, Feb 15, Dr. John Capece delivered a presentation about Calusa Waterkeeper to more than 90 members of the Progressive Caucus at their monthly meeting held at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater. A 25-minute presentation was followed by 35 minutes of Q&A and group discussion on water issues. [Presentation Slides] [Audience Photo]

Beer Benefit on Fort Myers Beach (2017-02-17)

On the evening of Mar 17, Jack Green and John Cassani will host a Beer Benefit for Calusa Waterkeeper at Yucatan's on Fort Myers Beach. A great group turned out for conversation and fun on the first such event held Feb 16. Thank you to all who will or did participate. [Image 2] [Image 3] [Yucatan Beach Stand]

Solutions for Water Quality? (2017-02-17)

The town could help clean up water by starting with its own back yards. The committee plans to make suggestions to help improve water quality in the island canals. One of them is for instance concerning budgets, while an other one would be to bring fertilizer ordinance up to a stricter standard. [Fort Myers Beach Talk]

Francis Rooney on Water Quality (2017-02-17)

Newly elected Congressman Francis Rooney gathered with local officials and environmental leaders on Sanibel Thursday to take part in an update on Southwest Florida's ongoing water quality crisis. Rooney said his goal is to get the funds owed from the federal government for the completion of CERP. [Captiva Sanibel]

Know What to Ignore (2017-02-17)

NOAA estimates that $82 million a year in economic loss in the U.S. can be attributed to toxic algal blooms, including red tide. Vern Buchanan, co-chairman of the state's delegation, asked what was the best way to fight red tide...not that he has ever shown any intentions of doing what is needed. [Bradenton Herald]

Complete The Projects (2017-02-16)

Henry Dean, former executive director of both the St. Johns River and South Florida Water Management Districts, expressed himself about the urge to complete the projets to save the Everglades. He joined 60 water experts writing a letter to the governor and top legislative leaders to finish the work. [Sunshine State News] [Finish The Job!]

Our Yards Are Dry (2017-02-16)

The South Florida Water Management District reports rainfall has been only 41 percent of what the region normally sees from November to February. District officials say they're concerned about dry conditions in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties and along Florida's southwest coast. [WLRN]

Delegation Meeting on Water (2017-02-16)

The co-chairs of Florida’s congressional delegation, Republican Vern Buchanan, and Democratic Alcee Hastings will hold a bipartisan delegation meeting on some of the state’s pressing water issues.The delegation will discuss red tide, algal blooms, beach renourishment and other water quality issues. [Florida Politics]

Dike is Safer, But Work Remains (2017-02-15)

Business leaders in Clewiston hopes for a greater focus on efforts to shore up the eroding dike protecting communities near Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. “My biggest concern is the integrity of the (Herbert Hoover) Dike,” said Hillary Hyslope, executive director of the Clewiston Chamber of Commerce. [News-Press]

After Netherlands, Miami (2017-02-15)

Henk Ovink, once the man in charge of making sure the flood-prone Netherlands stays dry, has been dispatched by his government to help the world figure out how to cope with sea level rise. He was on a three-day tour of southern Florida, and has already got some good news and some bad news. [Miami Herald]

What Sea Level Rise Looks Like (2017-02-15)

Plant ecologist Michael Barry is tracking something that’s worrying him in Picayune Strand State Forest: dying pine trees that once thrived in the wetlands. He’s been monitoring them for years and says each time he visits, more are dead. “They've just all died from increased salinities,” Barry said. [NBC-2]

$1400 Per Day for Pass (2017-02-15)

At $2 million for a 4-year maintenance dredging at Blind Pass, the public cost of providing the boat channel between Sanibel & Captiva Islands is $1400 per day. Maybe like the Sanibel Bridge, boats need a SunPass sticker to pay passage tolls to cover the cost of dredging and ecosystem protection. [NBC-2]

Does It Take A Hammer? (2017-02-15)

As of mid February 2017, Arctic ice area and volume entered its 4th month of record lows. Global ice area record lows reach are approaching their 6th month. The statistical aberration is mind-blowing and the threat to civilization is real and developing before our very eyes. [Arctic Sea Ice Extent] [Global Sea Ice Area] [Daily Arctic Ice Volume]

Join Us for Cheers & Beers (2017-01-26)

Party at Yucatan Beach Stand, 250 Old San Carlos Blvd, Ft Myers Beach on Thursday, Feb 16 from 6pm to 10pm. Each beer helps Calusa Waterkeeper, so come celebrate passing of the torch from Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association, Inc. (Riverwatch) to our new incarnation as CALUSA WATERKEEPER. [Announcement!] [QR Code to Google Map]

Enough Land for Restoration? (2017-02-14)

Senator Joe Negron’s plan for the state to buy another 60,000 acres south of Lake Okeechobee for more water storage continues to draw opposition from area officials who say the state already owns plenty of land, and they don’t want more property taken off their tax rolls. [Okeechobee News]

Mark “Bird” Westall Passes Away (2017-02-14)

Bird Westall, former Sanibel mayor and longtime champion of Southwest Florida's wild places and creatures has died at 64."One of Sanibel's strongest environmental voices has left us," said Kevin Ruane, the island's current mayor. The nickname Bird was given to him for his love of Sanibel`s wildlife. [News-Press]

Alva Land Purchase (2017-02-14)

In a split vote, an advisory board to county commissioners have recommended buying more than 90 acres of conservation land near the Caloosahatchee River in Alva. The commission will now decide whether to commit $2.659 million from the voter-endorsed 20/20 fund to buy the land. [News-Press]

Red Tide Aimed at Lee (2017-02-13)

A red tide that’s lingered in the Gulf of Mexico for several months is expected to move toward Lee County over the weekend. The Tampa Bay area south to Marco Island show concentrations ranging from background levels to high levels of Karenia brevis, the organism that causes red tide here. [News-Press]

From Drenched to Near-Drought (2017-02-13)

Last year at this time Florida was preparing for a state of emergency after summer-like rains during what is supposed to be the driest part of the year. Now meteorologists and water managers are preparing for a possible drought.Too much water destroys ecosystem, but dry conditions can be worst. [News-Press] [No Rain Means Conserve Water]

To Buy or Not to Buy (2017-02-13)

To buy, or not to buy; that is question agencies and legislators are pretending to ask as they allow State Senate President Negron his PR limelight necessary to ensure his political future while they continue fundamentally undermine progress on water quality improvement. [News-Press] [Move Lake O Water South?]

John Paul in WK Magazine (2017-02-10)

The February 2017 Waterkeeper magazine features coverage of the Florida Waterkeeper organizations. John Paul, as President of Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association (Calusa Waterkeeper) discusses how some progressive farmer are doing their part. [Waterkeeper Alliance]

Investigation on Human Wastes (2017-02-10)

TCPalm examined maps, databases and wastewater treatment plant shipping records to determine where human waste is being dumped. All that in order to conduct an investivation on these wastes, able to fuel toxic algae blooms, but on the other side fertilizes farms. Click on the link to know more. [Investigation]

Erosion Threatening Homes (2017-02-10)

We're no strangers to erosion here in Florida, look no further than our beaches for example. But one type of a erosion is causing headaches for homeowners and leaving expert searching for solutions. Brian Fischer says shoreline erosion on lakes and canals threatens your safety and your wallet. [WPTV]

Kennedy Jr on Trump (2017-02-10)

At an art auction benefiting Waterkeeper Alliance, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. criticized Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency. "It's 33 years of my work are being dismantled in a number of days," said RFK Jr., President of Waterkeeper Alliance. [Bloomberg]

John Cassani About ASR (2017-02-10)

During a WGCU-FM interview, Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani was asked about Aquifer Storage Recovery, and he said ASR is potentially a "good thing" because that stored water would be available during the dry season to spread around wherever needed. Listen at the attached audio to know more. [WLRN] [John Cassani] [Audio]

Water Rates Increase (2017-02-09)

Residents in various parts of Florida are fighting against increases in water utility rates, saying it will likely more than double their monthly utility bill. Some complain they can not afford to water their yards already. (The future will likely eliminate such silly uses of potable water.) [News 13]

Hillsborough Wastewater Toxins (2017-02-09)

Hillsborough County is considering an ordinance to deal with wastewater; environmentalists say overall that’s a good thing but there’s concern about one aspect: a proposal to allow higher levels of some industrial toxins in wastewater before it gets treated. [WMNF]

No Willingly Seller (2017-02-09)

Sugar cane growers and other farmers who own some of the largest parcels of land in the Everglades Agricultural Area say they won't willingly sell their land to build a water-holding reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. Owners, including U.S. sugar and Florida Crystals, sent a letter to Legislature. [Tampa Bay Times] [Letter]

Budget for Algae Issues (2017-02-09)

After spending 8 years as governor structurally dismantling environmental and smart growth rules and programs in Florida, Gov Scott is now putting money into too little too late solutions. He is clearly preparing for a Senate run in 2018 and needs some green-washing of his public perception. [WPTV]

Finish The Job (2017-02-09)

Five dozen water quality experts have sent a letter to urge Gov. Rick Scott, as well as state and federal governments, to finish the job on Florida water that began more than 15 years ago. “Water is Florida’s most precious resource", the letter says. A copy of the letter as delivered is enclosed. [Florida Politics] [Letter]

February Activities in Labelle (2017-02-09)

Downtown LaBelle is bustling with activity! Music, arts, laughs, festivals, news, fundraising, kisses, and SO MUCH MORE! Have fun checking it all out thanks to the enclosed February edition of LDRC Newsletter! [LDRC Newsletter]

Coastal Angler Magazine (2017-02-08)

Each month Riverwatch writes articles for the Okeechobee edition and the Ft. Myers edition of the fishing enthusiast publication titled Coastal Angler. It's a great way to reach out to the fishing communities throughout our area. [Article] [Coastal Angler Magazine]

Stop ROGG Now (2017-02-08)

The River of Grass Greenway proposed a 76-mile, 12 to 14 feet wide paved road thru the heart of the Everglades, ignoring the Miccosukee Tribe as well as the Seminoles and Independents who live here. If you want to react against this proposition, take a look at the attached information and flyers. [Details] [Talking Points Opposing the ROGG] [Flyers]

Alternatives to SB10 Bill (2017-02-08)

Hendry County opposes Florida Senate Bill 10 supporting a land-buy south of Lake Okeechobee that was filed on January 26 2017. Scientists and engineers created a report during the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Planning Project that outlined the advantages of water storage technologies north of the lake. [Details] [Watershed Planning Project Information] [Lake O Watershed Scoping]

Underground Injection (2017-02-07)

Try deep well injection, or aquifer storage and recovery, two technologies the SFWMD is considering as it moves forward with Everglades restoration projects. The goal would be to get rid of excess rain water without using the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries as dumping grounds. [News-Press]

ECOSWF Discusses Its Future (2017-02-03)

Calusa Waterkeeper is a member of ECOSWF, the Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, a group based in Sarasota that leads on many policy and legal actions. It recently decided to begin holding its gatherings in more geographic areas to allow members to more easily attend. [Details] [Website]

North or South? Both (2017-02-01)

On Jan 11, Dr. Wendy Graham of the University of Florida Water Institute told the Senate Appropriations Committee said water storage is needed north, south, east and west. When pinned down on the benefits of north vs. south, Dr. Graham said a variety of combinations of north and south storage work. [Okeechobee News] [Dr. Wendy Graham]

January 2017 Newsletter (2017-02-01)

The January 2017 CRCA newsletter is available online. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archive]

Recruiting Water Quality Rangers (2017-01-31)

Contact Waterkeeper @ Caloosahatchee.org if you are interested in serving as a volunteer Rangers. The Rangers will monitor quality of area waterways (Estero Bay, Pine Island Sound, Matlacha Pass, Charlotte Harbor, the Caloosahatchee River, & Lake Okeechobee).

Biodiversity Conference (2017-01-31)

Calusa Waterkeeper is a co-sponsor of the FGCU Biodiversity Conference "Conserving Biodiversity: Challenges for Florida in the Anthropocene" on March 7-9 in the Cohen Center. Plenary speaker is Dr. Reed Noss of University of Central Florida. [Plenary Session Announcement] [Web Page]

Thank you, Sarah! (2017-01-31)

We would like to thank Sarah Lepa and her father John Cassani with whom she worked to create the new Calusa Waterkeeper logo. Her design is based on the smalltooth sawfish concept suggested by Gene Gibson and the group name proposed by John Capece. Teamwork!

You Are Invited! (2017-01-31)

You are invited for a free event to premiere a new film about the history of Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve and Lee County’s Conservation 20/20 program. Reservations are required in advance and space is limited, so do not wait and call Conservation 20/20 Coordinator. All information are enclosed. [More Information]

Win a Canoe at Swamp Cabbage (2017-01-31)

Come and win a canoe at the Calusa Waterkeeper exhibit at the Swamp Cabbage Festival on Feb 25-26 (Sat-Sun) in Barron Park, LaBelle. Chance tickets are $2 or three tickets for $5. It's great fun, a great canoe, and a chance to talk with our new Waterkeeper & officers. See you there! [Contest Poster] [Old Town Canoe] [Canoe Description] [Festival Web Page]

Climate Conundrum (2017-01-31)

Have we gone over the tipping point on global climate change? According to Philip Schwartz, humanity is in a climate "conundrum" today. We may still have time, so if you ask yourself what can you do, "Educate yourself and get involved." [News-Press] [Bill Gates Comments on Climate]

No Science. No More EPA. (2017-01-30)

A newly leaked "agency action" plan by Trump's EPA transition team states that the EPA should not be funding scientific research.The pace of Trump's attacks on science and our environment is astonishing. Help Sierra Club's EMERGENCY campaign to defend EPA by making a monthly donation. [EPA Contract Freeze & Media Blackout]

Affordable Water May Dry Up (2017-01-30)

Water and wastewater services may become unaffordable for one-third of American households over the next five years, rising from an average of $120/mo to $170/mo. Years of disinvestment have resulted in aging infrastructure becoming a problem. Water scarcity is becoming a problem in many regions. [PBS NewsHour] [At-Risk and High-Risk Census Tracts]

Losing a Valuable Public Asset (2017-01-30)

The Mainsail Harborside hotel will displace the downtown boat ramp. Many cannot imagine losing their favorite fishing spot and boat launch. Construction will begin in April, and until then the ramp will remain open. Calusa Waterkeeper has long advocated planning for the ramp's immediate replacement. [NBC-2]

Grass Carp invasion (2017-01-30)

Grass carp were introduced to the U.S. in the early 1960s to control weed growth in waterways. Today they are invading three of the Great Lakes and pose a significant environmental risk. They are used extensively in Florida but careful programs releases only sterile, triploid-bred fish. [The Washington Post]

Good Jobs Program or Giveaway? (2017-01-30)

U.S. Sugar and Hilliard Brothers are seeking to acquire/privatize the publicly-owned Airglades Airport from Hendry County. They are promoting the deal by appearing to claim the transfer would yield more jobs than Hendry County government could ever generate by leasing access to private companies. [The Des Moines Register]

Why Smalltooth Sawfish? (2017-01-27)

Calusa Waterkeeper selected the smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) as its emblem because this critically endangered coastal fish is native to SW FL and is an ideal indicator of success or failure of our stewardship. Its preferred habitat is a healthy estuary with balanced salinity. [Recovery Plan] [Shrinking Range] [Sawfish species]

Why Calusa? (2017-01-27)

The name Calusa was chosen because our mandate has expanded beyond the Caloosahatchee River & Estuary to also include Lake Okeechobee, Charlotte Harbor and Estero Bay. The native Calusa people inhabited this entire area and are known for shell mounds, canals, ferocity, watercraft & fishing. [Calusa Background] [The Shell People]

Drones To Detect Algae Blooms (2017-01-26)

Calusa Waterkeeper director Dr. John Capece attended a workshop and seminar by St Louis University professor Dr. Wasit Walamu. He described using drones to carry special cameras to measure light of specific wavelength ranges to detect algae blooms. [Dr. Walamu 1] [Dr. Walamu 2] [Microcystis Paper]

New MA in Environmental Studies (2017-01-26)

Florida Gulf Coast University will be launching a new MA Environmental Studies program, beginning fall semester, 2017. Our first call for applications is due February 15, 2017. Please share this with your coworkers, colleagues, and friends. [Details] [Brochure] [Website]

LDRC January Newsletter (2017-01-26)

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017 and your LaBelle Downtown Revitalization Corporation (LDRC) January Newsletter. It is going to be a fun-filled month in Downtown LaBelle. We have the latest happenings right here just for you! [Newsletter]

Fisheating Creek at Night (2017-01-26)

Greg Johnson helped photographers Bill Antalek of Boynton Beach and Matt Stock get into the Fisheating Creek area to take night photos. Apparently, they use lights. The photos are amazingly beautiful. Magic at night! [Photo 1] [Photo 2]

Sanibel Considers Sea Level Rise (2017-01-26)

Dr. Harold Wanless, Univ of Miami Chair of the Geology Department, said that sea level rise may reach 6 feet by 2100, whereas only 3 to 4 ft will make most Florida islands like Sanible & Captiva uninhabitable. James Evans talked about what Sanibel is doing to deal with sea level rise issues. [Captiva Sanibel] [Sanibel Chronicle] [Evans Slides]

Pahokee Could Get Worse (2017-01-26)

According to the Stuart News, earlier this week, minority residents from Pahokee expressed concern about Negron's plans to buy 60,000 acres of farmland, which they say would devastate their already blighted and poverty stricken community. [Florida Politics]

Welcome Waterkeeper Movement (2017-01-26)

Waterkeeper Alliance welcomes three Waterkeeper groups: Calusa Waterkeeper - John Cassani (Florida), Suwannee Riverkeeper - John Quarterman (Georgia), Huong River Waterkeeper - Pham My (Vietnam), & one Waterkeeper Affiliate: Voice of the Old Brahmaputra (Bangladesh) to the Waterkeeper Movement. [Details] [Photo] [Webpage]

Water Wars Must be Resolved (2017-01-26)

Floridians working for a solution to the state's decades-long water dispute with Georgia are dismayed by Georgia's recent move to block a bipartisan weather bill in Congress. That dispute, known in Florida, Georgia and Alabama as the water wars, is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. [Press Release] [Tallahassee Democrat] [Apalachicola Riverkeeper Website]

List of City Planning Concern (2017-01-26)

Calusa Waterkeeper Vice President Gene Gibson has presented questions and comments concerning the Fort Myers downtown and midtown density study and the proposed amendments to the Fort Myers smart growth code and comprehensive plan. [Gibson List of Concerns] [NBC-2]

Action Alert (2017-01-26)

Linda Young of Florida Clean Water Network urged everyone to contact committee members prior to the Environmental Preservation and Conservation meeting on Jan 10. We need to make sure that the members of this committee are well informed and not misinformed by DEP. [Details] [Email the Senators]

Hendry County Opposes Land Buy (2017-01-26)

On Aug 23, 2016 the Hendry County BOCC unanimously approved a resolution opposing actions that do not provide solutions for excessive water releases to the Caloosahatchee River and St. Lucie River Estuaries. The resolution specifically opposes purchasing land south of Lake Okeechobee. [Caloosa Belle] [Press Release] [Resolution]

Indian River Pollution Source (2017-01-26)

"There isn't a silver bullet that you can point to and say, 'If you get rid of this, you'll clean up the lagoon.' It's all of us." according to the researchers at the Ocean Research & Conservation Association. Researchers found high levels of nutrients and toxins along the full length of the canal. [TCPalm]

Citizens Help Conservation (2017-01-26)

A new group of citizens are going to help Lee County's conservation 20/20 program, under the name of "eYes on conservation 20/20". By using social media, they intend to make a call to "action" message to supporters. The group seems dynamic and ready to make their plans for county's "conservation". [News Press]

Lawsuit Against Cape Coral​ (2017-01-25)

The City of Cape Coral could face lawsuits on several fronts from civic organizations and residents as a result of its Dec 12 vote to annex 5.67 acres of land near Matlacha. About 100 demonstrators lined Pine Island Road on Jan 8 to protest against Cape Coral. [News-Press] [WINK News] [Subject Parcels] [Annexation Rally] [Pine Island Strong]

Lake O Regional Compact (2017-01-25)

Municipal officials from across a 19-county region encompassing the Northern Everglades Estuaries and the Lake O Watershed voted to support the creation of the Lake Okeechobee Regional Compact. Compact is a commitment by local government leaders to work together across jurisdictional boundaries. [Capital Soup] [Lake Okeechobee Regional Compact]