January 22, 2018

River news


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Many States Fear NPDES (2007-12-30)

SFWMD claims its "Robust Permitting System" protects water quality in Florida without any need for federal oversight. SFWMD has called other state water agencies to its defense in appealing a federal court ruling. [SFWMD PR]



Options for Waterway Estates (2007-12-30)

In town hall meeting three options were presented: (1) build a new plant on the marina site, (2) buy North Ft Myers Utilities & divert wastewater to that plant, or (3) enter into an agreement to send wastewater to the North Ft. Myers Utilities plant. [North Ft Myers Neighbor]



Solutions to Pollution (2007-12-28)

PURRE Chairman Michael Valiquette discussed his “Solutions to the Pollution" white paper with Col. Grosskruger, Connie Mack, Charles Dauray and others in an effort to address a wide range of regional water management challenges. [PURRE Solutions]



Agriculture's Woes (2007-12-27)

Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson says that the decision not to pump phosphorous rich water into Lake O will deprive growers of irrigation water and depress yields. Thom Rumberger of the Everglades Trust challenges this. [TBO.com]



2007 Tough for Fishing (2007-12-27)

Fishing in the Caloosahatchee River is improving. Fish are starting to come back up the river from the Gulf. Trout are returning and the ones that were left have spawned and their offspring are growing. Redfish have their ups and downs. [News-Press]



Lykes Options vs. DCA Regs (2007-12-26)

A Lykes official told Highlands County commissioners that he "didn't want to be the skunk at the church picnic." & he didn't want to be "a Jeremiah," referring to the Old Testament prophet, but he did want DCA to allow more development. [Highlands Today]



Delay Causing Higher Cost (2007-12-25)

A map of the ecological restoration needs of Southwest Florida won't emerge until the end of 2009, nearly 5 years past its original due date. In addition, the cost of the long-awaited feasibility study has gone up from $12 million to $17 million. [NaplesNews]



Fertilizer Ordinance Workshop (2007-12-20)

Lee County Fertilizer Ordinance Workshop is scheduled on Jan 4 at Rutenberg Park Eco-Center from 1-3pm. FYN is having a meeting to gather suggestions for Karen Bickford to use in the re-draft of the ordinance.
[Workshop Details]



It Can't Happen Here (2007-12-20)

Space Coast residents believed they were immune to red tide outbreaks, but recent weeks have brought unprecedented outbreaks along FL's Atlantic Coast. The current red tide started on the SW coast 3 days earlier then moved around to the east coast. [FT]



Sewage Plant Foes (2007-12-18)

The county is considering the future of an existing water treatment plant and a nearby 5.8-acre, $13.8 million riverfront property for a treatment center expansion. The surrounding residents are against buliding of this new plant. [News-Press]



Nature Festival in North Port (2007-12-18)

Start planning now to join the North Port Parks and Recreation “Second Nature” Environmental Festival on Saturday, January 19, 2008 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at The Garden of the Five Senses 4025 Pan American Blvd. [Flier] [Vendor Form]



WRDA Projects for So. Florida (2007-12-17)

The Water Resources Development Act of 2007 increased the budget authorization (this was not an actual funds appropriation) for the C-43 Aquifer Storage and Recovery Pilot Project (test well) from $6.0 to $8.2 million.
[WRDA Project Budgets]



C-43 Reservoir Project Update (2007-12-17)

At the Nov 30 County Coalition meeting, the Corps of Engineers provided a south Florida projects update, including the C-43 West Basin Reservoir. The Corps says the project will provide 13% of all water storage needed for CERP. [C-43 Reservoir] [All Projects]



SFWMD Takes Action (2007-12-17)

Fort Myers SFWMD has acted on the Willow Lake case. The office requires restoration of the six acres and penalties/fees of $40,000. The land owner has until mid-February to come up with a proper restoration plan. [SFWMD] [NewsPress]



Duck, Here Comes An Issue! (2007-12-16)

Regulators seem to be searching for ways to avoid making a fundamental decision regarding irreparable exploitation of potentially restorable Everglades lands. Neither SFWMD nor FDEP seems interested in taking on the question of mining in the EAA. [PBP]



Manatees to Lee Waters (2007-12-16)

Manatees are extremely cold sensitive, they can die from what scientists call “cold stress” & when water temperatures drop to 68 deg., they move to warm-water refuges such as canals of Matlacha Isles & the discharge from FPL plant on Orange river. [News-Press] [NP1]



Town Hall Meeting (2007-12-14)

Lee Co. Commissioner Tammy Hall will hold a town hall meeting to discuss the consultant’s report regarding the Waterway Estates Waste Water Treatment Plant on Monday Dec 17, 6-8pm in the Commission Chambers in downtown FM. [More Info.]



FCF Task Force Meeting (2007-12-14)

Florida Consumer Fertilizer Task Force will meet again on December 17th from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm in Apopka. Attend the meeting of Task Force and voice your concerns in person. Public comments are tentatively scheduled to begin at 3:00 pm. [More Info.] [Web site]



A New Rural Industry (2007-12-14)

Government spends up to $350 per pound of phosphorus removed and per acre-ft of water stored. The time has come to start privatizing the lucrative nutrient removal and water storage industries to rural workers & keep taxable lands. [Caloosa Belle]



River Pendulum Swings (2007-12-12)

Some people who've lived on the Caloosahatchee for much of their lives say the river has changed for the better since the disasterous fouling of recent years. But, this improved state still respresents a river degraded from past decades. [News Press]



Stringent Water Restrictions (2007-12-10)

Southwest Florida is bracing for what are expected to be the most stringent water restrictions ever imposed on the area. The SFWMD is expected to propose Phase III restrictions to its governing board in West Palm Beach on Wednesday meeting [NP] [PBP]



Dike Repairs to Resume (2007-12-10)

The Corps of Engineers is about to try again with the most challenging phase of its $856 million effort to fix the Herbert Hoover Dike. Corps contractors are bound to start on work Jan 9. But how soon they can finish is for Congress to decide. [PalmBeachPost]



Serve Two Masters? (2007-12-10)

What is the purpose of the C-43 reservoir? Will it be for agricultural water supply or for environmental protection? Can the reservoir serve both purposes, just as Lake Okeechobee has struggled fruitlessly to do?
[Bronson Letter] [Switch] [Lake O]



TMDL Coordination Meeting (2007-12-10)

On Dec 12, Lee County Natural Resources invites everyone to attend the TMDL Coordination Meeting to discuss FDEP's new Impaired Waters Listing and pending TMDL development process. [Meeting Details]



Volunteers Needed (2007-12-09)

Volunteers are needed for the 5th Annual River Roots Run on Sunday, Jan 6, 2008 at Caloosahatchee Regional Park, SR78. The proceeds of this run are divided among the groups that volunteer, so this helps CRCA's treasury. [Letter] [Website]



Willow Lake Destruction Update (2007-12-09)

The local citizens association has become involved in demanding restoration after the illegally destruction of a wetland on Pine Island. SFWMD and the Corps of Engineers have become involved. [Letter to SFWMD] [Web Site]



Riverwatch Newsletter (2007-12-09)

The December 2007 CRCA newsletter is available online. The archives provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [December Newsletter] [Newsletter Archive]



Lee Take Positive Direction (2007-12-08)

A coalition is encouraging Lee Co. Commissioners to adopt a stronger fertilizer ordinance for homeowners and landscaping professionals. At their Dec 4 meeting commissioners sent the weak draft ordinance back to staff for revision. [Letter]



FYN Meets with Rotarians (2007-12-07)

Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) Master Gardener Angela Sachson met with Okeechobee Rotarians to discuss about the importance of creating Florida-friendly landscaping and how this helps the environment. [NewsZap.com]



Big O Birding Festival 2008 (2007-12-07)

Start planning now to join the 7th annual Big O Birding Festival on Saturday, Jan 26, in the clubhouse at Glades Resort RV Park and Marina. The festival includes group tours, free admission to the arts & crafts festival and the keynote lectures. [NewsZap.com] [Web site]



SFWMD Plans Concerned (2007-12-07)

Audubon Society President Pete Quasius addressed the Glades County Commissioners. He informed the county about the continuing progress of the Kissimmee project and the Caloosahatchee River basin pollution treatment plans. [NewsZap.com]



PLUS Customers Use Less (2007-12-04)

Port LaBelle water users are among the most efficient in the state. Our avg daily water use is 85 gallons of potable water per person. To deliver this "finished" water the PLUS treatment plant uses 121 gallons of "raw" groundwater. [PalmBeachPost]



Trial Trail Run (2007-12-03)

Mark your calendars for the traditional Trial Trail Run on Saturday, December 15th. This practice run is open to all, registered or not. The group will meet at 11:00 am at the Caloosahatchee Regional Park campground parking lot. [Details] [Web site]



One-sided Partnership (2007-11-30)

Everglades restoration is at a standstill, ready to become the centerpiece of the president's harmful environmental legacy. The federal government has failed to do its part in what was supposed to be a 50-50 restoration partnership. [PalmBeachPost.com]



FYN Annual Conference (2007-11-29)

Florida Yards & Neighborhoods will hold its 2nd Annual Conference on Feb 9. “Protecting Our Water Thru Living Green” is the conference topic. ‘Ask the Expert’ sessions, trade displays and silent auction are also planned. Register now! [Conference Brochure]



Reservoir Support Sought (2007-11-29)

SFWMD board member Melissa Meeker encourages commissioners to attend the Dec 12 governing board workshop on how the district can pay for the projects planned to improve water quality in Lake O, the Everglades, & the St. Lucie & Caloosahatchee river. [TCPalm.com]



Corps Testimony Rebuttal (2007-11-26)

A SW FL civic group has sent a rebuttal to the Congressional testimony by Corps of Engineers head John Paul Woodley, Jr. The letter challenges many claims of wetlands protection and improvements by the Corps. [Rebuttal] [Testimony] [Transmittal]



Again, Routing Dirty Water! (2007-11-25)

An EPA official was reassigned after overheard saying, "Once again, we're routing dirty water" in opposition to a Corps proposal to pipe Lake O water to Miami canals. The agency is intolerant of revealing a history of acquiescence to flawed programs.
[St. Pete Times] [Miami Herald] [Orlando Sentinel]



Riverwatch Party (2007-11-25)

The annual Holiday Meeting will be held on Wednesday, Dec 5 at 6:30 pm at the historic Capt. Hendry House in LaBelle. Like years past, CRCA will provide the meat and everyone bring a dish to share or a beverage. RSVP ASAP.
[Hendry House Map] [RSVP]



Lake Continues Record Lows (2007-11-25)

Lake Okeechobee water levels continue to shatter the record lows of the past 76 years that record havekeepi been kept. At 10.33 ft, the end of Nov levels are more than a one foot below the previous Nov low of 1984. [Lake Hydrograph] [Record Lows]



Riverwatch Gift Sales (2007-11-25)

This holiday season choose gifts from Riverwatch. Artist Caroline Krieger Comings has offered RIVERWATCH oil painting images for notecards and prints for sale. All profits support the continued efforts of CRCA.
[Note Cards]
[Gallery] [Email for Gift Purchase]



Water Summit in Fort Myers (2007-11-23)

Representing the Sierra Club, Marti Daltry served as a panelists for the SFWMD water summit held on Monday, Nov 26. Also on the panel was Rae Ann Wessel for Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. [Invitation]



The Judge Says, Stop! (2007-11-23)

Fort Myers Councilmember Levon Simms voted that the City of Fort Myers not appeal the court ruling halting The Vue tower project on Centennial Park land. He, like CRCA, doesn't want public access or enjoyment of the park diminished by the tower. [Mailbag Letter]



Everglades Project in Doubt (2007-11-22)

The effort to restore the Everglades is running years behind and billions over budget, and the government can no longer say how much it will cost and when or if it will ever get done. [MiamiHerald.com]



Historical Context (2007-11-22)

The River Killers, a 1974 book by Martin Heuvelmans of Stuart, Florida shows how demands for a southern flow way to protect the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries date back to the 1950's - a fifty year struggle. [Book Link 5MB] [CRCA Link 5MB]



Money Where Your Mouth Is (2007-11-20)

CRCA commends Ft. Myers Councilmember Warren Wright and former Lee Commissioner Charlie Bigelow for funding the public interest lawsuit opposing selling public park land for a misplaced waterfront tower. Unfortunately Ft. Myers is pressing ahead. [Appealed] [Letter to NPS] [Funding]



Predicting Red Tide (2007-11-19)

Red tide is back in the news in Florida, but for positive reasons. Scientists are studying the causes and sources of red tide blooms, particularly off Florida's southwest coast where they have been most prevalent in recent years. [TheLedger.com]



Proper Waterfront Design (2007-11-19)

How should Ft. Myers' riverfront be developed? The world's premier urban planners assert that it is best to set tall towers back from the water's edge and use the waterfront lands for support activities open to all, a design Ft. Myers should adopt. [Design Video] [CRCA Letter] [Waterfront Mistakes]



Democracy vs. Developers (2007-11-19)

Misplaced projects like The Vue tower are pushing citizens to seek more say about development decisions through constitutional amendments such as Hometown Democracy. Frightened developers and politicians are trying to stop the petition. [AP Story] [Web Site]



Regional Restoration Plan (2007-11-18)

SFWMD has released a Northern Everglades draft technical plan to protect and restore the Lake O watershed and improve the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie watersheds. The public comment period will conclude on Dec 13, 2007. [News Release] [Technical Plan 2.2MB] [Post Comment]



Hendry County Planning (2007-11-17)

Hendry County Planner is performing an Evaluation and Assessment Report (EAR)project for its Comprehensive Land Use Plan that will chart a direction for the county and watershed for the coming decades.
[Outline Letter]



Grove Bought for Clean Water (2007-11-17)

SFWMD & Lee Co. have purchased a grove for $37 million ($21,000/ac). 1335 acres will be used for water quality treatment, 440 acres for recreation & commercial. The nitrogen removal system will cost $100+ million more. [NewsPress] [Map1] [Map2]



More Water Restrictions (2007-11-16)

At a SFWMD board meeting, staff recommended the governing board move to increase water restrictions. Recommendations include limiting lawn irrigation to one day a week and setting lower water use. [Business Journal]



Corps to FL: Clean up your act! (2007-11-14)

In a May 2007 memo, a Corps General recommended not funding Lake O projects unless Florida takes proper actions to meet water quality standards...while at the same time the Corps continues to approve development projects that degrade FL waters. [Peer Press Release] [Corps Memo]



Ft. Myers City Council (2007-11-14)

Ft. Myers Council opposes the FL Hometown Democracy amendment to the FL Constitution that would empower voters to decide all changes to a city or county comprehensive plan. The city also wants to appeal The Vue vs. CRCA lawsuit ruling. [More Info.] [RGMC] [CRCA]



State Match for WRDA (2007-11-12)

On Nov. 11, the State of FL applauded actions taken by Congress to override a veto of the long-awaited WRDA 2007. After successful override votes by both the House of Representatives & Senate, WRDA 2007 immediately became law. [Wakulla.com]



Nature Park Questions Linger (2007-11-10)

CRCA and other interested parties agree that a park on the 176-acre parcel on the north bank of the Caloosahatchee River, across from Barron Park, would be a good thing. However, a number of details have yet to be confronted. [NewsZap.com]



Everglades & Estuaries (2007-11-09)

Dr. Thomas Van Lent, Senior scientist with the Everglades Foundation and leading expert on South Florida hydrology will lead a compelling discussion on "The Essentials of Everglades Restoration" on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2007. [Details]



Changing Caloosahatchee (2007-11-09)

"The hydrology of the river has been altered so significantly that we can't recreate the original river now," says Bill Hammond, a retired professor of environmental sciences at FGCU. "It's operating as a series of lake pools with weir structures." [Article]



SFWMD Appealing Pump Ruling (2007-11-09)

SFWMD is appealing the ruling requiring permits for moving dirty water on the basis that Florida has the right to manage its water without federal oversight. The seemingly minor case involving three local pump stations has a remarkable implications. [TCPalm.com]



Water -#1 Priority in FL (2007-11-09)

When Gov. Crist recently approved more than $1 billion in state budget cuts, he chose not to veto Senate Bill 24-C, which will drain $30 million from the state’s Water Protection & Sustainability Program Trust Fund. [TCPalm.com]



Telegraph Creek (2007-11-07)

A real-time data web site for the Telegraph Creek monitoring station is now operational. Parameters include water level, flow velocity, salinity, and temperature. Check out the link! [NWISWeb]



Spillway Reconsideration (2007-11-06)

Federal water managers are reconsidering idea of a southern "spillway" for Lake O. Experts urged Corps of Engineers to explore ways to expand the outlet capacity of the lake. Thus relieving pressure on the deteriorating Herbert Hoover Dike. [PBP]



First Override for Pres. Bush (2007-11-06)

By a vote of 361 to 54 on the evening of Nov 6, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to override President Bush's veto of the Water Resources Development Act authorizes several projects in Florida. The Senate voted to override on Nov 8 by 79-14. [Roll Call] [Mahoney Statement] [AP]



FL Hometown Democracy Effect (2007-11-05)

Supporters of a measure to limit growth don't know if they'll collect enough signatures to get it on the November 2008 ballot. But landowners are flooding state & local agencies with plans that would guarantee them the right to develop their land. [St. Petersburg Times] [map]



Riverwatch Newsletter (2007-11-04)

The November 2007 CRCA newsletter is available online. The archives provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [November Newsletter] [Newsletter Archive]



CHNEP Nature Festival (2007-11-04)

CRCA officers Marti Daltry and John Capece joined dozens of other community groups to make the Charlotte Harbor Nature Festival another great family fun & educational event. Student interns Mihee from S. Korea and Monyo from Bulgaria helped. [Photo_1] [Photo_2] [Photo_3] [Photo_4] [Photo_5]



CRCA Joins Coalition (2007-11-04)

At its recent meeting in late October, the Everglades Coalition approved CRCA's application for membership. The addition of Riverwatch and Audubon of SW Florida brings EC membership to 50 organizations. [Web Site]



Downtown Public Riverfront (2007-11-04)

The proposed The Vue high-rise condominium, which would loom over Centennial Park on the Fort Myers waterfront, has just been knocked back by a court ruling to where it was more than three years ago. Its fate falls to the National Park Service. [Editorial] [Blog]



Saving Everglades - Falters (2007-11-04)

The rescue of FL Everglades, largest & most expensive environmental restoration project on planet is flatering. 7 yrs into what was supposed to be a 4-decade, $8 bn effort to reverse generations of destruction, federal financing has slowed to trickle [NewYorkTimes]



FM Riverfront Redevelopment (2007-11-04)

People like William P. Mitchell hopes a workshop with city leaders set for Dec 10 will lead to a plan to bring those crowds downtown every week along 3 blocks of redeveloped riverfront that will offer nearly 10 acres of retail shops & restaurants. [News-Press.com]



Repairing Florida Estuaries (2007-11-04)

On Oct 30, a local advocate at an environmental conference held by Sen. Burt Saunders in Fort Myers said, "It's going to take a lot more water storage to repair Southwest Florida estuaries." [NaplesNews.com]



Bush Vetos WRDA (2007-11-02)

On Nov 2 President Bush vetoed WRDA, the Water Resources Development Act, an important bill for Everglades restoration and Lake O safety. Both Republicans & Democrats in Congress will join in an override attempt. [Crypt] [Joint Statement] [NYT] [PBP]



Blueway Ribbon Cutting (2007-11-01)

On Oct 30 the Phase 3 ribbon cutting ceremony for the Great Calusa Blueway was held at Riverside Community Center in Ft. Myers. The event attended by area dignitaries, included kayak demonstration, and eco-information. [Photos]



Lee - Hendry Bridge (2007-11-01)

Commissioners of both counties met on Oct 31 in Fort Myers to discuss two options: a bridge over the river near the Lee/Hendry line that would connect County Road 78 & State Road 80; or a bridge about two miles east of the county line. [News-Press]



Babcock: Public Hearings (2007-11-01)

There are two public hearings for the Babcock Ranch Preserve Conceptual Management Plan (CMP), on Nov 28 from 6 to 9 pm at the Tringali Recreation Center, Charlotte County & on Nov 29 from 6 to 9 pm at the Buckingham Community Center. [Letter] [Lee Agenda] [Charlotte Agenda]



Learn to Conserve & Protect (2007-11-01)

There are lots of FYN events in next four months like: Mangroove Cafe, FYN Introductory Workshop, FYN Rain Barrel Workshop, FYN Neighborhoods Conference, etc. Check out the schedule! [More Details]



Halloween Terror (2007-10-31)

Either extreme outcome is scary - ecological death and destruction from bad water management and unsustainable economics OR worsening poverty, unemployment, and private land losses from termination of government support for agriculture. [Cartoon] [Letters] [BNews]



NRC Committee Meeting (2007-10-31)

The National Research Council's Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress meets November 14-16. Check the agenda and the registration form! [Agenda] [Registration Form]



Willful Disregard of Rights (2007-10-30)

On Oct 26, Circuit Court Judge Sherra Winesett ruled on CRCA's law suit saying that the City of Ft. Myers was wrong to approve The Vue tower on Centennial Park land before getting National Park Service approval. [Summary] [NewsPress] [Quotes] [Ruling] [Eiditorial] [Blog]



Nitrogen Treatment Land (2007-10-30)

SFWMD is negotiating to purchase 1773-acres of mainly orange grove land in Glades County just east of Ortona Lock to use as a nitrogen removal facility for Lake Okeechobee waters. Lee County is contributing $10 million to the deal.
[Map 1] [Map 2] [NewsPress]



Lehigh Acres WRT Meeting (2007-10-29)

The 2nd meeting of the Lehigh Acres WRT to find the solutions to the issues discussed has been rescheduled for Nov 19 at 6:30 pm at the Lee County East Regional Library Meeting Room 1 at 881 Gunnery Rd.



Kayak Shack is Open Again (2007-10-28)

The Kayak Shack at Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, is now open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and on selected holidays including Nov. 12, Dec. 26, Dec. 27, and Dec. 28. [News-Press] [Map]



Calusa Blueway Race (2007-10-28)

Local kayakers captured the opening 4-mile recreational race in the annual Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival on Sat morning but Olympic-caliber kayakers from Tampa & Deerfield Beach dominated the 10-mile competitive race. [News-Press] [Photo]



Warmer Waters Bring Danger (2007-10-27)

A rare bacteria has appeared again in FL coastal waters attacking people whose minor cuts come in contact with it. The most recent incident in Martin was result of Vibrio Vulnificus. [TCPalm]



Cape Water Action Meeting (2007-10-26)

A new citizens’ action group, Cape Water Action, will have a kick-off meeting on Saturday, Nov 17, 2007 at the Rotary Park in Cape Coral. All residents of Cape Coral are invited to attend this free meeting. [Press Release]



Clear Doesn’t Mean Clean (2007-10-26)

The Corps of Engineers hasn't released water from Lake O in eight months and thus the Caloosahatchee water is clear right now. Estuary expert Peter Doering says just because the river is clear, doesn't mean it's better. [NBC-2.com] [Graphs]



Caloosa River Community Park (2007-10-24)

On Nov 1, 2007 at 7pm City of LaBelle will hold the second public workshop concerning development of a park for passive nature-based activities on 176 acres leased to the City by the SFWMD. [More Details] [Map]



SCCF & Captiva Host Meeting (2007-10-24)

Sign up now for the Everglades Coalition annual meeting. Register your poster, exhibits, recreational activities, and sponsorship for the upcoming meeting on Captiva Island, Jan 10-13. [Registration Brochure]
[Web Site]



Sustaining Rural Lands (2007-10-24)

On Oct. 23, 1000 Friends of FL released a study identifying strategies to stem the dramatic loss of rural lands. This study says the amount of urbanized land in the State of FL will double by 2060 based on current rates of sprawl. [Friends of FLorida]



C-43 Reservoir Comments (2007-10-23)

CRCA and other groups have submitted their comments to the Corps of Engineers regarding the proposed C-43 Reservoir project. [Audubon] [CRCA] [Watershed Council] [PURRE]



Contact Lee BOCC (2007-10-22)

Riverwatch calls upon Lee County residents to contact their BOCC members in support of a strong fertilizer ordinance. CRCA President and other groups addressed the BOCC. [Coalition Letter] [Sample Letter] [Phone Comments] [Email BOCC]



Mahoney: Bush Should Sign (2007-10-21)

Rep. Tim Mahoney is pressuring Bush to sign the Water Resources Development Act that includes projects for the Everglades, Indian River Lagoon, Lake O cities drinking water plant & dike repairs. [Release] [PB Post] [TCPalm] [Caloosa Belle] [Send Email] [Photos] [Audio]



Drought Continues in SE (2007-10-21)

As the rainy season ends, Oct Lake O water levels are extremely low (3 feet below historic low), setting up south Florida for a record drought this coming dry season. But other parts of the U.S. Southeast are in worse condition. [Lake O] [Drought Map]



Sugar Farming (2007-10-21)

A little-noticed provision in the new farm bill working its way through Congress would oblige the Agriculture Department to buy surplus domestic sugar caused by the expected influx of Mexican sugar next year. [NewYorkTimes]



FWC Workshop (2007-10-21)

FWC will hold two public meetings on Nov 14 at 6:30pm at the Corps of Engineers Office & on Nov 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Okeechobee Civic Center to explain the proposed fishing rules changes and to hear public opinion. [TCPalm.com]



Beach Contamination (2007-10-18)

According to an independent test report released on Oct 10, the bacteria-laden waters that have closed some of Sanibel’s beaches since Sep 27 were likely contaminated by nearby private sewer plants and septic tanks.



Take Action! (2007-10-18)

On Oct 18, CWA is celebrating its 35th birthday. This landmark occasion comes at a time when the safeguards for the nation waters are under unprecedented threat. Congress needs to act now to preserve the gains in water quality made by Act. [Act Now!]



Caloosahatchee SWIM Plan (2007-10-17)

On Oct 24, the Charlotte Harbor NEP held a workshop to present the Lower Charlotte Harbor SWIM Plan, which includes the Caloosahatchee basin. The plan lists projects totally well over $100 million and sets goals for water quality improvement. [Draft Report (5MB)]



New Paddle Sports Alliance (2007-10-17)

A new alliance is being formed by individuals who work, play & love local waters. Water resource professionals Mary Rawl, Nancy Dickmon, and Karen Bickford worked on the steering committee for Great Calusa Blueway and are forming the alliance. [Northfortmyersneighbor.com]



Destruction of Willow Lake (2007-10-16)

Residents allege that Willow Lake, a 6-acre, natural, seasonal freshwater lake that was home to a host of wildlife & plant species, was filled in illegally by owner & developer, who with his business Treeco plans to eventually start a palm tree farm. [News-Press.com] [Guest Opinion]



We're Far From Alone (2007-10-16)

As if we needed any reminder that water quality problems are not exclusive to south Florida, the New York Times has recently reported on the staggeringly serious water problems of China & the repression suffered by their activists. [Full Report] [NewYorkTimes]



Tim Mahoney Rally for WRDA (2007-10-16)

On Oct 20 Congressman Tim Mahoney and other community leaders will host a rally and press conference in support of WRDA and the important Florida water projects it would fund. The event is at the Stuart Boardwalk along the St. Lucie River. [More Details]



Environmental Meeting (2007-10-15)

On Tuesday, Oct 30, at the Harborside Center in Ft. Myers, State Senator Burt L. Saunders will host a public meeting on state and local efforts to protect and preserve the Florida Everglades, Lake O, & Caloosahatchee River Basin. [Invitation] [Details] [Agenda]



Bush Torpedoes WRDA (2007-10-15)

Bush says he will veto the Water Resources Development Act of 2007 that would provide $1.5 billion for Everglades & other south FL water projects. The Democratic Congress may try to override the veto & restore the projects. [Sun-Sentinel] [PBP]



Continuity is Critical (2007-10-15)

The City of Sanibel is asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to extend the assignment of Col. Paul Grosskruger as head of the Jacksonville District office that oversees south Florida restoration. [Letter]



Lake O Reservoir Project (2007-10-15)

The fledgling Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir is intended as an environmental flagship project. SFWMD intends to go on to build similar facilities on the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers to hold and clean discharges from Lake O. [News-Press.com]



Fresh Take On Snook (2007-10-14)

Snook are saltwater fish, but as winter draws near, many that have spent the summer on the warm, shallow grass flats will change their stripes, so to speak, and become freshwater species. The fish stay in this water for several weeks. [TBO.com]



TSP - Tentatively Selected Plan (2007-10-11)

The SFWMD Board held a workshop on Oct 10 to discuss the Lake O Regulation Schedule. Public comment was taken at the workshop. Most environmental groups endorse the TSP option over the past WSE option. [Details]



Sweet Politics (2007-10-11)

Ray Judah says that a wise amendment to Congress’s 2007 Farm Bill could help end the waste of taxpayers dollars that subsidize the sugar industry to the detriment of the economy and environment. [Guest Opinion] [NP] [Costs] [GAO Report] [Rebuttal] [USDA] [NewsPress.com]



Lee Seeks Southern Flow Way (2007-10-09)

Commissioner Ray Judah expressed dismay to Stu Applebaum that the Corps may be intentionally derailing consideration of a Lake O flow way by only evaluating an unreasonable elevation of 12ft instead of using a more logical 15.5ft spillway level. [Summary] [Transcript] [News Press]



Strong Fertilizer Ordinance! (2007-10-08)

CRCA has joined other groups is signing a letter to the Lee BOCC seeking a stronger fertilizer ordinance than currently proposed. It should include a total wet season ban on yard fertilization. [Letter] [Recommendations] [COS] [Watershed Council] [Naples News]



No Alternative? (2007-10-08)

Is there an alternative to the ever rising cost of public lands purchases? Must taxpayers buy every parcel of environmentally sensitive land at premium prices in order to re-establish a healthy state ecosystem? [NaplesNews] [Opinion]



Support Anti-SLAPP Law (2007-10-08)

SLAPP law suits are intended to silence citizens from speaking out on public issues. Freedom of speech advocates are supporting anti-SLAPP legislation in Tallahassee.
[Letter] [Background]



Conservation Board Shuffled (2007-10-05)

Commissioner Brian Bigelow has appointed Julio Chico Rivera and William A. Keyes Jr. to the Lee County Conservation 20/20 board that selects lands for public purchase. Bill Hammond was reappointed by Ray Judah. [NewsPress] [Reappointed] [Forum]



Hall in a Huff (2007-10-05)

Lee Co. Commissioner Tammy Hall abruptly exited a meeting to protest colleague Ray Judah's advocating a southern flow way out of Lake O as part of the long-term solution to Caloosahatchee's water quality problems. Riverwatch supports a flow way. [News Press]



Riverwatch Newsletter (2007-10-04)

The October 2007 Riverwatch newsletter is available online. The archives provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [October Newsletter] [Newsletter Archive]



$10 Million for Water Quality (2007-10-03)

Lee County Commissioners earmarked $10 million on Tuesday, Oct 2 for purchasing land to build a water facility for improvement of water discharged from Lake O into the Caloosachatchee River. [NewsPress]



Remember To Ride (2007-10-03)

The 11th Annual Caloosahatchee River Ride is the morning of Sunday, Nov. 18. Over 100 riders participated in 2006 and we expect more this year. Join us for this always enjoyable Riverwatch tradition. Contact us for details. [Sponsors] [More Sponsors] [Auto Email] [Registration] [Flyer]



Politics Dissolve Water Issue (2007-10-03)

A public meeting to identify water issues for Lehigh Acres is running into political waves. The meeting is called by community activists Robert Anderson and Keith Richter. Richter is a candidate for the state House of Representatives. [NewsPress]



Are You Really Surprised? (2007-10-03)

When DEP spent $350 million to buy tracts of agricultural land and undevelopable wetlands, casual observers at the time concluded that the state's appraisals of Babcock Ranch were high due to presuming land use change approvals. Others disagree.
[AP Story] [Rebuttal]



Canoe and Kayak Regatta (2007-10-03)

The big race day (Sat, Oct 27) is approaching! Register now for the Midpoint Paddle Sprint Race. Both recreational and competitive events are planned. Also, volunteers are needed to help staff the event. Contact Karen for details. [Register by mail] [Race Details] [Contact Karen]



Bush Pursues Fewer Polluters (2007-10-02)

According to Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency data, the EPA's pursuit of criminal cases against polluters has dropped off sharply during the Bush administration. [WashingtonPost]



Region Losing Citrus Trees (2007-09-29)

Citrus trees in the SW Florida are dying. The USDA report covers seven counties including Collier, Lee and Hendry which suffered acreage loss of 4.1 percent in the past 2 years. Among them Hendry saw the most losses with decline of nearly 3 percent. [NaplesNews]



LAWR Taskforce Meeting (2007-09-29)

On Oct. 16 Lehigh Acres Water Resources Taskforce will hold the first joint meeting of governmental and environmental agencies for the future of Lehigh Acres. This is a public meeting the citizens of Lehigh Acres are encouraged to attend. [Press Release]



Upstream Battle for Policies (2007-09-29)

The SWFC's first report card evaluated 10 estuaries in the SW Florida basing grades on wildlife habitat and water quality criteria. Pine Island received the highest grades in Lee County. The second report card is due at the end of 2008. [NewsPress]



Banners Promote Clean Water (2007-09-27)

Young and Howie, retired school teachers and fiber artists made mural banners to spread awareness of water quality problems. The green project is named "Blue Waters, Banners for a Better Environment". [NewsPress]



Fish & Hatchery Proposal (2007-09-27)

The FWC Commission is proposing setting up a fish research and hatchery station on Pine Island. There is a vivid possibility of the project to grow to 100 acres with an investment of some $20 million and include a visitor/educational center. [Article]



Beach Advisory (2007-09-27)

Lee County beaches report acceptable or good swimming conditions with the exception of Bowman's Beach, which rates a "no swimming" safety warning due to enterococcus bacteria. [Advisory] [All Beach Conditions]



SFRPC Director Dies at 56 (2007-09-27)

David Y. Burr, 56 who made preserving SW Florida’s natural habitat his life’s mission died unexpectedly on Monday, September 27. Burr was the executive director of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council. [News Press] [Riverwatch]



Charlotte Nature Festival (2007-09-26)

Riverwatch will again exhibit at the Charlotte Harbor Nature Fesitval on Nov 3 (10am-3pm) at the Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd. (S.R. 776) in Port Charlotte. It's always a great event with thousands of people and activities for all ages. [Announcement]



What is DECOMP? (2007-09-26)

DECOMP is the de-compartmentalization of the connections between Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades, making it a self-regulating system with the pre-drainage ecological functions that reduces destructive high discharges. [Vision] [Comments 4MB] [SOFIA]



WRDA Passes Without Reforms (2007-09-26)

The U.S Senate passed $20 billion for U.S. water projects, including many in Florida. However, the compromise version with the House lacks the reforms to the Corps of Engineers asked for by the Senate. [Article] [Miami Herald] [Feingold Opposition]



CCP Plan Available for Review (2007-09-25)

Lee County officials encourage residents to review plans for Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve. It is the first such project in Lee County that will provide recreational facilities on the preserve. [Article] [More Info] [CCP Plan 23MB]



Help Make the CWRA a Reality! (2007-09-25)

Sep. 26, is National Clean Water Phone Congress Day. Passage of the CWRA in the House of Representatives is within sight, but time is running out! Let Congress know that all the waters of the U.S. need to be protected by calling on Wednesday! [Info]



Estero Bay’s Recovery (2007-09-22)

Our coastal water bodies are looking better. But how much of this is the result of the current drought keeping pollution on the land? How much is simply a relative comparison to the long term downward trend and the severely bad recent years. [NaplesNews] [NewsPress]



Feds Point to C-43 Reservoir (2007-09-21)

A new Government Accountability Office report to Congress cites the Acceler8 program (including the C-43 reservoir project) as among the very few projects actually moving ahead for the overall Everglades Restoration initiative. [Highlights] [GAO Report]



Caloosahatchee Project Report (2007-09-21)

The Corps of Engineers has made the Project Implementation Report and Environmental Impact Statement (PIR/EIS) for the Caloosahatchee River Storage Reservoir Project available for public review. Comments are due by Oct 22. [Summary] [Complete Report]



Riverwatch Newsletter (2007-09-21)

The September 2007 Riverwatch newsletter is available online. The archives provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [Sep 2007] [Newsletter Archive] [Subscribe]



Lime in the Muck (2007-09-21)

U.S. Sugar has drawn a line in the sand regarding rights of landowners to mine limestone from beneath the muck. Critics say it should be prohibited. These lands were once native Everglades prior to south Florida Drainage. [Robert Coker]



Matlacha Pass Paddle (2007-09-21)

As part of its National Estuary Days events, Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park is sponsoring a paddle through the Caloosahatchee/Charlotte Harbor Estuary at Matlacha Pass. Check out all the Oct 7 - Nov 18 events! [Announcement] [Full Schedule]



Federal Everglades Study (2007-09-20)

Federal scientists reported that toxic mercury, cattail-feeding phosphorus and other pollutants continue to plague the Everglades, despite the billions of dollars spent so far on cleanup and restoration efforts. [PalmBeachPost]



Low Water Brings Lawsuits (2007-09-20)

Local industries are still feeling the impact from the water shortage. With the emphasis being on conservation, some businesses that rely on the water supply are hurting, including the sugar industry. [Newszap.com]



Kick-off Meeting (2007-09-20)

Everyone is invited to attend the Kick-off Meeting for the Caloosahatchee Research and Water Quality Monitoring Plan Development. It will be 1:30-4:00 PM on Sep 26 at the SFWMD service Center in Ft. Myers. [Invitation Letter] [Agenda]



Red Tide & Sierra Club (2007-09-19)

Marti Daltry, Regional Community Organizer for Sierra Club, will deliver a special presentation about red tide issues on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 10 am at the Ft. Myers Unitarian Universalist Church. [Details] [NapleNews.com]



Counting Manatees (2007-09-18)

Scientists in planes search water bodies where manatees huddle and count the shadowy outlines that look like sea cows. The best data researchers get from the count is a minimum number of manatees that live in our waters. [NapleNews.com]



Hendry County Planning (2007-09-18)

Hendry County Planner Vince Cautero invites organizations and individuals to participate in a community visioning meeting on Sep 25 at 10 am at the Dallas Townsend Center in LaBelle.
[Announcement] [Map]



Red Tide Cuts? (2007-09-18)

The FL Legislature's budget earlier in 2007 included $5 million for red tide research. But those funds may be cut. Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota had hoped it coul could count on a steady stream of state revenue to investigate red tide. [BonitaNews.com]



Polluted Water Back Flow (2007-09-16)

On Sep 13 water managers agreed to let polluted storm water that washes off farms flow into Lake Okeechobee, with the hopes of boosting water levels needed to irrigate drought-strained crops. [Sun-Sentinel]



Counties Discuss Lake Issues (2007-09-16)

On Sep 14 the Ten County Coalition for Responsible Management met to discuss Lake O, St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Estuaries problems resulting from low lake levels. Read about their discussions. [Newszap.com]



Drought Pollutes Less (2007-09-14)

Pollution that flows off sugar cane and other agricultural fields decreased this year. The amount of phosphorus leaving the 500,000 acres of farms south of Lake O decreased 18 percent between May 2006 and April 2007 [Sun-Sentinel]



Drought Lingers (2007-09-14)

Pray for rain. That's the only major remedy water managers could offer for South Florida's record-breaking drought, which they now expect to last at least until the 2008 hurricane season. [PalmBeachPost]



SFWMD Rejects Corps Dike (2007-09-13)

Congressman Tim Mahoney said about an unsafe reservoir built by the Corps of Engineers, "...it looked to me like it was a group of people that were more interested in keeping their job than doing what was right for the taxpayers."
[Palm Beach Post] [PalmBeachPost1]



Plan 6 Revisited (2007-09-13)

John Arthur Marshall presented a rebuttal to SFWMD of prior agency dismissals of the Plan 6 flow way. After listening, Charles Dauray encouaged Marshall saying, "Stay the course, John! Keep telling us."
[Marshall Presentation]



Step Back in Time (2007-09-13)

While not all the Caloosahatchee may be ideal for canoeing and kayaking, just 20 minutes north of LaBelle is intimate Fisheating Creek, draped in cypress and bristling with gators. It's a true Florida experience, rivaling any other in the state.
[Barbara Oehlbeck] [Outfitters]



Stay of Execution (2007-09-12)

Manatees remain on the endangered-species list for now, thanks to intervention by Charlie Crist. The governor continues to enjoy high public approval ratings, largely because his environmental positions differs from past Republican administrations.
[Orlando Sentinel]



Fertilizer Ordinance Diluted (2007-09-11)

An ordinance that could potentially demonstrate that Lee County is serious about reducing water pollution from urban sources has been lobbied down by business interests to reduce its effectiveness. Let the BOCC know what you think. [Details] [Send Email to BOCC]



EAA Mining Comments (2007-09-11)

The Arthur R. Marshall Foundation has submitted public comment on the permitting of rock mining in the EAA. The comments dispute SFWMD/COE claims that mining would not affect future water management options. [Marshall Comments] [PalmBeachPost]



Lehigh Water & Sewer Hookups (2007-09-11)

On Sep 10 officals said that the owners of some 12,000 properties in Lehigh Acres could be assessed $13,000 or more during the next five years for new water and sewer lines. Lee County or East County WCD may purchase the utility from FGUA. [News-Press.com]



Causeway Grand Opening (2007-09-10)

Hundreds of runners in a 5-kilometer race, bicyclists, kayakers, cars, journalists, politicians, and a regatta in San Carlos Bay — all on hand for the causeway’s grand opening.



SFWMD Complies with Court (2007-09-10)

In its court-ordered application for an EPA pollution permit for its pump stations, SFWMD states that an NPDES permit "offers Lake Okeechobee no additional protections." SFWMD also cites the millions being spent as evidence of the clean-up's success. [SFWMD Letter to EPA] [Permit Application] [PalmBeachPost]



Watershed Council BMP Update (2007-09-10)

Dr. Ed Hanlon of UF-IFAS will moderate a Watershed Council program to provide updates on BMP implementation in SW Florida on Sep 20. Topics include stormwater, landscaping, nursery operations, project Greenscape, and Naples Bay. [Agenda]



Snook Event (2007-09-09)

A telling event on the snook opener was the McFlats Inshore Invitational snook and redfish tournament out of Cape Harbour, won by the Who Cares/R&R Sprinkler team with a 10.4 pound snook and a 6.13 pound redfish.



Respite for Estuaries (2007-09-09)

Parts of the estuaries are starting to recover because this summer's low rainfall levels have not generated massive nutrient discharges from the watershed or Lake O. Much of the estuary still is barren of seagrass, but some parts are clawing back. [BonitaNews.com]



Congrats to Tarpon Point (2007-09-06)

Tarpon Point Marina in Cape Coral was named a Clean Marina for the 5th consecutive year by the FDEP. This program encourages marinas and boatyards to use eco-friendly practices by adopting environmentally conscious practices. [Tarpon Point Marina]



Park Faces Many Hurdles (2007-09-06)

Supporters of establishing a nature park on 176 acres on the north bank of the river are looking to form a coalition to help make their dream a reality. They hope to make the park part of connecting environmental corridor with greenways & waterways [Newszap.com]



Kudos to SFWMD (2007-09-05)

Pine Islanders are very grateful to the South Florida Water Management District staff for their recommendation of denial for a permit to build a huge floating marina over sovereign submerged lands in Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve off Bokeelia. [Letter to SFWMD]



Cape Coral Should Be Cautious (2007-09-05)

A Cape Coral resident says that for the city to spend $56 million for ASR wells before a Corps of Engineers feasibility study and test well experiment is completed could turn into a very wasteful enterprise.



Mangrove Grathering (2007-09-04)

On Sep 14 at Rutenberg Park the Mangrow Gathering will blend information & entertainment into an evening that goes beyond consciousness raising, to give long-time and newly made friends a chance to share a vision for a better Southwest Florida. [Details]



ASWF BOD Meeting (2007-09-04)

The Audubon of Southwest Florida Board of Directors meeting will start at 6 pm on Sep 7. An The agenda of meeting is on the way...



Treatment Plant Expansion (2007-09-03)

Utilities Director Douglas Meurer told attendees of a North Fort Myers Civic Association meeting that by the end of November, Lee County should deliver options for the Waterway Estates Waste Water Treatment Plant. [News Press] [Lee Plants]



Manatees May Lose Protection (2007-09-03)

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, with its 3 new Crist appointees, is set to remove manatees from the endangered list and slash 90 positions from the division that enforces the boating speed zones designed to protect manatees. [St. Peterburg Times]



Mining in the EAA (2007-09-03)

The EAA has been unsustainably draining and oxidizing away the muck soils for decades, making their fields more like slow strip mines than like real farms. Now landowners seek actual mining permits to harvest limerock for roads and houses in cities. [Palm Bch Post]



Secrets of Red Tide Revealed (2007-09-02)

MIT scientists Jamison and Vilotijevic have now demonstrated how a red tide toxin called brevetoxin can be synthesized in water, using a "cascade" of chemical reactions. This breakthrough will help scientists better understand how red tides happen. [NewsPress] [MIT News]



County Coalition Meeting (2007-08-31)

On Sep 14 the County Coalition meeting deals with the health and welfare of our lakes, estuaries, and riverine systems - Lake Okeechobee, the St. Lucie & Caloosahatchee Estuaries, & Lake Worth Lagoon. Ray Judah is the group's new chairperson. [Bylaws]



Peace River Audubon Society (2007-08-31)

Peace River Audubon Society sent a comments letter to Pandion Systems, the involved state & federal agencies, and Charlotte County Commissioners about their management recommendations for the Babcock Ranch Preserve. [Pandion Systems] [County Commissioners] [Group Members]



Native Plant Identification (2007-08-30)

The University of Floida IFAS Extention Service will hold a Native Plant Identification day on October 3. The one day session will acquaint you with some of the most popular native species as well as introduce you to less familar [Itinerary & Registration] [Photos]



Watershed Council Newsletter (2007-08-30)

The latest newsletter from the Southwest Florida Watershed Council includes details of an FGCU study into nitrogen sources in San Carlos Park and the latest meeting attended by Charles Durray, the recently appointed governing board member of SFWMD. [WC Newsletter]



Save the Date! (2007-08-30)

Senator Saunders office is to host an environmental event for constituents in Lee and Collier Counties on October 30th from 10 am to 12:30 pm at the Harbor Side Convention Center, Fort Myers. Updates on the way....



Voices of Lake O (2007-08-30)

Despite the damage it has wrought on natural resources, some cling to old ways, while others seek change. A farmer, an activist, an environmentalist, the fish finders, the immigrants, and the berm buster, give their comments on water issues. [Comments]



New Fertilizer Rule (2007-08-30)

FDACS has adopted a statewide Urban Turf Fertilizer Rule. It reduced phosphorus and nitrogen in fertilizers for urban lawns, but precludes local municipalities from implementing more stingent rules that would achieve greater environmental protection. [Rule]



Native Plant Identification (2007-08-29)

Florida Native plants are required by some municipal codes and are playing a greater role in our gardens and landscapes. On Oct 3 you will be acquainted the most popular native species and also introduced with less familar ones at Ft. Myers. [Schedule & Registration Form]



Improving Lake O (2007-08-28)

Until drainage waters are cleaner, the practice of backflowing rivers and backpumping water from the EAA and other areas into Lake Okeechobee is a failed water policy that will prevent ecosystem restoration of the greater Everglades system. [Comments] [Guest Opinion]



Hometown Democracy Ballot (2007-08-28)

It's not easy to intimidate the business community in Florida, but big business seems truly terrified of the Florida Hometown Democracy ballot initiative that may be headed to voters in November 2008. [St. Petersburg Times]



Grants for Water Conservation (2007-08-26)

In an effort to conserve water, the SFWMD Governing Board announced the awarding of 17 grants, valued at $400,000. The grants will go to support local water conservation retrofit projects under the Water Savings Incentive Program. [Local10 News]



Lake O Flow Way (2007-08-26)

St. Lucie River activists have renewed calls for a marshy "flow way" south of Lake Okeechobee, a project they say would save money on Everglades restoration and improve the health of the St. Lucie Estuary.
[Palm Beach Post]



Stormwater Calculator (2007-08-24)

Other parts of the nation are creating stormwater calculators to help homeowners, developers, designers, and contractors see how their changes can improve water quality and protect local and coastal waters. We should have the same tools in SW FL! [Check Out!]



Water Resources Advisory Com. (2007-08-24)

The SFWMD WRAC (Water Resources Advisory Committee) meets on Sep 6 in Naples. Among the presenters will be the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force (SFERestore).
[WRAC Agenda] [SFERestore Presentation]



Blueway Ribbon Cutting (2007-08-23)

The Phase 3 ribbon cutting ceremony for the Great Calusa Blueway will be Oct 30 at Riverside Community Center in Ft. Myers. The free event is 4-6 p.m. & includes kayak demonstration, eco-information, area dignitaries, refreshments and more.
[Details] [Website] [Blueway Festival]



Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind (2007-08-23)

The Sugar Cane League has announced its intention to file suit to require that all SFWMD pumps, culverts, and spillways meet the same NPDES permitting requirements as a judge ruled applies to ag water pumping into Lake O. [Business Journal] [Intent to Sue] [Miami Herald]



Stormwater Rule Report (2007-08-23)

A report entitled "Evaluation of Current Stormwater Design Criteria in Florida" will play a major role in the development of the statewide stormwater treatment rule. Learn more about it and offer your comments to DEP. [Cover Letter] [Comments Letter] [Download Reports]



Nelson Update on WRDA (2007-08-22)

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson told the Lee County BOCC meeting, including chairman Mike Valiquette, that he is working with Republican Florida Senator Mel Martinez (and RNC Chairman) to mount an override if President Bush should veto WRDA. [News-Press] [Nelson]



Sweet and Sour Perspectives (2007-08-22)

Debate continues about the SFWMD decision not to reinitiate backpumping from the EAA into Lake O. Some say it's necessary for sugarcane irrigation water supply while others say it will continue the mass destruction of coastal water quality.
[Guest Opinion] [Reynolds Reaction]



Comments on LORSS (2007-08-21)

Many groups have submitted comments on the revised Draft Supplement Environmental Impact Statement, with regards to Lake O water release scheduled to be implemented in December. [Watershed Council] [Audubon of Florida] [SCCF Letter] [Impact Statement] [PURRE]



Protest Stops Alva Project (2007-08-21)

Well-organized Alva residents rallied to convince Lee County commissioners on August 21, to block a 45-lot gated community in the small, rural community northeast of Fort Myers, arguing it would harm the rural life unique to the area for generations. [Protest Details]



Ask Lee County to Act (2007-08-20)

Write or call to encourage the Lee County Conservation 20/20 program and BOCC to make possible a green learning center in Alva. It's a unique opportunity for Lee County to lead SW Florida towards greener homes. [Email BOCC] [News-Press Editorial] [The Concept] [The Andrys Design]



Watershed Council on LORSS (2007-08-20)

The Watershed Council have submitted comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the Lake Okeechobee Release Schedule Study (LORSS)Tentatively Selected Plan. The schedule is to be implemented by December. [Letter] [Schedule] [Impact Statment]



Riverfest at Riverside (2007-08-19)

Riverside Retreat is hosting an event October 6, 10am - 4pm, as Riverfest at Riverside. We are partnering with the FPAN. It will be a day of fun & info. We plan to have nature hike, pottery, weaving & more. Charges $15 per booth without electricity. [More Details] [Retreat Web]



LORSS Comments by PURRE (2007-08-19)

The PURRE Water Coalition submitted comments on Revised Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact statement for LORSS. It includes comments on the draft SEIS & comments submitted by gov & non-gov entities in the Caloosahatchee River & estuary area. [Comments]



Labelle - SFWMD Park Analysis (2007-08-17)

At a meeting on Aug 14, 2007 conceptional drawings were presented regarding the possibilty of establishing a community park on 176 acres north of LaBelle for passive recreation. This plan addresses acceptable uses, security, & other issues. [Analysis] [Plan Overview]



Mote Releases Red Tide Report (2007-08-17)

A new report calls for scientists, policymakers and the public to “move beyond polarized debate” about the causes of red tide and instead find ways to reduce coastal pollution and red tide outbreaks. [Dr. Alcock Report] [Bonita]



Jax Sets Example (2007-08-16)

Two environmental groups sued JEA this week, accusing the Jacksonville-owned utility of violating the Clean Water Act by discharging millions of gallons of raw sewage into the city waterway. Wastewater dumping is an issue almost everywhere. [Jacksonville.com]



ISRERP 3rd Meeting (2007-08-16)

The Committee on Independent Scientific Review of Everglades Restoration Progress will be holding its 3rd meeting at the Hilton Miami Airport Hotel, 5101 Blue Lagoon Drive, Miami,FL 33126 on Aug 29 from 8:30 to 5:00 pm & Aug 30 from 8:30am to 10:30am [More Details] [Agenda] [Registration Form]



Gator Hunting (2007-08-16)

Gator hunters will hit the swamps in record numbers for the statewide public waters alligator harvest. Alligator hunting has morphed from a strictly commercial enterprise to an almost totally recreational pursuit since 1988. [Details]



Florida Pollution Penalities (2007-08-16)

A new pollution penalty policy announced with much fanfare last month is really only a modest adjustment of previous policies with little impact unless the state starts employing existing powers it has long been afraid to use,acc. to a legal analysis [PEER Release]



Questionable Choices (2007-08-15)

Miami Herald's Carl Hiaasen voiced the concerns of many that Gov. Crist's recent appointments to the the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are poor choices. By contrast, SW FL groups offered Crist a better alternative - John Cassani [Miami Herald] [Naples Daily News]



Florida as a Bad Example (2007-08-13)

As algae problems start developing in other parts of the world, Florida serves as an example of extreme blue green algae bloom problems. Are the problems we have created in our area a harbinger of things to come globally? [Article] [Montreal]



To Grow or Not to Grow (2007-08-13)

As economists assess the potential impacts of a long-term drought in Florida on agriculture, individual farmers face decisions on whether they should plant crops this fall given the low level of lake and groundwater storage. [Economics] [Farmers]



Thinking Outside the Box (2007-08-12)

CRCA officers spoke at the Aug 8 SFWMD meeting encouraging government to reject old failed practices and embrace new approaches to restore the health of our estuaries and the life it sustains, both human and animal, for future generations. [Opinion] [Naples]



Glades Yacht Center Planned (2007-08-10)

River Forest Yacht Center in Stuart will expand with a second facility in Glades County as construction begins this fall on a River Forest Yacht Center near the Ortona Lock on the Caloosahatchee River. [Details]



Drought Impact on Crops (2007-08-10)

Experts say consumers may get even hotter under the collar, when they have to dig deeper into their wallets for certain fruits, vegetables and possibly beef if Florida's prolonged drought continues to parch crucial growing areas around Lake O. [Article]



Amercian Beaches Report (2007-08-10)

The water at American beaches was unsafe for swimming a record number of days last year, according to the 17th annual beach water quality report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). [Report]



Replenish Lake O ? (2007-08-09)

Water managers could move Wednesday to declare a drought emergency that would activate the controversial practice of pumping farm water back into Lake Okeechobee. At 9.45 feet, the lake has risen about eight inches from last month’s historic low. [More Details]



Locking Schedule (2007-08-09)

Due to low water levels in Lake O, mariners are advised that effective Aug 8, 2007 and until further notice, lockages will conform to following schedule. Lock operations outside of these scheduled hours will not be available. [Schedule]



New FWCC Appointees (2007-08-09)

Gov. Crist has filled three open seats on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with a developer, an attorney and an earthmoving engineer. This disappoints SW FL environmentalist that endorsed John Cassani, a wildlife specialist. [News-Press] [St. Pete Times]



New Wastewater Plant (2007-08-09)

Fort Myers City Council have approved a new wastewater treatment plant expected to be built in the next three years to meet the demands of the city's expanding east side. [Details] [Map]



WMD Votes Down Backpumping (2007-08-09)

After contentious public input on Aug 8, the SFWMD Governing Board on Aug 9 voted 4-3 to not resume backpumping into Lake Okeechobee from the Everglades Agricultural Area, a practice that ended in 2001. [AP] [SFWMD Vote] [Sun Sentinel]



Dauray Sides with Reform (2007-08-09)

Charles Dauray of Estero, the SW Florida member of the SFWMD Governing Board, voted against Lake O backpumping at the Aug 9 meeting. Some were unsure if his vote would reflect water supply or water quality priorities. [Who Voted] [News Press] [Editorial]



Captiva to Host Coalition (2007-08-09)

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation team, including Riverwatch founding member Rae Ann Wessel, will host the 2008 annual meeting of the Everglades Coalition - perhaps Florida's most significant annual environmental event. [Announcement]



Rural Water Supply (2007-08-08)

SFWMD is now demanding appropriate growth, with water sources that do not harm the environment, irrespective of cost. This may see the growth plans of rural Hendry County revised to address more stringent water & sewer requirements. [Article] [NW Hendry Map] [Objections] [County] [Palm Bch Post]



Conference Focuses on Drought (2007-08-07)

The 2007 Southwest Florida Water Resources Conf. and AWRA meeting will be held at FGCU on Nov 16, 2007. Sign up early as a sponsor, exhibitor, or attendee. [Conference Website] [Sponsorships] [Registration]



Bush May Veto WRDA (2007-08-06)

President Bush has threatened to veto a massive water resources bill that would authorize $1.8 billion worth of restoration projects in the Florida Everglades and projects on the St. Lucie River. Total national funding for WRDA is $20 billion.
[Article] [Letter] [Local Projects]



DEP Workshop on TMDL (2007-08-03)

The Florida DEP announces a public workshop to initiate the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for the Caloosahatchee Basin. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 29 at 9:30 am in Fort Myers. [Meeting Details]



CRCA Comments on Babcock (2007-08-03)

Riverwatch has submitted comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a permit application submitted by Babcock Property Holdings, LLC. [CRCA Comments] [NY Times Photo] [Corps Public Notice] [Government Contacts]



CRCA Endorses Cassani (2007-08-02)

Riverwatch has sent Governor Crist a letter supporting the nomination of John Cassani to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. CRCA members are encouraged to do the same. [Auto Email] [CRCA Letter]



River Ride 2007 (2007-08-02)

The 11th Annual Caloosahatchee River Ride is the morning of Sunday, Nov. 18. Over 100 riders participated in 2006 and we expect more this year. Plan now to join us for this always enjoyable Riverwatch tradition. Contact us for details. [Auto Email] [Registration] [Flyer]



CRCA Opposes Backpumping (2007-08-02)

At its Aug 1 meeting the CRCA Board of Directors adopted a position statement in opposition to the practice of backpumping polluted waters into Lake Okeechobee. [CRCA Statement] [Fact Sheet] [Counterpoint] [Editorial] [Sun Sentinel] [SFWMD Agenda]



Collateral Damage (2007-08-01)

Does it make sense to use standard food crops and their associated industrial farming systems for growing fuel crops? Scientists argue that the water quality and other natural resources impacts negate the potential benefits of agricultural biofuels. [More Information]



Water Summit Results (2007-07-31)

SFWMD held the Water Summit 2007 on July 30, bringing together all those concerned with water issues for a dialogue. Results were mixed and assessments varied. [Article] [Glades Co. Notes] [Naples Editorial] [Presentations]



Suit over The Vue (2007-07-31)

CRCA's opposition to The Vue, a 27-story tower slated for construction on the western edge of Centennial Park, goes to court on August 2. CRCA seeks a smaller building and it be set back from the waterfront and not take land from Centennial Park. [Article]



WRDA Set for Passage (2007-07-28)

Senate and House conferees reached agreement Friday on the Water Resources Development Act authorizing Congress to spend about $20 billion for water improvement projects nationally, including several projects in south Florida. [Associated Press] [Rep. Tim Mahoney]



Corps Official Moves to SFWMD (2007-07-27)

Mr. Dennis R. Duke, Program Manager for Ecosystem Restoration for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is retiring from the federal government and joining SFWMD as their new Director of Federal Relations. [Letter]



Support Alva Green Center (2007-07-26)

Area organizations, including CRCA, are supporting a proposal for the Lee County 2020 program to purchase the Corwin property with the help of the Lee County BOCC. Area residents are encouraged to write emails to Lee Commissioners. [AutoEmail] [Addresses] [Concept Outline]



LOBO in River Tributaries (2007-07-26)

SCCF's River & Estuary Coastal Observation Network collects and records water-quality in real time 24/7. It started collecting data this summer on the Caloosahatchee and its tributaries earlier this week, after being attached to a dock in Tarpon Bay. [Article]



Red Numbers in DEP Budget (2007-07-26)

According to documents released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a new tough pollution penalties unveiled last week by Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) are motivated by its crippling budget shortfalls. [News Release]



Cape Water Action (2007-07-25)

CWA is a newly formed organization designed to be an educational public outreach to the citizens of Cape Coral and is affiliated with the CRCA-Riverwatch. CWA is conducting its first meeting on November 17,2007 from 13:00 to 15:00. [About CWA] [Meeting Details]



Abandoned Boats (2007-07-24)

The number or barnacle covered, leaky or sunken abandoned boats in the Caloosahatchee increases every year. As the problem keeps on growing with time, this is the first year when boat abandonment will be a criminal offense. [Article]



Water vs. Growth (2007-07-24)

The major threat to our future water supply is continued sprawling development, experts warn. Without changes in the state's growth policies, Floridians will see "an almost continuous urban strip extending from eastern Fort Myers to West Palm Beach. [Article] [Expected growth]



Water Summit 2007 (2007-07-24)

Water summit 2007 will take place on July 30 in SFWMD headquarter auditorium in West Palm Beach. Competition for water is heating up, so what comes out of the summit could affect how much water we all get and how it's used for years to come. [Opinion] [Agenda]



Hendry House Flowers (2007-07-24)

Donate $10 (or more) to the beautification of the LaBelle Hendry House. Riverwatch will be planting new landscaping following the IFAS Florida Yards & Neighborhoods(FYN) designs that feature native plants, low fertilizer inputs and water conservation [Hendry House FYN] [Donate]



Algae Bloom. Again! (2007-07-23)

A relatively unfamiliar type of offensive smelling rotting algae mass appeared recently along the Caloosahatchee estuary and some beach areas of SW Florida. Specialists suspect either Lyngbya or Trichodesmium might be the cause this algae bloom. [Bonita News] [Brown Algae Scum]



Antidepressants in Sharks (2007-07-19)

A study by Mote Marine Lab found traces of antidepressants in group of juvenile bull sharks tagged in Fort Myers last year. The values were still about 75 times less than the daily dosage in a human, but the chemicals are there. [Article]



First Blooms of 2007 (2007-07-19)

Starting the first week of July reports circulated in LaBelle of algae blooms in the Caloosahatchee. In mid June, Trichodesmium blooms had been reported on the coast. These persit as of the most recent observations in late July. [Report & Photos]



Dauray is Swing Vote (2007-07-19)

With 3 Gov. Crist appointees to the SFWMD Governing Board voting to change the practice of pumping polluted drainage water into Lake Okeechobee, all eyes now turn to the 4th Crist appointee, SW Florida's Charles Dauray, who may be the swing vote. [Bonita] [Naples] [Palm Bch] [King]



Dauray as a Tie-breaker (2007-07-19)

Lee County’s representative on the SFWMD Governing Board Charles Dauray could be a tie-breaker on the vote whether to allow back-pumping farm drainage water into Lake O or not. Dauray wouldn’t say how he’d vote, but did say he’s getting lobbied. [Article]



DEP Penalty Guidelines (2007-07-18)

DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole announced significant changes to the agency’s penalty guidelines. The new guidelines will result in stiffer penalties by taking a tougher stance on the most serious environmental violations statewide. [Announcement] [Guidelines]



Gulf Dead Zone (2007-07-18)

A "dead zone" occurs in the Gulf of Mexico each summer as nutrient buildup leads to drastic reductions in oxygen in bottom waters. Fish and shrimp catches virtually disappear. 2007 has the biggest "dead zone" ever recorded. [Article] [NOAA] [Maps] [Ethanol]



Lake O Navigation Notice (2007-07-18)

Due to extremely restricted channel depths in Lake Okeechobee, mariners are strongly advised to follow instructions while transiting the Lake or stopping for recreational activities as fishing. Lake elevations are averaging 9.10 feet & below. [Notice]



Act Now! (2007-07-17)

On July 17 and 19, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is holding 2 hearings on Capitol Hill on the status of the Nation's waters under the Clean Water Act. It is important to turn the decibel level up several notches right now!
[More Details]



CWA Violations Continue (2007-07-17)

The Florida Wildlife Federation president Manley Fuller points out Clean Water Act continuous violations of Lake O backpumping and rather pathetic unwillingness of SFWMD to adjust to new rules ordered last month by federal judge Altonaga. [Opinion]



Cape Coral Yacht Club (2007-07-17)

Cape Coral Yacht Club repairs are almost completed. Workers are restoring the seawall cap, sidewalk as well as 600-foot stretch of fishing pier into the Caloosahatchee River and the work is expected to be finished by late September. [Article]



Midpoint Paddle Sprint (2007-07-17)

"Midpoint Paddle Sprint Race" - canoe and kayak regatta will take place on Saturday, October 27 at 8 am at North Shore Park, 12901 Cleveland Ave, North Fort Myers. To register for Recreational or Competitive races, please click the links below. [Register per mail] [Race Details] [Register online]



New Day at SFWMD? (2007-07-16)

The 3 new Crist appointees to the SFWMD board have dramatically changed agency action on Lake O back-pumping polluted EAA drainage water into the Lake by blocking action to seek permission for additional back-pumping from DEP. [Article] [Editorial]



The Politics of Science (2007-07-15)

Bonita Springs civic associations are petitioning Congress to investigate political interference in the scientific findings and duties of federal employees involved in endangered species assessments in SW Florida. [Intro] [New York Times] [Civic Assoc]



Caloosahatchee Funding? (2007-07-12)

SFWMD officials announced $3.4 million in funding for 16 projects intended to improve water quality in the Caloosahatchee River and estuary. Stormwater improvements or sewer expansion are examples of projects, where the funds should go. [Details]



WOW to Gov. Crist! (2007-07-12)

There is only one response worthy of the scope and drama of Gov. Charlie Crist's announcement Tuesday on how Florida will react to the global warming crisis that could soon visit our shores. Wow! He laid out a real and specific plan of attack! [Article] [Program]



SolarBee Algae Control System (2007-07-12)

Colleen Sugden and Joshua Menghini attended the Riverwatch board meeting on July 11, 2007 and showed a video on the SolarBee water circulation system for preventing blue-green algal blooms.
[How It Works] [SolarBee]



Contemplating Opportunities (2007-07-12)

UF-IFAS regional extension director, Dr. Charles Vavrina, sees the creation of an Alva Green Learning Center as an opportunity to demonstrate green building & living methods for water and energy conservation. [Concept] [Photo Map] [Corwin/Andrys Photo]



North Bank Park (2007-07-12)

A new LaBelle park in Glades County is under development on the north bank of the Caloosahatchee just east of Hwy 29.  Planning meeting is 7pm, Aug 14 in LaBelle Civic Center behind City Hall. [Caloosa Belle] [Aerial Photo Map] [Newszap]



New Water Release Plan (2007-07-12)

The Army Corps of Engineers will hold public hearings on its new plan for releasing water from Lake Okeechobee. The Fort Myers meeting will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, in the Lee County Commission chambers. [Article] [Public Meetings] [Proposed Plan]



Agricultural BMPs (2007-07-11)

The July 19, 2007 meeting of the Southwest Florida Watershed Council will feature Dr. Brian Boman, an agricultural engineer with UF/IFAS. The title of Dr. Boman’s presentation is “Agricultural BMP Development and Implementation in Florida”. [Meeting Details]



Where with Muck? (2007-07-10)

Elevated levels of arsenic as well as a rich soup of pesticides and other chemicals were among contaminants found in thousands of truckloads of muck, recently cleaned out of Lake O's bottom. The question is where it will be disposed now. [More Information]



National Council Findings (2007-07-09)

Despite the SFWMD and Corps dismissing the Plan 6 flow-way as ineffective, the National Research Council (our nation's top scientific review panel) in a dramatic counterpoint to the agencies, established "restoration of flow in the EAA" as one of their top priorities. [NRC Comments] [NRC Publications]



The Marshall Plan (2007-07-09)

In 1981 Arthur R. Marshall wrote "the Marshall Plan", a blueprint for Everglades restoration. It emphasizes the ecosystem's need for 'sheet flow', in a southerly direction with a minimum of channeling. [Plan 6 PPT] [Strategic Plan] [Foundation] [Letter]



Punnet Critiques Plan 6 (2007-07-09)

Dr. Richard Punnet and Mr. Tommy Stroud (SFWMD) delivered WRAC presentations about the Plan 6 flow-way. They say it would not improve water management given soil subsidence from decades of sugarcane farm drainage. [Punnet] [Strowd 4MB]



Hometown Democracy (2007-07-07)

A panel of speakers will take up the issue of Hometown Democracy at a forum on Wednesday July 11, 2007 from 8 to 11 am at Florida Gulf Coast University. The forum is presented by the Southwest Florida district of the Urban Land Institute. [More Info] [Hometown Democracy]



Farms Foul Matter (2007-07-06)

Millions of gallons of mud-choked water from the "first flush" off sugar cane fields roared backward through Clewiston's canal recently, dragging dead turtles, scores of fish and berms of vegetation into drought-starved Lake O. This water will later on end up in Caloosahatchee. [Article]



Coker vs. Judah, round 3 (2007-07-05)

Perspectives on Lake Okeechobee management and Everglades restoration remain diametrically opposed between Lee Country Commissioner Ray Judah and US Sugar V.P. Robert Coker. The proposed flow way connecting Lake O with the Everglades is a primary issue in their dispute. [Judah's opinion]



Muck Removal Concluding (2007-07-05)

Muck removal in Lake Okeechobee is slowly concluding at several sites, as summer rains soaking the muck are slowing the work and bringing the project to a close. More than 1.9 million cubic yards of phosphorus-rich muck were scraped and trucked off Lake O’s dried-out shoreline. [Article]



Southern Flow Way (2007-07-03)

Lake Okeechobee Water Resources Advisory Commission upheld a potential plan to build a southern flow way off the Lake, saying that any alternative to allowing water from the Lake to flush down rivers is preferable to continued harm to coastal communities of St. Lucie River and Caloosahatchee. [Article] [Details]



New Law Signed (2007-06-28)

Gov. Charlie Crist signed a new law providing millions of additional dollars for cleanup efforts and granting the state new authority over pollution throughout the vast wetlands. This new law expands the scope of restoration to the entire Everglades ecosystem, starting south from Orlando. [Article]



Sewage Plant Expanding? (2007-06-28)

Lee Commissioners voted to buy land in Waterway Estates, already home to an old treatment plant and on which the Calusa Isle Yacht club had plans to build a marina. The plan was to expand the existing plant from 1.25 million gallons per day to 3 million, but local residents are demanding a re-vote. [More Details]



Water Cleanup Bill (2007-06-28)

On Thursday at Stuart City Hall, Gover Charlie Crist is scheduled to sign legislation that gives $60 million more to help restore Lake Okeechobee and fund pollution controls. The river money would go toward setting aside land, constructing treatment wetlands, etc. [More Details]



Take Action Now! (2007-06-27)

Every year, more than 850 billion gallons of raw or partially-treated sewage is dumped into the waters where we fish, swim and play. To overcome sewage pollution, urge your representative to cosponsor the Raw Sewage Overflow Community Right. Act today! [Take Action]



NFM Sewage Plant (2007-06-26)

Waterway’s Estates Sewage Treatment Plant in North Fort Myers is sitting on the banks of Caloosahatchee. Its infrastructure must be expanded immediately as it is beyond its capacity limits and has been discharging excess nutrients into the river. [More Information]



Developers in Babcock (2007-06-25)

What will happen in Babckock Ranch, if a West Palm Beach developer builds a new town just north of the Ranch that exceeds today's state water runoff limit by 45%? Failure to adhere to the required limits could cause uncontrolled flooding and carry an excess of pollutants into Caloosahatchee. [Article]



Wastewater Side Effects (2007-06-21)

Municipal wastewaters are a complex mixture containing trace amounts of estrogens and estrogen mimics that are known to affect the reproductive health of wild fishes. The latest research proves that municipal wastewater effluent can affect the sustainability of wild fish populations. [More Information]



LOBO is Doing its Thing (2007-06-21)

An underwater device called LOBO monitors biogeochemical processes and measure nutrients in near-real time. This will help track important processes affecting the health of various water bodies, including the Caloosahatchee River. [Article]



Sprawl Threatens Lake O (2007-06-21)

Florida's increased development leads to more pollution from lawn fertilizer, which like agriculture, contributes to excess phosphorous and nitrogen in runoff to the Everglades. Instead of solving the problems of agriculture, the trend may be to replace it with a greater problem - sprawl. [Article]



Crist Appoints Commission (2007-06-19)

Governor Charlie Crist appointed a nine-member Commission on Open Government to review and evaluate the public’s right of access to government meetings and records. The commission will hold at least three public hearings throughout the state to receive input from the public, media and government representatives. [Executive Order]



No Joy Despite Rain (2007-06-18)

After three months of browning sod, the grass is green again. But don't be fooled. This has been more than a lawn-parching drought. It has been seven months since the Kissimmee Valley has sent water to Lake Okeechobee. [More Information]



Caloosahatchee Changing (2007-06-18)

Fifty years ago this month, in June of 1957, the Caloosahatchee River was born again, a convert of the human tide. Though few or none recognized it, in that month everything began to change. [More Information]



Clean Water Act Violations (2007-06-18)

A federal judge ruled Friday that the state's practice of back-pumping polluted water into Lake Okeechobee without a permit violates the U.S. Clean Water Act. [Details]



Impaired Waters Rule (2007-06-18)

Environmental groups made new progress this week in their efforts to get Florida's polluted waters cleaned up. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta once again ruled largely in favor of Sierra Club, Florida PIRG and Linda Young regarding the EPA's approval of Florida's method of listing impaired waters. [Details] [CIR Order]



"Illegal" for backpumping! (2007-06-18)

SFWMD has contended for years that its controversial backpumping practice should be exempt from the Clean Water Act. Judge's Altonaga today's order made clear though that the District must comply with the nation's clean water rules and that ignoring them puts people's health at risk. [More Details]



Coker vs. Judah, round 2 (2007-06-15)

Another clash of perspectives is playing out in the south Florida print media between U.S. Sugar V.P. Robert Coker and Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah. This time Sanibel's Paul Reynolds weighs in. [Coker Comments] [Reynolds Response]



Great Lake - disappearing (2007-06-14)

Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, has dropped to its lowest level in 81 years. The water is 20 inches below average and a foot lower than just a year ago. [More Information] [Photos]



Cleaning Up Clean Water Act (2007-06-14)

A series of murky Supreme Court decisions have left the agencies responsible for enforcing the Clean Water Act in state of confused paralysis, exposing millions of acres of wetlands & thousands of miles of streams to illegal & destructive development. [More Details]



Investigation Request (2007-06-13)

CCA has requested a congressional investigation into permitting practices in SW Florida. The request asserts “the disregard for the enforcement of existing laws has become commonplace among governmental bodies at the federal, state and local levels.” [Details]



Battle over Red Tide (2007-06-13)

A University of Miami professor is causing a stir in Florida's scientific community with his theory that red tide is getting worse and that humans are to blame. [More Information]



Another Threat to Manatees (2007-06-13)

A governor-appointed commission voted unanimously to move forward with a new manatee management plan — a key step before manatees can be downlisted to “threatened.” Under this status less may be done to protect the animals. [Bonita News] [News Press]



Volunteers Needed (2007-06-11)

Following the completion of a shoreline survey in Charlotte County, volunteer boaters are now needed to conduct the same survey in Lee County on July 17, 2007. The goal is to collect data on the quality of the local estuarine shorelines. [More Information]



2007-08 Budget (2007-06-11)

Governor Charlie Crist signed the State’s budget for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2007-08, increasing protection for Florida’s natural resources and diversifying our energy resources. [Details]



Chiquita Lock (2007-06-11)

Cape Coral Mayor Eric Feichthaler has approached Governor Crist's office to request removal of the Chiquita Lock. This would increase discharge of nutrient pollution to the estuary. [Letter to Lt. Gov. Kottkamp]



Stormwater Treatment (2007-06-11)

Due to new developments and increasing pollution, there is urgent need for stronger stromwater treatment regulation so Act Now! Contact SFWMD governing board members to express your support for the Southwest Florida Basin & Lake Okeechobee and Estuary Watershed Rules! [Details]



New Governing Board Members (2007-06-07)

Governor Charlie Crist appointed Melissa Meeker of Stuart and Patrick Rooney of West Palm Beach to the Governing Board of SFWMD. Meeker is the president of Hesperides Group & Rooney is the general counsel of Investment Corp of Palm Beach. [Press Release]



Lake O area fire (2007-06-07)

One of the worst Florida droughts in recorded history has contributed to many fires statewide. Presently, there are 9 major wildfires, including one in dried muck on the exposed Okeechobee lake bottom in its northwest rim. [Article] [Images]



Plan 6 for Lake O (2007-06-07)

Even in this time of record low Lake O levels, there is discussion about what to do with excess water. Plan 6 would send it south to through portions of the EAA rather then discharging it west and east. [Details]



Lake Broke; Hurts Everything (2007-06-06)

With the second-worst drought in Florida history, the Lake O has receded as much as 3 miles, making it difficult to get to the water. Tourism, fishing industry and the businesses that serve it around the Lake are seriously crippled. [Article]



Drought bares Lake O’s bottom and reveals old find (2007-06-05)

A statewide drought that has bared portions of Lake Okeechobee’s bottom has also been a boon to archaeologists, exposing human remains, boats and other finds that could date back hundreds of years. It is the first time in years some areas have been exposed, prompting archaeologists to scour the lake bed. [Article]



Nat Reed on SFWMD (2007-06-05)

Nat Reed, long-time environmental activist comments on the history of the SFWMD and his time as a governing board member as well as his hopes for a better future for the agency and for Florida.
[TCPalm Editorial] [Nat Reed Background]



Drugs in Florida Sharks (2007-06-05)

Scientists recently found traces of prescription antidepressants, cholesterol-lowering drugs and synthetic estrogens in the blood of young bull sharks in the Caloosahatchee River on Florida's southwest Gulf Coast. [More Information]



Ready for a Hurricane Season? (2007-06-04)

Preparedness of Floridians for hurricane season is rather mild, they are simply waiting for last-minute decision. The tax-free hurricane supply holiday will end on June 12, so think about stocking up in advance, as this past weekend tropical storm Barry kicked off what forecasters predict will be a boisterous hurricane season. [Article]



Crist/Struhs Face Test (2007-06-03)

FDEP Secr. David Struhs, retained by Gov. Crist, faces a clean water test in deciding whether to overrule a judge's order to halt pollution into a north Florida bay. This will be a good indicator of decisions we can expect for the Caloosahatchee. [Article]



Red Tide Campaign Workshop (2007-06-01)

The Sierra Club is sponsoring a Red Tide Campaign Workshop on Saturday, June 16, 2007 at the Iona House, Calusa Nature Center, 3450 Ortiz Avenue, Ft. Myers from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. The purpose is to assemble a strong coalition for action against the human contribution to red tide problems. [Invitation] [RSVP by June 14]



Regrets about Lake O water releases? (2007-05-30)

Current crippling drought period in South Florida made communities doubt in the necessity of dumping billions of gallons of water from Lake O during 2006. SFWMD insist that it was very important measure for several serious reasons. Moreover, they add that 2006 scenario of huge water releases might be repeated this year again, in case of large tropical storm before mid-August. [Article]



Severe Drought (2007-05-30)

Only high above-average rainy season would help replenish the Lake O that is currently 5 feet bellow its normal level. Water restrictions in use have not helped significantly, so this backup drinking water source for millions of people in South Florida and the lifeblood of the Everglades suffers heavily. [CBS4] [Palm Beach] [Associated Press]



PURRE Hires Woodbury (2007-05-30)

The Sanibel-based advocacy group PURRE announced that executive director of the North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce, Kirk Woodbury, will be replacing activist extraordinaire Mary Rawl as PURRE Executive Director. Mary is relocating to the east coast and must leave her post. PURRE and Riverwatch will miss Mary.



Legal Action (2007-05-28)

In October the SFWMD will be asked to renew water use permits that allow irrigation with as much as almost 103 billion gallons of water a month. Lee County Commissioner Ray Judah wants SFWMD to require Best Management Practices (BMPs) as a permit condition. [Article]



Lake O Dredging (2007-05-28)

The receding waters of Lake Okeechobee are uncovering thick, nutrient-laden muck. Thanks to historical drought bulldozers, cranes and dump trucks are able to scrape up at least some of the muck. [Naples News] [Sun Sentinel]



SFWMD - 7 directors in 7 years! (2007-05-25)

An almost constant rotation of directors in SFWMD’s west coast office has led to lack of responsiveness to water concerns in Southwest Florida. Phil Flood will replace the well-respected current director, Rhonda Haag. [Bonita News]



Enough is Enough! (2007-05-25)

Earthjustice advocate David Guest is calling for citizens to write to EPA in support of its TMDL pollution reduction recommendations that call for dramatically lower nutrient concentrations in runoff waters. This is a critical EPA decision that will shape the fate of the Caloosahatchee. [Editorial] [Take Action]



Dredging Begins! (2007-05-25)

Dredging projects started on May 24 thanks to an unprecedented drought. As a first step, 3.8 million cubic yards of muck will be removed from the bottom of Lake O. It is hoped that the dredging will help prevent massive algae blooms, restore plant life and the rebound fisheries habitat.
[New York Times] [Sun Sentinel]



UCF Alternative Future Study (2007-05-25)

A UCF study called "An Alternative Future" offers a way to prevent growth and sprawl that could cover a third of the land with roads, homes and businesses. To avoid this outcome political leaders have to act to preserve the environment and Florida's quality of life. [Orlando Sentinel]



Coalition Endorsement (2007-05-23)

The Nine-county Coalition for the Responsible Management of Lake Okeechobee meets in Okeechobee on June 7 to consider an Everglades restoration endorsement resolution and other issues.
[Agenda] [Resolution]



Possible Permit Challenges (2007-05-23)

The Lee BOCC will consider challenging the renewal of ag water use permits in the Lake O Service Area (LOSA) on the grounds that farms lacking Best Management Practices (BMPs) do not meet the "no adverse impact" criteria. Watershed Council supports this challenge. [Council Letter] [Naples Daily News]



Capturing Nutrients (2007-05-23)

A new system called Algal Turf Scrubber captures nutrients by cultivating algae on a floating mat and then automatically harvesting the growth. If testing is successful the method could be widely applied. [Article]



Manatee Deaths (2007-05-22)

The number of manatees killed in Lee County during the past four months is 59, whereas "only" 28 were killed during the same period in 2006. Most of these deaths occurred in Caloosahatchee River. Scientists primarily blame red tide toxins for the deaths, in addition to the usual cause - irresponsible boaters. [Article]



SFWMD Water Policy (2007-05-18)

Lee County would like Mr. Dauray, new SFWMD Board Member, to represent the interests of the county while considering management practices in the water permitting process and while appointing representatives of the Water Resources Advisory Commission. [Article]



Environmental Issues (2007-05-18)

Bush administration has a parting gift for the next president when he/she takes office – implementation of policies on automobile emissions contributing to climate change and other environmental issues – such as Factory Farm Water Pollution Rules. [Press Release]



No Wastewater Discharges (2007-05-16)

The Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council will consider a resolution calling on municipalities to reduce discharges of treated wastewater into surface water. It recommends additional reuse of treated wastewaters and effluent standards at 0.05 mg/L total phosphorus and 0.53 mg/L total nitrogen. [Resolution]



Corps: We 're Not Doing It (2007-05-11)

'Plan 6' is dead for Lake O says Dennis Duke of the Corps of Engineers. SFWMD board member Mike Collins: 'It's become sort of a cult item on the Internet.' Martin Co. Commissioner Sarah Heard: 'People on the east coast and the west coast aren't going to take no for an answer.'
[Palm Beach Post] [Connection Map] [Plan 6 Analysis] [Corp Plan 6]



Lindahl Retires from SFWMD (2007-05-11)

Citing health reasons, Lennart Lindahl announced his early retirement from the SFWMD Governing Board for his term not scheduled to expire until 2009. This creates another vacancy requiring appointment by Crist. [Bio] [Engineering Award] [Palm Beach Post]



Cleaning of Lake O (2007-05-10)

SFWMD decided to use the drought period to implement an $11 million project to dredge the noxious muck and phosphorus that have been coating Lake Okeechobee's bottom for many years. The low lake level makes the dredging much easier. [Article]



Water Pollution (2007-05-10)

$500 million will be spent during the next year on pollution issues. Gov. Crist considers restoration of Lake O and watershed protection as essential for Everglades restoration. [Article] [Watershed Restoration Act]



Restoration Legislation (2007-05-07)

The Florida Legislature has budgeted $200 million for the first year and at least $100 million for the next 12 years to improve water quality in Lake O and the St.Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. Progress will require greater responsibility from local governments and the SFWMD. [Article] [Project Funding]



Chairman's Term Ending (2007-05-06)

South Florida Water Management District Chairman Kevin McCarty withdrew his application for reappointment to the giverning board. McCarthy received word from Gov. Charlie Crist's office that the governor would not extend Bush's appointees.
[Sun Sentinel] [Palm Beach]



Water Restrictions: Phase 3 (2007-05-04)

So. Florida is moving to Phase 3 water restrictions. This cuts lawn watering to one day a week. The SFWMD governing board will consider isolated Phase 3 restrictions for several east coast communities when it meets May 9 & 10. [Article] [Restrictions]



Beyond Red Tide Discussion (2007-05-01)

The Sierra Club and Sarasota County Health Department arranged discussion of the freshwater algaes that have been plaguing the River for the past few years. Dr. Hudnell, HAB Expert, and Mr. Reich, Florida DOH specialist, will deliver speech. [Details]



C-43 (2007-05-01)

The U.S. Army Corps is requesting public comment on the Draft Project Implementation Report (PIR) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Caloosahatchee River (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir Project, formerly known as the C-43 Basin Storage Reservoir. [Project]



New SFWMD Board Appointment (2007-04-30)

Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Shannon A. Estenoz to the SFWMD governing board through March 2010. Local communities regard a new appointment as favorable for the South Florida environmental advocacy.
[Article] [Palm Beach]



Why Florida is Dry? (2007-04-30)

The water levels at Lake Okeechobee demonstrate the severity of the current drought in Florida. The Kissimmee River, which feeds Lake O, is in a similar condition. How unusual is our current drought? [Miami] [Q&A] [Tampa Bay]



The Politics of Development (2007-04-29)

Rep. Trudi Williams amended legislation in Tallahassee making it easier to get permits for construction in wetland areas. Susie Caplowe, a Sierra Club lobbyist, challenged this saying it is favoratism to help particular developers build marinas, despite impacts on water, wetlands & manatees. [Tallahassee] [Ft. Myers] [Location]



Corps Considers Flow Way (2007-04-29)

Senator Nelson has discussed the flow way plan and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may be re-evaluating this concept that would convey and treat large volumes of water from Lake Okeechobee to the Everglades. [Article]



Pay to Pollute (2007-04-27)

According to a recent report by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, DEP shows low pollution enforcement rates. “In Florida, it pays to pollute because the small fines and lax oversight do little to deter future violations,” stated Florida PEER Director Jerry Phillips, a former DEP enforcement attorney. [Article]



EPA Hearing in Florida (2007-04-27)

EPA will hold a hearing on the proposed Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) project for the Lake O Tributaries managed through SFWMD. The meeting is arranged by Earthjustice and PURRE. [Announcement] [Project]



Halt! Water Police! (2007-04-26)

Water restrictions are intensifying as the 2007 drought worsens. Comic as a "Dr. Strangelove water crisis" may be, many lately have been wondering if water management is too important to be left to the politicians.
[Roger Williams Florida Weekly Article]



Red Tides Kill Manatees (2007-04-25)

Red tide toxins can linger on sea grass for weeks after the deadly algae fades from surrounding waters. Recently 27 manatee died from eating contaminated seagrass as they left the relative safety of the Caloosahatchee River. [Article]



Kayak Training Class (2007-04-24)

ACA “Intro to Kayaking (Level 1)” is a six-hour course on kayaking skills. Training will be held at Caloosahatchee Regional Park in Alva. Karen Bickford is the instructor. The class is free, so sign up soon for one of the 20 slots. [Press Release] [Payments]



New Vue Legal Action (2007-04-22)

The court petition against The Vue tower project has been revised. The lawsuit focuses on impacts to Centennial Park, manatee populations, and the Ft. Myers wastewater treatment system. CRCA is also challenging the taking of public land purchased with Federal grants. [Revised Petition]



Oppose HB 1197 (2007-04-22)

Linda Young of the Florida Clean Water Coalition is calling upon citizens to contact their state legislators this week and express clear opposition to HB 1197, a law that would preempt cities and counties from establishing local fertilizer use standards. [Request] [PURRE Alert] [Article] [Amercian Rivers ALERT] [Sarasota Action]



Lee County FYN Classes (2007-04-20)

Mary Ann Parsons at the Lee County Extension Office offers Florida Yards and Neighborhood program classes on how to save your lawn during this drought and how to better design future landscapes.



What's the Bloomin' Cost? (2007-04-20)

A newly released University of Florida IFAS study concludes that red tide blooms lasting for 3 months could cost Florida around $20 million as a result of a 33% decrease in revenues to restaurant and lodging businesses.
[Report] [Larkin] [Adams]



New SFWMD Board Appointment (2007-04-20)

Charles Dauray, vice chairman of Lee County's Republican Executive Committee has been appointed to SFWMD Governing Board. He will represent Charlotte, Lee, Collier, and Hendry counties through 2011. Crist appointed another party official to the SFWMD governing board on the east coast. [Dauray CV]



Example to Follow? (2007-04-18)

Perhaps we can learn something from the Chesapeake Bay clean up program in trying to improve water quality in the Caloosahatchee Basin. They are using pollution credits for farms and other developments in the northeast. [NY Times]



League of Women Voters (2007-04-17)

The League of Women Voters of Lee County held a seminar in Ft. Myers on April 15 to discuss such vital environmental issues as Lake O pollution, algal blooms and red tide, protecting groundwater and a proposed FP&L coal plant.



Should We Do the Same? (2007-04-12)

The St. Lucie Coalition is getting