Corps and SFWMD Cut Off Caloosahatchee Water Supply

On Thursday, December 9, 2010, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) Governing Board voted 5-to-3 to recommend that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cut off needed freshwater flows to the Caloosahatchee, blaming dry conditions and lower Lake Okeechobee water levels.

Despite these conditions and projections for a record drought, the only water restriction issued was a complete cut off of water for the Caloosahatchee river and estuary.

No other water shortage orders -- let alone cut backs -- were ordered for any other users, not even non-critical uses such as residential lawn watering.

On Thursday, December 16, the Corps decided to discontinue lake releases to the Caloosahatchee estuary until further notice.

With this action, salinities have begun to creep upriver and have exceeded the tolerance of tapegrass causing it to die.

The last of the tape grass is now being overrun by a salinity-tolerant algae.

This was the first year we began to recover some areas of tapegrass.