Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani and CRCA Director Gene Gibson and other local stakeholders are monitoring an application by the City of Cape Coral to permanently remove the Chiquita Lock in southwest Cape Coral that discharges to the Caloosahatchee Estuary.
The lock was installed many years ago in compliance with a court consent order to maintain and treat stormwater from the City in the South Spreader Canal System.
The City claims the lock removal is necessary for boater safety. Stakeholders are concerned the unimpeded discharge that would occur after removal of the lock would reduce treatment efficiency of the stormwater system and add nutrients to an already nutrient-impaired waterbody, the Caloosahatchee Estuary.
There is also concern that the boat traffic would increase dramatically after removing the lock thus jeopardizing manatees that could migrate into the system constrained by narrow canals.
The area is also federally designated critical habitat for the endangered smalltooth sawfish.