20/20 Referendum (2016-10-27)
Lee County Conservation 20/20 is a 20 year-old program initiative. The environment land buying program is the object of a 1st referendum. Supporters of 20/20 are optimistic as there is no apparent organized opposition. They hope for public support to strengthen the program and ensure a good future. [News-Press] [News-Press: 5 Facts] [Conservation 20/20] [Yes 20/20]
Cocktails & Conversations (2016-10-13)
Want to hear all the facts about our River and Estuaries that you will not hear anywhere else? Please join us on November 9th at Tween Waters Inn. We need your help to keep our water clean. Enjoy great food and drink while our guest speakers discuss problems and solutions and what we can do to help. [Event Poster] [Details] [Register]
Southern Flow Not a Silver Bullet (2016-10-27)
Water releases from Lake O have been disastrous for estuaries. The best solution seems to be sending more water south. But it is not that simple, as it could bring new problem in the Everglades. It's a shared adversity, a situation in which one area of the system may flourish while another fails. [News-Press Story] [Cartoon]
Land Purchase 20 Years Later... (2016-10-27)
The project to build a reservoir south of Lake O has been discussed for more than 20 years now and there is not much progress in 2016. Indeed, the execution is not planning to start the project until 2020 and the purchase of the lands is far from reaching the initial goals of 194,000 acres. [News-Press] [SCCF] [Map of EAA Land Use]
Pipeline Project Threatens Rivers (2016-10-27)
Environmental groups seek to block the construction of the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline by filing a motion for a stay of the FERC order. The Sabal Trail pipeline would affect 83.7% of the environmental justice communities, threatening the Flint, Chattahoochee, and private property. [Press Release] [Flint Riverkeeper]
A Wolf in Sheeps Clothing (2016-10-27)
Joan Marshall, denounced in the mailbag of Oct 24, the dishonest appeals to Florida voters, promising that amendment 1 will bring loads of solar power to Florida. From now until 2025, the utilities project renewables should increase renewable energy from 1% to... 2% of energy generation in Florida. [News-Press ] [Cartoon]
Ding Darling Water Exhibit (2016-10-26)
Ding Darling Visitor & Education Center will be hosting a free Soak-It-In Speaker Series on select Fridays at 1 pm from Oct 28 to Dec 7. The exhibit will take a global look at water relative to environment, culture, history, and spirituality. Admission is free but limited on a first-come basis. [News-Press] [Event]
Mary Ann Parsons (2016-10-26)
Former Riverwatch director Mary Ann Parsons is a volunteer Lee County Master Gardener who teaches Florida Yards & Neighborhoods classes of UF IFAS. She uses her knowledge to help undo decades of urban and agricultural land management practices that helped create the Cape Coral algal blooms. [News-Press]
Now or Neverglades Tour (2016-10-26)
The Everglades Foundation launched 12-day bus tour to drum up public support for the purchase of sugar land in the EAA. The bus will stop at several place in South Florida. The goal is to have people weigh in on the Legislature decision to get the money in the budget and start taking action. [Tampa Bay Times] [Road Trip to Restoration] [Now or Neverglades Declaration]
National Problem of Algae Bloom (2016-10-26)
Toxic algae blooms do not only concern South Florida; they are a global problem. The U.S. Geological Survey shows toxic algae blooms are implicated in human and animal illness and death in at least 43 states. Nutrients from fertilizers and septic tanks and a warming climate fuel their development. [WMFE] [National Algae Distribution Map] [NOAA Operational Conditions Reports]
226 Days of Harm (2016-10-25)
Over the weekend 2016 surpassed 1995 to become the second worst year for the number of days that the Caloosahatchee River delivered harmful volumes of water to the Estuary. With 2016 recording 226 days, only 2005 was worse with 230 days. Record keeping began at S-79 (Franklin Lock) in 1963. [Press Release PDF] [Press Release DOC] [Days of Harm by Year] [Total & Harm Volumes by Year] [Lake vs Watershed Flow]
Annual Environmental Breakfast (2016-10-25)
Audubon of Southwest Florida organizes its 19th Annual Environmental Breakfast on Oct. 27 at 7am, with coffee and breakfast served at 730 am, at Riverside Community Center, Fort Myers. They will have a panel on 20/20. Please, RSVP to Audubon of SW FL at Audubon.southwest.florida@gmail.com. [Cape Coral Daily Breeze] [Audubon SW FL]
Study of Global Warming Effects (2016-10-25)
The WHOI published a study about the effect of changing ocean temperature on phytoplankton. This could be the key to understand how marine ecosystems are responding to shifts in climate. Researcher are watching the balance of bacteria and consumers and bloom cycle year after year. [National Science Foundation]
Trump Flies Over Everglades (2016-10-25)
Joking about the gators and snakes in the Florida Everglades, Trump comments that its better to go around them or to have a good helicopter. But he said that he would work to protect the Everglades nevertheless. He promised to repair the dike around Lake O and upgrade water and wastewater treatment. [Daily Mail]
Worst Year Ever For Crabbers (2016-10-25)
Frank Rogus has been crabbing the Caloosahatchee for decades. He says this has been the worst year ever to be a crabber. He says the crabs want nothing to do with our river these days. They run for the Gulf whenever flow is high and the water bad. [News Press Video]
C-43 Reservoir Project (2016-10-24)
Gene Gibson expresses Riverwatch's opinion on C-43 Reservoir in an editorial. This project is not as good as it seemed to be when first discussed 20 years ago. This project lacks a water quality component and poses safety issues. Riverwatch supports the proposal for storage/treatment around Lake O [Environmental Editorials] [Gene Gibson] [Gibson Editorial] [Integrated Delivery Schedule] [Cartoon]
Hero in Flint Water Crisis (2016-10-24)
Marc Edwards, a civil and environmental engineering professor, revealed drinking water in Washington, D.C and Flint were not safe. Twice, the federal governments did not welcome his findings. He is set to come to Florida Southwestern State College in November to share his story. [Naples Daily News]
Serious in Decades or Centuries (2016-10-24)
Thawing of the Antarctic Thwaites Glacier could have an enormous impact on the world. The rate of ice loss accounts for about 10 percent of global sea level rise. The glacier contains enough water to produce more than 9 feet of global sea level rise. Its collapse could have huge consequences. [National Science Foundation]
Discharge Reduction from Lake O (2016-10-21)
Lake O discharges to the St. Lucie River will decrease again on Oct 21. The Army Corps of Engineers will reduce the discharges from about 1.16 billion gallons to 756.2 million gallons a day. The release is still very high but fortunately algae blooms are less likely now that the water is cooler. [TC Palm] [S-80 to St Lucie River]
Caloosahatchee River Situation (2016-10-21)
This article gives an overview of the situation of Caloosahatchee River, from the water release of Lake O to the consequences on the estuary. It also explains the impact of large amount of freshwater in the estuary and the toxic algae bloom on the touristic economy, vital for South Florida. [News-Press]
To Build or Not to Build (2016-10-21)
The Lee County League of Women Voters will meet on Nov 5, at The Helm Club at The Landings, Ft Myers. Wayne E. Daltry, who cares deeply about the preservation of the environment, will be speaking. The topic is To Build or Not to Build, and what areas should be protected from excessive development. [Event] [League of Women Voters]
Rock Mining Is Not Conservation (2016-10-20)
Conservation 20/20 program buys lands in Lee County to preserve environmentally critical lands. Even so, full protection cannot be guaranteed since the underground rights can be owned by another party. Thus mining and oil drilling are possible on conservation lands. [News-Press] [Conservation 20/20]
Caloosahatchee Oct 11 - 17 (2016-10-20)
Discharges into the estuary at S-79 averaged 5,795 cfs, over twice the harm threshold of 2,800 cfs. Lake O discharges to the river, measured at S-77, increased to an average of 5,331 cfs. Watershed inflows to the Franklin pool between S-78 and S-79 averaged 616 cfs. [Graph] [Condition Report] [More SCCF Report]
Pollution & Public Relations (2016-10-20)
After the sinkhole at Mosaic plant became public, the main problems discussed were the risk of pollution and also why it took so long to inform the public? This question led Gov. R. Scott to enact a new rule, that requires immediate disclosure to the public and the media of any pollution incident. [First Coast News]
Fixing the Sinkhole (2016-10-19)
The toxic sinkhole on Mosaic plant is at least 220-feet deep, but it is not possible to have accurate measurement. Engineers are now building a rig to use light rays to map distances. Recovery pumps are installed to retrieve the radioactive water. All of the operation can take months to be achieved. [ABC Action News]
ORCA Muck Study (2016-10-19)
Scientists from ORCA are getting samples of water and muck in C-24 Canal in St. Lucie County, to find fertilizer nutrients. The goal is to determine the source of pollution that is causing environmental devastation, and which lands are the biggest contributor. [TC Palm]
SFWMD Projects for the River (2016-10-19)
Mitch Hutchcraft, SFWMD governing board member and King Ranch rep talks about ongoing & future projects and investments to protect the river and the estuary. Creation of storage reservoirs and testing of nitrogen removal systems are long term projects started in the 1990's but still incomplete. [News-Press] [Comments] [SFWMD projects]
Water Messages of Significance (2016-10-18)
The News-Press editorial board has been watching closely the water crisis occurring in Florida. They regularly provide news articles about the different issues and different representatives. They are now hosting the event Save our Water Market Watch Summit, on Oct 26, with a team of expert speakers. [News-Press] [Expert Speakers] [Tickets]
Fracking Threatens Water Quality (2016-10-18)
Jenifer Hecker is warning about fracking that still threatens the water quality in Collier County. She considers these techniques risky and irresponsible without any independent scientific risk assessment. To learn more about this topic, join the 2nd Florida Fracking Summit at FGCU on Nov 2. [News-Press] [Conservancy of Southwest Florida] [Florida Fracking Summit]
Indian River Lagoon Riverkeeper (2016-10-18)
Marty Baum is the Riverkeeper of the Indian River Lagoon. His job is to protect the Lagoon wildlife. The toxic algae bloom has a devastating effect on species, killing thousands of fish. The problem started in 1970s as the population of Florida increased and the sugar farms developed. [Motherboard] [Indian Riverkeeper]
Solar Amendment 1 (2016-10-17)
Rich Housh encourages the citizens to vote No on Amendment 1. According to him, it will protect utilities, not the citizens and penalized the customers. On Oct 18, an event is organized at the Concervacy of Southwst Florida to learn more about this issue. [News-Press]
U.S. Sugar & Water Quality (2016-10-17)
Malcolm "Bubba" Wade Jr. explains that U.S. Sugar has helped reduce the phosphorus in the water flowing off farms by an average of 55 percent. He also believes that additional storage south of the lake will not significantly reduce the harmful discharges from Lake O. [News-Press] [Comments]
State House for District 79 (2016-10-17)
In a letter to the editor of Lehigh Acres Citizen, Philip G. Schwartz is supporting the democrat candidate John W. Scott, running for state house for district 79. He has the conviction that John Scott will represent the people, not the big money, and fight to protect the environment of Florida. [Lehigh Acres Citizen] [Eye On Miami]
King Tides (2016-10-14)
King Tides, the annual high tides, usually arrive in fall when sea levels are higher. Tides are swelling in South Florida, boosting by offshore currents from Hurricane Nicole. The rising tides are now causing flood on the East Coast of Florida. [Sun Sentinel]
Lake O Creeping Downward (2016-10-14)
On Oct 13, Lake O level was bellow 16 feet. The US Army Corps of Engineers is now more optimistic. Flows to the Lake are decreasing: the South Florida Water Management District is holding water in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes to the North, and hopefully drier weather will continue. [News-Press]
Drones to Monitor Water Quality (2016-10-14)
Satellite images can be used to collect water quality parameters. However, images have poor resolution and are limited to large water bodies. Conservancy scientists are now testing a new method, using drones with UAV-based monitoring systems, that could provide more accurate data. [Cool Green Science]
Trump: a Fish out of Water (2016-10-13)
Trump surely understood the concern of Floridians for Lake O, and he considers this issue as an environmental priority. His idea is simple: stop letting the water out and keeping it in the Lake, to limit droughts. Well, in the 90s, the history has proven that his idea does not hold water... [Miami News Time]
Win the Jackpot (2016-10-13)
Everglades Foundation offers $10 million to anyone who can remove phosphorus from our waters for less than $55 per pound. It only costs a farmer $2.75 per pound to buy phosphorus fertilizer. Thus the cheapest way to remove phosphorus would be to not spread P on crops and lawns in the first place. [Science Mag]
Caloosahatchee Oct 4-10 (2016-10-13)
Discharges into the estuary at S-79 averaged 7,325 cfs, exceeding the harm threshold of 2,800 cfs. Lake Okeechobee discharges to the river, measured at S-77, increased to an average of 4,598 cfs. Watershed inflows to the Franklin pool between S-78 and S-79 during the past week averaged 1,650 cfs. [Condition Report] [More SCCF Report]
Confluence of Crises in Florida (2016-10-12)
Florida is going through multiple crises, particularly its water crisis. The Sunshine State is becoming less and less attractive to tourists and it is now urgent to solve these issues. Solutions require political attention both during and after election. [TC Palm] [Cartoon]
Save Our Creeks Annual Meeting (2016-10-12)
Please join us for our annual business meeting and hike on Fisheating Creek, on Sunday, Nov 13, at 11 a.m. at Palmdale, FL. Save Our Creeks is a non-profit organization devoted to the general purpose of conservation of natural resources, especially creeks and small waterways. [Details] [Website]
Welcome to the Future (2016-10-12)
Owners of beach homes are facing climate change issues. Beach errosion and storm-damaged homes are the results of years of inaction on global warming. Resources better spent on climate change avoidance will instead go to insurance claims, sand pumping, and sea walls. [First Coast News]
Algae Bloom & Over-Fertilization (2016-10-12)
The recent bloom of toxic algae in South Florida is not only due to water release from Lake O but also to over-fertilization and poor land management. Indeed, global warming and the high concentration of nutrients in water, contribute to the toxic algae development. [Foodtank]
Water Realeases From Lake O (2016-10-11)
Flows from Lake O to the rivers were maximized in preparation to Matthew. Fortunately the hurricane rainfalls were not extremely heavy. But the Lake remains high (nearly 16ft) therefore flows to the Caloosahatchee have continued at more than 4000 cfs, far above the estuary harm level of 2800 cfs. [News-Press]
Billys Creek Cleanup (2016-10-11)
On Nov 4, a cleanup is organized at Billy's Creek, Ft Myers, from 9 am to 12 pm to clean all the trash and aquatic debris of the area. The Creek flows into the Caloosahatchee River. Take action to protect the river and join us for the cleanup! [Details] [Website]
Caloosahatchee District Meeting (2016-10-10)
The Charlotte County Soil and Water Conservation District is hosting a distrinct meeting on Dec 7. The purpose is to discuss the issues and opportunities about the Caloosahatchee river, such as water quality, water storage, or potential funding. [Details]
Impact of Matthew on Lake O (2016-10-10)
Lake O is very likely to reach its highest point in a decade due to hurricane Matthew. To slow the rise of the lake and be prepared for possible other hurricanes, the US Army Corps of Engineers will maximized the outflow. This will doubtlessly have a strong impact on estuaries. [Politico]
Sea-Level Rise Threat (2016-10-10)
Sea-level rise is happening in Florida. The level increases by 1 inch every ten years and the drainage system in South Florida is starting to fail. About 80% of the residents in Florida live near the coast, and over 100 million tourists visit the coast every year. it is a serious threat for Florida. [WKYC]
Water Must Go South (2016-10-10)
More than 400 billion gallons of water from lake O have gone to the Caloosahatchee river during the last 247 days. On the other hand, only 160 billion gallons have gone South to the Everglades. It is possible to save our waters if we complete the projects to send water South says Mark Perry. [TC Palm]
Toxic Rule to Arrive DOA (2016-10-07)
Representing the Florida Clean Water Network, attorney Ludder’s addressed a letter to EPA, alerting about the newly adopted water quality rule that the FDEP will soon submit for approval. Indeed, they disregard federal rules that require states to give notice to the public before the hearing. [Letter] [Florida Clean Water Network]
Who Is Wrong Is Right (2016-10-07)
350 years before, Blaise Pascal was explaining how to make people change their mind. Actually, before telling them they are wrong, it is important to tell them how they are right so they will not feel they are mistaken. [Quartz]
No Man-Made Climate Change (2016-10-07)
The evidence has become unmistakable: we have more floods in some places, more droughts in some others and we are recording the hottest summer in the USA this year. But still, public policy has been paralyzed, sometimes from ignorance or uncertainty, but often from deliberate misinformation. [The Washington Post]
Mangrove Mania II (2016-10-07)
On September 17, Mangrove Mania II was organized at Cape Coral. Last year, the first event was successful with 10,000 red mangroves planted. Mangroves are a necessity for an entire ecosystem. We can find them in estuaries and they shelter fish, filter water, and help offset predicted sea rise. [News-Press]
Caloosahatchee Sept 07 - 13 (2016-10-07)
Discharges into the estuary at S-79 increased to an average of 4,597 cfs, exceeding the harm threshold of 2,800 cfs. Lake O discharges to the river measured at S-77, decreased to an average of 532 cfs. Watershed inflows to the Franklin pool between S-78 and S-79 increased to an average of 3,006 cfs. [Conditions Report] [More SCCF Report]
SWFL Clean Water Movement (2016-10-07)
The SWFL Clean Water Movement is now forming a non-profit organization with the aim to educate people about water quality and Fort Myers Beach. It will give them a finacial backing allowing to reinforce their advocacy. [Fort Myers Beach Talk]
Boat Ramp Removal (2016-10-07)
The Fort Myers City Council plans on removing the boat ramp in Centennial Park to build a hotel. Boat owners and citizens blocked previous efforts to close it, but the City Council is determined. If the boat ramp closes, it needs to have a new boat ramp in place, which will take time and money. [ Coastal Angler]
Climate Scepticism and Politics (2016-10-07)
Conservative commentator Matt Drudge is accusing the government of manipulating information about hurricane Matthew to make exaggerated point on climate. An article of Skeptical Science explains how science knowledge about global warming matters more for Democrats than Republicans. [Skeptical Science] [NewsWeek]
Bring Disney Back (2016-10-06)
In a mail to News-Press, Jack Holt describes lake O. as a place better than Disney before the water issues. Now the pollution has transformed this beautiful place and it is not a touristic place anymore. Politicians must pay attention to this dramatic situation. [Mail]
Hottest Summer Nights in 2016 (2016-10-06)
The summer of 2016 recorded hotter nights than any summer since records began in 1895, according to data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [USA Today]
Afro-American Opinion Counts (2016-10-06)
The plan to buy up 60,000 acres for Everglades restoration concerns lands in the poor, mostly black community, South of the lake O. It is a plan designed to benefit the wealthy at the expense of another African-American community that did not have the chance to give its opinion about it. [The Huffington Post]
Audubon - SFWMD Tensions (2016-10-06)
Audubon of Florida is suggesting that the South Florida Water Management District should use its own funds to pay for the removal of invasive plant species rather than asking the federal government. The answer of SFWMD is full-throated. [My Palm Beach Post]
Keep River Hall Rural (2016-10-06)
In a mail published in News-Press, Carl Veaux gives his opinion about River Hall development. According to him, River Hall should remain rural to protect the wildlife of the area and its prime habitat. [Mail] [News-Press]
The Sun Makes Water Drinkable (2016-10-05)
A laboratory has developed a quick method to obtain drinking water by using the sun. This rectangle device, about half the size of a postage stamp, is made of glass substrate and can disinfect the water in only 20 minutes in the sunlight. [News Altas] [Illustration]
Corp Proposal for Lake O (2016-10-05)
Army Corps of Engineers plans to renovate the Herbert Hoover dike that surrounds Lake Okeechobee. But this would not completely end an ongoing push-and-pull between maintaining lake water at a level that does not overwhelm the dike, and keeping potentially harmful water out of the Caloosahatchee. [WINK News]
When Your Prognosis is Terminal (2016-10-05)
100 people gathered in Centennial Park for a water-blessing ceremony organized by Holley Rauen of Happehatchee Center in Estero. She believes in the power of prayer and sound. As in government solutions, does the prayer strategy's success require agreeing on a common prayer in which to invest? [News-Press]
Changes of Water Pollution Rules (2016-10-05)
The FL state is planning to ease some limits on potentially carcinogenic chemicals in water. While supporters consider the proposal as a safe, science-based update, opponents argue it is an industry-friendly plan that risks public health. [Sun Sentinel]
Caloosahatchee Sept 27 - Oct 03 (2016-10-05)
Discharges into the estuary at S-79 increased to an average of 8,100 cfs, exceeding the harm threshold of 2,800 cfs. Lake O discharges to the river, measured at S-77, averaged 3,648 cfs. Watershed inflows to the Franklin pool between S-78 and S-79 increased to an average of 2,213 cfs. [Condition Report] [More SCCF Report]
Stand Up North Florida (2016-10-05)
Stand Up North Florida is a new mystery entity asking North Florida local governments to oppose Everglades land buying proposal. Some environmentalists say this entity is a front group for the sugar industry which is also fighting the proposal. [Politico]
Water Crisis Upsets Latvala (2016-10-05)
After the accumulation of water incidents in Florida, Sen. Latvala says being very upset as it is just a fundamental responsibility of government to protect citizens and their water supply. For him, environmentalists should not be the only ones sounding the alarm. [Tampa Bay Times] [Florida Politics]
The Burden of Young People (2016-10-05)
For James Hansen, if climate is to be stabilized on the century time scale, we do not only need to reduce CO2 emissions, but to have negative CO2 emissions. The challenge of the new generation is now to find sustainable solutions to extract CO2 from the air. [Article]
Hurricane Threatens Lake O (2016-10-05)
Hurricane Matthew is heading toward South Florida this week and it is not good news for Lake O. The lake level is already high and the heavy rain of q hurricane could cause the failure of the dike. The Army Corps advised people around the lake to be prepared to take action. [Sun Sentinel]
CHNEP Watershed Summit (2016-10-04)
On March 28-30, 2017, the CHNEP hosts the Charlotte Harbor Watershed Summit to learn about current research and restoration efforts and critical environmental issues affecting the Charlotte Harbor watershed. the Summit calls for oral and poster presentations, to be submitted by 9 am Monday, Oct 17. [Submission] [Details]
Chiquita Lock Removal (2016-10-04)
Cape Coral is about to finish the process to obtain the permit to remove the Chiquita Lock with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Lock removal will benefit boaters but at the expense of water quality in the estuary? [NBC-2]
Finding The Guilty Party (2016-10-04)
When it comes to environmental disasters, contradictory theories are revealed to find out who is responsible. In this article, John R. Smith gives his opinion bluntly about South sugar farmers accused to pump water to Lake O. This theory, apparently, does not hold water. [Bizpac Review]
Paris Agreement Insufficient (2016-10-03)
While the European Parliament is expected to vote to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement on Oct 4, Scientists are warning that the current pledges are far from being sufficient to stay below 2 degrees. Radical changes are needed. [Common Dreams] [Inside Climate News]
Red Tide Warning (2016-10-03)
The red tide threat is spreading South from Pinellas County. This harmful bloom can cause kill fish and respiratory irritation. Water samples show red tide is present in Lee and Collier Counties but for the moment, no trace of the bloom has been found at Sanibel. [Count On 2 First] [Nature World News]
Hurricane in Caribbean (2016-09-30)
Matthew strengthened to a category 5 hurricane then weakened. Computer models expect it to head North but there is no certitude about its impact on Florida or other parts of the US East Coast. If heavy rains strike Florida this will exacerbate a bad year for Lake O, the Caloosahatchee, & St Lucie. [Pathway Map] [News-Press]
A Vital Step Forward for the CEPP (2016-09-30)
US Senate authorized a water resources development bill of $1.9 billion for the Central Everglades Planning Project. For Rob Moher, it is a vital step forward, but there is still a long way to go to resolve the negative impact of high-volume discharges to the rivers. [News-Press]
Save Our Water Summit (2016-09-30)
On Wed, Oct 26 the News-Press Media Group is presenting “Save Our Water” at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa. It includes education on the key aspects of the water crisis, a unique water experiences tour, and many other events! [Details & Tickets]
Caloosahatchee Sept 20-26 (2016-09-30)
Discharges into the estuary at S-79 increased during the past week averaged 5,247 cfs, exceeding the harm threshold of 2,800 cfs. Lake O discharges to the river, measured at S-77, increased to an average of 3,907 cfs. Watershed inflows to the Franklin pool between S-78 & S-79 averaged 1,563 cfs. [Conditions Report] [Table] [More SCCF Report]
Sinkhole Radioactive Pollution (2016-09-29)
A giant sinkhole opened up in Mulberry, FL, in late August, swallowing millions of gallons of toxic wastewater. Mozaic, the owner of the plant, informed the EPA promplty when it happened, but informed the public only two weeks after the incident. [Illustration] [WLOX] [Video]
Snowball Effect in the Arctic Sea (2016-09-29)
The Arctic sea ice melting begins to affect the global climate. The disappearance of the ice cap might be partly responsible for the increase in temperature, the release of greenhouse gases, and like a snowball effect, the ice is melting even more. [Yale Environment 360] [Graphic Illustration]
Florida Remains Butt of Jokes (2016-09-29)
Florida's water crisis is an ongoing problem. There is no doubt that the water situation only got worse during the recent decades of ineffective protection programs and water reforms, says John Cassani. Isn't it time for politics to bring a fresh perspective on this crisis to solve it? [News-Press] [Online Image]
Bonnie Says Clyde Innocent (2016-09-26)
DEP provided as letter to Cape Coral saying it need do nothing about its Ceitus Boat Lift removal. Based on this Cape Coral has moved for final judgement in the case brought against it by Riverwatch and others. The DEP action is like Bonnie telling the judge that Clyde is innocent. [Motion]
New Sport - Reef Death Watch (2016-09-13)
Soon Florida divers will have a new recreational activity. They can join university & marine institute professionals in documenting the decline of a coral reef. They will be trained to determine if a reef is almost dead, dead, or dead and gone & use highly technical terminology in describing dead. [DEP Press Release] [SEAFAN]
Support Riverwatch Every Time You Shop (2016-09-13)
Support Caloosahatchee Riverwatch by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com. Amazon will donate to Riverwatch every time you shop on AmazonSmile without any extra cost to you. This link will take you directly to smile.amazon.com in support of Riverwatch: www.smile.amazon.com/ch/65-0565226 [Go to Smile.Amazon.com]
MFL Science Symposium (2016-09-12)
Caloosahatchee Estuary MFL (minimum flows & levels) science symposium is Sep 14-15 at Ft Myers SFWMD. Excluded from the agenda is discussion of whether science will yield an improved MFL or when. The MFL has been stuck at 300 cfs for more than a decade despite previous science advising a higher MFL. [Low Flow Assessment] [Announcement] [Agenda]
Riverwatch on WGCU-FM (2016-08-05)
On Thursday, Sep 15 at 4pm, Riverwatch Vice President Rob Wilson and CRCA Director John Cassani will be on the radio live at WGCU to help with a pledge drive. Each $35 you donate provides Riverwatch with a future public information announcement (spot) on WGCU. 2 for $70, 3 for $105, 4 for $140, etc. [Letter] [DONATE]
Wanted: Waterkeeper & Exec Director (2016-07-31)
Riverwatch announces its search for two employees - a Waterkeeper & an Executive Director. The Waterkeeper is the CRCA face to the media and presence on our waterways. The Waterkeeper will be our local Aquaman (or woman) - a water superhero. The Executive Director will fuel the program. [Waterkeeper Position] [Executive Director Position]
Harbinger of Future Destruction (2016-09-05)
Things will only get worse as mankind struggles, using brute force methods, to suppress & treat the symptoms of its systemic damage to the planet. Examples are Zika spraying, intensified farming to compensate for greening, hardening shorelines against sea level rise, & other “maladaptive” reactions. [Washington Post] [News Press] [Union of Concerned Scientists]
Service Learning Contact (2016-09-01)
Mary Rawl supervises students for the Billy's Creek clean-ups and other river related projects in Ft. Myers. You can email her at Mary.Rawl@gmail.com. She can also assist you or refer you to other Riverwatch officers managing specific projects. [Send Email]
FGCU Service Learning Projects (2016-09-01)
FGCU students complete service learning hours as part of their bachelor's degree. Riverwatch is offering these students several opportunities: Billy's Creek Clean Up, LaBelle Nature Park, Water Conference, Website, Oxbows Research, River Ride, Information Tables, Plant IDs & Swamp Cabbage Festival. [Student Project Descriptions]
Billys Creek Clean-Up Day (2016-09-01)
Join Riverwatch, FGCU and other community partners for a clean-up day on Billy's Creek on November 4, 2016 in Ft. Myers. This Creek flows into the Caloosahatchee River near downtown Ft. Myers. Help us protect the Caloosahatchee by cleaning up Billy’s Creek. Email Mary.Rawl@gmail.com for details. [Website] [Previous Clean-up]
Recreational Outing Organizing (2016-09-01)
Students can help organize recreational outings (canoe & kayak trips) for Riverwatch members and the public. Favorites places include Fisheating Creek, Telegraph Creek, Imperial River, and Estero Bay.
Annual Water Resources Conference (2016-09-01)
Riverwatch is co-hosting the 26th Annual SW FL Water Resources Conference. The theme is "Resiliency: Reducing Impacts and Bouncing Back" and will explore choices facing our region on how to prepare for extreme events. Students are invited and can help organize the event. [Conference Web Site]
August 2016 CRCA Newsletter (2016-08-31)
The August 2016 CRCA newsletter is available online. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [August Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archives]
Marshall Foundation Symposium (2016-08-31)
The Marshall Foundations invites you to its Everglades Symposium to be held Oct 8 in West Palm Beach at the downtown Marriott. Keynote speaker is author and journalist Michael Grunwald. [Announcement] [Call for Presenters] [Marshall Foundation]
Solar Tax Breaks Approved (2016-08-31)
73% of voters approved Amendment 4 eliminating ad velorem taxes on solar and other renewable energy equipment on commercial properties. This will encourage businesses to use more solar. Next is the effort to vote down Amendment 1 on the November ballot - a fake pro-solar amendment. [Floridians for Solar Choice] [Victory + Opposition]
Calm Before the Storm (2016-08-30)
Lake Okeechobee discharges to the Caloosahatchee have been moderate in late August. However this may be the calm before the storm depending on how much rain the tropical depression in the Gulf brings to South Florida. Harmful Lake O discharges will soon pass the 1 million acre-feet mark. [S-79 Hydrograph] [Estuary Harmful Flows]
Fort Myers Beach Pirate Festival (2016-08-30)
Join jolly pirates, wenches, corsairs and beauties as they make camp and prepare for battle on the edge of the Historic Seaport District of Old San Carlos on Ft Myers Beach. The swashbuckling fun doesn’t stop for a moment during the Columbus Day weekend Oct 7-9th, 2016 celebration. [Website]
AWRA Annual Conference (2016-08-30)
The 2016 AWRA Annual National Conference is Nov 13-17 at Florida Hotel & Conference Center in Orlando. The Conference is a perfect opportunity for you to meet, learn from and share ideas with practitioners, policy and decision makers and academics across all fields in the water resources community. [Details]
Zika Drug Breakthrough (2016-08-30)
A team of researchers from Florida State University, Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health has found existing drug compounds that can both stop Zika from replicating in the body and from damaging the crucial fetal brain cells that lead to birth defects in newborns. [FSU News] [Photo] [Video]
Learn from Einstein (2016-08-29)
The remaining climate change deniers would be wise to learn from Einstein whose theories offered no tangible proof of an atomic bomb, but his theories & the models of other showed it would come into being. The USA wisely believed Einstein and embarked on a national program to command the future. [Skeptical Science]
Just for Sport, No Eating (2016-08-29)
Hundreds of fish and other marine life in the Indian River Lagoon washed up on area shores dead on Aug 25th. It's just the latest of many reports of fish kills Florida Fish and Wildlife has received over the summer. Residents who live and fish along the lagoon fear things are getting worse. [MyNews13]
Algae Cleanup (2016-08-29)
State data show a St. Lucie River marina choked with thick mats of toxic blue-green algae was toxin-free after a week of treatment by Ecosphere Technologies. Yet the Stuart company's algae removal method was "not viewed favorably" by a Florida DEP panel that assess dozens of businesses' proposals. [TCPalm] [Video]
Daniels Preserve (2016-08-29)
Ruby Daniels is a long-time Riverwatch member and friend. She's one who takes local preservation very seriously. Her family bought the Lee County ranch lands in 1944 and in 2005 she passed it to the County for preservation through the 20/20 program. [News-Press] [Ruby Daniels] [Daniels Preserve at Spanish Creek]
Doug MacGregor Cartoons (2016-08-29)
Anyone receiving the Riverwatch newsletter knows that we love cartoons. They cut to the heart of an issue. There are many great political cartoonists in Florida and Doug MacGregor is our local champion of chagrin. Big Arts features an exhibit of his works. [Cartoon] [More Cartoons]
Keep Calm & Carry Spray (2016-08-29)
Late August and September are the slowest months for tourism in Southwest Florida, but regardless of Zika concerns, visitors are still coming and enjoying a late-summer fling at our beaches, attractions, resorts and hotels. Keep calm and carry mosquito repellent! [News-Press]
Knock Before Entering Water (2016-08-29)
This is mating season for manatees and it is not that uncommon for people to see them on local beaches, splashing around each other with their big blubbery bodies. Please be cautious if you happen to witness this, and please, give them room. Stand back observe, But in no way should you interfere. [News-Press] [Video]
Sustainability Chautauqua (2016-08-29)
Please RSVP for the inaugural FGCU Sustainability Chautauqua on Sep 30 from 9am-3pm to be held at the newly opened Emergent Technologies Institute located on Alico Road. Registration is limited to the first 100 respondents, so register early if you want to contribute to the conversation! [Details] [Register]
Building Future Liabilities (2016-08-29)
You've heard of rearranging deck-chairs on the Titanic, but Cape Coral citizens are debating how to build new deck-chair on the Titanic. Just as 30-year mortgages finish on the 7-Islands planned developments, homeowners could start demanding government relief for sea level rise flooding. [News-Press]
Vacationer Disappointed in Water (2016-08-29)
A former Southwest Florida vacationer says, "I appeal to you to elect officials that will step up, immediately restore, and protect your beautiful region and attractions for the future and encourage business and continued tourism." [News-Press]
Time to Lawyer Up (2016-08-29)
On Aug 26 Governor Rick Scott named two lawyers to the Water Management District Board: Daniel O'Keefe and Federico Fernandez. The board now consists of 3 lawyers, 3 realtors, 1 developer, 1 farmer, and 1 engineer. [Press Release]
Watershed Moment (2016-08-26)
John Moran a Florida nature photographer and clean water advocate says our springs, rivers, lakes and coastal waters have been heading south for many years. The sliming of our waters is a growing public health threat, a deepening environmental crisis, and a looming economic disaster. [Gainesville.com] [John Moran] [Photo] [John Moran Florida Nature Photography]
St. Johns River Restoration (2016-08-26)
St. Johns River Water Management District completed the restoration of the headwaters of the St. Johns River at Fellsmere Grade Recreation Area in south Brevard Co. It took decades to rehabilitate a span of St. Johns River birthplace more than double the size of Orlando, which is 50-80 miles away. [Orlando Sentinel] [Photo]
Caloosahatchee August 17-23 (2016-08-26)
Discharges into the estuary at S-79 during the past week averaged 2,952 cfs, still exceeding the harm threshold of 2,800 cfs established for the estuary. Lake O discharges to the river, measured at S-77, averaged 545 cfs. Watershed inflows to the Franklin pool between S-78 & S-79 averaged 1,772 cfs. [Conditions Report] [Table] [More SCCF Reports]
Exploring Florida Maps (2016-08-26)
The Exploring Florida Maps collection contains approximately 6,000 historic and contemporary Florida maps that support all subject areas in the K-12 classroom. A friendly license allows teachers and students to use up to 25 maps in non-commercial school projects without further permission. [Florida Maps Website]
Preparations for Heavy Flooding (2016-08-26)
South Florida water managers are preparing for potential flooding that might come Sunday or Monday, Aug 28-29 because of rain generated by a tropical wave currently in the Atlantic Ocean. It does have all indications it is going to be very wet, SFWMD spokesman Ran Smith said. [Local10.com]
Natural Filter (2016-08-26)
Making the flow of water more natural means removing man-made dams and levees under Lake O as well as focusing on keeping water inside the peninsula. Projects like bridging Tamiami Trail and building a reservoir to purify water from the lake help to do that, according to the Everglades Foundation. [Article] [North vs. South Fact Sheet Map] [Listen]
More than Negron Needed (2016-08-26)
A static reservoir won't stop the discharges, said Gary Goforth, a Stuart-based environmental engineer with more than 30 years of experience. To better use the existing treatment areas would require a policy of moving water south from the lake 52 weeks a year, not just during the rainy season. [TCPalm] [Gary Goforth]
Do Not Make Us Mad (2016-08-26)
If you want to keep a low profile, don't disagree with the SFWMD, or ask for its email list. That's what Lisa Interlandi, a lawyer with the Everglades Law Center, and other environmental advocates have learned in the last few months as they have become the target of email blasts by the state agency. [Tampa Bay Times] [Miami Herald]
Clean Water of the North (2016-08-26)
Michael Kintzel of Ft Myers, returning from a brief vacation 70 miles to the north, describes the area's pristine aquamarine. He relocated to Ft Myers in 2006, but wonders if he made a bad decision in hindsight. If the politicians don't make the right moves now, he says he just may have to himself. [News-Press Mailbag]
Comments on Howard Opinion (2016-08-25)
Riverwatch member Paul Reynolds and director Wayne Daltry offered comments on the anti-EAA land purchase editorial by Johnson Engineering President Lonnie Howard. Both challenge his perspective. People inland and on the coast stand to gain or lose money based on EAA land use decisions [Comment] [Howard Opinion]
No Fix On The Horizon (2016-08-25)
Big Sugar conference panelists from the SW region included Karson Turner, John Capece, Jennifer Hecker and Ray Judah. Riverwatch director John Capece presented on issues of the Caloosahatchee, explaining that no water fix is yet on the horizon. Karson Turner spoke on Hendry County economics. [Capece Presentation] [Cris Costello, Organizer]
Punta Rassa Boat Ramp (2016-08-25)
Work to replace the Punta Rassa boat ramp is scheduled to begin Monday, August 22, 2016 and two of the four lanes will be open for much of the next three months. Occasional closings for all ramp lanes may also be scheduled for safety. Construction is expected to be completed by Thanksgiving. [Details] [Punta Rassa Boat Ramp]
A Win-Win Solution (2016-08-25)
SACE has released a new report that assesses the feasibility of using cooling towers as the solution to replacing the leaking open industrial sewer called the cooling canal system at FPL’s Turkey Point power facility that has threatened South Fla’s drinking water and adjacent Biscayne National Park. [Miami’s Community Newspapers]
Melting the Hearts of Deniers (2016-08-25)
The number of conservative voters who believe in climate change has almost doubled in the past two years, according to a new poll that attributes the rise in part to a lessening hostility toward the issue by Republican leaders. The Pope's encyclical, a warm winter & Paris Agreement are factors too. [Climate Wire]
United States of Extinction (2016-08-25)
Some 29 species and subspecies that are official state symbols across 24 US states are at risk of extinction, according to New Scientist's recent analysis. Many were once widespread, or the cornerstones of regional economies, but have since dwindled to small, fragile populations in the wild. [New Scientist] [Interactive Map]
Value of the Gulf of Mexico (2016-08-25)
Economists have long tried to put an economic value on our natural environment, often without clear results, but the cost to BP of the Deepwater Horizon spill is an indication of the immense value of just one environmental resource — the Gulf of Mexico. $61.6 billion paid in cleaning up the mess. [Tampa Bay Times]
More Sand for Miami Beach (2016-08-25)
During the coming weeks, the Corps will start $11.9 million project, trucking in loads of sand to extend the eroded shoreline of Miami Beach near 46th and 54th streets by about 230 feet. The sand in these areas has eroded, and the distance from the dunes to the water is shorter than usual. [Miami Herald]
Spill the Water (2016-08-25)
To help prevent infection and to reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, it is important for kids and parents to practice basic mosquito bite prevention: cover skin with long clothing and repellant and spill sources of standing water. More information is available at Dept. of Health website. [Information and Posters] [About Zika]
Zika Virus in Florida (2016-08-25)
With an abundant, almost year-round population of mosquitoes & a high volume of travelers from Zika-prone countries, Florida is especially vulnerable to an outbreak. According to Florida Dept. of Health, over 500 cases have been found in 35 counties in Florida, 70 of which involve pregnant women. [Zika Virus Info] [Daily Zika Update] [Spill the Water]
Return to Nature 2016 (2016-08-25)
Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium invites you to spend an evening of Oct 1st connecting with nature & Discovery Channel's Emmy Award Winning Cinematographer & Producer Andy Brandy Casagrande IV, benefiting Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium's 2017-2020 Revitalization Plan. Get your tickets now. [Flyer] [Tickets and Information]
Florida Birding & Nature Festival (2016-08-25)
The Florida Birding and Nature Festival, coming to south Hillsborough County Oct 13-16. The multi-day festival features a variety of outstanding speakers, how-to workshops, and small-group field trips to some of the best wildlife-viewing sites in West Central Florida. [Festival Website] [Tickets]
Climate Leadership Summit (2016-08-25)
8th Annual Southeast Florida Regional Climate Leadership Summit is on Oct 5-6 in West Palm. The annual summit is coordinated by the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, a partnership between Miami-Dade, Broward, Monroe and Palm Beach counties, their municipalities and other partners. [Summit Website] [Register Online] [Agenda]
Big Agriculture Choking Our Waterways (2016-08-25)
Brion Blackwelder & Marc Yaggi (Waterkeeper Alliance National Executive Director) say Florida is a microcosm of our serious national economic, human health & environmental crisis, with causes that are well understood & solutions that are aggressively opposed by powerful agribusiness interests. [Sun-Sentinel]
Corps Statement on EAA Water Storage (2016-08-25)
For Everglades restoration to be successful, we're going to need a huge amount of water storage and treatment in the EAA, said Col. Grosskruger of the Corps. The Corps is committed to working cooperatively with the state & with all stakeholders to obtain crucial hydrological benefits from EAA lands.
Earlier Annual Snowmelt (2016-08-25)
Earlier annual snowmelt periods may hinder the ability of forests to regulate atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), according to the results of a new study. By mid-century, shift in snowmelt timing could lead to 45 percent reduction of forest CO2 uptake. [National Science Foundation]
Cape Seeks to Remove Lock (2016-08-25)
In a unanimous vote on Jul 25th, the Cape Coral City Council approved the plan to move ahead with the removal of the Chiquita Lock. Roger Wood a local boater says the lock is important as it maintains the balance of fresh water in the back channels. However, Cape Coral continues push for removal. [Wink News] [Roger Wood] [Video]
Closing the Barn Door After (2016-08-25)
Recently, NMFS determined that Florida's NNC criteria as approved by EPA for DO, N, P, Chl a and turbidity would not jeopardize sawfish and other endangered species with regard to the ESA. It is assumed they could become jeopardized if the criteria are breached or exceeded. [Letter]
Tepid Local Support (2016-08-25)
A few local legislators find themselves in touchy positions with a proposal by Sen. Joe Negron to spend $2.4 billion to buy land south of the Everglades for water storage and cleaning. Sen. Jack Latvala who said he is supportive of the concept but needs to look at numbers and the whole proposal. [Tampa Bay Times]
Sea Level Prediction (2016-08-25)
Dr. John Fasullo of National Center for Atmospheric Research and colleagues predict that satellites will detect accelerating sea level rise within the next decade. We should know in a few years if they are correct. Their research paper shows that acceleration of sea level rise is real and ongoing. [The Guardian]
Constructed Wetland (2016-08-25)
Can a constructed wetland ever meet the TP WQS of 10 ppb TP when SAV efficiently recycle one-third of the TP from accreting SAV peat soil? This root-mediated P recycling is also going on in portions of the impounded remnant Everglades, albeit by cattail instead of SAV. [Ecological Modelling]
How Much is Too Much Land (2016-08-25)
It was an inevitable question to arise within a cracking James Madison Institute session on “environmentalism versus property rights”. Sen. Joe Negron's proposal to buy 60,000 acres of sugar growers' farmland to build a reservoir was the 900-pound gorilla in the room. [Sunshine State News] [John Cassani Comment]
Bullying by SFWMD (2016-08-25)
Politico.com reports that SFWMD has been treating policy debates more like overt political battles when engaging the public on state water management issues. Journalists are reporting on "bullying" by state agencies. Such tactics are typically employed by political candidates, not agency staff. [Politico]
State Trying to Bully Public (2016-08-24)
SFWMD recently sent an email notifying everyone it communicates with that Winter Haven attorney Lisa Interlandi made a Freedom of Information Act request. The district fulfilled her request but it also released contact information for Interlandi, essentially "outing" her as a potential troublemaker. [News-Press] [About Lisa Interlandi]
Ding Darling Days 2016 (2016-08-24)
Mark your calendars for this year's "Ding" Darling Days birding and eco-festival at J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island the week of October 16-22, 2016. Family Fun Day kicks off the week with free activities on October 16. [Poster] [Website]
Florida Fracking Summit (2016-08-24)
Mark your calendars and save the date to attend Florida Fracking Summit on November 2, 2016 at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers. The event is free to attend. Agenda TBA. A block of rooms has been set aside at the Holiday Inn Airport at Town Center. The rooms can be reserved before Oct 21. [Flyer] [Website]
Williamson Ranch (2016-08-24)
Frank Wesley Williamson III, an Okeechobee rancher, has developed practices that reduces his phosphorus footprint on Lake Okeechobee and surrounding waterways though south of the lake, where a federal lawsuit set strict standards, pollution has dropped to a trickle. [Miami Herald] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
Record Warm Alaska (2016-08-24)
Alaska has had the warmest start to any year dating to the 1920s, according to a government report released on August 8. This was the first time in 91 years of records the January-July mean temperature in our 49th state was above freezing. [Wunder Blog] [Graph] [Website]
New Area of Science Attribution (2016-08-24)
This relatively new area of science often called event attribution is rapidly advancing, for two main reasons: 1) the understanding of the climate and weather mechanisms that produce extreme events is improving, and 2) rapid progress is being made in the methods that are used for event attribution. [Extreme Weather Events]
Manufactured Emergency (2016-08-24)
The SFWMD is reviewing proposals from six large-tract landowners to pull water out of canals that otherwise would flow into the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, which would cost $45.5 million of the $47.8 million the 2016 Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott approved for more water storage projects. [TCPalm] [Map]
10M Grant Opportunity (2016-08-24)
The Gulf Research Program & Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are funding $10 million in research and practice grants to keep our coastal communities healthy and thriving. Letter of intent is due October 5, 2016. Full proposal is due December 14, 2014. Questions: Email gulfgrants@nas.edu [Details]
Phosphorus Loads into Lake O (2016-08-24)
Phosphorus loading into Lake O unchanged for 30 years. As the debate on how to control the flow and clean the water rages among Florida legislators, water managers, farmers and communities, one thing is clear: What we’ve been doing for the past 30 years isn’t working. [Okeechobee News]
Unsafe Water (2016-08-24)
More than one in eight public water systems in Florida is afflicted with pollution-related violations, many involving unsafe fecal or chemical contamination, according to official figures compiled by PEER. Yet despite hundreds of recent drinking water violations, enforcement efforts are nonexistent. [PEER] [Don't Drink the Water Report] [FDEP Water Report]
National Victory for Clean Water (2016-08-24)
On August 17, 2016 a coalition of environmental organizations led by Waterkeeper Alliance reached an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and two industry trade associations to adopt stronger standards in management of industrial stormwater pollution. [Waterkeeper Alliance]
Do Not Buy Land (2016-08-24)
Ardis Hammock of Clewiston said that at the New Harvest Church they discussed solutions to address Lake O water quality challenges and learned that the calls to purchase land south of Lake O are not backed by science and are driven by activists that have an anti-farming and anti-business agenda. [News-Press]
Algal Doom (2016-08-24)
Algal Doom: The Growing Threat of Harmful Algal Blooms infographic series gives background information on algal blooms, the problems they create and what causes them. They have spelled "algal doom" by turning drinking water toxic and ravaging aquatic ecosystems. [Infographic] [Details]
Local Tax for Water Quality (2016-08-24)
On Aug 23, 2016 Brevard County commissioners unanimously voted to institute a half-percent sales tax to help pay for restoration of the Indian River Lagoon. The proposal is headed for the Nov 8 ballot. Commissioner Trudie Infantini had qualms about the sales tax but she said she will vote for it. [Florida Today]
Open House - DEP SW District (2016-08-24)
2016 Open House at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Southwest District Offices is on Sep 28, from 10AM to 3PM in Tampa. Meet with staff, participate in trainings, learn useful tips and tricks, and much more. Enjoy lunch from one of the on-site food trucks! [Details and Free Registration]
Johnson Engineering President on EAA Lands (2016-08-21)
President of Johnson Engineering, Lonnie Howard opposes the EAA land purchases saying,"The land acquisition effort targets farmers who have been instrumental in the success of Everglades restoration to date." He accuses misguided activist groups of undermining Everglades restoration. [News Press] [Johnson Engineering Office in Clewiston] [Reactions]
Cris Costello, Slime Crime Fighter (2016-08-21)
Sierra Club Slime Crime Fighter led a sold-out, highly-successful Big Sugar Summit II in West Palm Beach on Aug 20. The day-long meeting explored issues surrounding the full range of obstacles to solutions for Lake O nutrient pollution and fresh water release to coastal estuaries. [Agenda] [Speakers Bio]
Here We Go Again (2016-08-13)
On September 14-15 SFWMD holds a 2-day symposium on the ecological indicators in the Caloosahatchee River Estuary, but it will not address the Minimum Flow and Level rule, one of the key mechanism for protecting this ecology. The previous indicators - oysters and sea grasses mostly died years ago. [Doering 2013] [Visioning Compendium] [Announcement]
Kennedy Explains Waterkeeper (2016-08-12)
On Aug 11 Vanity Fair published an interview by Bruno Navasky with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of Waterkeeper Alliance. Asked what a waterkeeper does? Kennedy responds, “Waterkeepers patrol local waterways and prosecute polluters. Essentially, they act as the community’s coast guard.” [Excerpts] [Interview] [Vanity Fair]
Mathilde Grand Tour of USA (2016-08-10)
After completing her 4-month program as Riverwatch intern, Mathilde Laurendon took a 3-week AMTRAK tour of the USA. After returning safe and sound, she said, "It was really AWESOME! I saw and did many things and I met a lot of people. Everybody was nice with me." Mathilde is now home in France. [Photo]
Negron Proposes EAA Storage (2016-08-09)
Sen. Negron proposes to buy 60,000 acres south of Lake O to store 120 billion gallons of water (370,000 acre-feet). This is be sufficient to address St. Lucie needs would not be enough to also reduce flows to the Caloosahatchee Estuary. Three times this storage is needed. But it’s a good start! [Caloosahatchee Volume] [St Lucie Volume]
Algae Watching - The New Thing (2016-08-09)
Sure, you can ID 250 types of birds by sight, but how many types of algae can you identify? Florida shores may have a new type of eco-tourism guide - the algae watcher. Instead of microcystin, the St Lucie now has Pyrodinium bahamense or brown tide. [TCPalm]
CAP vs BMPs for Water Quality (2016-08-09)
BMPs do nothing to improve water quality when farmers move their land from less intensive agriculture (forestry, etc.) to more intensive crops (vegetables, etc.). That's why CAP in the St Johns River basin is useful. It encourages farmers to move back to silviculture. [St Augustine]
SFWMD to Corps of Engineers (2016-08-08)
SFWMD told the Asst Secretary of the Army for the Corps of Engineers in DC that an EAA water storage study would be distracting and harmful. In a letter to Rep. Patrick Murphy the Corps had indicated its willingness to move forward with an EAA water storage study if SFWMD would cooperate. [SFWMD-Corps PR & Letters] [E&E News]
July 2016 CRCA Newsletter (2016-08-01)
The July 2016 CRCA newsletter is available online. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [July Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archives]
Florida Aquifer Conference (2016-08-01)
Florida Aquifer Conference will take place on Sep 21-22, 2016 at Florida Hotel & Conference Center – 1500 Sand Lake Road, Orlando. Two days of information-exchange and networking for scientists, engineers, water managers, water end-users, city, county & state officials & elected representatives. [Program] [Details] [Register online]
Glades Lives Matter (2016-08-01)
A meeting in Clewiston demanded that inland residents be protected in any plans to solve water problems. CRCA has always asserted that working-class people’s jobs must be considered. But when evolving an economy (coastal or inland) corporate interests are not always the same as people’s interests. [No Scapegoat] [Mutual Inaccuracies] [Sweet Life] [Hastings]
Big Sugar Summit 2016 (2016-08-01)
Big Sugar Summit #2 is on Saturday, August 20 from 9 am to 5 pm at Embassy Suites West Palm Beach - 1601 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33406. Registration is $20. Questions? Contact the organizer: Jon Ullman, jon.ullman@sierraclub.org, (305) 567-0022. [Details] [Register online]
Vote YES for Solar on Aug 30 (2016-08-01)
Solar energy supporters encourage you to say YES to Amendment 4 on the Aug 30 ballot. Climate change is the ultimate factor on whether we can save South Florida waters. If you care about water, you should support this amendment. It removes burdensome tangible and real estate property taxes on solar. [Sign Up to VOTE BY MAIL] [Tell Friends on Facebook Why You Support Solar] [Web Site]
DEP Allows More Toxins in Water (2016-08-01)
John Moran, a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at Stanford University, staged a protest at the meeting where DEP recommended adoption of higher levels of toxic substances in water supplies. Waterkeepers, Clean Water Network, and others also attended the meeting to oppose the weakened regulations. [Moran OpEd] [News] [DEP ERC OpEd] [Waterkeeper Letter]
Lake Erie & Lake Okeechobee (2016-07-31)
Tom Hayden of the Toledo Blades describes parallels between the putrid algae that has sickened South Florida and the green goop that has appeared in western Lake Erie nearly every summer since 1995. Lake Okeechobee & Lake Erie are both prone to algal growth because of heavy agricultural runoff. [The Toledo Blade] [Lake Erie Algae]
July Flow to Estuary Still Harmful (2016-07-31)
Flow to the Caloosahatchee Estuary during July remained at or above harm levels. In In 2016 the days of harmful flow have numbered 156 (74% of the year). Of total harmful flows, 75% have been from Lake O and 25% from the watershed. [Lake O Stage History] [Lake & Watershed Flow Graph]
Suggest a Speaker (2016-07-28)
Riverwatch is a co-host of the Southwest Florida Water Resources Conference to be held Jan 13 at FGCU. The topic for the 26th year of the conference is "Resiliency: Reducing Impacts and Bouncing Back." We invite you to view the Call for Presenters and suggest speakers for the conference. [SWFWRC Call for Presenters] [Suggest an Presenter or Panelist]
You & You Have a Problem, We All Have a Problem (2016-07-18)
In speaking in Ft Myers on issues of the Caloosahatchee with community mayors and environmental representatives, Senator Bill Nelson decried finger pointing emphasizing that all communities and governments will have to do their part to solve regional water problems. [Rae Ann & Sen Nelson] [News Press with Video]
We Will Feel The Burn (2016-07-15)
Ft Myers is #2 on the list of US cities expected to see the greatest increase in number of days with a heat index of 105F or higher by 2050 due to climate change. Punta Gorda is #1. The top 13 cities are all in Florida. Ft Myers had 26 such days in 2000. In 14 years from now it will be 135 days. [Ft Myers Heat Index] [Climate Central Article] [Web Site with City Calculator] [Climate Central Florida Heat] [States At Risk]
Not Really a Change in Policy (2016-07-15)
The day (July 14) the Corps announced it would reduce flows from Lake O to the Caloosahatchee starting July 15, they in fact increased flow from 2200 cfs to 2500 cfs. It appears that flow reductions are simply an artifact of a lower lake and less rainfall, not changing Corps management decisions. [Lake Okeechobee Stage] [Flow Graph]
Circle of Blue on Florida Algae (2016-07-15)
Global media are now following Florida's algae story. Dr. Bill Mitsch of FGCU says: What's going on in Florida, it's happening all around the world now. There are too many people, too much food production, too much fertilizer in the landscape. It's going to be haunting us for a long time. [Circle of Blue 1] [Circle of Blue 2] [Registration]
Another Toxic Algae Threat (2016-07-15)
A toxic algae has been poisoning birds throughout the South. Now it is lurking in Florida's freshwater lakes. So far it has been blamed for killing thousands of birds. No birds killed by the algae's poisons have been found in Florida but to the top expert on the subject, it is only a matter of time. [Tampa Bay Times] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3]
Environmental Groups in DC (2016-07-15)
Environmental groups are sending a contingent to Washington, D.C. in hopes the federal government will put pressure on the state to buy agriculture lands south of Lake O for Everglades restoration projects. Jennifer Hecker and others met Rep. Curt Clawson and Congressman Patrick Murphy in D.C. [News Press] [Jennifer Hecker] [Santiva Chronicle] [Video]
Algae Bloom Is Not A Myth (2016-07-15)
We all admit that there's problems there and it started a very long time ago, said Mickey Ferry, a manager. He's seen algae blooms come and go over the past 20 years or so while working at various Ft. Myers Beach restaurants. Every time the algae-tainted waters flow, SW FL businesses feel it. [News Press] [Tallarico Opinion] [Video] [Cartoon]
Charlotte Harbor NEP Leader Selection (2016-07-14)
The short list of candidates being considered as the new leader of the Charlotte Harbor NEP program include Jennifer Hecker, Elizabeth Donley, John Glenn, Charles Jacoby, Jay Leverone, and Tabitha Stadler. The selection of CHNEP executive director is extremely important to the Caloosahatchee. [CHNEP Interviews Announcement]
Caloosahatchee July 6-12 (2016-07-14)
Discharges into the estuary at S-79 averaged 4,158 cfs, one and a half times the harm threshold. Lake O discharges to the river at S-77 decreased to a weekly average of 2,285 cfs. Blue-green algae was documented over 35 miles of the river from the Alva Boat Ramp to Cape Coral Yacht Club. [Conditions Report] [Photo Blue Green Algae] [More SCCF Reports]
Lake O Is Not Fine (2016-07-14)
Lake O water quality is not fine. Lake O is a polluted water body, and when it experiences toxic algae blooms, the drinking water drawn from the portion of the lake experiencing the toxic algae bloom has to undergo special treatment to ensure that the toxin is removed down to safe levels. [Larry Fink Comment] [My Palm Beach Post]
No More Excuses (2016-07-14)
Disastrous algae blooms foul coastal estuaries. Seagrass die-offs plague Florida Bay. High water threatens the Lake Okeechobee dike. Everglades marshes drown under too much water or wither under too little. All the ecological crises in 2016 are just already seen, all over again. [The Facts] [Tampa Bay Times] [Myth vs Fact]
Nutrients + Warmer Water = Algae (2016-07-14)
Dangerous blue-green algae blooms are going to be more prevalent as the climate warms, says Rob Moore, senior policy analyst for NRDC. It is yet another reason why the U.S. and governments around the world must take rapid action to decrease emissions that are causing climate change. [Article from The Daily Beast] [Photo Algae Bloom] [Comic Strip] [Cartoon]
Obstacle to Solutions (2016-07-14)
Big Sugar is not a source of the water flowing to the coasts from Lake O, but it is a major political obstacle to water storage on EAA farmland, a solution to these wet-season high flows. During the dry-season when the estuary needs water, EAA Sugar irrigation demands are a major limitation. [Sun Sentinel 1] [Sun Sentinel 2] [Tampa Bay Times] [WPTV] [Video]
Boat Wash Florida (2016-07-14)
Does a clean boat bottom appeal to you? Leaders of a boat-wash business new to the USA visited marinas in Southwest Florida in an effort to land new customers. Drive-in Boatwash manufactures, sells and operates machines that wash boat hulls. Fourteen machines operate in Sweden, where it is based. [News Press] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Video]
Not That Much Algae (2016-07-14)
Lee County tourism promoters have adopted a new marketing slogan - Our algae bloom is not as bad as Martin County's. Seems they have to resort to claiming that our water is simply brown and doesn't have the guacamole-green froth of east coast water. Tourists respond to pollution by not returning. [News Press] [Photos] [Video]
How to Handle 1 Million People (2016-07-14)
Lee County is at a critical juncture. In less than 20 years, we will have 1 million permanent residents. Where will our water come from? Will we reinvigorate Conservation 20-20 to preserve natural areas or change our priorities and pave over our open spaces like other Florida counties have done? [Dick Anderson Opinion] [Photo Dick Anderson] [Resume of Dick Anderson]
Developers Should Pay (2016-07-14)
Four Miami-Dade commissioners have suggested an idea so new it doesn't appear any other city has implemented it: Create new impact fees that would require developers to basically pay for their portion of the burden of sea-level-rise-related costs. [Miami New Times] [4 Commissioners]
Active On Their First Day (2016-07-14)
New Riverwatch members Tom Hammond & Phil James, snowbirds from Canada, attended the Everglades Coalition law workshop at the Conservancy in Naples where they met and talked with Riverwatch directors Cassani, Gibson, Capece & Abduvohidova. The day included some fun tours of the Conservancy. [Meeting Agenda] [Tom and Phil] [Phil Job]
Opinions on Water Quality Issues (2016-07-13)
(1) Paul Christopher: I have watched reporting on water quality issues affecting coastlines and rivers in a state that largely depends on tourism. It’s a serious issue. (2) C. Kay Best: The brown polluted water continues to take its toll. We are living in the worst ecological disaster of our times. [Paul Christopher Opinion] [C. Kay Best Opinion]
Paul Reynolds Editorial (2016-07-13)
Riverwatch Member Paul Reynolds writes about the shortcomings of the C-43 West Reservoir Project saying: Who, in the governing infrastructure, speaks for our rivers, estuaries, and coasts? Frankly, the job is open, and without far more spirited community involvement, our water woes will never end. [Editorial] [Photo Paul Reynolds] [Comments]
Protest in Fort Myers Beach (2016-07-13)
Supporters of clean water in Southwest Florida gathered at the Fort Myers Beach Pier on July 9, calling for government action on water quality. The rally, attended by about 150, was put on by the Southwest Florida Clean Water Movement, led by John Heim. Other groups were present too. [News Press] [Photos] [Video]
Septic Systems - Minor Source (2016-07-12)
Larry Fink and others question Brian Lapointe's assertion that septic tanks are the major cause of the east coast algal bloom. Indeed, septic tank seepage makes only a minor contribution to the limiting nutrient load to Lake O, the St. Lucie River Canal and the Indian River Lagoon. [TC Palm] [Opinion Larry Fink] [Details]
Lake O Watershed Scoping (2016-07-12)
The Army Corps of Engineers will be hosting a public scoping meeting on July 26 in Okeechobee to discuss and seek input on the Lake O Watershed Project. Those concerned by the coastal algae issue should attend to seek solutions to the crisis brought on by years on inaction and misguided action. [Meeting Announcement] [USACE] [LOW Project Location] [Meeting Location]
Carl Hiaasen Opinions (2016-07-12)
They say a picture tells a thousand words. If it’s a picture of an algae-covered beach, it can also cancel thousands of hotel reservations. That’s the new dread in Florida, as photos and news videos of gunk-covered shorelines are making headlines all over the world. [Miami Herald Opinion] [TC Palm Opinion] [St Augustine Opinion] [Algae Photo] [Photo Carl Hiaasen]
Frog Hunt for Research (2016-07-12)
What are some of the differences between now and 25 years ago? Ask anyone who has lived in rural Florida over this period and their response might include the observation of how most of the frogs are now gone. Two emerging amphibian diseases that are killing frogs across the world. [Article from Orlando Sentinel] [Photos] [Video]
Record of Hottest Temperatures (2016-07-12)
2014 and 2015 each set the record for hottest calendar year since we began measuring surface temperatures over 150 years ago, and 2016 is almost certain to break the record once again. It will be without precedent: the first time that we have seen 3 consecutive record-breaking hot years. [Article from The Guardian] [Land Surface Temperature] [Global Surface Temperature] [Predictions 2016]
Interactive Algae Data Map (2016-07-11)
With algal blooms spreading in South Florida waters State agencies have stepped up their monitoring efforts. DEP and SFWMD routinely sample algal blooms when they are observed. The state’s algal blooms response team encourages residents to report algal blooms. WPTV has mapped the sampling locations. [WPTV] [Interactive Map] [Photo Algae]
Coastal Angler Magazine (2016-07-11)
Thank you to Nadeen Welch for attending the CRCA Board meeting n July 6, and sharing copies of the article she published in the July's Fort Myers edition of the Coastoal Angler Magazine. CRCA looks forward to working with her to produce monthly contributions to her publication. [Mail John Capece] [CRCA Magazine Page]
Scott Blames Obama (2016-07-11)
Gov. Rick Scott has asked President Obama to declare a federal emergency over the discharges of water from Lake O. In his request, Scott blamed the crisis on the federal government for 'lack of appropriate maintenance' of the Herbert Hoover Dike, which retains water in the lake. [News Press] [Photo Rick Scott] [Photo Barack Obama] [Poll Results] [Video]
Sawfish Resurgence (2016-07-11)
It took less than 100 years for man to wipe sawfish from existence in North America. But thanks to conservation efforts, the critically endangered species has started to rebound, and Southwest Florida has been the epicenter of that resurgence. [News Press] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Video] [Sawfish in Naples Pier]
Florida Algae Goes National (2016-07-11)
The major newspapers and TV networks are covering this year's algae blooms. The national attention will cost the state tourist dollars. But will it be enough shaming to force politicians to stop their practice of only giving lip service to water quality while doing favors for industry supporters. [New York Times] [CBS] [Chicago Tribune] [Video]
Opinion Philip Warburg (2016-07-11)
Floating solar panel arrays are increasingly being deployed in places as diverse as Brazil and Japan. One prime spot for these floatovoltaic projects could be the sunbaked U.S. Southwest, where they could produce clean energy and prevent evaporation in major man-made reservoirs. [Opinion Philip Warburg] [Photo Philip Warburg] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
Catastrophic When Algae Die (2016-07-11)
As bad as the actual massive algae bloom on the Treasure Coast, sometime in the coming days or weeks or months, it’s going to die. And when it does, the impact on flora and fauna will make the current disaster look like a tipped bait bucket by comparison. [My Palm Beach Post] [Photo Algae Bloom] [Photo William Louda] [Video]
Corruption - Toxic Water Crisis (2016-07-08)
The massive, toxic algae bloom has its origins in an ongoing cycle of political manipulations, kickbacks, loosening of environmental and water regulations, an aging water-transfer infrastructure in and around Lake Okeechobee. It all adds up to one vicious chain, and guess who gets to foot the bill? [Article from Forbes] [Cartoon] [Explications About Algae] [Photo Toxic Algae]
Water Issues Opinions (2016-07-08)
(1) J.P. Sasser: if we turn a blind eye to the real causes of water issues, we have no hope of ever resolving them. (2) Brad Turek: we need to ask our governor why he continues to choose to destroy South Florida's entire ecosystem. Isn’t everyone tired of looking at disgusting polluted brown water? [News Press] [Ray Judah Editorial]
Septic Systems - River Pollution (2016-07-08)
Septic systems are a primary source of St. Lucie River pollution, according to a study commissioned from the FAU HBOI. The finding refutes an opinion popular with some local officials and environmentalists that Lake O discharges and fertilizer in agricultural runoff are the primary sources. [TC Palm] [Photo Reef] [St Lucie Estuary Inflows] [Video]
Caloosahatchee June 29-July 5 (2016-07-08)
Discharges into the estuary at S-79 averaged 6,203 cfs, over 2 times the harm threshold. Lake O discharges to the river at S-77 averaged 2,700 cfs. Lee County Environmental Lab found blue-green algae from the Alva boat ramp, and salinities at Iona are in the harmful range for oysters. [Conditions Report] [Photo Seagrass 1] [Photo Seagrass 2] [More SCCF Reports]
Lake Erie Algae Blooms (2016-07-07)
Higher intensity rainfall and no-till agriculture is causing the Lake Erie algae blooms. Researchers say these factors cause runoff waters to contain more dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP), a nutrient nearly 100% available for the algae to use. Farmers will have to further reduce pollution. [Circle of Blue] [Satellite Image] [Lake Erie Comic] [Text Larry Fink] [Nutrients Background] [Graphics]
Florida DEP Launches Hotline (2016-07-07)
Florida DEP has set up a hotline for citizens to report algae bloom. This will enable the state agencies to know exactly how many complaints they are doing nothing to resolve and how they can best design a PR campaign to counteract the complaints. [Article from WFLA] [Photo Central Marine Stuart] [Cartoon]
Algae Bloom Economic Disaster (2016-07-07)
After touring the Stuart algae bloom, Sen. Marco Rubio said: This is beyond just an ecological disaster, it is an economic disaster. Such statements reveal the underlying problem perspective of politicians - that the ecology doesn’t really matter to them unless and until it hits them in the wallet. [Sunshine State News] [Photo Toxic Algae] [Video] [Visit of Marco Rubio]
More Algae Off SW FL (2016-07-07)
NASA satellite images show more algae offshore of SW FL than off the east coast of Florida. Red indicates greater Chlorophyll A, an indicator for algae concentration. Measuring Chlorophyll concentrations as an indicator of algae biomass may provide one tool to assess coastal water quality. [Chlorophyll Concentration] [Bimonthly Report] [Chlorophyll A July 1] [Chlorophyll A July 6] [Data July 1] [Data July 6]
NASA Satellite Images (2016-07-06)
Images of an algae bloom on Lake O have been posted on NASA’s Earth Observatory’s website. In May 2016, an algae bloom grew to cover 33 square miles of Lake O. The conditions that gave rise to the bloom have persisted into July & have been blamed for affecting water quality all the way to Atlantic. [TC Palm] [Satellite Image 1] [Satellite Image 2] [Satellite Image 3]
Not All From the Lake (2016-07-06)
According to James Sasser, hopefully those most interested in the preponderance of algae blooms on the Treasure Coast take the time to actually read the results of the algae monitoring put out by the DEP. We all want the discharges from Lake Okeechobee to stop. And the blue-green algae too. [James Sasser Editorial] [Old Map] [New Map] [Photo James Sasser] [Levels of Algae Toxins]
Water Becomes Election Theme (2016-07-06)
Every local election develops 1 or 2 key themes but rarely does a single issue take on the kind of visceral role that water (specifically water from Lake O released down the Caloosahatchee) plays in 2016. Almost every challenger in the Aug 30 primary cites water as the major, if not only, issue. [News Press]
Photo Ops and Sound Bites (2016-07-06)
Comments by readers reacting to reports of Marco Rubio visiting the St Lucie River algae bloom sites reflect the feeling that many of our political leaders directly contributed to the catastrophe through their years of inaction and favoratism to big business, both agricultural and urban development. [Visit of Marco Rubio] [Photo Marco Rubio] [Video Marco Rubio] [Visit of Bill Nelson] [Photo Bill Nelson]
Uncertain Cost Effectiveness (2016-07-06)
One of Gov Scott's emergency directives to SFWMD was to store more water using dispersed water storage projects. This pays farmers to not release waters. But sources have said that during recent storms it reduced flow to the Caloosahatchee by only a couple hundred cfs, less than 10% of harmful flow. [TC Palm] [2014 Palm Beach Post] [2014 Inspector General]
Michael Grunwald Tweets (2016-07-05)
Michael Grunwald, author of The Swamp, has Tweeted about the algae bloom saying: My gripe with the original plan (CERP) was that it treated restoration as an afterthought, an add-on once all the economic interests got theirs. [Tweet Algae Bloom] [All Tweets] [Michael Grunwald]
Bill Nelson Visited Stuart (2016-07-05)
US Sen. Bill Nelson visited Stuart to see the blue-green algae that has spread dramatically in area waters. He called on the state to buy land south of the Lake O to make way for reservoirs and canals to clean water and send it into the Everglades instead of the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers. [TC Palm] [Photos] [Bill Nelson] [Video]
Cold Water Blob (2016-07-05)
A cold water blob south of Greenland for the past few years could be an indicator that less warm water, and less heat overall, is making its way northward. This is a development long predicted as a result of climate change and could foreshadow danger. An alternate explanation is more benign. [Cold Blob Graphic 1] [Cold Blob Graphic 2] [Washington Post]
Caloosahatchee Flow Statistics (2016-07-05)
For the first half of 2016, the Caloosahatchee River flow rate has been at or above 'harmful' levels 70% of the time (days). Approximately 60% of the flow has come from Lake O and 40% from our watershed. 73% of harmful flows (those above 2800 cfs) have from Lake O and 27% from the watershed. [Flow Statistics Graphic]
SFWMD Derided Algae Warnings (2016-07-01)
On May 11, before this year's horrible algae blooms, Riverwatch held a public forum to discuss the risk of algae blooms in the proposed C-43 West Reservoir that will cost $650 Million. SFWMD reacted by calling the citizens "one-sided detractors in pursuit of an agenda without facts to support it." [SWFMD Press Release] [Public Forum] [Forum Presentations]
Lee County - State of Emergency (2016-07-01)
Gov. Rick Scott added Lee County to the state of emergency on Jun 30, regarding water conditions in Lake O. Massive algal blooms have shut down swimming beaches and recreational areas in the St. Lucie area. Lee joins St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach counties on the emergency declaration. [News Press] [Photo Turtle] [Letter State of Emergency] [Cartoon] [Video]
Urban Growth (2016-07-01)
Pollution from population growth and urban development — not water releases from Lake Okeechobee — is the primary cause of the foul-smelling slime turning many waterways in Martin County a bright blue-green, an expert in algae blooms said. [My Palm Beach Post] [Comment] [Photo Algae] [Video]
Emergency Declaration (2016-07-01)
After building political careers by eliminating water quality protections, Sen. Benacquisto and Reps. Caldwell & Rodrigues have seen the light (probably reflecting off the algae sheen) and are now asking Gov Scott to include Lee County in an emergency declaration to address blue-green algae blooms. [Florida Politics 1] [Florida Politics 2] [The 3 Lawmakers] [Map Lee County]
Jun 2016 CRCA Newsletter (2016-06-30)
The June 2016 CRCA newsletter is available online. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [June Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archives]
Watershed Council on MFL (2016-06-30)
John Cassani submitted comments for inclusion in the SFWMD first meeting of the next update to the LWCWSP. He focused on the need to incorporate the new MFL flow target into the plans for the revised LWCWSP. Without this, it could be 2 cycles of the LWCWSP planning process before C-43 is complete. [Comments John Cassani] [Photo John Cassani] [Biography John Cassani] [Info Meeting LWC] [Agenda]
Emergency Seen Coming Mile Away (2016-06-30)
Gov. Scott declared an emergency after severe algae blooms on the St Lucie River & its beaches. Lee County wants a similar declaration for the Caloosahatchee side of Lake O. For years Gov. Scott has dismantled water quality regulations and blocked land purchases so this "emergency" was predictable. [Sunshine State News] [News Press] [Washington Post] [Video 1] [Video 2] [Video 3]
Caloosahatchee June 22-28 (2016-06-30)
Discharges into the estuary at S-79 averaged 7,135 cfs, two and a half times the harm threshold. Lake O discharges to the river at S-77 averaged 4,156 cfs. Lee County Environmental Lab documented blue-green algae from the Alva boat ramp, and SCCFs Marine Lab documented elevated cyanobacteria levels. [Conditions Report] [Graphic] [Info] [More SCCF Reports]
Everglades Restoration is Failing (2016-06-29)
Contrary to the fantasy world in which the lawyers lived, over the last 20 years the Everglades continued to degrade in sediment quality as the TP in the hotspot sediments continued to recycle, migrate and spread, as Chris McVoy, Larry Edward Fink and others predicted. [Info] [Larry Edward Fink] [Facts]
Coral Crash Has Begun (2016-06-29)
Chris Langdon, a University of Miami marine biologist, didn't think this would happen for another 50 or 60 years. Langdon and his team discovered that as ocean water becomes more acidic, due to carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, Florida's coral reefs are disintegrating and dying off. [CNN] [Photos] [Chris Langdon] [Coral Bleaching] [Video]
Sea Level Rise - Impacts (2016-06-29)
South Florida faces immediate and long-term threats from climate change. Impact of sea-level rise is evident in the form of urban flooding during high tides and storms — saltwater intrusion that endangers groundwater supplies and inland ecosystems, and coastal erosion that is compromising beaches. [Urban Land Magazine] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Impact on Miami] [Adaptation Action Areas]
Runoff Darkens Beach Waters (2016-06-29)
Sanibel Director of Natural Resources, James Evans urged the Corps to reduce Lake Okeechobee flows to the Caloosahatchee. Photos compare water color effects from Lake O discharges on June 2 (3750 cfs) and June 26 (4150 cfs) plus watershed runoff rates of 750 cfs and 2850 cfs on the same dates. [WPTV] [Comparison Photos]
Caloosahatchee June 15-21 (2016-06-29)
Discharges into the estuary at S-79 averaged 9,046 cfs, over 3 times the harm threshold. Lake O discharges to the river at S-77 increased to an average of 4,261 cfs. Watershed inflows to the Franklin pool between S-78 and S-79 averaged 3,466 cfs. On Jun 16, blue-green algae appeared in the river. [Conditions Report] [Table] [More SCCF Reports]
Some May Never Swim Again (2016-06-28)
Martin County held an emergency meeting before July 4 weekend to discuss the incredible algae blooms on St. Lucie River and beaches. People are advised to avoid contact with the water. But like after a Jaws movie, it may be hard to get some to ever swim again once they see the horrible algae video. [Video Kenny Hinkle Jr] [Jaws of Algae] [Palm Beach Post] [Video WPTV] [Article WPTV] [TC Palm]
Both Ends of River (2016-06-28)
DEP is receiving reports of fish kills at both ends of the Caloosahatchee River - Clewiston (Lake Okeechobee), and Cape Coral (Estuary). Algal blooms are the suspected cause of the fish kills in both cases. But it is necessary to have water samples collected for further analysis. [Info] [Article from Earthjustice] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
CEPP or SMART (2016-06-28)
The CEPP projects north of Lake Okeechobee are designed to treat 0.25 million acre-feet of water per year to the 10 ppb level. However, the proposed southern flowway could treat 1.75 million acre-ft (4 feet of Lake O) to 10 ppb total phosphorus. [Info] [Report Larry Edward Fink] [Report ASCE] [CV Larry Edward Fink]
Half A Disastrous Year (2016-06-28)
In the first half of 2016 (the dry half) harmful flows to the Caloosahatchee Estuary (above 2800 cfs) will have totaled 900,000 acre-feet. 73% has come from Lake Okeechobee (18 inches of lake depth) and 27% from the river's watershed east of Franklin Lock (7 inches of watershed runoff). [Harmful Flow Graphic]
Florida Forage Fish Newsletter (2016-06-27)
Florida Forage Fish Coalition celebrates a Resolution in which FWC commits to doing its job of protecting the smaller fish species and their habitats so the larger fish have something to eat. But signing paper differs vastly from taking real action based on long-term science and logic. [Newsletter] [Forage Fish Infographic] [Forage Fish Resolutions]
US Out of Step and Touch (2016-06-27)
75% of Australians believe Climate Change is an important global issue. 57% of Australians want to act on climate change irrespective of whether other countries do or not. US public concern over climate change peaked at 72% in 2000 and then dropped to 51% by 2011 and now stands at 64%. [Article from The Conversation] [Article from Gallup] [Global Warming Trends] [Graphic Greatest Threats]
River Kidz (2016-06-27)
River Kidz is a non-profit organization that will cover the entire Caloosahatchee River Basin. The objective of River Kidz is to educate kids from ages 5-15 on environmental issues regarding our lakes, river basin, estuaries, tributaries and Gulf of Mexico. [Info] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [River Kidz Workbook] [River Kidz Song]
Critics - Hazardous Chemicals (2016-06-24)
Critical contend that DEP officials hope a lack of public scrutiny will allow them to push through changes to increase the amount of hazardous chemicals allowed in the discharge of industrial waste into the state’s rivers, streams, canals, lakes and coastal waters. [Florida Bulldog 1] [Florida Bulldog 2] [News Press] [Details]
Urban Resilience Climate Change (2016-06-24)
EPA announced the availability of the draft report which describes an assessment tool that uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative indicators to help cities identify areas of resilience and vulnerability to climate change impacts across different sectors. [EPA Article] [Report] [Federal Register Notice] [History]
Water Discharge Issue (2016-06-24)
The St. Lucie River watershed has 6 major inflows into the estuary: Lake O, Ten Mile Creek, the C-24, C-23, C-44 basins, and the tidal basin. The total annual average flows into the estuary are 321 billion gallons but this year the amount of water may greatly exceed the average volume. [TC Palm 1] [TC Palm 2] [Photo Algae]
Yes On Conservation 20-20 (2016-06-23)
Yes On Conservation 20-20 is a coalition of local citizens and organizations working to support the passage of the Lee County Conservation 20-20 referendum on Nov 8, 2016. Conservation 20-20 is Lee County’s willing-seller conservation lands acquisition and management program. [Flyer] [Brochure] [Informations 20-20]
Algae in St Lucie (2016-06-23)
Algae blooms in the St. Lucie River are getting more numerous, and a massive bloom in Lake O apparently is getting more toxic. Blue-green algae samples taken Jun 14 and 15 from Lake O contained more than 20 times the amount of toxins considered hazardous by the World Health Organization. [TC Palm] [Story JTL 1] [Story JTL 2] [Video 1] [Video 2]
Water Half Alive Not Half Dead (2016-06-23)
In their algae monitoring web page, Florida DEP chooses words to low-ball algae toxicity. DEP states that WHO considers a concentration of 10 ug/L to be low risk, rather than stating that concentrations above 10 are unsafe. This approach reflects DEP tendency to downplay environmental concerns. [DEP Web Page Image] [DEP Page (Jun 23)] [Current DEP Site]
Assasination of International Activists (2016-06-23)
The U.S. Congress is considering a bill to suspend all security aid to Honduras after the murder of an environmental activist in Honduras. Investigation revealed that Berta Caceres' name appeared on a hit list of a Honduran military police unit that was trained by U.S. Marine Corps and FBI agents. [Message Friends of the Earth] [Script Friends of the Earth] [Huffington Post] [Photo Berta Caceres] [Berta Caceres Info]
Master Gardener Cohort 2016 (2016-06-23)
The UF-IFAS Lee County Extension Service will conduct a Master Gardener training from Aug 19 to Nov 18, 2016. This 13-week comprehensive course will offer students thorough training on basic botany, agriculture, horticulture and on the principles of Florida’s unique and delicate ecology. [UF Message] [Master Gardener Application] [Brochure]
Dangerous Levels of Algae Toxins (2016-06-23)
Lake O researcher Paul Gray sent a message to DEP asking for stepped-up monitoring of algae blooms. DEP sampling on June 14-15 revealed algae toxin concentration more than 30 times the EPA safe level for contact with the water (10 ug/L) and 200 times the safe drinking water level (1.6 ug/L). [Message Paul Gray] [DEP Algae Report] [EPA Mycrosystin Report] [Photo Paul Gray] [Map]
Impacts of TS Colin (2016-06-22)
More rain means more water quality issues for cities such as Ft. Myers and Stuart, where Lake O water is released to prevent lands south of the lake from flooding. Coupled with stormwater runoff from the Caloosahatchee watershed, lake waters turned both coasts brown for much of the tourism season. [News Press] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4] [Video]
Another Party Line Vote (2016-06-22)
Citizens Climate Lobby boasts bi-partisan support on climate change issues. However, on June 10, the US House of Representatives denounced the idea of a carbon tax. The vote was mostly along party lines. 6 of 169 Democrats were against the tax, all 231 Republicans opposed a carbon tax. [CCL] [The Guardian] [Opportunities] [Photo Steve Scalise]
Conservation 20-20 Update (2016-06-22)
Conservation 20-20 is an environmentally-sensitive land acquisition and stewardship program in Lee County, which preserves and protects environmentally critical land in Lee County. The Conservation 20-20 program will appear as a non-binding referendum on the Nov 2016 ballot in Lee County. [Lee County Ordinance] [Meetings in June] [Ballot Language​] [Status Map]
July CRCA Board Meeting (2016-06-22)
The CRCA-Riverwatch Board of Directors will meet on Wednesday, July 6th, at the High Point Place conference room, in Fort Myers. This meeting is open to members of CRCA. Our goal is to educate and inform people on the importance of protecting the Caloosahatchee. [Location] [Photo High Point Place]
Comment - Judy Clayton Sanchez (2016-06-21)
According to Judy Clayton Sanchez (in response to the Everglades Coalition's guest commentary), U.S. Sugar is committed to getting the facts out about the complexity of our water system and the fresh water discharges that are unfortunately happening more often than any of us would like. Agree? [Clayton Editorial] [EvCo Editorial] [Judy Clayton] [Waters Crisis]
Waterkeeper Interview RFK Jr (2016-06-21)
Rains wash 80% of phosphorus fertilizers into streams creating algae that destroy the ecosystem. But farm & wastewater P can be transformed into a particular fertilizer that only dissolves when the plant roots release certain acids at times they need to take up the nutrient. The P never washes off. [Interview] [Photo RFK Jr] [Gibsons at Conference]
Lake O Discharges (2016-06-21)
The amount of Lake O discharges in 2016 passing through the St. Lucie Lock and Dam near Stuart surpassed 136.1 billion gallons, the amount of water released during 'The Lost Summer' of 2013. The water can be devastating to the estuary, as it needs to maintain a certain amount of salinity. [TC Palm] [Map] [Photo Lake Okeechobee 1] [Photo Lake Okeechobee 2]
Hazardous Pesticide Ingredients (2016-06-20)
A federal judge in California has ruled that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under no obligation to force pesticide makers to disclose supposedly 'inert' ingredients in their products - even where those ingredients are seriously hazardous to health or environment. [Article from The Ecologist] [Photo Pesticides] [Report Secret Ingredients in Pesticides] [ANPR] [Complaint] [EPA Letter]
Snorkeling Adventure (2016-06-20)
Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves staff once again will provide snorkeling eco-adventures on select weekdays, from June to September. New this year: a separate, one-hour nature boat trip. The excursions depart from Gasparilla Marina, in Placida. [News Press Snorkeling] [Photo Aiden Perez] [Photo Melinda Brown] [Photo Laura Ruane] [Map Gasparilla Marina] [Reservations]
News Press Letters - Sugar (2016-06-20)
According to Tom Grier, we do not need that much Florida sugarcane. Let’s look at an inconvenient truth: Sugar profits from very lucrative government policies: non-recourse loans, minimum prices, production controls, tariffs and quotas. Other comments were published in the News-Press, on Jun 19. [News Press 1] [News Press 2] [Cartoon Big Sugar]
Florida Going Downhill (2016-06-17)
For Philip Schwartz, a member of CRCA Board of Directors, anyone with any education or sense of social justice can see the Florida we once knew slipping away faster and faster. The voters are ignorant of what is really going. We, as a state, are going downhill faster than he ever thought possible. [News Press Philip Schwartz] [Photo Philip Schwartz] [Response] [Philip Schwartz Earth Day]
Comment - Malcolm Bubba Wade (2016-06-17)
Throughout the year, Floridians have watched with concern as the USACE has released billions of gallons of water from Lake Okeechobee in an effort to reduce pressure on the Herbert Hoover Dike, and also prepare for the rainy season. [Palm Beach Post] [Photo Malcolm Bubba Wade] [Map Herbert Hoover Dike] [Ray Judah Counterpoint]
Bacteria Closure (2016-06-17)
Once again, boaters and anglers are being warned to avoid the water in North Shore Park due to high bacteria levels. Health officials say a routine water test completed on Jun 9 turned up an unsafe amount of Enterococcus bacteria, and any contact may pose a high risk of disease or sickness. [Fox4] [Map Bacteria Closure] [Enterococcus Bacteria]
Commentary - Ray Judah (2016-06-17)
For Ray Judah, the driving factor to use the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie as the relief valves in response to rising lake water was to prevent flooding in the Everglades Agricultural Area south of the lake to ensure optimum growing conditions for sugar cane to the detriment of coastal estuaries. [Pine Island Eagle] [Photo Ray Judah] [Editorial Tom Rooney] [Photo Tom Rooney] [US Sugar Counterpoint]
Insurance Companies Warn Us (2016-06-16)
Lloyd's of London and the other large re-insurance companies long warned us of our lack of global action on climate change. Now they say the US government's National Flood Insurance Program subsidizes insurance coverage for vulnerable regions and in doing so encourages irresponsible beach building. [Article from FloodList] [Article from FT.com] [Presentation Lloyds] [Video Lloyds History] [Photo Houston Floods]
Gibsons Attend Waterkeeper Conf (2016-06-16)
Gene and Nan Gibson represented Caloosahatchee Riverwatch at the annual conference of Waterkeeper Alliance held June 1-6 in Wilmington, NC. They described the event as informative and inspirational. Keynote speaker at the opening session was Waterkeeper President Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. [Photo 1 Waterkeeper Conference] [Photo 2 Waterkeeper Conference] [Agenda] [Video Around the World]
Caloosahatchee June 8-14 (2016-06-16)
Blue green algae blooms are present over 27 miles of the river from the Alva Boat Ramp above the Franklin Lock downstream to the Colonial Bridge in the middle estuary. Discharges into the estuary at S-79 nearly doubled to an average of 9,054 cfs with flows as high as 12,801 cfs. [Conditions Report] [Table] [Photo Cyanobacteria Boat Ramp] [More SCCF Reports]
Billys Creek at FGCU Event (2016-04-22)
The FGCU Community Engagement Day (CED) on Apr 15, showcased the range of student service-learning projects. Riverwatch had a table highlighting the Billy's Creek cleanup in which nearly 50 FGCU student participated. [Eagle News] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Video]
Methane Emissions - EPA Studies (2016-06-15)
Jim Warren filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the EPA, charging that a high-ranking EPA official connected to the fossil fuel industry committed scientific fraud in a case with sweeping ramifications for global climate change and the safety of workers and neighbors of natural gas sites. [Article from NC WARN] [NC WARN Complaint] [NC WARN Staff] [Sign the Letter of Support]
Graham Urges DEP (2016-06-15)
U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham expressed her strong opposition to proposed new standards and urging the agency to reconsider them. Indeed, DEP is in the process of updating its human-health criteria for 43 dangerous chemicals it regulates for rivers, lakes, streams and coastal waters. [Tallahassee Democrat] [Photo Gwen Graham] [Biography Gwen Graham] [Public Blasts DEP] [Letter - DEP Standards ]
Sea Level Rise - Collier County (2016-06-15)
Riverwatch and other regional groups for many years have tried, through the SW FL Water Resources Conference, to get the SW FL communities and governments to join together in sea level rise planning. Differing from SE FL, our local leaders simply pretend the problem does not and will never exist. [Naples Daily News] [Map Sea Level Rise] [Map Collier County] [Photo]
Carbon Sink Becoming Source (2016-06-15)
Drs. Gregory Starr and Christina Staudhammer received $834,000 from the NSF to continue their study of greenhouse gases in the Everglades. They will look at how changes in fresh- and sea-water levels are affecting the balance of carbon-dioxide and methane emissions in the Everglades. [Article from UA News] [Photo Gregory and Christina] [Report 2013] [Photo Christina Staudhammer] [Photo Gregory Starr]
Boater Loses Friend to Gator (2016-06-14)
Gators normally stay in their area and do not come on docks. Occasionally gators must be removed when they lose their fear of people and are drawn by potential food. Each time we remove an overly bold gator a more reclusive one takes its place. Each time boaters are warned not to feed the gators. [NBC2] [Comments] [Photo of Robert Lineberger] [Photo of the Dog] [Video] [Fox4]
Legal Battle - Corkscrew (2016-06-14)
A legal battle over construction of a 1,300-unit residential complex on Corkscrew Road outside Estero was settled on Jun 7, with an agreement by opponents not to appeal in return for the developer dropping a bid to make them pay its legal bills. It was approved by Lee County Commissioners. [News Press 1] [News Press 2] [Photo Corkscrew Farms] [Photo Joseph Cameratta] [Video]
Shifting Baseline Perspective (2016-06-14)
Bill Parks, diver & fisherman, says he refuses to be a victim of 'shifting baselines,' the practice of pretending that our Florida waters have always been the cesspool they are now. This approach of comparing things to only recent years & decades holds particularly true for the Caloosahatchee. [Article from Sunshine State News] [Map National Marine Sanctuary] [Shifting Baselines Definition] [Shifting Baselines Presentation]
Resiliency in Unending Crises (2016-06-14)
Resilience is the ability to cope. When a system goes unstable & slides into crisis, what's to be done? (1) Do nothing, except research. Wait to see if it fixes itself. (2) Try to return the system to a desirable state. (3) Admit the system is irreversibly changed. Adapt to the new, altered system. [Report by Lance Gunderson] [CV Lance Gunderson] [Photo Lance Gunderson]
Daltry Comments on News Press (2016-06-13)
Reacting to a News Press editorial, Wayne Daltry points out that if the water supply demand upon which CERP plans were based is not present then the 'build CERP' alternative would be worse for the environment than the 'no build.' So far, we have seen that to be true in our view from 1000 feet. [News Press View from 1000 Feet] [Daltry Comments] [Photo C-43 Reservoir] [Photo Wayne Daltry]
Diamond Comments on Kiker (2016-06-13)
Bruce Diamond says Larry Kiker's editorial is essentially unreadable bureaucratic gobbley-gook from the guy who used Big Sugar money to knock off Ray Judah, our leading advocate in the matter. Does anyone reading this "smoke and mirrors" believe for even a moment Kiker is on the side of the angles? [Larry Kiker Editorial] [Comments by Bruce Diamond] [Biography Larry Kiker] [Photo Larry Kiker] [Photo Bruce Diamond]
Opinion - Carl Hiaasen (2016-06-13)
Carl Hiaasen discusses Lake O problems and describes how Congressman Patrick Murphy presented a jar of dirty St Lucie water to Pres. Obama last year. It is unlikely that the federal government will feel particularly responsible when state officials have steadily dismantled water quality standards. [StAugustine.com] [Photo Carl Hiaasen] [Biography]
Reynolds Comments on Mann (2016-06-13)
Paul Reynolds comments that Commissioner Mann is right about the first hundred years, but he is wrong about the last 25. Effort is NOT being made to reverse course but rather to maintain the agriculture status quo and, at least, give the appearance of helping rivers, estuaries, gulf, and ocean. [Frank Mann Editorial] [Photo Frank Mann] [Biography]
Florida Farm Bureau Letter (2016-06-11)
Florida Farm Bureau has joined the water fray, describing the debate as coastal environmental extremists vs. the common sense farmers and Rick Scott. The letter arrived in boxes on a day that flow to the Caloosahatchee estuary reached 11,000 cfs, 4 times the ecological harm level. [Farm Bureau Letter]
Opinion - John Birkle (2016-06-10)
According to John Birkle, the 75 mega Watt solar plant capable of powering over 21,000 homes during the day light hours sounds great on the surface. Looking at the proposed change from conventional methods of producing power, there are some points Birkle claims we need to consider. [News Press] [Naples Daily News] [Map Babcock Ranch] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo John Birkle]
15-20 Feet of Shoreline Lost (2016-06-10)
Colin was a mild tropical storm, but parts of coastal Charlotte County still lost 15 to 20 feet of their shoreline, putting homes and condo buildings at risk of falling into the Gulf. As sea level continues to rise in coming decades, such gradual losses will be a recurring story throughout Florida. [NBC2] [CBC News] [Map] [Photo] [Video 1] [Video 2]
FGCU - STEM Education (2016-06-10)
FGCU (Florida Gulf Coast University) proposes some STEM scholarships for STEM Professionals interested in a second career in K-12 teaching, and for STEM Majors interested K-12 teaching. Actually, the Whitaker Center for STEM Education is helping to identify candidates for 3 different scholarships. [Informations] [Flier for STEM Professionals] [Flier for STEM Majors] [Flier Noyce at FGCU] [Video]
USGS Provides Missing Flow Data (2016-06-09)
After several days of rain from TS Colin and more rain continuing to fall while the SFWMD board mets in Ft Myers, online data sites did not show how much water was flowing to the estuary. An inquiry to the USGS office generated a response and updates of the data, plus a link to all FL data. [Franklin Lock Flow Data] [All Caloosahatchee Stations] [USGS Email Response] [Florida USGS Water Data Sites Map]
Project WILD - Aquatic WILD (2016-06-09)
The Trout Lake Nature Center will be facilitating a combined Project WILD/Aquatic WILD training on Jul 14, 2016, from 9am to 4pm. The goal of Project WILD is to develop awareness, knowledge, skills and commitment that will lead to informed decisions, responsible behavior and constructive actions. [Flier] [Map Meeting] [K-12 Guide] [Books] [Get Tickets]
Opinion - Sandra McClinton (2016-06-09)
According to Sandra McClinton, fracking is a danger to the state’s delicate ecosystem and shallow, interconnected underground waterways. It could increase global warming by releasing methane gas, risk earthquake tremors in brittle limestone and hurt property values and tourism business. [News Press] [Details] [Schematic Depiction] [Photo Sandra McClinton] [Photo DWC] [Cartoon Fracking]
Alva Boat Ramp (2016-06-08)
The Florida Department of Health is issuing a health advisory for the Alva boat ramp based on water sampling results. The Florida DEP found the presence of cyanobacteria and when algae is visible, the Health Department recommends individuals using the boat ramp avoid contact with the water. [News Press] [Map] [Photo Caloosahatchee River]
Benacquisto Questions DEP (2016-06-08)
Lizbeth Benacquisto is calling on the DEP to step up its efforts to ensure clean water is flowing through the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers’ estuaries. She also said the DEP should keep water quality standards as high as possible to protect Floridians. [Florida Politics] [News Press] [Biography] [Photo Lizbeth Benacquisto] [Photo Algae] [Photo Water Quality]
Sea Level Rise - Water Supply (2016-06-08)
Millions of people in South Florida get over 90% of their freshwater from the Biscayne aquifer. As sea level rise causes seawater to seep up from underneath, through the limestone bedrock, it contaminates the aquifer and the Everglades above it. [Article from NPR] [Audio File] [Graphic Rainfall Levels] [Map Land Elevation] [Diagram] [Photo Everglades]
Gov Rick Scott - Stories (2016-06-08)
Florida has hit a breaking point with: 88,000 gallons of oil has leaked from a Shell Oil pipeline into the Gulf of Mexico, massive seagrass die-off, & billions and billions of gallons of water discharge from Lake O. Why hasn't Gov Rick Scott jumped on board to help Florida? [The Huffington Post] [TC Palm] [Photo Rick Scott] [Photo Lake Okeechobee]
Rain Covered All Florida (2016-06-08)
Tropical Storm Colin could have dumped more rain in the Caloosahatchee than the 0.5 to 4.0 inches measured east of Franklin Lock. However the coastal estuary received more (2-8 inches) which will drain to the estuary. Lake O & the Kissimmee Basin received 1-4 inches which will flow to us eventually. [Florida Weekly Rain Map] [Caloosahatchee Region Weekly Rain]
Problem Not Fixed in 21 Years (2016-06-07)
Upon its creation in 1995, one of Riverwatch's first actions was to draw attention to the dumping of treated wastewater into the Caloosahatchee by the City of Ft Myers. 21 years later DEP is allowing this pollution to continue despite renewed complaints from Riverwatch and the City of Cape Coral. [Intent to Issue 1] [Intent to Issue 2 ]
Water Washes Over Politics (2016-06-07)
Jason Maughan, a Republican, said he is long been upset about the problems caused by water releases from Lake O into the Caloosahatchee River; fresh water with pollutants that cause problems for the saltier bays, beaches and Gulf. He said he camped along the beaches and up the Caloosahatchee. [News Press] [Island Sun] [Photo Jason Maughan]
Point of View - Ray Judah (2016-06-07)
Recent research has revealed a link between blue-green algae and the development of neuro-degenerative diseases. Blue-green algae, such as the harmful algae bloom in the Caloosahatchee, is a result of land-based nutrient runoff, including phosphorus and nitrogen, from the sugar cane fields. [My Palm Beach Post] [Photo Ray Judah] [Photo Algae Bloom]
Indian River Cities Meet (2016-06-07)
Polluted water flows right past political borders. So government officials, scientists and conservationists will brainstorm on Jun 11 ways to erase the boundaries to removing more muck, septic tank waste and other contamination in the Indian River Lagoon, in Florida. [Florida Today 1] [Florida Today 2] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Map]
River of Slime - Caloosahatchee (2016-06-06)
Here comes the green algae slime again. Why do we just watch it ruin our Caloosahatchee River, kill wildlife, spoil our waterways, and foul our air? For Jim Wawrzyniak, we expect more algae problems in the future so why don’t we start now to take corrective steps and invest in skimming equipment? [Mailbag News Press] [News Press Amy Bennett Williams] [Photo Green Algae] [Slimy River Water]
Arctic and Greenland Ice (2016-06-06)
Arctic Sea Ice is on a record setting run this year. This ice area is the smallest ever for this time of year, but total mass (area x depth x density) is extreme but not record setting, yet. Greenland ice melt has gotten off to an early start this year, 2 months early. [Article Greenland Ice] [Temperatures] [Ice Area] [Ice Volume] [Ice Mass] [Current Melt Area]
Power of the System (2016-06-06)
A judge found the Nuclear Regulatory Commission environmental report on the FPL Turkey Point power plant insufficient but required no action. Citizens Allied for Safe Energy president said: it really shows how powerless we are against a system where government supports big business. [Palm Beach Post] [Decision] [Map] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Graphic]
Bad News - Court Ruling (2016-06-06)
Clearly the circumstances of this particular case were extreme for it to result in a 8-0 Supreme Court Ruling. The case sought to limit a landowners right to mine peat on private lands in a manner that the Federal Government said would endanger water quality. [Miami Herald] [Article from Breitbart] [The Case] [The Supreme Court]
First Amendment Florida (2016-06-03)
Four environmental groups asked a court to accelerate its ruling in a lawsuit accusing the Florida Legislature of violating the state Constitution and misdirecting $299 million in Amendment 1 environmental funds into salaries and inappropriate operating expenses. [Tampa Bay Times] [Motion for Summary Judgment] [Summary Water and Land Conservation]
Climate Clock Ticking Down (2016-06-03)
Anything more than a 1.5C rise in sustained global average temperature and things get extremely serious for people on earth. The clock is ticking. Estimates show that at current emissions levels the clock runs out in as little as 10 years. [Skeptical Science] [Report] [Effects Table] [Heat Effects] [The Clock]
Wacky Growth Perspective (2016-06-03)
Gov. Scott says creating new cities the size of Orlando in undeveloped areas is good for the environment because they produce tax dollars to help repair the environmental damage that development causes. How's that for circular reasoning on top of Scott wiping out the growth management laws. [Article from Jacksonville] [Photo Ron Littlepage] [Photo Rick Scott] [Cartoon 1] [Cartoon 2]
Algae Interview - Fox4 (2016-06-03)
Everybody saw the pictures of sprawling algae bloom creeping down the Caloosahatchee. Local scientists, like John Cassani (an aquatic ecologist & Riverwatch director), called out the DEP for not finding any significant traces of it. DEP then quickly responded with an algae discovery press release. [Fox 4] [Video] [Photo John Cassani] [Photo Algae] [DEP Response]
DEP Reports Algae Toxins (2016-06-02)
In a June 2 press release, FDEP reported that its May 24 sampling at Alva Boat Ramp did reveal algae toxin levels above the safe limit of 20ug/L. This comes after a state senator wrote to DEP citing Riverwatch concerns over DEP's deficient reporting of the ongoing Caloosahatchee algae bloom. [Alva Sample Results] [Image] [Microcystis aeruginosa] [Microcystis Toxins] [Microcystis details]
Letter - DEP Standards (2016-06-02)
Patricia Krause, in her letter to Eric Shaw, can’t comprehend how any state can allow more toxins in environment for any reason. Florida is one of the most beautiful of places with so much that is fragile and precious, so the State should have the highest and best standards for all citizens. [News Press] [Tallahassee Democrat] [Video]
Waters of Florida are in Crisis (2016-06-02)
The Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries are choking from polluted overflows from Lake O, while Everglades National Park and Florida Bay are starved for freshwater. As Floridians, clean water is the lifeblood of our environment, economy, and quality of life, but all of which are in jeopardy. [News Press] [Photo] [Everglades Coalition] [Cara Capp] [Michael Baldwin]
Impacts of Polluted Water (2016-06-02)
According to Cris Costello (a water expert and senior regional organizing representative with the Sierra Club), algae blooms – that are harmful to marine life and also humans – will create a sure turnoff to both tourists and full-time residents alike. This bad situation affects everything. [Article from Creative Loafing] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4] [Cartoon]
May 2016 CRCA Newsletter (2016-06-01)
The May 2016 CRCA newsletter is available online. The archive provides an index to many of the newsletters dating back to 1995. Sign up to receive the newsletter by email. [May Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archives]
Revisions Chemicals Products (2016-06-01)
The state is planning to increase the allowable limits of several cancer-causing chemicals in Florida’s rivers, streams, lakes and estuaries. The DEP is updating the standards for what is known as the Human Health Criteria. [My Palm Beach Post] [Frequently Asked Questions] [Treated Waters Maps] [Draft Technical Support DEP] [Frank Cerabino]
2016 Bad Water Bill (2016-06-01)
The bill integrates provisions blatantly favoring special interests, tying the hands of the Water Management Districts by further weakening current water protections, and largely ignoring the 2 most important requirements to protect these resources: conservation and stopping pollution at its source. [Bill Summary] [Bill Text] [Egregious Problems] [Details] [Palm Beach Post] [Florida Realtors]
Opinion Eve Samples (2016-06-01)
Eve Samples was surprised when she received in April an email from a public relations firm working for U.S. Sugar Corp. requesting a meeting with Editorial Board. Indeed, the last time journalists had a meeting scheduled with the Clewiston-based company, in 2013, U.S. Sugar canceled the day before. [TC Palm 1] [TC Palm 2] [Photo] [Eve Samples] [Video]
Cloud Effect Critical to Warming (2016-05-31)
Since the 1980's, we have known that the severity of global warming depends on how cloud cover responds to initial global temperature increases. The cloud effect has not yet offset climate change but there is hope clouds could help in the future. [Yahoo Finance] [Report 2013] [Report 2016] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3]
Slimy River Water (2016-05-31)
Green water tainted by potentially toxic cyanobacteria flows down the Caloosahatchee, state and county officials are silent on whether people should stay out of the river. The USACE closed the beach at W.P. Franklin Lock and Lee County Utilities' Olga Water Plant has stopped pulling from the river. [News Press] [Cyanobacteria] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Video]
EvCo Law Workshop (2016-05-30)
The Everglades Coalition holds hits Summer Meeting & Environmental Law Workshop at the Conservancy in Naples, July 6-8. Friday will be our quarterly meeting with a shortened business agenda. [Details]
Watershed-Lake Cycle (2016-05-30)
The estuary damage experienced in Jan-Feb is repeating in late May. First the Corps stops discharges from Lake O into the Caloosahatchee while stormwater runoff from the watershed passes. Then they open up S-77 and start draining the Lake. The estuary is pummeled by these one-two punches. [S-79 Flow Graph]
DEP Says No Algae Problem (2016-05-27)
Contradicting Riverwatch sampling on May 20-23 and many TV reports, a DEP press release suggests no algae problem in the Caloosahatchee at that time. Clearly, DEP sampling and reporting is of little practical value in keeping the public truly informed on prevailing conditions in the Caloosahatchee. [DEP Algae Press Release Data]
Buying Land May Be Cheaper (2016-05-26)
C-43 West Reservoir analysis shows it will deliver under 75,000 ac-ft/yr of water to the estuary for $600 million. Buying EAA lands & reallocating that irrigation water from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee MFL would be more cost effective. Water allocation policy would be the limiting factor. [Public Forum Slides] [Water Storage Analysis]
Cape Justifying Lock Removal (2016-05-26)
Cape Coral claims it is conducting “special operations” at Chiquita Lock (leaving it fully open) for maintenance. But DEP says the Cape has set up monitoring equipment to collect water quality data. These data are needed to justify a permit application for removal of the lock. [DEP Email] [WINK-TV Video]
Microsystis Algae Bloom in River (2016-05-26)
FGCU Prof. Serge Thomas provided microscope images of algae samples collected by Riverwatch from the Caloosahatchee River at LaBelle, May 20-23. Microsystis is a freshwater cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that can produce hepatotoxin (microcystin). [Image 1] [image 2] [Image 3] [Image 4] [Image 5] [Image 6]
Photos of Vegetation Debris (2016-05-26)
Hendry County Extension Director Gene McAvoy identified photos of vegetation debris washing up on banks of the Caloosahatchee River downstream of Ortona as being the underwater rhizomes of spatterdock, typically firmly anchored to the bottom. They are probably landowner trash from canal cleaning. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4] [Gene McAvoy]
David Guest - Earthjustice (2016-05-26)
David Guest was at the center of key environmental battles and earned him praise from allies and opponents alike. But he has earned enemies in communities that rely on Florida's sugar industry, which he has battled over water quality standards and the back-pumping of water from canals into Lake O. [Politico Florida] [Photo David Guest] [Biography David Guest] [Team Earthjustice] [Photo Algae Bloom]
Fox4 - Algae Blooms (2016-05-26)
The beach at Franklin Lock along the Caloosahatchee is closed. Cyanobacteria has left the water so contaminated, the Army Corps of Engineers have declared it a health hazard. The W.P. Franklin lock recreation area is ideal for families and friends to enjoy the beauty of Florida. But not right now. [Article Fox4] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Report Jacqui Thurlow Lippisch] [Video Fox4]
Opinion Malcolm Bubba Wade (2016-05-25)
For Malcolm 'Bubba' Wade, there is no truth in Ray Judah's claim the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie were the relief valves so the Everglades Agriculture Area (EAA) could maintain optimum growing conditions. The EAA is allowed to discharge three quarters of an inch of flooding per day. [News Press 1] [News Press 2] [News Press 3] [Photo Malcolm Bubba Wade] [Photo Ray Judah] [Photo Tom Rooney]
Larry Kiker - Federal Funding (2016-05-25)
We must continue our past efforts to seek solutions to the impact freshwater discharges and other vital issues affecting our economy, environment and quality of life, said Larry Kiker. He will be traveling to Washington D.C. to advocate for full federal funding of critical water quality projects. [News Press] [Photo Larry Kiker] [Biography Larry Kiker] [Lee County Agenda 2016]
Thanks to San Carlos Marine (2016-05-25)
CRCA-Riverwatch thanks San Carlos Marine at 3300 Palm Beach Blvd in Fort Myers for the kind service on our new Waterkeeper boat. The future of our Waterkeeper program depends on the generosity of sponsors like San Carlos Marine. [Photo] [Map] [About San Carlos Marine] [Web Page]
Pat Oleszko Used Humor (2016-05-25)
Pat Oleszko, a 69-year-old artist from Manhattan, wore a sign on her back that read: Row vs Wade. Oleszko's sign was meant to be a pun, a play on the landmark abortion case Roe v. Wade. The purpose of the sign was to draw attention to rising sea levels, one of many impacts of climate change. [News Press] [Photos] [Rauschenberg Residency] [Graphic Sea Level] [History Roe v Wade]
DEP Defends Rock Bottom (2016-05-25)
We will be at rock bottom, said Linda Young, of the Florida Clean Water Network comparing Florida safety standards to other states. However, DEP claims that their weakening of standards for toxic compounds allowed in the state's rivers, lakes, streams and coastal water pose no risk to Floridians. [Tallahassee Democrat] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Public Blasts DEP]
Collaborators in Corruption (2016-05-25)
Some 20 years ago, headlines informed readers that Indian River Lagoon was sick. Over two decades later, the diagnosis is grave. Why? Because the political and bureaucratic functions of government have become collaborators in failure throughout the layers of government and economic politics. [Florida Today]
NextEra/FPL Say No (2016-05-25)
Alan Farago & Lisa Versaci presented a shareholder proposal to require the company NextEra to report each year on the risk its faces from sea-level rise. NextEra (owner of FPL) shareholders rejected the proposal, with 65 percent opposed, arguing that this proposal would be a waste of time and money. [Miami Herald] [The Huffington Post] [The Palm Beach Post] [Tampa Bay Times] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
Algae Bloom Aerial Photos (2016-05-24)
Photos of the Caloosahatchee algae bloom taken between LaBelle and Olga show extremely high algal concentrations in the more stagnant parts of the river, like at Oxbow 24 within the Old Ft Denaud development. Algal streaks are visible in the high flow velocity portions of the river as well. [Ft Denaud Bridge] [Franklin Lock] [Downstream of Franklin Lock] [Upper Estuary at River Forest] [Upper Estuary at Olga] [Oxbow 24 at Old Ft Denaud]
Green Stuff in Caloosahatchee (2016-05-24)
This brilliant green-marbled water means bad news for the Caloosahatchee and its watershed. Initially spotted along the LaBelle, Alva and Olga shorelines, the cause of the pea-colored water is likely a sudden bloom of cyanobacteria (or blue-green algae). [News Press] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Scott Perry 1] [Scott Perry 2]
Ten Options for NETs (2016-05-24)
NETs (negative emissions technologies) take more CO2 out of the atmosphere than they put in. No one single technology can solve climate change but many have been proposed that could contribute to reducing atmospheric CO2. 'Carbon Brief' takes a closer look at 10 of the most frequently proposed NETs. [Carbon Brief] [Ten Options] [Video Prof Joanna Haigh] [Video Prof Mike Stephenson] [Video Prof Richard Lampitt]