Algae Bloom Aerial Photos (2016-05-24)
Photos of the Caloosahatchee algae bloom taken by Kevin Watts of LCHCD 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]
We Need a Drone (2016-05-23)
If you have a drone with a good camera and want to volunteer to help Riverwatch then please contact us. We would like to perform an algae bloom survey of the Caloosahatchee River and estuary. Aerial photos taken of the 2005 bloom had a huge effect in mobilizing the public to action. [Email Us]
Algae Bloom in River (2016-05-21)
Riverwatch Past President Scott Perry was interviewed on NBC-2 about the algae bloom he encountered on the Caloosahatchee in LaBelle while preparing for his annual kid's fossil camp. The algae blanketed the surface, obstructing any visibility of the river bed just inches below the water surface. [WBBH Video] [Mathidle Laurendon] [LaBelle Bridge Algae] [Scott Perry 1] [Scott Perry 2] [NBC-2 Video]
Passing of a Champion (2016-05-19)
Phil Buchanan, champion of environmental and quality of life issues for Pine Island, Matlache and our entire region, has passed away. A Riverwatch leader and issues advocate, his passing is a shock and great loss to the group and to each individual who knew him and called him friend. [Phil as an Author] [Phil as an Engaged Citizen] [Photos] [Facebook]
Chiquita Lock End Begins (2016-05-20)
The day after the passing of Phil Buchanan, the primary legal challenger to Cape Coral's 2008 removal of the Ceitus Boat Lift and the subsequent degradation of the Matlache waters, the Cape is now starting the same process at the southern end of the spreader canal by opening up Chiquita Lock. [Chiquita Lock Location] [Daily Breeze] [Phil Watching Officials]
Estero - CREW Headwaters (2016-05-20)
Estero supports an effort to secure $13.7 million of state funding for the preservation of 2,841 acres in southeast Lee County. The village council on May 18 agreed to send a letter endorsing the project, CREW Headwaters, to stewards of Florida Forever, the state’s public land acquisition program. [Naples Daily News] [History CREW] [General Management Plan] [CREW Boundary Map] [Photo] [Video]
Record Rainfall in Florida (2016-05-20)
Heavy rainfall increased the potential for algae blooms in the Indian River Lagoon. According to Mark Perry (executive director of the Florida Oceanographic Society), if you have dry conditions over time, and all of a sudden you get a huge rain, this flush will bring a lot of high bacterial levels. [TC Palm] [Florida Today] [Graphic SFWMD Rainfall] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Video]
Get Ready, Here We Go Again! (2016-05-20)
The Kissimmee, Okeechobee and Calooshatchee Basins were hit with 4-5 inches of rain from May 17-19. The Corps halted Lake O discharges at Moore Haven while the river watershed runoff passes the estuary but will soon open the flood gates and send another prolonged blast of water to the estuary. [Flow Graph] [May 17-19 Rainfall Map]
Eye On Miami - Taxpayer Dollars (2016-05-20)
Eye On Miami describes how SFWMD is spending taxpayer dollars to wage a blatantly political agenda-driven campaign against citizens who are organizing to protest state water policies that put coastal lands and waters at severe jeopardy of continued pollution. [Eye On Miami] [Alan Farago (gimleteye)] [SPB] [Protester]
Laser Light Shows Ft Myers (2016-05-20)
Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium is proud to announce the return of summertime laser light shows during a 10-day Go Wild for Lasers event, featuring several family fun laseriffic events throughout the celebration for both children and adults, taking place between May 18 to May 28. [Fort Myers Beach Talk] [Photo] [Map] [Buy Tickets]
Algae Headed Down River (2016-05-20)
Kayaking on the Caloosahatchee on the morning of May 19, former Riverwatch president Scott Perry photographed an algae bloom blanketing the shores near LaBelle. River flow is very high (6000 cfs) following the 3-5 inches of rain from May 17-19. This will move the algae to Ft Myers quickly. [LaBelle Algae 1] [LaBelle Algae 2]
Solar Benefits (2016-05-19)
Solar power could deliver $400 billion in environmental and public health benefits throughout the USA by 2050, according to a study from the U.S. DOE's. It shows that a U.S. electric system in which solar plays a major role, by supplying 14% of demand in 2030, and 27% in 2050. [Solar Thermal Magazine] [Report] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3]
Caloosahatchee May 11-17 (2016-05-19)
Lake O water flows continued to recede at S-79. Discharges into the estuary at S-79 decreased to an average of 2,164 cfs, while discharges to the river from Lake O at S-77 increased to an average of 2,178 cfs. Watershed inflows to the Franklin pool between S-78 and S-79 averaged 443 cfs. [Conditions Report] [Table] [More SCCF Reports]
Public Blasts DEP (2016-05-19)
Florida wants to weaken its standards for roughly two dozen cancer-causing chemicals it will allow to be discharged into its rivers, lakes, streams and coastal waters. DEP is in the process of revising limits on toxic chemicals that can be released into surface waters. [News Press] [Cartoon] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Video]
Sanibel Resident Opinion (2016-05-19)
Jill Dillon of Sanibel writes that John Scott is running against Matt Caldwell who she describes as Big Sugar's poster boy. Cadwell spearheaded passage of the 2016 Water Policy bill successfully undermining Florida's statewide water resource protections from Apalachicola Bay to the Florida Keys. [News Press] [Sanibel Captiva Islander] [About John Scott] [John Scott Candidacy]
Lake O BMAP Meeting (2016-05-18)
The Lake Okeechobee Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) Annual Meeting was held in Okeechobee on May 3 to review first year progress on reducing pollution to Lake Okeechobee from surrounding lands, primarily agricultural, mostly cattle ranches. [BMAP Presentation] [Agenda] [Presentation by SFWMD] [FDACS Update] [Technical Meeting Summary] [Lake Tohopekaliga NRP]
Matlacha Bridge - Protest (2016-05-18)
A handful of residents from Matlacha, Bokeelia, St. James City and Ft. Myers, took up a spot on the Matlacha Bridge to raise awareness for issues linked to water quality. Those who took part in the peaceful protest did signs, yelled slogans and offered information on why water quality was important. [News Press] [Pine Island Eagle] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4]
Mitch Hutchcraft Editorial (2016-05-18)
C-43 Reservoir is just a component of overall solution to restore the river which includes water quality improvement, storage and operational changes to the water management system. But it's a crucial component that will provide tangible benefits to the river and estuary for decades to come. Agree? [Lehigh Acres Citizen] [Mitch Hutchcraft] [News Release SFWMD] [Opinion] [Biography Mitch Hutchcraft]
Seismic Testing in Big Cypress (2016-05-18)
A Texas Company won approval to explore for oil at Big Cypress National Preserve, after the NPS concluded the work would have no significant environmental impact. Environmentalists denounced the decision saying it will cause lasting damage to some of last extensive wildlife habitat left in South FL. [Naples Daily News] [Sun Sentinel] [Big Cypress Environmental Review] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
Larry Fink - EAA Organic Soils (2016-05-18)
Sulfur levels in some US watersheds and rivers have steadily declined and farmers may need to consider applying sulfur soon. Larry Fink explains sulfur dynamics in South Florida soils, particularly the EAA organic soils where the contribute to the mercury problem in soils, water, and fish. [Environmental News Network] [Comments] [Technical Report] [Official Protests Larry Fink] [Larry Fink]
Pocket Green v Algae Green (2016-05-18)
A Caloosahatchee riverfront home with a Just Value of $6.6 million has an asking price of $25 million. But could the river's severe water quality problems depress the value of this 9532 sq ft home built in 2013? It sits on 0.75 acres at 1240 Coconut Dr FM and sold for $2 million in 2008. [News Press] [Valuation Card] [Aerial] [Photo] [News Press Link]
BOCC Says Let It Die (2016-05-17)
Lee County Commissioners Pendergrass, Hamman, and Kiker suggest the SW FL Regional Planning Council should die because it performs useless activities including climate change planning. History will place these misguided souls alongside Robert E. Lee - under whose portrait they meet and serve. [Sea Level Rise Work] [SFWMD Activities] [Commissioners] [SWFRPC] [BOCC Meeting VIDEO] [Cartoon]
Protect FPL Assets from FPL (2016-05-17)
The parent company of FPL is required by SEC regulations to include all shareholders of record, and to announce resolutions proposed by shareholders according to SEC rule. FPL is the largest business unit of NextEra. Its major market is the eastern seaboard of Florida, vulnerable to sea level rise. [The Huffington Post] [FPL] [Report] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
Welcome to Sea Level Rise (2016-05-17)
Look at our yard, at the landscaping, a Miami woman said. That palm tree was super-expensive. She went on: it's crazy — this is saltwater. Welcome to rising sea levels, Professor Harold Wanless told her. Much of the Miami region may have less than half a century more to go. [The New Yorker 1] [The New Yorker 2] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Cartoons] [Video]
Solar Flight Without Fuel (2016-05-17)
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg have set out to achieve something that still seems impossible today: the First Round-The-World Solar Flight, powered only by the sun, with no fuel or polluting emissions. Solar Impulse wants to demonstrate that clean technologies can achieve impossible goals. [Explanations] [Destinations] [Tween Tribune] [The Plane] [The Team] [Video]
Nathan Blyveis - Observations (2016-05-16)
After reading the full-page ad from U.S. Sugar, Nathan Blyveis had a few observations, which he sent to the News Press. He wonders how many of the elected representatives that take money from U.S. Sugar are still in office. It would be nice to publish that information before the November elections. [News Press Mailbag] [Nathan Blyveis]
Global Effects of Canada Fires (2016-05-16)
While it is too soon to comprehend the full extent of the damage, we know that it is far-reaching and utterly devastating, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Wildfires can strip away the protective vegetative blanket and release all that stockpiled carbon into the atmosphere. [New Scientist] [Map] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Video]
Ocean Noise (2016-05-16)
Seismic surveying to map oil & gas reserves on the US Atlantic coast from Florida to New Jersey involves blasting the ocean floor with sound waves. It can be harmful to marine life, including endangered whales, turtles and dolphins. [Savannah Now] [McClatchy DC] [Techniques] [WWAY TV3] [Cartoon] [Map]
SFWMD - Key Agreement (2016-05-13)
SFWMD Governing Board approved, on May 12, an agreement that protects SFWMD's investment in the C-43 West Reservoir under construction intended to store and deliver water to benefit the ecology of the Caloosahatchee Estuary. This project is a top priority of SFWMD and some environmental groups. [News Release SFWMD] [Map SFWMD] [Information C43 Reservoir] [Map C43 Reservoir] [Video] [Debate]
Caloosahatchee Holds Wonders (2016-05-13)
For years, the Florida eco-illuminati have used a handful of alliterative verbs describing what's been done to our poor Caloosahatchee and its watershed: drained, dynamited, ditched, dredged, damaged. But, despite everything, the Caloosahatchee still holds wonders, according to Amy Bennett Williams. [News Press] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4] [Podcast]
Boating Class (2016-05-13)
Some local boat captains and kayak tour operators now have a better understanding about how to enhance the eco-tourism experience and become better stewards of Estero Bay. 10 participants completed all 4 sessions for the Ecotour Provider Environmental Education Program. [Marco Island Sun Times] [Florida DEP] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [John Kiseda]
Tarpon Scarce in Tournament (2016-05-13)
Only a couple tarpon were caught by the 230 fishermen in the Doc Fords Tarpon Tournament. Even knowing the weather reasons, the experts were surprised the teams caught so few fish. These are some of the best tarpon fishermen from all over, said Capt. Bill Hammond. [News Press 1] [News Press 2] [Photo 1] [Tee-shirt] [Photo 3] [Results]
C43 West Reservoir Presentations (2016-05-12)
Watershed Council and Riverwatch Directors addressed an audience of 50 on May 11 describing the history, benefits, risks and deficiencies of the C-43 West Basin Reservoir first proposed in the 90's and now under construction at a cost of $600 million. [Forum Program] [Wayne Daltry] [John Cassani] [Jennifer Hecker] [William Mitsch (editorial)]
C-43 Public Forum - May 11 (2016-05-12)
On May 11 more than 50 people attended the Public Forum concerning the C-43 West Reservoir. The speaker engaged in shared conversations with the attendees for 70 minutes following 30 minutes of presentations. Reporters from FOX4 came to cover the event. [Flier] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4]
Reminder for CR Working Group (2016-05-12)
Don't forget that the next meeting to develop SAV Restoration Targets for the Caloosahatchee River will be held on May 17, 2016 in Alva from 9:15am-noon at the Caloosahatchee Regional Park. The outcomes will be compiled into a written summary which will be presented to CHNEP TAC in Jul, 2016. [Agenda] [Map] [Presentation] [CR Working Group] [Reservation]
Florida Trail Association Activities (2016-05-12)
Three important events will be held during the month of May and June by FTA. (1) Saturday May 21, Full Moon Hike at Dinner Island Wildlife Management Area or WMA. (2) Saturday June 4, Clip and Walk Paradise Lake Spur to Creek Trail Maintenance. (3) Saturday June 25, Night Hike at St. Luke's Church. [List of Events] [Event 1] [Event 2] [Event 3]
Climate Class Online Sara Harris (2016-05-12)
Dr. Sara Harris teaches global climate change, environmental science, and oceanography in the department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia. She proposes free online climate science courses to master the basics of climate science. [Skeptical Science] [Sara Harris] [Map] [Video] [Courses]
Caloosahatchee May 4-10 (2016-05-11)
Lake O water levels continued to recede. Discharges into the estuary decreased to an average of 2,255 cfs and discharges to the river from Lake O decreased to an average of 1,294 cfs. There has been no salinity signature in the middle Caloosahatchee estuary at Ft. Myers. [Conditions Report] [Table] [More SCCF Reports]
SFWMD Blasts Riverwatch (2016-05-11)
On May 11, SFWMD issued a press release suggesting it was not invited to the Riverwatch public forum on the C-43 West Reservoir. The email invitations were distributed to "Riverwatch Members and Friends" which included 40 names and addresses. Riverwatch encourages SFWMD participation. [Event Flier] [SFWMD Press Release] [Get the Facts] [Just the Facts] [Splash Sheet] [CRCA Public Forum Invitation]
Stop Pollution and Save Water (2016-05-11)
According to Kathleen Brennan, a future with polluted water is grim. So where are those with the power to do something? For Dick Hasselman, there is no evidence that pollution in Lake O comes from the north. The evidence is there and must be fully communicated to the public so they better understand [Mailbag] [Cartoon] [Map] [News Press] [C43 Reservoir Project Debate]
CRCA Public Forum Invitation (2016-05-05)
The public is invited to attend the Riverwatch public forum on May 11 in Ft Myers to discuss the C-43 West Reservoir project. It will be a 15 square mile, $600 million water storage project to help balance Caloosahatchee estuary salinity. [Event Flier] [Forum Outline] [Press Release] [News Press] [Reader Comments] [Prof Mitsch Video]
Grand Resorts - Dirty Water (2016-05-10)
(1) According to Tom and Annie Babcock, the Grand Resorts development proposal for Fort Myers Beach must be consistent with a long established vision defined by a municipal Comprehensive Plan. (2) According to Bill Greggs, sugar interests have not forgotten thanks to several publications. [Mailbag] [News Press Grand Resorts] [Photo Grand Resorts] [Video Grand Resorts] [News Press Dirty Water]
Feud Over Injection Well (2016-05-10)
The fight between Cape Coral and 2 state agencies stems from a Florida Governmental Utility Authority’s proposal to dig a shallow injection well to remove surplus treated wastewater from its North Fort Myers plant. But, Cape residents could face contaminated drinking water and increased water bills. [News Press] [Injection Well] [Cape Coral] [North Fort Myers Neighbor]
Chemical Pearls in Oysters (2016-05-10)
According to a new study by Portland State University researchers, native Olympia oysters in Oregon's Netarts and Coos bays contain a cocktail of pharmaceuticals and chemicals, including pain relievers, antibiotics, mercury and pesticides. [Oregon Live] [About Oysters] [The Study] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Video]
Southwest Florida Water Blessing (2016-05-09)
Blessed water is poured into the Caloosahatchee River during the Southwest Florida Water Blessing Event recently at Centennial Park in Downtown Fort Myers. More than 100 people offered prayers and blessings for the water of Southwest Florida to include Lake Okeechobee. [News Press] [Happehatchee Center] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Video]
The Work of Paul Gray (2016-05-09)
Dr. Paul Gray is the Audubon Society's science coordinator for the Lake Okeechobee watershed program, which means he essentially manages the wildlife sanctuaries on the lake and works to protect them. He has worked with the bird conservation nonprofit for 19 years. [Highlands Today] [Okeechobee News] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3]
Gary Goforth v US Sugar (2016-05-09)
Dr. Gary Goforth analyzes the U.S. Sugar advertisements and the case they make. He gives a more accurate interpretation of the actual facts and what the data tell us. Very clearly, the current solutions in place barely begin to address the water volume and quality problems of agriculture. [Presentation] [Resume] [Graphic] [Gary Goforth]
Water Crisis Coverage (2016-05-09)
We need to continue to focus on environmental concerns. We need to wake up, come out of denial, rid ourselves of status quo thinking, and for the sake of now and generations to come, seek to preserve the Gulf waters, animals and natural resources of the state. [News Press] [Photo] [Chad Gillis] [Video]
Efforts of Marco Rubio (2016-05-06)
Rubio's office has said if the bill passes, as expected, it will be the most significant action taken to authorize this important Everglades Restoration Project. Marco Rubio claims a major role to play in this success. Like most of Florida's congressional delegation, he has long advocated for CEPP. [Sunshine State News] [Fact Sheet] [Press Releases] [Timeline] [Marco Rubio] [Video]
6 Maps to Rethink the World (2016-05-06)
We don’t often question the typical world map that hangs on the walls of classrooms - a patchwork of yellow, pink and green that separates the world into more than 200 nations. But Parag Khanna, a global strategist, says that this map is, essentially, obsolete. [The Washington Post] [Maps] [Parag Khanna] [Book] [Video]
Babcock Ranch Project (2016-05-06)
Syd Kitson proposes to build baseball fields in Lee County and put up a movie theater and a hotel right in our Density Reduction Groundwater Recharge lands. The runoff from these businesses and fields will only foul the land south of the town and pollute the Caloosahatchee. [Guest Opinion] [News Press] [Map] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3]
Property Values (2016-05-05)
Dirty water is bad for business. That was a theme among industry leaders and politicians gathered on Apr 28, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at Bell Tower to talk about the economic impacts of record January rains and the Lake O releases that followed. [News Press] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Video] [Property Value Impacts]
Clawson and Dike Repair (2016-05-05)
Efforts to expedite repairs to the Herbert Hoover dike around Lake Okeechobee are moving along several legislative paths but ultimately come down to an $800 million question: Where would the money come from? The U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Bonita Springs, proposed fast-tracking the repairs in a bill. [TC Palm] [Map] [Naples Daily News] [Fact Sheet] [Photo] [Herbert Hoover Dike]
Caloosahatchee Apr 27-May 3 (2016-05-05)
Lake O water levels continued to recede. Discharges into the estuary at S79 increased to an average of 2,739 cfs while discharges to the river from Lake O at S77 decreased to an average of 2,645 cfs. 42% of Lake O outflows were directed to the Caloosahatchee. [Conditions Report] [Graphic] [More SCCF Reports]
New Project Florida Forever List (2016-05-04)
Brenda McClymonds, with The Trust for Public Land, has submitted the Application to Add New Project to the Florida Forever List. The property she is requesting includes important sections of Hog Branch and Bear Branch, located in Charlotte County. This project concerns approximately 557 acres. [Completed Application] [Map] [Report] [Blank Application] [Priority List] [Florida DEP]
BMAP Update (2016-05-04)
A public meeting of interested stakeholders to discuss the Lake Okeechobee BMAP took place on May 3, 2016 from 9am to 11am at Dixon Hendry Campus. The BMAP is the means for implementation of the adopted TMDL. The purpose of this meeting was to provide the annual update on the adopted BMAP. [Draft Agenda] [Draft Report] [Letter] [Map] [News about BMAP]
Estuary Bottom Once Sand Now Muck (2016-05-04)
Historically, the Caloosahatchee bottom was sandy, almost beach-like. Today it's difficult to tell what the bottom looks like because it's impossible to see through the suspended solids and excess tannins that have crippled part of the Caloosahatchee River & estuary. The river bottom is now muck. [News Press] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4] [Video]
US Chooses Ships Over Coral (2016-05-04)
The large-scale dredging of Miami’s port to accommodate the newest generation of freighters, an undertaking that prompted a long-running battle with environmentalists, caused widespread damage to a portion of the area’s fragile and already distressed coral reef. [The New York Times] [National Geographic] [Photo] [Report] [Video]
Kissimmee Basin (2016-05-03)
According to Alan Faber, we need to know more about the condition of the Kissimmee Basin flow into the lake. If the water condition is anything like that mentioned, what is being done about the problem at the source (the Kissimmee Basin) to clean up the pollution before it enters the lake? [News Press] [Map] [Photo] [Kissimmee Basin] [Fact Sheet]
Bears and Panthers are in Danger (2016-05-03)
When Scott ran for re-election in 2014, he claimed to be a born-again environmentalist. But just like an anole, he turns green when he needs to. Then FWC was widely despised with the bear hunt (or bear harvest). Next up on FWC's megafauna-that-needs-shooting list: the Florida panther. [Context Florida] [Cartoon] [Diane Roberts] [Bear Petition] [Panther Petition]
Sawfish Caught and Released (2016-05-03)
A huge smalltooth sawfish was caught and released off the Naples Pier on Apr 28. The endangered fish was too big for the fisherman to pull up to remove the hook. Instead he towed the line to the shore and with the help of other fishermen, pulled the sawfish to shore as a crowded looked on in wonder. [News Press] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Smalltooth Sawfish] [Video]
Bad Computer Model Assumptions (2016-05-02)
A dye tracing experiment was used to test the computer model used to issue DEP permits in the Springs areas of Florida. The model failed the test when the dye appeared 6 months later at a spot halfway to the point the model said would take 100 years to reach. [Tampa Bay Times 1] [Tampa Bay Times 2] [Accurate Water Models] [Presentation] [Cartoon]
ECHCP - Sierra Comments (2016-04-29)
Sierra Club Florida opposes the Eastern Collier Habitat Conservation Plan (ECHCP) which would include an incidental take permit that would authorize the unintentional harm or killing of Florida panthers and other endangered species on 45,000 acres of new urban development. [Comments on ECHCP] [Letter] [Naples Daily News] [Map] [Presentation]
Dirty River Jam 2016 (2016-04-29)
The 2nd annual Dirty River Jam will be held on Jun 11, from 1pm to 11:45pm at Terra Fermata. They are teaming up with to create community awareness of the growing problems involving Indian River and surrounding waterways which are being adversely affected by the run-off from Lake O. [Event] [Map] [Logo] [Dirty River Jam 2015] [Facebook]
Massive Seagrass Die Off (2016-04-29)
The shallow coastal waters of Florida Bay are famed for their crystal clear views of thick green seagrass. But since mid-2015, a massive 40,000-acre die off here has clouded waters and at times coated shores with floating dead grasses. It is the latest sign we are failing to protect the Everglades. [The Washington Post] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4] [Video]
501(c)(3) Organizations (2016-04-28)
Tax-exempt educational organizations may not engage in partisan activities for elections. This means: (1) no endorsing or opposing specific candidates or parties, (2) no money or resources to candidates, or (3) no rating, grades or ranking of candidates on their positions. [Commenting on Candidates and Campaigns] [Presentation 501(c)(3)] [Guide] [Election Related Activities] [Video]
Ray Judah Presentation (2016-04-28)
Clean water was the topic at the Matlacha Civic Association's monthly meeting last week. Ray Judah, former Lee County Commissioner and former coordinator of Florida Coastal and Ocean Coalition, made a presentation about the State of Florida - Lee County Waters. [Pine Island Eagle] [The Tampa Tribune] [Ray Judah] [Biography]
Deoxygenation Marine Life (2016-04-28)
Climate change has caused a drop in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans in some parts of the world, and those effects should become evident across large parts of the ocean between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study led by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. [NSF] [Cartoon] [Firstpost] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3]
EPA Report: How to Sue Us (2016-04-28)
You know the Obama Administration must be incredibly frustrated with states when the EPA issues a manual instructing people on how they can sue the government using the Clean Water Act. "Protecting Aquatic Life from Effects of Hydrologic Alteration" will surely become a very hot download. [Fact Sheet] [Draft Report] [EPA Comment Page] [Webinar]
April 2016 CRCA Newsletter (2016-04-27)
The April 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. [April Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archives]
Caloosahatchee Apr 20-26 (2016-04-27)
The Corps of Engineers continues to release water in a pulsing pattern. On some days discharge exceeds the 2800cfs limit & on other days it is below. This pulsing approach may be the best way to maintain estuary health when flows are near the upper (2800cfs) or lower (800cfs) limits. [Conditions Report] [Table] [Pulse Ref (pg16/22)] [More SCCF Reports]
Comments - Agree or Not Agree (2016-04-27)
An Apr 25 story by Dan Peterson generated many questions and comments. Some people think that Sunshine State News and the Treasure Coast Star are propaganda machines for Big Sugar. Others say the technical debates over the best solutions are merely stalling tactics that have worked for decades. [Comments 1] [Comments 2] [Dan Peterson] [Treasure Coast Star] [Story]
Opinion of Mark Generales, SFWMD (2016-04-27)
SFWMD has significant experience in removing pollutants from Lake O water. Using its system of Storm Water Treatment Areas south of the Lake, it has met and exceeded the legal requirements for removal of phosphorus from the water going into Everglades' National Park. [News Press] [Comments] [Presentation]
Old Bridge Village Residents Join (2016-04-26)
In the first Riverwatch community association meeting presentation, at least 10 residents of Old Bridge Village joined Riverwatch, with many more expected. Thank you to Jack Kedian for hosting the presentation delivered by John Cassani. [Location] [Kedian & Cassani] [CRCA Intern Mathilde Laurendon]
LaBelle Fossil Camp 2016 (2016-04-26)
Fossil Camp 2016 will be held in July at LaBelle Heritage Museum. Kids have their choice between 3 camps: Jul 11-15, Jul 18-22, & Jul 25-29. The camp day will be 8am to 3pm daily. Campers will learn about the LaBelle area before the coming of humans. Register now! [Flyer] [Information] [Registration Form Paper] [Registration Form Online] [River Fossils Collection]
Indian River Lagoon Scorecard (2016-04-26)
The new Florida Today Indian River Lagoon Scorecard had served our intended purposes of generating community conversation and focusing attention on how we can do better. This report is a clarion call for our leaders to do better and for citizens to demand action on the Indian River Lagoon. [Florida Today] [Brevard State Legislators] [State Legislators] [Brevard County Commission] [Video 1] [Video 2]
John Scott Candidacy (2016-04-26)
State Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-North Fort Myers, has a Democratic challenger in the November election: John Scott. He has filed papers with the state to open a campaign account, and said he plans a formal announcement soon, but he declined to reveal details about his campaign at this point in the race. [News Press] [John Scott] [Matt Caldwell]
The Everglades Iran-Iraq War (2016-04-26)
While Mike Elfenbein's comments are offered "tongue-in-cheek" he astutely points out the irony of the prevailing $-centric debate among those who degrade the environment to produce ever-cheaper food and those who do it for sprawling development or merely for entertainment (tourism, hunting, etc.). [Elfenbein Sarcasm] [NPS Press Release] [Elfenbein on Parks]
Wastewater Discharges to River (2016-04-25)
Speaking at a DEP hearing, Riverwatch VP Gene Gibson called for enforceable timelines and milestones for the City of Ft Myers to eliminate all their wastewater discharges to the river. [Statement Notes] [Background] [Problem in 2007] [Same Problem in 1995]
Property Value Impacts (2016-04-25)
Riverwatch VP Gene Gibson explained to the Island Reporter newspaper that $1 billion was lost in property value for every foot of lost clarity in the water, and that's before the economic impact on tourism and the fisheries. Gibson says that's why we need Waterkeeper. [Island Reporter]
Phil Buchanan and Ceitus Barrier (2016-04-25)
Cape Coral removed the Ceitus Barrier in 2008 under an agreement that it would be restored with a lock to accommodate boaters. But, recent data collected by both Cape Coral and Lee County clearly shows the damages caused by the removal of the Barrier. [Letter] [2014 Complaint] [Background] [Phil Buchanan] [Ceitus Case Stipulation Signed]
Great American Cleanup (2016-04-25)
The Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup is the nation’s largest community improvement program, engaging more than 5 million volunteers and participants every year to create positive change and lasting impact in local communities. The Great American Cleanup enters its 18th year in 2016. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Presentation] [Cartoon] [Logo]
Herbert Hoover Dike (2016-04-25)
Herbert Hoover Dike is a 143-mile earthen dam surrounding Lake Okeechobee, the heart of the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades system. The project reduces impacts from flooding as a result of high lake levels for a large area of south Florida. People who live near the dike worry if it will hold. [Palm Beach Post] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Map] [Risk Level]
Lists Matter (2016-04-25)
In the wake of Apalachicola River being ranked as America's #1 Most Endangered Rivers, Senator Marco Rubio has called on Congress to force Florida, Alabama and Georgia to negotiate an agreement to improve the river and fairly allocate its waters. [TB Business Journal] [Montgomery] [Congress Must Act] [Rubio & Scott] [Bundy-style Seizure] [Apalachiocola Riverkeeper]
Keep It in the Ground (2016-04-23)
The U.S. continues to lease public land & water for fossil fuel extraction, going against claims made in Paris. Waterkeeper Alliance is a part of the Keep It in the Ground movement. We must embrace a full accounting approach to our energy options to avoiding the worst effects of climate change. [News Press] [Waterkeeper Alliance] [Keep It in the Ground]
Caloosahatchee Apr 13-19 (2016-04-22)
Lake O water levels continued to recede with flows to the Caloosahatchee still exceeding the high-flow harm threshold of 2,800 cfs. Lake discharges into the estuary decreased slightly to an average of 2,943 cfs, and discharges to the river from Lake O decreased to an average of 2,700 cfs. [Conditions Report] [Table] [More SCCF Reports]
Caloosahatchee Apr 6-12 (2016-04-22)
Discharges into the estuary increased slightly to an average of 3,078 cfs and discharges to the river from Lake Okeechobee increased almost 1,000 cfs to an average of 3,121 cfs to supply agricultural irrigation demand. [Conditions Report] [Graphic] [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] [Map] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4]
2016 Earth Day Apr 22 (2016-04-22)
Earth Day 2016 was Friday, Apr 22, during which many people participated in a day of action. Riverwatch is joining Waterkeeper Alliance in a call to action: Keep it in the Ground. This movement seeks to leave fossil fuels as fossils and promote renewable energy use. [Earth Day] [Dates] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4]
Wa-Ke Hatchee Community Park (2016-04-22)
Lee County Parks and Recreation hosted an Earth Day Celebration event Apr 16 at Wa-Ke Hatchee Community Park. Exhibitors, including Riverwatch, did their part to inform, conserve and enjoy the local environment. [Event] [Photo] [Countries Earth Day 2016]
CRCA Board Meeting in May (2016-04-21)
The CRCA-Riverwatch is dedicated to the protection of the River and its watershed, through education and promotion of the responsible use of the River for the enjoyment of all people. The next CRCA Board Meeting will be held at 630pm on May 4 at High Point Place in Fort Myers. [Board of Directors] [Photo] [Cartoon] [Previous Meeting]
C43 Reservoir Discussion (2016-04-21)
On May 11 Riverwatch and Watershed Council will host a Public Forum to discuss the Caloosahatchee River (C-43) West Basin Storage Reservoir project. It is intended to improve the timing, quantity and quality of freshwater flows to the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary. But will it? [Plan] [Forum Outline] [Information] [Debate] [Location] [Cartoon]
Earth Day at the Conservancy (2016-04-21)
On Apr 16, Harrison Langley and Jesse Roberts from Collier County Waterkeeper, along with Phil Schwartz and John Capece from Caloosahatchee Riverwatch, joined together for an exhibit at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples to celebrate Earth Day. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4] [Conservancy of Southwest Florida]
Earth Day with Jack E Davis (2016-04-21)
On Friday, Apr 22 SCCF held its second annual Conservation Conversation. Dr. Jack E. Davis spoke about our coastal waters and the people who live near them. Dr. Davis is a professor at the University of Florida. [Santiva Chronicle] [Jack Davis] [Trout Lake Nature Center] [Curriculum Vitae]
46,000 or 7,000 Dollars (2016-04-21)
If land is not bought, we will continue to spend millions of tax dollars every year, trying to clean up this ongoing economy-ruining mess of dirty water. In the long run, buying this land would be a bargain compared to the annual millions that will be spent. [News Press 1] [News Press 2] [News Press 3] [News Press 4] [Cartoon]
Big Sugar VS Bullsugar (2016-04-21)
Putnam stated: anyone affiliated with Bullsugar or buying lands in the EAA, would be vaporized. Here is a brief explanation of what Putnam said, according to a FB post by Michael Conner, a spokesperson for Bullsugar. Adam Putnam is Rick Scott's right-hand man. Aspiring to be Florida's next governor. [Eye On Miami 1] [Eye On Miami 2] [Adam Putnam] [Bullsugar] [Cartoon 1] [Cartoon 2]
Cape Coral Sued Over Pollution (2016-04-21)
Florida Clean Water Network filed a 60-day notice of intention to sue the City of Cape Coral over violations of their NPDES (water pollution discharges) permit. CRCA has a separate suit against the Cape over their removal of the Ceitus Boat Lift, the act that FCWN says led to the NPDES violation. [FCWN Announcement] [Legal Notice of Intent]
Amy Bennett Williams (2016-04-20)
We had an afternoon to kill: a long, clear early spring afternoon. That, and a back seat full of dogs. So the destination was never really in question: the river. Where else to keep two boys and three rowdy young canines entertained? Destination of choice: the Caloosahatchee. [News Press] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Sound Cloud]
Humans and Global Warming (2016-04-20)
A new study has found that humans are responsible for virtually all of the observed global warming since the mid-20th century. It is not a novel result. In fact, most global warming attribution studies have arrived at the same general result, but this study uses a new approach. [Skeptical Science] [Diagram 1] [Diagram 2] [Diagram 3] [Video]
20-20 Ballot Language Matters (2016-04-20)
Lee County Commissioners are finalizing language which will appear on the Nov 2016 general election ballot, regarding the continuation of the county’s successful Conservation 20/20 land acquisition and management program. It may be one of the most important referendums to come. [News Press] [Cape Coral Daily Breeze] [Conservation] [Lee County Ordinance] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
How Runoff Can Kill Fish (2016-04-19)
It seems like every few years a blue-green algae bloom hits the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon. TC Palm clearly explains the process by which watershed stormwater runoff and Lake Okeechobee discharges can result in an algae bloom and then a fish kill. [TC Palm] [Algae Bloom] [Tyler Treadway] [Public Health Bullets] [Fact Sheet] [Cartoon]
Time to Break the Cycle (2016-04-19)
We are in a vicious cycle. Our tax dollars help create sugar subsidies. With the profits Big Sugar makes from the subsidies they donate millions of dollars to our elected politicians. In order to get re-elected, politicians do the bidding of the Big Sugar to keep the money into their campaign funds. [Letter] [Photo] [US Sugar] [Cartoon]
Meeting on Amara Zee (2016-04-19)
Riverwatch directors met on the tall theater ship Amara Zee on Apr 6, hosted by Paul Kirby and Adriana Kelder. Officers were reelected for the next year. Presidents typically serve two terms whereas the treasurer and secretaries are long term and VP duration of service falls in between. [Agenda] [Next Production] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3]
Lead Contamination in Florida (2016-04-18)
The FL Water Management Districts are afraid to meet their requirement to regulate lead and other poisons in our environment and waters. In attempting to limit off-site gun range lead contamination, state officials were legally intimidated by an NRA crafted action. [Tampa Bay Times] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Cartoon]
Glades Lives Matter (2016-04-18)
The swanky Biltmore in Coral Gables. The Breakers in Palm Beach. Upper-crust Everglades Coalition and Everglades Foundation folks have celebrated in style, making their case that working-class Glades residents should give up homes and livelihoods to make way for Lake O’s excess water. [News Press] [Janet Taylor] [Palm Beach Post]
Most Endangered Rivers (2016-04-18)
This report identifies the 10 most threatened waterways in United States and highlights the urgent need for conservation, greater efficiency, and better management of water resources to prevent further harm to river health, wildlife, fish and recreation. [American Rivers] [Map] [Tech Times] [Report]
SFWMD Good Stewardship (2016-04-15)
Attention to the health of South Florida's environment was intensified this winter by unprecedented rainfall and weeks of Lake Okeechobee releases to the coastal estuaries. But finger pointing at the SFWMD Governing Board is misdirected. [News Press] [Logo] [Photo] [Profile] [Statement]
Sediment Fingerprinting (2016-04-15)
Sediment fingerprinting is a method to allocate sediment nonpoint source pollutants in a watershed through the use of natural tracer technology with a combination of field data collection, laboratory analyses of sediments, and statistical modeling techniques. [ASCE Library] [Citations] [Explanations Larry Fink] [Sediment Fingerprinting Technique] [Photo James Fox]
Caldwell and Scott at FGCU (2016-04-15)
At an FGCU meeting with State Rep Matt Caldwell, CRCA Director John Scott stressed the need to purchase land south of the lake as the highest priority but noted that land north of the Lake is easier to acquire because the sugar industry isn't involved there. [Sun Bay Paper] [Matt Caldwell] [Biography Matt Caldwell] [John Scott]
Ruth Scott on Collier Development (2016-04-15)
Riverwatch Director Ruth Scott spoke at a meeting in Collier County addressing habitat concerns in reaction to an Immokalee regional urbanization plan for 45,000 acres with ag on much of the remaining lands. Developers seek a 50-year Fish & Wildlife Service permit. [NBC-2] [100+ Concerned] [Kenneth McDonald, FWS] [Video] [Ruth Scott]
National Report IWLA (2016-04-14)
The Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) has spent the last 6 months conducting an intensive investigation into how each state monitors its streams and rivers. IWLA found, alarmingly, that fewer and fewer water bodies are meeting state water quality standards and monitoring is insufficient. [Introduction] [Florida Report] [IWLA] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Videos and Photos]
Pro-Fracking Conference (2016-04-14)
On Apr 2, activists disrupted a speech entitled Friends Don't Let Friends Ban Fracking at FGCU. Liesa Priddy, vice chair of FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, spoke at this pro-fracking conference. She has a ranch near Immokalee and is a co-applicant for a 45,000 acre development permit. [Liberation] [Liesa Priddy] [Cartoon] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
FGCU Students Clean Water Rally (2016-04-14)
FGCU students want to educate the rest of the University about water issues in Florida, specifically the issues related to the discharges of Lake O into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers. The rally will be held on Apr 18, 2016 from 11:00am to 2:00pm at the Veterans Pavilion. [Eagle News] [Lee Herald] [Brittany Jacobs] [Event] [Photo] [Facebook]
Lehigh Acres MSID (2016-04-13)
Join the Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District (LA-MSID) in a special Groundbreaking Ceremony on May 4, 2016, from 3pm to 5pm, at Lehigh Acres. The Southwest Lehigh Weirs Project can help make tangible improvements in the health of the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary. [Invitation] [Lehigh Acres MSID] [Information] [Map]
Historic Monroe Station (2016-04-13)
Monroe Station, one of the last original existing outposts on the Tamiami Trail, burned down on Apr 9, 2016 leaving the community in dismay. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. It was on the National Register of Historic Places. [News Press] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4] [Video]
Apalachicola - Most Endangered (2016-04-13)
American Rivers, a national organization that has published endangered-rivers reports since 1984, has named the Apalachicola the most endangered river in the nation. Apalachicola in the Florida panhandle is right now at the breaking point. [Sunshine State News] [Orlando Weekly] [National Geographic] [Map] [Photo]
Debated Since 2005 (2016-04-12)
The debate over the water quality aspects of the C-43 West Reservoir is not new. It goes back to 2005. The remedy was supposed to be a nutrient removal project on the south bank of the river at Ortona Lock. That project has yet to materialize. [News Press 2005] [News Press 2006] [News Press 2008] [News Press 2010]
C43 Reservoir Project Debate (2016-04-12)
Nature's ecosystems are so finely tuned that no matter which water quality solutions Florida pursues, it creates other problems. The question is whether our technology and lifestyle can evolve quickly enough to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. [News Press] [Reader Comments] [Detailed Answer] [Video William Mitsch] [Photo]
Catch Limits on Fish (2016-04-12)
A proposed federal rule that would give regional councils more say in setting catch limits on fish has sparked rare friction between the Obama administration and environmental groups. The proposal, years in the making, could take effect during the summer 2016. [USA TODAY] [News Press] [Tallahassee Democrat]
CR Working Group (2016-04-12)
The Caloosahatchee River Targets Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Working Group will meet May 17 in Alva from 9:15am-noon at the Caloosahatchee Regional Park, 19130 N. River Road. The group will continue developing SAV Restoration Targets for the Caloosahatchee River. [Agenda] [Map] [Presentation] [Meeting Notes] [Resources]
CHNEP Newsletter (2016-04-11)
The Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) is a partnership working to protect the natural environment of southwest Florida from Venice to Bonita Springs to Winter Haven. It was established in 1987 by an amendment to the Clean Water Act to identify, restore and protect estuaries in USA. [Newsletter] [Map] [FYCCN] [Photo]
New Land Use Strategies (2016-04-11)
A new analysis published in the journal Nature and led by soil and crop scientist Keith Paustian at Colorado State University shows that changes in land-use practices can also help reduce levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. [NSF] [SOURCE] [Keith Paustian] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
Focal Point of John Cassani (2016-04-11)
An exploding population rate in Southwest Florida, combined with poor water management, has deteriorated the fragile estuaries this region depends on for its fishing industry, boating and tourism. That message was the focal point of John Cassani. [Captiva Sanibel] [Comments] [Santiva Chronicle] [John Cassani] [Video]
Fish Mercury (2016-04-08)
It is important, particularly for women of child bearing age to be aware of the limitations on eating Florida fish. Almost all coastal fish are contaminated with dangerous levels of mercury. Some inland fish as well. Tank-raised fish are safer relative to mercury. [Cartoon] [Mercury in Fish Tissue] [2016 Map] [Fish Card] [Fish Food Chain Mercury]
Farmers and Climate Change (2016-04-08)
Agriculture and fisheries are highly dependent on specific climate conditions. So, climate change is not going to be good news for agriculture. Studies have shown that it will likely reduce crop yields, create a malnutrition crisis, and make large portions of the globe inhospitable to staple crops. [Eye on Miami] [Climate Progress] [EPA] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Graphic]
Caloosahatchee Mar 29-Apr 5 (2016-04-08)
Discharges to the estuary decreased but remain at harm levels. Increased turbidity during high flow periods reflect increased loading of suspended solids that settle out in calm conditions and become re-suspended by currents and by wave action contributing to reduced production. [Conditions Report] [Graphic] [More SCCF Reports]
Billys Creek Clean-up (2016-04-07)
On Mar 25th 2016, FGCU Students along with Community Partners, FCGU Faculty/Staff, FSW Students, and community members held a cleanup to remove trash and debris from Billy’s Creek and surrounding areas. Student produced an excellent video documenting the activity and its importance. [Mary Rawl] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Video] [Clean-up a Success]
Flood Hazard in California (2016-04-07)
Flooding is the most common and damaging of all natural disasters in the United States, and was a factor in almost all declared disasters in U.S. history. Flood damage has also been on the rise globally over the past century. [PLOS ONE] [Appendix] [Map] [PHYS ORG]
Ceitus Case Stipulation Signed (2016-04-07)
Riverwatch and the other plaintiffs submitted to the court a motion for summary judgement on the action seeking to compel Cape Coral and DEP to replace the Ceitus Boat Lift structure they removed in 2007. Ralf Brookes is the attorney representing CRCA in this case. [Ceitus Stipulation] [Statement of Facts] [Notice of Hearing] [Notice of Mediation] [Ralf Brookes]
Biodiversity of Southwest Florida (2016-04-06)
Come and enjoy a free program on Biodiversity of Southwest Florida with Frogwatch's John Cassani on Wednesday, April 13 at Calusa Nature Center's Iona House (3450 Ortiz Ave., Ft Myers) at 7pm. The program is sponsored by Sierra Club Calusa Group. For more information [Flyer] [John Cassani Bio] [Frog Watch]
Caloosahatchee Feb 23-29 (2016-04-06)
Discharges into the estuary decreased to an average of 7,485 cfs, discharges to the river from Lake O decreased to an average of 5,874 cfs, and discharges made up 78% of estuary discharges. Absolutely terrible for this time of year. [Conditions Report] [Table] [More SCCF Reports]
Caloosahatchee Mar 1-7 (2016-04-06)
High flows have lowered salinities at the mouth of the river to as low as 2 psu, too low for many salt water invertebrates. Discharges into the estuary decreased to an average of 5,570 cfs, and discharges to the river from Lake O decreased to an average of 4,786 cfs. [Conditions Report] [Table] [More SCCF Reports]
Flooding in Miami Beach (2016-04-06)
A new study from the University of Miami (RSMAS) found that since 2006, flooding in Miami Beach has soared, 400 percent from high tides and 33 percent from rain. Miami Beach flood events have significantly increased over the last decade due to an acceleration of sea-level rise in South Florida. [Miami Herald] [Graphic] [RSMAS] [CNN] [Photo] [Cartoon]
Make Lake O a National Monument (2016-04-05)
Lake Okeechobee is already a monument to environmental mismanagement and state incompetence. So why not make it official and perhaps in doing so we chart a path towards cleaning up the estuaries mess without at the same time destroying the Lake O fish habitats. Sign the petition! [Press Conference] [Obama Petition Announcement] [Full Petition] [Sign the Petition] [NBC-2]
Riverwatch Director John Scott (2016-04-05)
The problem is known. The solution is known. The funding is available through Amendment 1. All that’s missing is the political will to make it happen. We must acquire land south of Lake O to store, treat and convey water south to the Everglades in order to save the fisheries and coastal communities. [John Scott] [Official Statement] [Video]
Point of View Lake O Discharges (2016-04-05)
Until the state steps up and buys the land necessary for storage and treatment, Florida will be locked up in this morass, and the high-volume discharges of Lake Okeechobee water into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers and their estuaries will continue to grow. [Palm Beach Post] [Jaclyn Lopez] [Cartoon]
Lake O Southern Flowway 101 (2016-04-05)
Larry Edward Fink of Waterwise Consulting provides an overview of the southern flowway concept, its issues and oppositional myths. It's an essential primer on those wanting to understand the debate and have a more informed perspective on this critical debate. [Scoping Level Evaluation] [Agenda] [Waterwise Consulting] [Larry Fink] [Curriculum Vitae]
April Freeman Press Conference (2016-04-05)
April Freeman will be announcing her first step in tackling the Lake Okeechobee Water Crisis in South Florida on Tuesday, Apr 5 at 6:00pm. April's solution will be both innovative and practical, taking the politics out of the Lake Okeechobee crisis. [Press Conference] [Issues] [Photo] [Facebook]
Water as a Human Right (2016-04-04)
The negative effects by the Lake O discharges have reached the real estate market, the tourism sector, and the fishing industry. While these are not the life & death water issues of other nations, the SWFL Clean Water Movement is demanding that clean water be considered a basic human right. [Fort Myers Beach Talk 1] [Fort Myers Beach Talk 2] [Letter to the Editor] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
NWNA Wants More (2016-04-04)
The Northwest Cape Coral Neighborhood Association was formed in 2004 to advocate for development and property values. NWNA opposes restoration of the Ceitus Boat Lift structure and advocates alternatives so as to maintain unincumbered boat traffic. [Presentation] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
C-43 Reservoir (2016-04-04)
Water managers are clearing land for the Caloosahatchee River West Basin Storage Reservoir project, or C-43 reservoir. This project is meant to keep the Caloosahatchee Estuary healthy. The C-43 reservoir is planned along the Caloosahatchee River. [WGCU] [Caloosa Belle] [Project] [Facts and Information] [West Basin Storage Reservoir] [Photo]
Chad Gillis and News Press (2016-04-01)
Chad Gillis is an outdoors writer for the News Press. He written many articles related to the nature and the environment. In Mar 2016, he wrote a long article as a story, with 4 chapters, dedicated to the Lake Okeechobee and the water crisis. [News Press] [Mailbag] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4]
Leaders Respond (2016-04-01)
Releases into the Caloosahatchee River have poured into the gulf, causing environmental impacts that are affecting local fish and wildlife. Join us at the event Lake Okeechobee Releases: Federal, State and Local Leaders Respond, on Apr 28, 2016, from 7:30am to 1:30pm in Fort Myers. [Photo] [Paper Registration] [Map] [Event] [Web Registration]
Caloosahatchee Mar 22-28 (2016-04-01)
Lake water levels continue to recede with relatively high discharges into the Caloosahatchee. Discharges into the estuary decreased but remain above the harm threshold averaging 3,039 cfs, and discharges to the river from Lake O decreased to an average of 2,179 cfs. [Conditions Report] [Table] [More SCCF Reports]
High Levels of Bacteria (2016-04-01)
The Florida Department of Health in Lee County is advising the public not to enter the water at North Shore Park due to high levels of bacteria identified in routine testing. These tests indicated that the water quality at the park does not meet the safety criteria for enterococcus bacteria. [News Press] [FOX 4] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
SWFL Sustainability (2016-04-01)
SWFL Sustainability is focused on People, Place, and Profit to improve our Quality of Life for Today & Tomorrow. In 2016, the inaugural SWFL Sustainability Summit will take place on Apr 28, from 8:00am to 2:30pm at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, Bonita Springs. [Poster] [SWFL Sustainability] [Photo] [Sponsorship Package] [Vendor Package] [Get Tickets]
April Fools Joke...or Not (2016-04-01)
Chad (News Press) may be playing a joke on us. But the real joke might be that students really are holding a pro-fracking conference funded by Koch Brothers at FGCU, Florida's environmental university. But seriously, it is a topic worth exploring, discussing and debating. [News Press] [Announcment] [Cartoon] [Web Site]
March CRCA Newsletter (2016-03-31)
The March 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. [March Newsletter] [HTML Newsletter] [Newsletter Archives]
River Rally May 2016 (2016-03-31)
River Rally is a national conference that focuses on education, inspiration and celebration within the river and watershed community. River Rally draws hundreds of people together every year from across the USA and the world. In 2016, this event will take place on 20-23 May. [Program] [Photo] [Suggested Social Media Posts] [River Network] [Sponsorship] [Registration]
Support the News Press (2016-03-31)
The News-Press is an essential leader & ally in efforts to achieve improvements for the SW Florida environment. Riverwatch relies upon its publications and journalists. Subscribe to the News Press to both educate yourself on the issues and support this most essential enterprise. [Subscribe to News Press] [Cartoon]
2016 Florida Legislative Wrap-Up (2016-03-31)
ULI SW Florida, REIS & FPZA present 2016 Florida Legislative Wrap-Up on April 21, 2016 from 8:00am to 10:30pm at FGCU's Cohen Center (10501 FGCU Blvd S, Fort Myers). ULI & REIS Members: $30. Non-Members: $45. Don’t miss learning about what will impact your business in the coming year! [Details] [Registration] [Website]
Sources of Estuary Problem (2016-03-31)
A debate raging back and forth is whether recent Caloosahatchee Estuary problems are from Lake O or the local watershed. It is a somewhat silly distinction since the local watershed is also dominated by agriculture. Nevertheless, analysis shows since Jan 15, Lake O = 49 days and watershed = 28 days. [Flow Graph] [Daily Breeze] [Clewiston]
LaBelle Regional Park Clean-up (2016-03-31)
Please join us for a clean-up day at the new LaBelle Regional Park on the north bank of the Caloosahatchee (Riverbend Dr) on Apr 9 from 8am to Noon. The City of LaBelle has had the lease on this since 1991 and if the City does not develop a park SFWMD will surplus the 200-acre site on the River. [Map] [Caloosa Belle] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
Predicting US Heat Waves (2016-03-31)
The formation of a distinct pattern of sea surface temperatures in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean can predict an increased chance of summer heat waves in the eastern half of the U.S. up to 50 days in advance. This new technique could improve existing seasonal forecasts. [NSF] [HNGN] [PBS] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
Alva Oxbow Paddle (2016-03-30)
Join a group of paddlers for the Alva Oxbow Paddle on Saturday Apr 23. Meet at the Alva Boat Ramp 21580 Pearl St Alva, FL 33920 at 8:00 am, return to boat ramp at noon. Limit 10 participants. Bring your kayak or canoe and gear. Cost: $5 per car. Call Margaret England for details 863-517-0202. [Event Facebook]
Earth Day (2016-03-30)
Celebrate Earth Day at Wa-Ke Hatchee on Saturday, Apr 16 from 10am to 2pm. This event is free and open to the public. Celebrate the Earth with exhibitors who do their part to inform, conserve, and enjoy our local environment. Bring family and friends and enjoy the event! [Wa-Ke Hatchee Wire]
Ready for a Waterkeeper (2016-03-30)
Thanks to the generosity of Linda & Daniel Mattos, Riverwatch now has a great boat awaiting the first Caloosahathcee Waterkeeper. It's a wonderful Triumph 170 in great condition. And thanks to the Severus Foundation, CRCA can begin a serious fundraising campaign to support hiring a Waterkeeper. [Triumph 170]
Machine Gun Video (2016-03-30)
The group has produced a series of videos delivering its points in rapid-fire sequence presenting the perspectives of the east coast estuary advocates. It's a new approach that may have an impact in this most unusual of election years. [Caldwell Poster] [Machine Gun Video] [Name Them Video] [Putnam Video]
Scott Blames Obama for Water (2016-03-30)
The polluted discharges from Lake Okeechobee and the surrounding watershed are not a new problem. The recent declaration by Gov. Rick Scott that the Barack Obama administration is largely to blame for the destructive flows of water heading east and west from Lake O makes for a nice press release. [Palm Beach Post] [Everglades Foundation] [Cartoon]
Clean-up a Success (2016-03-30)
On Mar 25 Riverwatch VP Mary Rawl hosted a clean-up of Billy's Creek with 47 people participating, mostly FGCU & FSW students. Thank you to all! Shout-out to Neil Wilkinson, Brian Murphy, John Paul, Wes Anderson & Chris Rawl for assisting and to CHNEP for funding. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Website] [Videos]
Captains for Clean Water (2016-03-30)
The first of what could potential be many future meetings by the Captains for Clean Water group was held Mar 22, and the message related was perfectly clear: stop harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee to estuaries. [Island Reporter] [Eagle News] [Forum] [Michael Donovan] [Daniel Andrews] [Facebook]
Missed Opportunity (2016-03-30)
Governor Rick Scott blames the Obama administration for the release of too much freshwater from Lake Okeechobee and the resulting environmental damage to our area. For him, Obama should have funded rapid repair of the Lake O dike so it could hold more water. [News Press] [WCTV] [Rick Scott] [Cartoon] [Charlie Crist]
Saudi Land Purchases in the US (2016-03-30)
A Saudi Arabian company bought 14,000 acres in drought-stricken CA & AZ to grow and ship home cattle forage. This raises debate about how water rights follow land ownership in the West. Exporting food, fiber or forage is the same as exporting water. [The Washington Post] [The Big Story] [CNBC] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
John Marshall (2016-03-29)
There was nothing John Marshall loved more than the Everglades and preserving the environment. It was his life’s work and CRCA had the privilege to work with him on east-west cooperation on St. Lucie, Lake Okeechobee, and Caloosahatchee issues. [Palm Beach Post] [WPTV] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
Caloosahatchee BMAP (2016-03-29)
The state’s Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) to clean up the river clearly states that of the 61 percent of the primary pollutant to the Caloosahatchee, nitrogen, is coming from Lake Okeechobee. The BMAP is a plan with specific pollutant reduction projects and milestones. [News Press] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Annual Meeting] [Everglades Foundation] [BMAP]
New State Water Policy (2016-03-29)
Of the new water bill promoted by Caldwell and signed by Scott, Senator Bob Graham said it weakens protection and management of Florida’s water resources. It will result in further corrosion of what was once hailed as the water management standard of the Nation. [Photo] [Tampa Bay Times] [Ocala] [Reader Comments] [Cartoon]
Fight Against Climate Change (2016-03-28)
We must address climate change with vigor. Water advocacy groups recognize the imperative of promoting alternative energies and reducing fossil fuel use. Waterkeepers have drawn up a list of energy issues in Florida and Georgia. [WWALS] [Map]
Discharge Permit for Fort Myers (2016-03-28)
The wastewater discharge permit for Fort Myers will expire in May, 2016. Cape Coral is challenging Ft Myers' renewal application in an effort to force the City to spend the money need to pipe the effluent to the Cape for reuse. Ft Myers could instead develop a reuse system of their own. [Letter] [News Press February] [System Description] [News Press]
Water Quality and Quantity (2016-03-28)
The estuary can handle up to 2800 cfs flowing down the river but this year the threshold has been exceeded five fold. This situation has a major effect on salinity and habitat quality. It's necessary to find ways to reduce the excess flows. [Cape Coral Daily Breeze] [Cartoon]
Garden Tour with John Kiseda (2016-03-28)
A Spring Garden Tour, at John Kiseda's home in the South of Fort Myers, took place Wed, Mar 23. John Kiseda works at the All Native Garden Center, on Thursdays and Fridays. He promotes sustainable gardening by transforming landscapes into wildlife gardens featuring native plants. [John Kiseda Web Page] [All Native Garden Center]
Hawaiians Visit Caloosahatchee (2016-03-27)
The Hōkūle‘a a Polynesian voyaging canoe is circling the globe to bring attention to the need for sustainable stewardship and addressing the challenges of climate change and sea level rise. This Easter the vessel is in Ft Myers at the downtown yacht basin. [Sunday News] [Overview] [Tracking Map]
Defend Core Truths & Values (2016-03-27)
Scapegoating farmers is not the path forward, but this fundamental truth is not well served by disinformation such as asserting that 80% of pollution comes from local basins, since these basins too are primarily agricultural. It is not who bears historical blame but who is blocking progress. [News Press]
Why We Care (2016-03-26)
Amy Bennett Williams read to the Riverwatch annual meeting an essay expressing the values that cause her to care about the Caloosahatchee. She also read a 1994 News Press editorial that led to the community forum where Riverwatch was born, an essay that also mentioned Waterkeeper. [A Day in the Caloosahatchee] [Amy Bennett Williams] [WGCU Essay Link]
How We Got Here (2016-03-26)
Wayne Daltry, current director and former 2-term president of Riverwatch explained to the annual meeting audience the history of events and intentions that brought the Caloosahatchee to its current situation and set of problems. [Wayne Daltry]
Science Stuff (2016-03-26)
CRCA Director John Cassani stepped annual meeting attendees through the technical aspects of troubles facing the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary from urban development, agricultural runoff, Lake O management, and other factors. [John Cassani]
Riverwatch Awards (2016-03-26)
Riverwatch VP Gene Gibson recognized 3 CRCA members and another attendee of the 2016 annual meeting, expressing appreciation for their exemplary service and contributions to Riverwatch: Linda Mattos, David Laties, John Paul, and the News Press (Amy Bennett Williams). [Gene with Award]
Waterkeeper Primer (2016-03-26)
John Capece provided attendees of the CRCA annual meeting an introduction to the new Waterkeeper Alliance Affiliate program for Caloosahatchee Riverwatch. The plan will ramp up Riverwatch to full Waterkeeper status in 3 years or less. [John Capece] [Introduction] [Presentation] [Proposal]
Annual Meeting Program (2016-03-26)
76 members & guests attended the Riverwatch annual meeting on Mar 19. The program included: Commissioner Frank Mann - MC, Wayne Daltry – Caloosahatchee History, John Cassani – Technical Issues, John Capece – Waterkeeper Program, Gene Gibson - Awards, and Amy Bennett Williams - Values. [Meeting Program] [Commissioner Frank Mann]
1000 Friends of Florida (2016-03-25)
A meeting to discuss environmental advocacy with Governor Bob Graham will take place on Tue, Apr 19, 2016. 1000 Friends of Florida, the meeting organizer, believes that citizens play an active role in society, and they are concerned about the environment and their lifestyles. [Meeting 1] [Meeting 2]
Move Water or Protect Sparrow (2016-03-25)
In stating, “The bird is a big problem” advocates of outdated paradigms seek to perpetrate continued destruction. They intentionally misrepresent endangered species rules & actions that serve to preserve an entire ecosystem and funnel us towards rational solutions using one bird's endangered status. [WTSP] [News Press] [News Press] [Reader Letter] [Classic Newton Cook]
Birds Need a New Home (2016-03-25)
The Calusa Nature Center is raising money to rebuild the Audubon Aviary, a sanctuary for injured birds since 1976. Visitors of all ages can make an important connection to nature through coming close to these birds. The aviary has reached the end of its lifespan. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Donation Page]
A Record Jump in CO2 (2016-03-25)
From Feb 2015 to 2016, the global concentration of carbon in the atmosphere rose a record 3.76 parts per million (ppm), to over 404 ppm. The last record-holder was 1997-1998, when carbon dioxide rose 3.70 ppm. [GRIST] [Graphic 1] [Graphic 2]
Estuary Salinity (2016-03-25)
Every week, SCCF carries out a report which provides a scientific assessment of Caloosahatchee River and Estuary conditions. During the month of March, even if discharges to the river from Lake Okeechobee decreased, the report recommends further reducing releases to the Caloosahatchee. [Report 1] [Report 2]
Dead Fish in Florida (2016-03-25)
It's not the first time that fishes die in Florida. This situation is caused by water pollution in Florida, but not only. The political aspect is important, and voters or politicians must do their utmost to change things and improve the quality of water. It becomes a necessity. [Eye On Miami] [Photo] [Youtube]
Tampa Bay Times Covers River (2016-03-24)
On Mar 20 the Tampa Bay Times published a front page story on Lake Okeechobee discharges to the Caloosahatchee. Riverwatch directors hosted the journalist investigating the issue. [Front Page] [Reader Comments] [Story] [Photo]
The Everglades Headwaters (2016-03-24)
This land will always be wild thanks to the state of Florida’s most recent land protection. Earlier this month, the Cabinet and Gov. Rick Scott voted unanimously to buy nearly 4,000 acres of conservation easements on working cattle ranches in the Everglades watershed. The state won’t own the land, but now it can never be developed. [Tampa Bay Times] [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
Sugarcane Grower Viewpoint (2016-03-24)
The sugar industry is presenting their side of the story regarding recent water problems saying their farmers do not discharge wastewater into Lake Okeechobee. It is true...sugar farms only pump/drain their excess water into canals. It is SFWMD that pumps water from canals into Lake O or elsewhere. [Tampa Tribune] [Huffington] [Sugar Ad] [Cleanwater] [Sanchez]
State Pushes Purchases to Feds (2016-03-24)
In 2015 the State of Florida balked on its 2008 agreement to buy EAA lands for water storage. Now Rep Clawson will try to get the Federal dollars for the purchase. This is yet another example of the state doing its best to create problems and expecting the Feds to fix them...but without regulations. [TC Palm] [Letter] [Conservancy] [News Press] [Ray Judah] [Cartoon]
Walk for Future Generations (2016-03-24)
Sunday, March 20 to Friday, March 25, people will step up efforts to save the Everglades, through a protest march from Miami to Naples. Everyone is invited to walk for an hour, a day, a few days or the entire time, or attend the protests and press conferences. Follow the link below for more details. [Facebook]
Caravan Stage Company (2016-03-24)
On the Calooshatchee in Port LaBelle is the Amara Zee, a 98ft long, 24ft wide river barge. It is the on-water stage of Caravan Stage Company, a unique theater company created in 1970, the Caravan is a non-profit theatrical organization that has toured the world to as far away as Athens & Istanbul. [Southwest Florida Online] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Website]
USDA Bee Grade Science (2016-03-23)
USDA is either pursuing prudent science or intentionally burying research suggesting a bee die-off link to neonicotinoid pesticides (a relatively new type of pesticide used in Monsanto seeds). These pesticides are already banned in Europe but USDA is going slow and in doing so have angered some. [2012 Counterpoint] [Info Graphic 1] [Info Graphic 2] [Pesticide Linkage Report] [Friends of the Earth]
Youth Driven Cinema (2016-03-23)
Youth Driven Cinema promotes the creation of educational/motivational short movies by young people. Their event takes place on April 29th at The Lyric Theater. Proceeds going to camp scholarships at Environmental Studies Center. [] [Tickets for the Youth Driven Cinema] [Website of the Youth Driven Cinema] [Example Movie]
2016-17 Board Elected (2016-03-21)
At its annual meeting on Mar 19, Riverwatch President John Paul conducted an election for the 2016-17 CRCA Board of Directors. 17 directors were elected with 4 positions to be filled later in the year by the board. Officers will be elected by directors at the April 6 board meeting. [2016-17 Board List]
See it, Report it, Stop it (2016-03-21)
As part of its new Waterkeeper Alliance Affiliate program, Caloosahatchee Riverwatch has set up a water hotline for the public to call in and report water pollution and other water problems they observe in the Caloosahatchee, Lake O, Estero Bay and Charlotte Harbor region. 239-444-8584 [Water Hotline]
River - Climate Linkage (2016-03-17)
As Jan rains showed, we can't fix the river if we neglect the climate. Feb 2016 has set yet another record global temperature rise - 1.35°C. The next highest February anomaly was 0.88°C in 1998, so last month is a full 0.47°C warmer than that. [2C Temp Graph] [Skeptical Science]
Family Takes Home Canoe (2016-03-04)
Chris Cavanaugh of Lehigh Acres sent his family to pick up their Riverwatch canoe. His father, wife and children loaded the canoe into their pickup already making plans for camping and fishing. When called Chris was shocked saying that he never wins anything. [Happy Family] [Posing with Canoe]
Murder or Assasination (2016-03-04)
Berta Caceres, a prominent water activist in Honduras was killed on Mar 2. Many doubt it was a random murder and instead believe it was a targeted assassination. Human rights and environmental activists and groups around the world are calling for a full investigation and diplomatic action. [The Guardian] [Waterkeeper Action Notice] [Democracy Now] [Solidarity Photos] [State Dept Petition] [Berta Caceres]
6000 cfs to 4000 cfs (2016-03-04)
US Army Corps of Engineers says it will reduce the amount of water flowing from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee. It was 6000cfs for a month (perhaps even higher by some estimates) but may soon go down to 4000cfs. The estuary is severely harmed by flows above 2400 to 2800 cfs. [News Press] [Flow Graph] [Flow Spreadsheet] [Cartoon]
Congratulations to Advocates (2016-03-02)
The court document shows several Florida groups supporting the EPA water quality plan: Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, Florida Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, and St. Johns Riverkeeper. Opposing was Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. [Florida Brief] [2015 Analysis] [EPA TMDL Supreme Court] [2015 Ruling]
Supreme Court Upholds TMDL (2016-03-02)
In its first post-Scalia environmental action, the Supreme Court refused to hear the Farm Bureau challenge to the EPA TMDL program for the Chesapeake Bay. This upholds EPA efforts to improve water quality in the US water body most similar to the South Florida situation. [Law360] [Climate Progress] [Ruling Upheld] [SW FL Advocates]
Ridgeway H White (2016-03-01)
Rigdeway White is President of The Charles Stuart Mott Foundation, based in Flint with an endowment of $2.7 billion. A core missions is protection of fresh water resources. White also serves on the board of United States Sugar Corporation. [Alan Farago Article] [Ridgeway White]
Thanks, Sam (2016-03-01)
A special thank you to Sam Epps, Harbor Master of the Sea Scout Base in Galveston, Texas. Sam was visiting LaBelle and helped set up, staff and disassemble the Riverwatch exhibit at Swamp Cabbage Festival. He also acquired a small Sunfish sailboat donation for CRCA. [Sam Epps] [Sea Scout Base]
River Fossils Collection (2016-03-01)
Attracting lots of attention at the Swamp Cabbage Festival was the fossil collection of Scott Perry, former Riverwatch President. Some of these Caloosahatchee River artifacts were collected by kids participating in Scott's summer fossil camp in which children learn about and hunt fossils [Fossil Camp Flyer] [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4] [Photo 5]
Taking From The Public (2016-02-29)
Ft. Myers continues to strip residents of their riverfront public access rights. Riverwatch VP Gene Gibson sent a letter to DEP and the National Park Service reminding them of the public easement and the attempted violation. [CRCA Letter] [Cartoon]
Canoe Contest Winners (2016-02-28)
At the Riverwatch Swamp Cabbage Festival Canoe Contest, Chris Cavanaugh won the canoe. The 2nd place prize of Estero River Outfitters canoe outing was won by Wayne & Marti Daltry. Joe Bridges won the 3rd place prize of a Calusa Nature Center family membership.
Joe Frank & Canoe Contest (2016-02-28)
Joe Frank, member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc. was on hand to draw the winning tickets in the canoe contest at the 2016 Swamp Cabbage Festival. For the past many years, Joe has arranged for the canoe donation from the Tribe. Thanks, Joe! [Joe, Nargis, Linda & Meryem] [Happy Family] [Posing with Canoe]
Every Storm is Different Now (2016-02-25)
When trying to understand why our recent EXTREME rainfall, know that in his hopeful TED talk, Al Gore points out that "every storm is different now." Ask yourself, are ours now "different" and if so, what should we do about it? [At Risk Cities] [Al Gore TED Talk]
His 128th Climate Speech (2016-02-25)
It's not my grandfather's ocean any more! This is what the U.S. Senator from Rhode Island is hearing from his state's fisherman. Sheldon Whitehouse has made 128 such climate change speeches to Congress. [CSPAN Video] [Sen. Whitehouse Climate Page]
Guessing Game at Lake O (2016-02-24)
On Feb 15 the US Army Corps of Engineers changed the way it reported how much water was flowing out of Lake O into the Caloosahatchee River. Above 6000 cfs a difference of as much as 50% appeared in their reporting. Riverwatch has inquired to get a explanation. [Spreadsheet of Corps Data] [Flow Error Chart at Moore Haven Lock]
Circular Finger Pointing (2016-02-24)
Just as coastal SW FL is pointing inland, Cape Coral is pointing at Ft Myers and complaining about releases of treated waste water. The logical conclusion is that each county and community must be willing to do its part in reducing water consumption, pollution, & runoff back to more natural levels. [News Press]
Clarifying His Position (2016-02-24)
On Feb 24 the News Press quoted Lee Co Commissioned Frank Mann as clarifying his perspective, “The fresh water you need to get south (of Lake O) also carries these nutrients, but any water south is good for us.” [News Press] [Web Site]
Riverwatch in Good Company (2016-02-19)
Riverwatch is a junior member of the expanding Waterkeeper Alliance network in Florida. There are 10 other groups in the Alliance within Florida. Several geographic gaps remain but new groups are forming every few months. [Florida Map] [Waterkeeper Alliance]
SW Sliding into a New Normal (2016-02-19)
The weather patterns that typically bring moisture to the U.S. Southwest are becoming more rare, an indication that the region is sliding into the drier climate state predicted by global models, according to a new study. [National Science Foundation]
The Town of Babcock Ranch (2016-02-19)
Babcock Ranch continues to focus public attention on the solar aspect of their development. The economics of solar PV and solar thermal now dictate that ALL new construction should include solar. The new city will consist of 19,500 homes, 6-million square feet of commercial space. [News-Press]
Help Available for Ponds (2016-02-19)
WETPLAN offers Neighborhood Ponds Management free classes on Wednesdays and Fridays. Whether you are a homeowner, an association board member, a landscaper or a lake management employee, you will learn tips and techniques for extending the life of your ponds and reducing your management costs. [News-Press] [Flyer] [WETPLAN Website]
Zika Virus (2016-02-19)
The Zika virus, transmitted by the same mosquito as dengue fever, has spread with alarming speed throughout South and Central America—and scientists in Brazil suspect that global warming is exacerbating the problem. [Eco Watch]
El Nino Research (2016-02-19)
America’s two leading climate science agencies NOAA amd NASA are conducting an unprecedented survey via land, sea and air to investigate the current El Niño event and better understand its impact on weather systems that have brought both parched and soaking conditions to North America. [The Guardian]
Nano Toilet (2016-02-19)
UK researchers have created a self-sustaining nano-membrane toilet that could provide a safe alternative to open defecation and public lavatories. This waterless toilet removes the water from human waste and leaves solids that can be used as fuel or fertilizer. [The Guardian] [Nano Toilet Design] [Nano Toilet Drawing] [Video]
No Big Fix for Water Crises (2016-02-19)
Cynthia Barnett says that when it comes to water issues, while there is no Big Fix, there are lots of other things we can do, starting with developing a water ethic. It means that we live today in a way that doesn’t jeopardize things for future generations. It’s not terribly hard. [Huffington Post]
Reprehensible Legislative Actions (2016-02-19)
Ray Judah, a former Lee County Commissioner, in his recent commentary called the recent legislative actions concerning water quality 'reprehensible'. He believes The Water Policy Bill signed by Gov. Scott greatly impedes efforts to cost effectively prevent water pollution at its source. [Pine Island Eagle]
Clean Power Plan on Hold (2016-02-19)
The Supreme Court temporarily paused the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the first-ever federal rule to limit carbon pollution from U.S. power plants. While not a final ruling, this decision is a real set back in President Obama’s efforts to combat climate change. [The Climate Reality Project] [The Guardian]
Heavy Rains-Need More Storage (2016-02-19)
The east coast that needs no dry season water to its estuary to maintain salinity balance could benefit for more storage. For the west coast, the storage would still be mostly full in Jan in anticipation of delivering minimum flows in Feb-May & thus of no use in the Jan-Feb excess water situation. [Kevin Ruane Letter]
Ready for Powerful Change (2016-02-19)
For more than two decades, Riverwatch has championed the Caloosahatchee: organizing cleanups, educating citizens and advocating for the region's troubled river. Allying itself with the Waterkeeper Alliance, the all-volunteer nonprofit is now an affiliate of the respected organization. [News-Press] [PDF Version] [Video]
Protesting Bad Water Management (2016-02-19)
Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday, February 13th at the Matanzas Pass Bridge to protest the discharge of Lake Okeechobee water into Southwest Florida rivers and beaches. Riverwatch directors John Capece & Nargis Abduvohidova joined in. CRCA intern, Meryem Maidame was interviewed by News Press. [WINK News] [Letters] [Photo] [Conservancy] [WINK News Video] [News-Press Video]
Plastic Baykeeper (2016-02-19)
The waterways surrounding New York City are a soup of plastic, according to an environmental group called NY/NJ Baykeeper. The group estimated there are at least 165 million plastic particles floating in New York Harbor and nearby waters at any given time. [AP The Big Story] [NY/NJ Baykeeper]
Lake O Discharges (2016-02-19)
SFWMD requested the Corps of Engineers to begin reducing the amount of water discharged from Lake O into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers starting Feb 19th. But doing so could make conditions worse, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Jennifer Reynolds said. [WINK News] [Video]
High Winds (2016-02-19)
The National Weather Service has confirmed that an EF0 tornado touched done in Moore Haven on Feb 16. The tornado was approximately 50 feet wide with a length of track approximately 1.6 miles. The high winds demolished and damaged some homes in Glades County. [Southwest Florida Online]
Bull Sugar (2016-02-19)
Bull Sugar is a non-profit organization dedicated to stopping polluted discharges into the St Lucie River, Caloosahatchee River and Indian River Lagoon. They stand by their slogan: CLEAN POLITICS=CLEAN WATER. [Facebook]
From Lake O to Everglades (2016-02-19)
Water is flowing from lands south of Lake Okeechobee to Everglades National Park for the first time in nearly a century. It remains to be seen if this is the benefit the estuaries or just the EAA and Water Conservation Areas south of Lake O. CRCA will analyze the data and report findings. [News-Press 1] [News-Press 2]
Land Program Back on Ballot (2016-02-19)
Lee Co Commission voted 4-1 on Feb 16 to send the 20-year-old Conservation 20/20 program back to voters. Since adopted by voters in 1996, the 20/20 program has spent more than $316 million to acquire, restore and conserve about 24,931 acres. This is the BOCCs way of trying to end the program. [News-Press]
Oversimplifying Our Problems (2016-02-18)
Frank Mann, Chairman of the Board of Lee County Commissioners, disagrees with the recent water stories that dark water flowing down the Caloosahatchee is causing red tide. He says the discoloration is entirely natural, the result of tannins. Riverwatch responds, explaining water quality complexity. [Frank Mann Editorial] [Riverwatch Response]
The First Climate Refugees (2016-02-18)
The Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw just received $48 million from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to move off of their disappearing south Louisiana island. The tribe is the first community of official climate refugees in the continental (lower 48) United States. [Daily Kos]
Stop Lake O Discharges (2016-02-12)
Sarah Lepa started a petition addressed to Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio, Gov. Rick Scott and several State Representatives suggesting that new legislation should include measures such as the South Flow Way, Plan 6, Solution 101 to DIVERT water from Lake O away from SWFL wildlife and beaches. [Sign the Petition]
Boaters Are Voters (2016-02-12)
Please attend the Fort Myers City Council meeting on Feb 16 at 4:30pm when the Downtown Hotel project will be discussed. Wear your business / boating shirts and let the leaders know that it is not acceptable to use our ramp as a staging area for construction. [Details]
Not the Heat, But the Humidity (2016-02-12)
The paper must be feeling some heat if it feels that it needs to defend itself for reporting the real news. The Feb 12 edition alone contained 6 water related pieces documenting regional hardships due to excess and polluted water or its associated controversies. [Blaming Media] [Tourism] [20/20] [Water South] [Red Tide] [Wet Crops]
Bad News for Food (2016-02-03)
USDA economists are forecasting how US food production and irrigation water supplies will change over the next 60 years. As climate change begins to be felt and our population expands, food supplies will suffer. This has the makings of a crisis. (Note: Aillery did the EAA water storage analysis.) [USDA Analysis] [USDA Web Site]
Lake or Local Blob (2016-02-03)
While it is easy to point the finger at Lake Okeechobee, recent Caloosahatchee estuary problems have been more due to local watershed runoff quantity and quality. The underlying causes and required solutions are largely the same and the necessary actions still remain to be acknowledged and achieved. [Lake vs Watershed Flow] [Data Source] [Blob Cartoon]
Waterkeeper Alliance Magazine (2016-02-02)
You can receive a printed version of the semi-annual Waterkeeper magazine sent to you by mail if you make a donation of $25 or more to Waterkeeper Alliance. PDF versions are available online free of charge. [Donate & Subscribe] [Back Issues]
February CRCA Newsletter (2016-02-01)
The February 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. [February Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archives]
New Riverwatch Web Site (2016-02-01)
Check out the new Riverwatch web page redesigned and programmed by Nargis Abduvohidova. In addition to the new banner and photos, the web page is now mobile friendly. The address remains [New Web Page] [Renew Your Membership]
Salinity Flat-lines in January (2016-01-31)
For the entire month of January, estuary salinity has been below MFL 30-day limits. Rains and Lake O releases since the middle of the month have completely flat-lined salinity levels, highly unusual for January. [Conditions Report] [More SCCF Reports]
Billy Creek Clean Up Day (2016-01-31)
Join Riverwatch and FGCU, KLCB, and Wright Construction for a clean-up day on Billy's Creek 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 on Friday, March 25. [Website] [Sign up]
CRCA Annual Meeting March 19 (2016-01-31)
Save the date! From 4-7pm on Sat, Mar 19 CRCA will hold its annual meeting to welcome members and kick off its 2016-17 programs. Hosting the meeting is VP Gene Gibson who has reserved the beautiful Gathering Room in High Point Place on the Ft. Myers riverfront. RSVP is required. [Gathering Room View] [Event Page] [High Point Location]
Ceitus Legal Action Update (2016-01-31)
A Ceitus case court date is set for April 2016. Before that the parties are required to undergo a non-binding mediation process that was held Jan 20. John Cassani represented Riverwatch. Another session is planned. [Facts] [Exhibit E] [Arbitration] [Hearing] [Mediation] [EPA Letter]
Agriculture & Wildlife Tour (2016-01-31)
County Extension Director Gene McAvoy guided a half-day tour of farms and ranches in Hendry County on Jan 26. Assisting were Ron Zimmerly and Master Naturalist Margaret England. Other CRCA members in the group of 17 included Ad Austin, Nargis Abduvohidova & Bill Comiskey. The next tour is in March. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4] [Photo 5] [Photo 6]
Pine Island Plan Revision (2016-01-29)
In response to our complaints about the lack of open space requirements in the new Pine Island regulations, the County Attorney's Office has changed the rules to require 50 foot front setback and 25 foot side setback on new developments. That means houses must be at least 50 feet apart. [Email by Phil Buchanan] [Pine Island Eagle] [Cartoon] [What you need to know]
Lots of Water Falling & Flowing (2016-01-29)
Ft Myers received 13 inches of rain in Jan 2016, exceeding any January since records began in 1902. Lake Okeechobee waster levels are now above 16ft. Despite a high Lake with a weak dike, SFWMD decided to backpump farm water into the lake. Flow to the estuary at S-79 exceeded 14,000 cfs on Jan 29. [News-Press] [S-79 Flow]
Dead Fish Removal Authorized (2016-01-29)
Owners and managers of private property along Sanibel beaches are authorized by the city's Natural Resources Department to remove dead fish impacted by "very moderate levels" of red tide on the island. Dead fish may only be removed by hand, using tools such as pitchforks or grabbers. [NBC-2]
SFWMD Flood Control Action (2016-01-29)
2016 has brought extraordinary amounts of rainfall to South Florida. In response, the South Florida Water Management District has taken extraordinary actions to fulfill its mission of providing flood protection for residents and businesses within the 16 counties the agency serves. [SFWMD Opinion 1] [SFWMD Opinion 2]
High Peaks Losing Glaciers (2016-01-29)
NSF research scientists have documented the melting of ice on Niwot Ridge and the adjacent Green Lakes Valley in the high mountains west of Boulder, Colorado. The glaciers will continue as the climate continues to warm. [National Science Foundation]
Not Retreating on River Hall (2016-01-29)
The News Press is covering citizen opposition to the River Hall development. Thornberry and his neighbors at River Hall scored their first legal victory in a battle with Lee County to preserve the rural dream they were sold. FGCU professor Paul Asfour doesn't think they are done fighting developers. [News-Press] [Photo] [Guest Opinion]
Amendment 1 Lawsuit (2016-01-29)
On Dec 3 Circuit Judge George Reynolds accepted a motion from the state to dismiss part of the Amendment 1 lawsuit that sought a court order requiring state CFO Jeff Atwater to transfer $237 million from the general-revenue fund to what is known as the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. [Tampa Bay Times] []
Wider Impact from BP Spill (2016-01-29)
More than five years after millions of gallons of oil flooded into the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, a clearer picture is developing about the long term impacts to wildlife and their habitats. The damage was much greater than previously understood. [Public News Service] [Listen to audio]
Challenge Status Quo (2016-01-29)
Ray Judah wrote: Mayor Ruane portrays to know the facts concerning restoration of the Caloosahatchee and our coastal estuaries. In fact, he represents the status quo of policy makers at the local and state level that have ignored or failed to understand the water budget in the Lake O watershed. [Cape Coral Daily Breeze]
2015 Crushed Global Records (2016-01-29)
NOAA and NASA have both confirmed what scientists have been predicting for months: 2015 was globally the hottest year ever recorded. Not only was 2015 the warmest year on record globally, it beat the previous record, set in 2014, by a wide margin. [Climate Reality Project] [Average annual temperature] [Land and ocean temperature] [Website]
Is Toilet to Tap a Good Idea (2016-01-29)
Clearwater has become the first city in Florida, and one of only a handful in the US, to launch a design phase for a groundwater replenishment facility that will not only purify wastewater but inject it back underground. Tetra Tech has begun designing the $28.6M plant which could be running by 2018. [Tampa Bay Times] [Our Santa Fe River] [Florida Clean Water Network]
Thanks Karen & RRRTR (2016-01-29)
Riverwatch received an $800 donation from the River Roots & Ruts Trail Run held on a rainy Jan 10 morning. Karen Bickford organized the 50+ volunteers to manage the 300+ runner event at Caloosahatchee Regional Park. Riverwatch provided 7 volunteers. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4]
Water is the New Oil (2016-01-29)
Nearly 200 people met to discuss water quality and distribution challenges facing Southwest Florida now and in the future at a water conference at FGCU on January 15. "Water is the new oil," said George Yilmaz, a panelist with Collier County Utilities." "We need to change our approach to water". [News-Press]
An Opportunity to Imagine! (2016-01-29)
The leaders of the Imagine Solutions Conference have asked we share this exciting scholarship opportunity with non-profit leaders. The conference is fast approaching so now is the time to register and request your scholarships. The conference will be held on Feb 22nd in Naples. [Register] [Conference website]
Does Vue Benefit Ft Myers? (2016-01-29)
Bob and Kerry Holley of Fort Myers wrote to the News Press, "Many condominium developments are coming; please don't give away the best parts of our beautiful city without keeping our riverfront accessible and usable for all citizens." [News-Press]
C-43 Reservoir: Construction On (2016-01-29)
After years of remaining on hold, the C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir off SR 80 just west of LaBelle, is finally seeing activity again. According to SFWMD, the project had been on hold due to lack of funding. The $584.6 million project cost is shared between the federal government and SFWMD. [Caloosa Belle] [Map]
Foul Water Heads for River (2016-01-29)
A state environmental agency gave a presentation in Fort Myers on Jan 28 on cleaning up the Caloosahatchee River while another state agency pumped polluted farm water into Lake O, which drains into the river. If water management in Florida seems confusing, that's because it is. [News-Press] [Sun Sentinel] [Palm Beach Post] [Interview with CRCA director Phil Schwartz]
Rain, Rain Go Away (2016-01-29)
The latest drenching ended Thursday night, Jan 28th, but for Southwest Florida businesses, pain from the rain — and a January that’s the wettest ever for Fort Myers — will last a lot longer. [News-Press]
NOAA Weather Data (2016-01-29)
Whenever you want to compare today's weather to historical data, NOAA provides you access to historical records in customized formats to match your needs. It's nice to see that the government makes it easy for everyone to benefit from their data archives. [NOAA weather website]
House OKs Fracking Regulation Bill (2016-01-29)
On Jan 27 the state House approved a bill that would create regulations for fracking despite strong opposition from Democrats who said the oil and gas drilling practice could contaminate groundwater, damage the environment, make people sick and hurt Florida’s tourism industry. The House voted 73-45. [News-Press] [Florida Politics]
Counting Fish to Catch (2016-01-29)
Fishermen want the Feds to increase the estimates of the numbers of fish in the Gulf so they can be permitted to catch more of them. Fishermen are challenging the scientific methods of the federal regulators. [News-Press]
Ignorant Irony or Hypocrisy? (2016-01-28)
The reality is the very people who bought the homes in the developments that helped create environmental damage just a few years ago are now our allies as we try to avert the next phase of environmental destruction. Will the downward spiral ever be reversed? [Naples News]
Looming Water Crisis (2016-01-28)
So far we have only seen deceptive commitments and weakening of resource protection from Tallahassee on growth and water issues and a sad retreat from the will of the people on Amendment 1. For the "commons," time is running out. [News-Press]
Tornadoes (2016-01-25)
Florida gets an average of three tornadoes in January. Our area experienced two, one on January 9 that hit Cape Coral and another on January 15 that hit the airport/Lehigh area. A third twister struck Manatee County on January 17, killing two people there. [News-Press]
New Group at Babcock (2016-01-25)
Paul Holmes and others are forming a Babcock Ranch Preserve chapter of the Friends of Florida State Forests. Who is involved in the group and the activities they will organize will be posted as information becomes available. [Details] [Plan] [Facebook]
Our Waters Need to be Protected (2016-01-24)
CRCA-Riverwatch's director Philip Schwartz encourages citizens and businesses of Southwest Florida to join Riverwatch and support its mission of protecting the Caloosahatchee River and its watershed. Riverwatch had four billboards up for December to gain the attention of the public. We need you now. [News-Press] [Join us] [Make a donation]
Watershed Kickbacks (2016-01-24)
The former director of the Newark Watershed Conservation and Development Corp., Linda Watkins-Brashear pleaded guilty on Dec 18 to soliciting nearly $1 million in bribes from businesses in return for inflated and no-work contracts. Ms. Watkins-Brashear admitted taking $1M in kickbacks. []
Florida State Parks (2016-01-24)
Gov. Scott’s DEP chief, Jon Steverson, sparked a firestorm in 2015 by discussing park management plans that could include expanding hunting, grazing and logging activities at 174 Florida state parks. But Steverson said he stands by the approach and he has a supporter in Rep. Matt Caldwell. [My Palm Beach Post]
El Nino (2016-01-24)
Southwest Florida is all wet, and the region isn't expected to dry out anytime soon. El Niño is at its peak and is expected to dump above-average rainfall on this area through spring. Heavy rainfall in the Caloosahatchee River watershed coupled with Lake O releases can cripple coastal marine life. [News-Press] [Lake O Stage]
River Rally 2016 (2016-01-24)
River Network is hosting its 2016 annual River Rally on May 20-23 in Mobile, Alabama. River Rally is a national conference that focuses on education, inspiration and celebration within the river and watershed community. Registration is open now. Register early to get a discount. [Brochure] [General registration] [Member registration] [Website]
Water is Top Long-term Risk (2016-01-24)
The World Economic Forum ranked water crises as the top global risk to industry and society over the next decade. Last year, water crises earned the top spot as the most damaging short-term risk. Water has become a serious social issue and an urgent political matter. [Circle of Blue] [Graphic]
Lee County Streamlines 20/20 (2016-01-24)
Lee County will no longer ask property owners who want to participate in the Conservation 20/20 land acquisition program to list an asking price on the application. On Jan 19, the Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to streamline the application process by removing the asking price. [News-Press]
Vue - an After-Christmas Fire Sale (2016-01-24)
CRCA VP Gene Gibson in his commentary mentions: Andres Duany, the urban planner who prepared the Downtown Ft Myers Plan, said “the City sells itself too cheaply.” If the city approves what the new Vue developer wants, this will amount to an after-Christmas fire sale that will prove Duany right. [Commentary by Gene Gibson] [Commentary by David Urich] [Vue and City Council] [Joint letter & memo]
Wind, Waves Whip Sanibel Sands (2016-01-24)
With winds whipping up waves, the beaches of Sanibel and Fort Myers are seeing some unwanted shifts."There's definitely movement of sand," said Judith Zimomra, Sanibel city manager. "Some areas have additional sand; there are some areas that have lost sand." Heavy rains also did some damage. [News-Press]
More Plastic than Fish (2016-01-24)
By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans, the World Economic Forum warned on Jan 16. The study found that 32 percent of all plastic packaging escapes collection systems and finds its way into natural ecosystems, including the oceans. We must reduce the use of plastic. [CNN] [Cartoon By Cathy Cochrane] [Infographic] [Washington Post] [Al Jazeera]
Save Our Downtown Boat Ramp! (2016-01-23)
CRCA-Riverwatch is opposing the possible closing of a popular boat ramp in downtown Fort Myers. We've sent postcards warning boaters and other taxpayers to keep a close eye on what the city does with the boat ramp on Edwards Drive. Help save our downtown boat ramp. [Fox 4] [Letter by Ron & Joan Pierce] [Interview with CRCA VP Gene Gibson]
UF Water Institute Symposium (2016-01-23)
We invite you to participate in the 5th biennial UF Water Institute Symposium, focused on understanding causes of trends, cycles and extreme events and their consequences for human, agricultural and natural systems. The symposium is being held on Feb 16-17 at J. Wayne Reitz Union on the UF campus. [Symposium website] [Register online]
Algae Makes You Stupid (2016-01-23)
Algae blooms may be slowly eating away at our memories. According to a new study, chronic exposure to a commonplace algae toxin in crabs, shellfish and other seafood increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in humans. [Florida Today]
Still Denying Global Warming (2016-01-23)
In 135 years of record keeping (by NOAA), the six hottest years for this planet have been 2015, 2014, 2010, 2005, 1998, and 2013. Yet many people still deny human-induced climate change. Unlike the era when the same types denied the earth rotating the sun, we cannot afford the time to be so stupid. [News-Press]
Franklin Lock & Dam Tours (2016-01-23)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will offer free tours of the W. P. Franklin Lock and Dam on the Okeechobee Waterway in Alva through March. The 45-minute tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday at 1pm and at 3pm. Group tours are also available by appointment. To sign up call 239-694-2582. [Details] [Volunteers Betty Ann and John Sutton]
Wettest January on Record (2016-01-23)
The recent Southwest Florida weather madness reached a high-water mark Friday, January 22 — literally. Friday’s downpours helped break the record for wettest January ever recorded in Fort Myers. Total rainfall so far this month is 8.41 inches. [News-Press]
Florida the Next Flint? (2016-01-23)
On Jan 21, 2016 Gov. Scott signed into law the new Water Policy Bill (SB 552), ignoring calls by environmental groups and former Gov. Bob Graham to veto the water measure. Graham called the 134-page bill a “purposeful effort to weaken protection” of state waters. Could Florida become the next Flint? [Huffington Post] [Orlando Sentinel] [Tampa Bay Times] [Miami Herald]
Win a Canoe at Swamp Cabbage (2016-01-19)
The Win-A-Canoe Contest is back again this year thanks to The Seminole Tribe of Florida, Inc. You can buy tickets online, at Estero Outfitters, from CRCA directors, or at the Swamp Cabbage Festival's Riverwatch exhibit, Feb 27-28 in LaBelle. [Old Town 14.5-Ft Canoe] [Prizes] [Tickets by Email] [Tickets Online] [Canoe Description]
2016 Donations and Dues (2015-12-09)
On Nov 22 Riverwatch sent out its 2016 dues notice & donations invitation. Thank you to those who responded so generously in the first weeks. Our first year goal to support our new Waterkeeper program is to increase Riverwatch annual revenues from $10,000 to $30,000, so we need your help & support. [Letter] [Join] [Renew] [Donate]
Waterkeeper Affiliate Application (2015-11-05)
CRCA-Riverwatch has submitted its application to Waterkeeper Alliance seeking Affiliate status. Riverwatch has desired Waterkeeper status since 2007. But only in 2014 did Waterkeeper rules change to make this possible. To become a full Waterkeeper/Riverkeeper requires a formal staff position & boat. [Jurisdiction Map] [Waterkeeper Affiliate Proposal]
30% Solution Is Endorsed (2015-11-06)
Local mayors prioritized the C-43 reservoir project which will store 27.7 billion gallons. That comes to 200cfs over a 7-month dry season (Nov-May) or 30% of the 650cfs minimum flow needed to keep the estuary healthy. If truly delivered as "additional" water, it will be a help. [News Press]
Slow Down (2015-11-06)
Boaters will have to travel slower than 25mph after Nov 15. This is in preparation of the mass transit of manatees. These gentle animals need warmer water to survive because they have little body fat and their metabolic rate is slow compared to other animals and cant live below 68 degrees. [Sun Times]
Caloosahatchee Oct 27-Nov 2 (2015-11-05)
Dry conditions continued the past week raising salinities throughout the estuary making Lake O regulatory releases crucial in providing freshwater flow to the estuary for salinity management. Releases provided average flow of 852cfs which helped stabilize salinities at Fort Myers below 10 psu. [SCCF Caloosahatchee Conditions] [Salinity] [Lake O] [SCCF]
More Wastewater Capacity (2015-11-05)
Lee County BOCC approve a $28 million loan application to the state revolving fund to add 2 million gallons per day of treatment to the Three Oaks Wastewater Treatment Plant which has a capacity of 4 million gallons per day. The move is to cope up with the area's future growth and demand. [News Press]
Close Together (2015-11-05)
The common grass planting practice leaves space between new plants to prevent overcrowding & reduce competition for nutrients & sunlight. But a new study to restore degraded salt marshes proved this wrong. It found that clumping close together newly planted marsh grasses spurs positive interaction. [NSF]
Manatees Arrival (2015-11-04)
Weather is cooling down and manatees are here again to swam in warm waters. Nov is Manatee Awareness Month and wildlife officials want boaters to be aware of manatees move during migration period. 2015 study on manatee deaths identify Lee county on one that has many boat related deaths on manatees. [Cartoon] [WFSU]
New Vue Approved (2015-11-04)
Developer says the plan will offer more public benefits than the old plan. Environmentalists claimed that it consumes public green space and would create parking and traffic congestion. However, the planning board approved the plan on Nov 4 and final decision is now with Fort Myers City Council. [The News Press] [Wink News]
Oysters Need Volunteers (2015-11-03)
Do you know that oysters filter 10 to 50 gal water per day and make the water clear? Let us restore healthy productive oyster reef to San Carlos and Tarpon Bays. Volunteer with SCCF as Oyster Restoration Project starts Nov 4. Volunteers must register online and must be at least 18 years of age. [Details] [Sign Up]
Thank You (2015-11-03)
Thanks to all who supported CRCA on the Fundraising event of WGCU Public Media on Oct 19. CRCA earned 16 spots to air our plan, promotions and fund raising drives, too. Thank you to Ray Judah, John Paul and Emily Morauski for job well done. More spots in the future! [Photo]
Vue Tower Press Conference (2015-11-03)
CRCA BOD member & retired attorney Gene Gibson was interviewed by NBC and Fox News about the Vue tower project. CRCA studied the proposed residential building plan and it lacked outside parking for service vehicles and delivery trucks. Thus creating competition with the public park users. [Photo 1] [Photo 2]
Oct 30 Red Tide Status (2015-11-03)
Blooms of the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, are present in, along and offshore of Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf counties in NW Florida and in, along, and offshore of Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and Lee counties in SW Fl. [Map] [FWC]
Florida Light and Power (2015-11-03)
Hold onto your wallets, because Florida Power and Light is about to rack up another giant bill for which customers will end up paying. David West opined in My View that FPL received state approval to charge customers for up to $500 million that the company is investing in fracking projects. [Tallahassee Democrat]
No Swimming (2015-10-31)
Test results at Sanibel Blind Pass Beach indicate beyond acceptable health level. DOH is warning people not to enter water. Due to high bacteria levels, no wading or swimming at Blind Pass Beach is recommended. Exposure to bacteria caused risk of disease to susceptible individuals. [News Press]
Warming Drives Cod Decline (2015-10-30)
For centuries, cod were the backbone of New England's fisheries and a key species in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem. Today, cod stocks are on the verge of collapse, hovering at 3-4% of sustainable levels. Even painful cuts to the fishery have failed to slow this rapid decline [National Science Foundation]
October CRCA Newsletter (2015-10-29)
The October 2015 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. [October Newsletter] [HTML Version] [Newsletter Archives]
STOP ROGG (2015-10-29)
Walk for Mother Earth circulated a petition to STOP ROGG River of Grass Greenway Project to help save the Everglades and the Big Cypress. Everglades is a World Heritage Site and a Wetland of Global Importance. Help save the Everglades from destruction. Sign the petition now. [Petition]
South Regional Conference (2015-10-29)
The Alligator Amblers Chapter will be hosting the Florida Trail Assoc South Regional Conference with theme, Water, on Nov 13-15. The conference will be held at the Riverside Retreat (the South Florida United Methodist Camp, 7305 County Road 78, LaBelle. Bring camping materials and water bottle. [Florida Trail Association]
Oct 28 Red Tide Status (2015-10-29)
Due to high concentrations of red time organism, Karenia brevis, in some Bay County areas, analyses were conducted twice a week. Oct 28 analysis detected background to high concentrations in and and alongshore of Bay County in NW FL and in Sarasota and Charlotte counties in SW FL. [Map] [FWC]
Oct 23 Red Tide (2015-10-28)
Oct 23 sampling results for red tide organism shows Karenia brevis are present in, along and offshore of eastern Okaloosa, Walton, Bay and Gulf counties in NW Fl and in, along and offshore of Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte and northern Lee counties in SW FL. [Map] [Cartoon] [FWC]
SHORE on Indian River (2015-10-28)
Sharing our Research with Everyone on the Indian River Lagoon 2015 is presented by AWRA Florida, Daytona State College of Institute of Marine and Environmental Studies and the Marine and the Marine Discovery Center is on Nov 6 at Daytona Beach, Florida. Register now! [AWRA]
Waterfront Access (2015-10-26)
Bonita Springs City Council voted to develop access to Spring Creek a top priority among waterfront access. Fishing pier and parking area will be developed at Dog Beach, south of Lovers Key State Park. Development decisions in the past mean more work and money to create waterfront access now. [News Press]
BearPaws (2015-10-26)
Barrett Stejskal is the co-president of BearPaws Environmental Consulting conducting environmental evaluations, maps, wetlands, surveys for listed species, creates habitat management plan and helps clients with permitting at all governmental levels. Barrett is a graduate of Florida Gulf Coast Univ. [News Press]
Presence Required (2015-10-26)
The Dept of Community Development will hold a Vue Informational Meeting on Mon, Oct 26, 5:15 pm at the Fort Myers City Hall. The Planning Board will meet to discuss the Vue on Wed, Nov 4, 1pm at the Fort Myers City Hall. Please attend to help save our downtown Centennial Park. [Letter] [Photo]
Politics and Water Quality (2015-10-23)
Governor Rick Scott’s July public relations event on Pine Island touting our “pristine waterways” was yet another feeble attempt to convince the public that he and his policies are making Florida a better place to live. John Cassani editorializes on how the state’s actions ignore state law. [The News Press]
Nuisance to Maelstrom (2015-10-23)
Parts of Miami can flood even on a perfectly sunny day! Street flooding in Florida cities is expected to increase from their current couple of days a year to as much as 250 days per year...that's 2 out of every 3 days by 2045, making these downtown areas completely unlivable. [The Washington Post]
What Now? (2015-10-23)
The SB 550 in 2010 or Spring Protection Bill banned land application on spreading septic tank waste on land. FDOH said that 100 million gallons of waste is pumped out of 2.5 million septic tanks in a year and some are spread to regulated sites including farms that use it as fertilizer. [Lobby Tools] [Cartoon] [WUFT] [Florida Current]
No Fracking (2015-10-23)
Nov 17 will be recognized as National Day of Action to raise public awareness about serious threats to public safety from toxic and radioactive waste produced by fracking operations in the US. Sign also the petition urging EPA to update regulation of fracking waste. [CHEJ]
Environmental Breakfast 2015 (2015-10-22)
CRCA directors and interns attended the Environmental Breakfast in Ft Myers on Oct 22. Wayne Daltry served as the event's master of ceremonies. Jason Lauritsen, Director of Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, was the guest speaker. He talked about Corkscrew and its conservation programs. [Photo 1] [Photo 2] [Photo 3] [Photo 4]
Red Tide Status (2015-10-22)
On Oct 21, red tide organism, Karenia brevis, are present in, along and offshore of NW Fl, and along and offshore of Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and north Collier counties in SW Fl. Fish kills and respiratory irritation have been reported in Sarasota and Charlotte counties. [Map] [FWC]
Save Downtown Boat Ramp (2015-10-21)
The City/County agreement protecting the Centennial Park Boat Ramp expired in 2014 and the ramp is now vulnerable to removal by the City of Ft. Myers. Riverwatch is contacting all boat owners in the area to enlist their help in telling the City officials that the people want to keep the boat ramp. [Situation Summary] [Boat Ramp Location]
Oil and Gas Bill (2015-10-21)
Upcoming FL legislation includes SB 318 which seeks to regulate oil and gas resources and preempt the regulation of all matters relating to the exploration, development, production, processing, storage, and transportation of oil and gas. [Senate Bill]
Storm Surge Most Vulnerable (2015-10-21)
A study released the 2015 Most Vulnerable US cities to Storm Surge Flooding. Four of the top 8 cities are located in Florida. Tampa is the most vulnerable city, Miami come in 4th, Fort Myers 5th and Sarasota came in 7th. Other cities include New Orleans, New York, Texas and Charleston, S.C. [Insurance Journal] [AGI]
Here and There (2015-10-21)
Another study showed that human damage to seagrass meadows leads to the 72% decrease in the amount of organic carbon captured and stored carbon by the grass beds. The findings suggest protecting and restoring seagrass meadows can be important in mitigating climate change. [ABC Science] [Nature Climate Change]
Kids in the Park (2015-10-20)
Legislators and environment educators expressed concerns on the 2010 study that young people devote 53 hours a week on electronic media usage. To counter the trend, they launched a new initiative, "Every Kid in the Park", to respond and help the next generations scientists and land stewards. [News Press]
Everglades Workshop (2015-10-20)
FIU School of Environment, Arts and Society invites future advocates, scientists and public officials to the Everglades Service-to-Activism Workshop on Oct 24. Participants should have experience with Everglades and read "America, the Owner's Manual:Making Govt Work for You." [Flyer]
Iranian Vulture Culture History (2015-10-20)
Iran banned the export, import, production and veterinary use of diclofenac. It is a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug used to treat livestock and caused the decline of vulture species around the world. Vultures feeding on animal carcass recently treated with diclofenac die from renal failures. [Bird Life International] [Vulture Culture History]
River Network Promotes Diversity (2015-10-20)
River Network is promoting inclusiveness & diversity in environmental organizations. Like most, Riverwatch lacks sufficient diversity in its leadership. While 36% are women, other are absent: 0% Hispanic, 0% African American, and 0% under 30 years of age (5% under 40). Renewed outreach is required. [River Network Magazine] [Diversity Statistics]
Springs Ever After (2015-10-20)
The threats to Florida's springs are numerous and complex. However, there are solutions to help protect springs, the aquifer and our drinking water. Some are long-term, requiring new thinking about land use. Other answers come in the form of simple steps we can take to reduce pollution. [Florida Spring Council]
Yucky Swim (2015-10-20)
New Yorker environmentalist Christopher Swain became the first person in history to swim the 1.8-mile length of Brooklyn’s frothy green Gowanus Canal. Swain hopes the swim will draw attention to the contaminated water and inspire city officials to undertake a large-scale clean up effort. [Photo] [Yahoo News]
Red Tide Status (2015-10-20)
As of Oct 16 red tide organism, Karenia brevis, are present in, along and offshore of Bay and Gulf Counties in Northwest Florida, and along and offshore of Manatee and Sarasota counties counties in Southwest Florida. Fish kills and respiratory irritation have been reported offshore Sarasota County. [Map] [FWC]
Spring Frenzy (2015-10-15)