The Year Ahead
It seems like
only last week when Rae Ann Scholle passed the gavel on to yours
truly at our annual meeting. It was an excellent day, the
weather was warm and sunny; first we helped dedicate the new
Caloosahatchee Regional Park, and then we held our election of
officers. The new officers are: President Rob Andrys, Treasurer
Steve Boutelle and Secretary Pam Porter. The Vice-President
position is open at this time.
I would like to thank Rae
Ann. She has done such a wonderful job. We all extend to her
our sincere gratitude for all she has done in her two years as
President! She has left some big shoes to fill. I only hope
that I can adjust to high heels! We all miss her humor at the
board meetings. Rae Ann is still quite active, but not on the
board. She and her firm have been hired by RiverWatch to
continue research on the river's oxbows. A grant from Florida
Atlantic University will allow us to analyze the oxbows in greater
detail to determine how to restore better water flow to them, which
ones should be altered, and which ones should be left alone.
This study, along with river cruises, will allow our members to
participate first-hand in experiencing and learning about the
river. To join a river cruise or help with the oxbow study,
please call our information hot line.
RiverWatch welcomes our
newest board members: Bill Hammond, former board member of the South
Florida Water Management District, now a Professor at FGCU; Mike and
Anita Buff from Alva; David Robson from Yoder Brothers; Bruce Boler
from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection; and Pat
Toffelmeier of Fort Myers. There are still vacancies on the
board. If you are interested, please call me at 728-2807; we meet
the third Wednesday of every month at the Calusa Nature Center and
Planetarium's Iona House. There we plan for upcoming events,
contact members to help with our work, and generally have a good
time doing it. There are other opportunities to participate
with your RiverWatch group. You can sit in on a board meeting,
you can join one of our committees or just participate in some of
I am really excited about the year ahead! We
have prioritized projects that we feel are important to the river
and to the citizens of the region. Committees are being formed
to implement these projects. They include:
Rae Ann Scholle started this
committee, which is working to bring the history of the river to
life. Rae Ann will continue to serve as a facilitator.
We need a Chairperson to organize the work of the committee, as well
as other volunteers interested in the history of the river.
You can expect to learn a lot about the river's pioneer families,
where historical sites are (were) located, and create a photo
B. Public Affairs
as its name implies, will keep abreast of the issues affecting the
health of the river. The committee will keep our members aware
and informed of how we can influence public policy regarding the
river. This will become very important as the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers further develops its plans for the implementation of
the Everglades Restoration Act.
We are planning to have some informative "Town
Hall" meetings regarding issues that affect the river. Some of the
topics will include:
The Caloosahatchee and the Army Corps Restudy; what
changes to the river can be expected.
Best practices for riverside improvements.
Identification of pollution sources affecting the
Analysis of the tributaries, their influence on the
river, and best management practices that could be
1. Storm Drain
We will continue our long time project of coordinating
other groups such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and other public
service organizations to stencil stormwater drains with educational
messages about pollution prevention. We were given a grant to
continue this project. If you know of a group that we should
ask to help with this project, please call our hotline.
Caloosahatchee Regional Park
We are working with the Lee County
Land Stewards program to continue removing exotic trees from the
park and planting natives.
As you can see, we have
many ways for our members to participate in creating a better river,
and to meet like-minded folks. We live to experience all that
there is on this earth, and RiverWatch needs your experience.
hanks for your involvement!