Margaret Mead said it best: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
The Board of Directors and staff of Calusa Waterkeeper are grateful to you, our donors and Rangers, for your support in 2022. We are humbled by your generosity.
Whether you volunteered to help test local waterways or supported us financially, your partnership allowed us to continue our mission of protecting and restoring the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee to the coastal waters.
We could not do this important work without you.
The Results Are In:
A Look Back at a Year of Bacteria Sampling in Our Watershed
Why go to all this effort?
We are testing these samples for fecal indicator bacteria (FIB). FIB indicate the presence of a suite of different bacteria types that come from the digestive tract of humans and animals. These bacteria make their way into the water from many different sources, can contain many troublesome contaminants, and can cause many different types of illness.
We sample the water and publish the results so that our community can use that information in deciding when and where to swim, paddle, boat, and fish. Learn More Here
How high is too high?
The Florida Department of Health considers samples containing a most probable number (MPN) of 0-35 to be good, 36-70 to be moderate, and over 71 to be poor. Calusa Waterkeeper has added an additional category for our results of 250+ as extremely poor - a result we get frighteningly often.
So, what did we learn from a year of sampling? Let’s start with some good news.
The Florida Department of Health samples our local beaches every two weeks, and due to ample tidal flushing from the Gulf, the water quality there is usually good.
On to the bad news - 62% of Calusa Waterkeeper’s samples found unsafe levels.
Sixty-four of these were extremely poor - some with bacteria counts as high as 10,462!
Many of our creeks are in trouble.
Billy’s Creek and Manuel’s Branch both tested at unsafe levels 100% of the time. All samples from the Imperial River in Bonita Springs were also over the safety threshold of 70.
Unsafe bacteria levels were also found in the Estero River. If any of these sites had been designated for swimming, they would have been closed by the Florida Department of Health.
Pine Island & Cape Coral faired better.
Bimini Basin and the Cape Coral Yacht Club beach passed 100% of tests with safe results, and Matlacha Community Park, Pine Island Tropical Point Park, Pineland Dock, and Sirenia Vista tested at safe levels more than half of the time!
Sadly, however, Flamingo Bay on Pine Island failed to meet safety standards in 86% of tests.
What does 2023 have in store?
Calusa Waterkeeper will continue testing local waters for bacterial contamination so you can keep your family safe as you enjoy our beautiful watershed. You can see test results on our Facebook page and on our Website.
We accomplished much in 2022. In addition to our FIB sampling we:
- Monitored local waterways for Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB).
- Responded to countless inquiries from residents and media regarding the condition of our waters.
Trained 16 new Rangers.
- Distributed over 500 water testing kits following Hurricane Ian.
But the fight is not over. We will continue this important work into 2023:
- Continue to monitor, test, and report on the conditions of our waters through our FIB sampling.
Expand our Aerosol Detector for Algal Monitoring (ADAM) project by testing at more sites around the watershed and launching in-house testing, allowing CWK to get these results to you faster.
- Build collaborative partnerships with other like-minded organizations.
We have ambitious goals for 2023, goals we cannot achieve without your continued support. It is up to all of us to fight to protect our waters, our health and our way of life; not only for us, but for generations to come.
Our Water, Our Future, It's Ours to Protect
When: Sunday, April 2, 2023
4:00 - 6:00 pm
Where: Riverside Community Center
Mark your calendar and plan to join us for an exciting afternoon of great fellowship, good food, a silent auction and exciting entertainment to raise money to support Calusa Waterkeeper's mission and our water and air monitoring programs.
CALUSA WATERKEEPER MISSION
To Protect and Restore the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee to the Coastal Waters.
FOLLOW CALUSA WATERKEEPER
PO Box 1165
Fort Myers, FL 33902