The Billy’s Creek Community Action Plan (BC-CAP) serves as a call to action for restoring a local tributary, Billy’s Creek. From its early history to the present day, memories and life experiences intersect and continue to affirm the significant role Billy’s Creek holds in the greater Fort Myers community. Throughout the process of writing the Billy’s Creek Community Action Plan (BC-CAP), oral histories were collected in an effort to understand the place Billy’s Creek holds in the hearts of the people who live here. Shared with us were stories of learning to swim in the once white, sandy-bottom creek; teaching youth about the local environment with school trips to the creek; and, most popularly, fishing alongside family and friends.
Billy’s Creek Oral History Project
Our stories are what connect us to each other and our environment. Therefore, Calusa Waterkeeper is collecting oral histories from community members to amplify the historical, cultural, and recreational significance that Billy’s Creek has had in our lives.
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Fecal Indicator Bacteria
Calusa Waterkeeper sampling results for enterococci bacteria at Billy’s Creek in Ft. Myers on 12-15-19. Serious contamination persists. The dredging this year did not mitigate the bacterial contamination.
Waterways are contaminated with fecal matter, including creeks and rivers that are in some neighbor’s backyards. John Cassani said Billy’s Creek and Estero Bay are polluted with fecal matter, along with bacteria at alarming rates. “We’re seeing levels frequently over a thousand,” Cassani said.
Billy’s Creek Dredging Project may Relieve Flooding on the Troubled Tributary, but Fecal Pollution Remains a Worry
Even as dredges suck bottom muck while earthmovers level it out at an impromptu staging area at Fort Myers’ Shady Oaks Park, Calusa Waterkeeper’s samples of Billy’s Creek continue to show levels of fecal bacteria well beyond what would close a public beach.
With the exception of Billy’s Creek, it’s good to see fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) decline to low levels. Some residents have contacted CWK recently to indicate improving water clarity as well. These sample results are from May 21, 2019 ahead of the Memorial Day Weekend.
Bacteria sampling results from Billy’s Creek show serious contamination, especially in the upper reaches. The result from station BC-9, near Ortiz Avenue is the highest we have seen since sampling began: 172 times the EPA Beach Action Value of 70 MPN.
The City of Fort Myers will soon move forward with a dredging project in Billy’s Creek that’s expected to ease flooding but may not improve water quality in the ailing Caloosahatchee tributary. Funding for the project is possible thanks to an FDEP grant of $775,000.
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