C-43 West Reservoir

C43 Reservoir aerial

Caloosahatchee Water Storage

The C-43 West Reservoir is an above-ground, water storage project that will cover 9,000 acres in western Hendry County. As conceived, the C-43 reservoir will provide some excess wet season water storage capacity when the Caloosahatchee River has too much fresh water. However, its primary function would be to augment flows to the Caloosahatchee Estuary when during the dry seasons, the estuary becomes too saline. The primary problem with the project is that it lacks a water quality component. When the weather warms, the C-43 reservoir will become an incubator for harmful algal blooms (HABs), more commonly known as blue/green algae.

By design, this water storage project lacks a water treatment component. However, under the direction of new Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the C-43 West Reservoir may receive a natural filter marsh as stated in the Governor’s 2019 Executive Order for the Environment.

Resources & Presentations

C-43 West Reservoir

Project Aims to Document Life in Caloosahatchee Before & After Addition of the C-43 Reservoir

FGCU professor Greg Tolley and his students and volunteers conduct sampling in the Caloosahatchee estuary each month, documenting the animals found in the river near a handful of monitoring stations. The goal is to see how the critters that are present now respond to the addition of the C-43 reservoir.

Conclusion and Recommendations

  • The C-43 reservoir, as designed, will promote the growth of algae including the harmful toxin-producing species collectively referred to as blue-green algae. Future design or design changes must include a water quality treatment component.
  • The C-43 reservoir, as designed, creates a safety issue related to berm or dike failure. The engineering plans need extensive scrutiny with possible design revisions.
  • The C-43 reservoir has marginal cost-benefit attributes. Alternatives such as regulatory reform make more sense than expensive infrastructure projects.
  • A conceptual alternative or enhancement of the current C-43 reservoir design should include additional storage north and south of Lake Okeechobee enabling greater “balancing” performance of the Lake with regard to water supply and excess discharge to the Caloosahatchee Estuary. Such additional storage could allow for greater design flexibility and thus could include a water quality component for the C-43 reservoir.

Priority Issues

Marina 1 alt

Harmful Algal Blooms

Cyanobacteria & Red Tide

Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) and Karenia brevis (red tide) have been making major impacts on Southwest Florida.


Lake Okeechobee Discharges

Revise System Operating Manual

The Caloosahatchee River often suffers from too much freshwater in the wet season, and not enough freshwater in the dry season.

Chiquita Lock

Cape Coral Spreader Canals

Nutrient & Sediment Loading

The City of Cape Coral is working to remove large storm-water barriers to make recreational boating more convenient.

Bacteria Monitoring

Fecal Indicator Bacteria

Calusa Waterkeeper has been at the forefront of monitoring this Fort Myers tributary for fecal bacteria indicators.