The effects of a rain event from the Caloosahatchee watershed, which often includes Lake Okeechobee discharges.
Stormwater & Nutrient Pollution
As the landscape is cleared for various uses, flood control measures typically create more water quality problems. Stormwater is engineered to run off into canals and waterways much quicker than in the natural systems which allowed for standing water and the filtering of pollutants by wetlands. Ditching, dredging and road building throughout Florida, has altered floways and accelerated runoff in many watersheds. This leads to downstream impacts to receiving waters from stormwater runoff, especially after large rain events.
Stormwater runoff is a dynamic vehicle that introduces many pollutants into our waters, including nitrogen, phosphorous, fecal bacteria, copper, mercury, plastics and more. Whether we’re talking about agricultural or residential uses, the development, fertilization, irrigation and flood control decisions we make on land have a lasting impact on water quality.
Stormwater management and oversight in Florida is a somewhat complex web of government and stakeholder involvement. Land owners, cities, counties and Community Development Districts (CDDs) are all responsible for compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) which the state’s Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) is charged with overseeing. The state’s water management districts also play an important role in flood control projects and stormwater permitting on larger developments.
Related News Stories
Florida’s waterways have been choked by blue-green algae and red tide for years, and are now on life support. However, the Clean Waterways Act signed into law this summer does very little to help Florida’s ailing waterways.
A non-profit organization dedicated to protecting waterways in Lee County took pictures of shorelines to show the effect of recent water releases from Lake Okeechobee. Plus, researchers from SCCF detected a medium level of red tide in the waters around Sanibel.
There is brown water working its way into the Caloosahatchee River. It’s happening next to two construction sites off West First Street in Downtown Fort Myers. Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani said he has sent photos of the turbid runoff to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Once Again, Dirty Water Flows into the Caloosahatchee from Downtown Fort Myers Construction after Eta’s Soaking
Once again, two construction sites have dumped polluted stormwater into the Caloosahatchee in downtown Fort Myers. Barriers around the work sites failed to contain the dirty runoff following Tropical Storm Eta’s multi-day soaking. State officials are investigating the City Walk and Silver Hills properties
If Eta dumps a lot of rain on us, it could mean more water releases from Lake Okeechobee. Releases started last month and are changing the color of water along Lee County’s coast. A tropical storm over the lake means its levels will rise in a hurry which could result in releasing more water our way.
There are new concerns for Southwest Florida water quality. New aerial images show the Lake Okeechobee water discharges reaching the Gulf of Mexico near Sanibel Island. You can see the stark contrast where the releases of freshwater meet the saltwater from the Gulf.
Make a Donation