Nearly one million acres of coastal estuaries and nine thousand miles of Florida’s streams and rivers are verified impaired for fecal indicator bacteria (FIB). However, no state requirement exists to consistently inform the public of this risk.
A proposed Lake Okeechobee management plan is still drawing concerns from state water managers and the public as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to finalize what’s called the Lake Okeechobee System Operation Manual, or LOSOM.
The public will soon get a chance to see models the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been using to formulate a controversial Lake Okeechobee management plan that will be in place for more than a decade. The plan governs water releases and lake levels.
A new plan to regulate Lake Okeechobee’s water levels and outflows is nearly complete. It’s also a complete mess, or a good plan, or simply flawed, depending on who you talk to. As Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani sees it, none of the stakeholders feel duly accommodated.
Calusa Waterkeeper has a new Executive Director. Trisha Botty most recently served as Head of Social Impact and Connectivity at Collaboratory in Fort Myers. Her background includes positions in government, philanthropy, organized labor, and nonprofits in the D.C. metro area, Upstate New York, and Southwest Florida.
Fort Myers is set to spend over $60 million to improve the water quality in the Caloosahatchee. The city already accepted blame for repeatedly dumping untreated wastewater into waterways after the FDEP filed a consent order that detailed numerous violations of clean water regulations.
Calusa Waterkeeper is pleased to announce the appointment of Trisha Botty to the position of Executive Director. Botty brings a wealth of advocacy, government, and nonprofit experience to the organization, which is dedicated to the protection of clean water in the Caloosahatchee River & Estuary, Lake Okeechobee, Charlotte Harbor, Estero Bay, and other portions of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Charlotte Counties’ watersheds.
This week’s water updates include the persistent bloom on Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River, and new technology to test airborne toxins related to harmful algal blooms.
Cassani and others wanted the state to build a series of wetlands or find a more natural way to help water quality in the reservoir. For years there has been a concern that algae could grow in the reservoir, which would make it unfit to release back into the Caloosahatchee River.
John Cassani is the Calusa Waterkeeper and says there were multiple factors leading to the green algae. These include rain, water movement and warm water temperature. But the dominant force is runoff.
“Corporate sugar isn’t the only bad actor here,” Cassani said. “The legislators do whatever they can to keep the status quo. You can hardly blame the corporate industry for taking advantage of these bought-out politicians. You pay to play and the sugar industry has paid.”
One recent August day, a wandering ecologist named John Cassani found himself bumping up onto Mound Key Archaeological State Park in the middle of the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve. There, the Calusa Indians once discarded their seashells in vast quantities, with intent.