Water Quality Testing Aims to Help Protect Community

On Wednesday, June 10, Calusa Waterkeeper will conduct the first phase of a study to determine the source of the fecal bacteria contamination of Billy’s Creek.

Fecal contamination has been a significant health risk issue for Billy’s Creek since at least 2001 and there has been ongoing dialogue regarding the source of the contamination. The Calusa Waterkeeper study will use a stable isotope of nitrogen to differentiate the variable origins of nitrogen in the Billy’s Creek basin.

The testing determines if the nitrogen is from raw domestic sewage, wildlife, septic tanks, treated wastewater or agricultural sources and will be compared to a concurrent study in the Caloosahatchee River.

Quanta Trays bearing FIB results
The second phase of the study will occur during September with the goal of comparing seasonal affects between this tributary and the river at-large. Calusa Waterkeeper received funding for the source tracing study from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. The two source tracing phases are part of an overall plan for the eventual restoration of Billy’s Creek to assure improved quality of life for all the residents who live along Billy’s Creek.
Historic Billy’s Creek, named for the Seminole Chief Billy Bowlegs who surrendered to the US Army in 1858 near the Creek’s mouth, runs for approximately five miles from headwaters in the Luckett Road Industrial Park to the Creek mouth on the Caloosahatchee River near the Beau Rivage and Alta Mar condominiums.

The Creek drains a large region of east Fort Myers, from Interstate 75 to the downtown area. The Creek is a part of Lee County’s Great Calusa Blueway a recreational source for canoe and kayak paddlers.

Science in the service of social justice. Billy’s Creek also flows through the predominantly African American and historic neighborhood of Dunbar. Calusa Waterkeeper has long been concerned that degradation of the Creek could have potentially harmful public health impacts for this community.

WHAT: Fecal Bacteria Source Tracing of Billy’s Creek
WHEN: Wednesday, June 10 – 8:45-9:15 AM
WHERE: The Canoe launch at Shady Oakes Park, 3300 Marion Street, Ft. Myers

Bacteria Monitoring Results