Calusa Waterkeeper Welcomes Trisha Botty as its New Executive Director

by | Sep 20, 2021 | Featured, Press

Community advocate steps up to fight for clean water and protection of our waterways

Trisha BottyFORT MYERS, Fla. (Sept. 20, 2021) — The Board of Directors of 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.

“We welcome Trisha’s dynamic leadership and advocacy in our fight for drinkable, fishable, swimmable water in our region,” said Jim Watkins, Calusa Waterkeeper President. “We’re excited about her vision to grow the organization’s reach and capacity as we look to expand our staff and leadership team.”

Calusa Waterkeeper is a nonprofit organization focused on improving the quality of water in our region through public policy, advocacy, community education, monitoring, and court action when necessary. Its force of volunteer citizen Rangers monitor local waters and advocate for water quality issues in Southwest Florida.

Botty most recently served as Head of Social Impact and Connectivity (Grantmaking Lead) at Collaboratory (Southwest Florida Community Foundation) in Fort Myers. Her extensive professional background includes positions in government, philanthropy, organized labor, and nonprofits in the D.C. metro area, Upstate New York, and Southwest Florida. She is passionate about building meaningful and authentic relationships to lift people, organizations, and communities so they can thrive. Through her experience in philanthropy, she has developed and implemented strategies to foster community collaboration, strength organization, and to deliver social impact through sustainable funding.

“Calusa Waterkeeper is impactful, science-driven, and innovative in its approach to protect and restore Southwest Florida’s vital waterways,” said Botty. “Growing up near the Great Lakes, I developed an early understanding of how the health of our waters are interconnected with the health and wealth of our communities. I am honored to represent our area’s most authoritative source on the condition of our waterways, and I look forward to building its capacity so it can have an even greater impact on our community.”

Botty graduated from the State University of New York at Oswego with a Political Science degree, and she is currently working on her master’s degree at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications with a concentration in Public Interest Communication. She was a 2020 recipient of Gulfshore Life magazine’s 40 under 40 distinction.

Botty is replacing former executive director K.C. Schulberg who is taking on another role within the Waterkeeper Alliance. Under the leadership of Schulberg and Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani, the organization was able to accomplish many goals including developing a community action plan to help restore water quality in Billy’s Creek. During 2020, they pressured federal courts to require the Corps of Engineers to consider harmful algal blooms as they affect endangered species and their habitat as part of the Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule. In 2019, they joined other petitioners in asking Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection to adopt EPA’s recommended guidelines for blue-green algae toxins as new water quality standards and swim advisories in Florida. They provided expert testimony that helped win an administrative court hearing regarding an application to remove the Chiquita Lock in Cape Coral, and led the Calusa Waterkeeper family of volunteers, local innovators and leaders in establishing a community environmental task force, designing novel ways to monitor algal toxins, and advocating for proper public health notification at waters impaired for fecal bacteria.

“I’m eager to begin working with Trisha to strengthen our programs to reverse the decline in our Southwest Florida waterways,” added Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani. “Together, we will continue to test and advocate for clean water and with her leadership, she will strengthen our capacity and our ability to fight even harder than we have ever before.”

To become a Calusa Waterkeeper member or to make a tax-deductible donation to Calusa Waterkeeper’s efforts visit https://calusawaterkeeper.org/contribute.

About Calusa Waterkeeper
Calusa Waterkeeper (CWK) is a Fort Myers-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to Protect and Restore the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee to the Coastal Waters. CWK’s project area covers more than 1,000 square miles of water, and its work includes testing and reporting, regulatory advisories, educational and community outreach and public advocacy. CWK’s work relies on funding from individual donations, grants and a unique membership program that includes volunteer Ranger training. CWK is licensed by  the international Waterkeeper Alliance, the largest and fastest-growing nonprofit solely focused on clean water, with more than 300 Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates on the frontlines of the global water crisis, patrolling and protecting more than 2.5 million square miles of rivers, lakes and coastal waterways on six continents. Originally founded as the Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association in 1995, Calusa Waterkeeper is now in its 26th year advocating for Southwest Florida water quality, and the 6th year working as a Waterkeeper Alliance Member. For more information, visit calusawaterkeeper.org