Dredging Billy’s Creek may Ease Flooding Concerns but won’t Help Water Quality

by | Jan 23, 2019 | Bacteria Monitoring, Planning, Press

Originally published in The News-Press by Chad Gillis on January 23, 2019

The City of Fort Myers will soon move forward with a dredging project in Billy’s Creek that’s expected to ease flooding but may not improve water quality in the ailing Caloosahatchee River tributary.

Last year the Florida Department of Environment Protection gave the city $775,000 for the project, which is expected to cost nearly $1 million.

Enterococcus bacteria levels in the creek are often very high during this time of year.

That particular bacteria is found in the guts of humans and animals and can lead to various health and water quality concerns.

The dredging project, however, is not expected to improve those conditions, according to local water quality experts.

“It might drain off the basin quicker for flood control and I know a lot of people want that to happen after (Hurricane) Irma, but we don’t really think it’s going to address the bacteria problems,” said Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani.

The project plan calls for:

  • Dredging approximately 7,000 cubic yards of material from the Shady Oaks basin.
  • Half of the material will be added to Shady Oaks Park with the other half being dumped at a yard within 5 miles of the creek.
  • Cutting approximately 30,000 acres of vegetation to within 6 inches of ground.
  • Restoration of a creek bank about 250 feet long along Brookhill Drive.

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