The fight to restore our water quality can be extremely frustrating at times. I guess that’s why even small victories need to be celebrated. The recent veto of SB2508 was gratifying. Many thanks to all of you who made your voice heard.

The persistence and dedication of our southwest Florida members and supporters to our mission never ceases to amaze me. As our membership and capacity have expanded over the recent years, I find myself feeling very grateful for your devotion both financially and otherwise.

It’s very heartening to see new members coming onboard regularly. I recently spent the morning with a new member who wanted to show me the water quality issues he had watched arise over the last three years in a part of our jurisdiction I was not very familiar with. As we navigated the various fishing spots that he knew had deteriorated, his passion to restore them was just barely more than his sadness for their condition. As we ended our tour, we agreed on a strategy to try to bring more attention to that particular part of our watershed, and he volunteered to spend more of his time helping CWK. It made my day.

Most of you I’m sure have seen the posts and stories about our new Executive Director Trisha Botty over the last six months or so. Trisha was a strong supporter of CWK even before she came to work with us. She brought a passion and vision to her job that helped us in many ways but recently she was offered another opportunity and an increase in salary that she couldn’t turn down. We will miss her greatly but wish her well and can’t fault her for making a good career decision. Now the hunt begins for her replacement.

We already have a good slate of candidates we are starting to interview but if you or anyone you know has an interest in being our next Executive Director, please contact us for the job description and we will be glad to discuss it with you.

In the meantime, our work continues, and we have many projects and programs both in progress and in the planning stages. Our Waterkeeper John Cassani and our Rangers will be doing more water quality testing and air quality testing with our ADAM units this summer. You will soon be seeing our fundraising campaign to help cover the costs of this monitoring and we hope to find additional help from a number of grants we have applied for.

We’ve been fortunate to add two new Directors, Brandi Couse and Bruce Rueben, to our board this year. They are terrifically qualified and we are ecstatic about the variety of experience, capabilities and passion of our Board of Directors.

Lastly, I wish to thank all of you who continue to support our mission. It is extremely unfortunate that a small non-profit like us has to do what government agencies should be doing to protect public health and restore our water quality here in southwest Florida, but we will continue to fight the good fight with your help.

My thanks to the CWK staff and board and all the members and donors who help us with our mission fighting for drinkable, fishable, swimmable water from Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee River to Estero Bay, Pine Island Sound and the coastal waters.


Jim Watkins
President of the Board
Calusa Waterkeeper