The Caloosahatchee River and Beaches of Lee County got some good news from the South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Army Corp of Engineers recently when they decided to fast track the building and operation of the reservoir called C-43. This reservoir which lies along the Caloosahatchee River is basically an open pit in the ground surrounded by a berm of soil which can hold up to 55 billion gallons of water and will take a big chunk of the water releases from Lake Okeechobee. The plan is to let the polluted water which is high in nitrogen, fertilizers and phosphorous from farming, mining and urban runoff to sit in the reservoir and let plant matter filter out the nutrients before it is released back into the river. Lake Okeechobee which is one of the largest in the U.S. at 730 sq. miles has water released and sent down two rivers one to the east coast and one to the west coast, the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee Rivers respectively. The water is released from the lake to keep lake levels below 15 feet to prevent flooding in nearby Clewiston and other towns. The releases have been partially blamed for creating massive algae blooms and unsightly water scum which damages our rivers, canals and beaches.
The South Florida Water Management District put out a news release on their webpage titled “SFWMD Approves Cost Credit Agreement for Caloosahatchee Reservoir” on June 11,2015 explaining the cost sharing agreement between the state and federal government to build C-43 and more about it’s construction and operation. The SFWMD has a good web page explaining the plan and strategies they have to try to keep the Caloosahatchee River clean and healthy.