Tag Archives: Caloosahatchee River

Dry Winter, Rainy Summer

The Dry Winter, Rainy Summer that Southwest Florida has had in Florida this year has had positive and negative impacts. The first four months in South Florida brought almost no rainfall. The lawns in peoples yards turned brown, watering restrictions went into effect and the canals in Cape Coral almost went dry.

Florida normally gets about 60 inches of rain per year with most of it coming from May through October. June of this year has already seen over 11 inches of rainfall in the Sunshine State. Homeowners and state water managers are usually happy with a moderate amount of rainfall but this much in a short amount of time can lead to flooding, fast rising of lake levels in Lake Okeechobee and runoff of harmful chemicals such as nitrogen into rivers and lakes leading to the growth of blue-green algae.

Lake Okeechobee itself has risen by a foot in only a month since the rain started. The 730 sq. mile lake holds 83,000 billion gallons of water with each foot in height. When the water levels approach 15 feet like they do during summer and fall periods, The Army Corp of Engineers starts releasing billions of gallons of lake water laden with nitrogen and other harmful pollutants through the gates of the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie Rivers. The waters produce blue green algae and slime which covers the estuaries, canals and beaches downstream from these rivers. The pictures shown above are The Caloosahatchee River on the left, Kissimmee River center and Lake Okeechobee on the right.

Efforts of by the South Florida Water Management District and other water management officials are building water reservoirs near the lake, drainage canals, and water retention areas to hold excess water from the lake. Organizations such as the Waterkeepers Alliance and cities on both coasts whose beaches and canals are affected are doing everything they can to stop the water releases from reaching their beaches and waterways.

 

 

 

Caloosahatchee River Reservoir C-43

Caloosahatchee River and Watershed

Caloosahatchee River and Watershed

Stained Water Flowing into Our Waterways

Stained Water Flowing into Our Waterways

The South Florida Water Management District took a step forward in approving the use of a reservoir known as C-43 which lies along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River. The reservoir is built to hold 170,000 acre feet or 55 billion gallons of water that will be pumped out the Caloosahatchee into the reservoir where it will be filtered by plants and organisms to remove pollutants before it is sent back into the river. The water will be pumped into the reservoir only during rainy periods when rainwater from nearby properties along the river carries pollutants into the river which results in nutrient overloads which then causes poor water quality. The poor water quality fouling our beaches and waterways is blamed from this water runoff from land surrounding the Calooshatchee or its watershed. Fresh water releases from Lake Okeechobee are also blamed for the problems of water pollution  to the river but the reservoir will not be used to collect fresh water releases from the lake.  Residents and government leaders from coastal areas in Lee County have complained about the quality of water coming from the Caloosahatchee River and blame them on the algae blooms and murky water-color that has plagued our beaches, bays and canals in Lee County. The approval of the SFWMD is only the first step in making the C-43 reservoir operational. There is still a public hearing to take place probably in April and a second vote in June before the project is finally approved. The  South Florida Water Management District has a lot of good information about the state and federal  efforts to collect polluted water before it reaches our estuaries and beaches.

This news was reported in the Ft. Myers News Press Friday, Feb. 14,th 2014 on the front page.