Water-Related News

PURRE Water Coalition to Cease Operations After Seven Successful Years

January 2, 2012 – The PURRE Water Coalition Foundation Inc. (People United to Restore Our Rivers and Estuaries) ceased operations effective December 31, Chairman Michael J. Valiquette announced after a board meeting December 16 during which board members voted to take this action.

Valiquette explained, “Our board members agree that PURRE has accomplished what it set out to do. Our goals were to educate, create awareness, and help people understand the need to improve water quality in this area, and we have done that. There are many other good organizations that will continue this work, including the City of Sanibel, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, the Sanibel Sea School, and START (Solutions to Avoid Red Tide), to name a few. PURRE has been honored to work with these and other groups and individuals over the years.”

Over the course of the last seven years, Chairman Valiquette was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet with both elected and appointed officials to talk to them about the concerns of people in the community and throughout Southwest Florida. The board believes this was a successful effort.

“One of the issues we carried with us all the time is that a healthy marine environment has a lot to do with a healthy economy,” Chairman Valiquette said.

PURRE has been a citizen grassroots organization that grew out of a couple of people who saw a need and created an incredible organization to meet that need,” said Emilie Alfino, executive director. “I don’t think many people or groups would be doing what they’re doing for water quality today without the efforts that were started by the Valiquettes.”

The PURRE Water Coalition Foundation Inc. has already stopped accepting donations. "This was at the suggestion of our former board member, the late Sam Bailey," said Chairman Valiquette. "Sam believed a community should support water quality efforts without the need for parties and golf outings, leaving organizations like PURRE to focus on their missions. Sam did a lot for PURRE."

PURRE's office at 2340 Periwinkle Way, J-2 on Sanibel will close as of December 31, when its website will be shut down as will its email address, info@purre.org. PURRE will proceed as quickly as possible to dissolve the 501(c)3 corporation. Any remaining funds in PURRE’s account after the expenses of closing the office and dissolving the corporation will be donated half to the Sanibel chapter of Solutions to Avoid Red Tide (START) for its efforts to ease red tide outbreaks and other endeavors to improve the health of the gulf, and half to the Sanibel Sea School to be used for scholarships for children of families unable to afford for their children to attend; the selection process for such scholarships shall be at the discretion of the Sanibel Sea School. “The education of children, our future leaders, is extremely important,” Chairman Valiquette said.

“There are too many people to thank by name for all they have done to support PURRE, both financially and as volunteers,” said Chairman Valiquette. “We could not have accomplished a thing without the support of the community, and I think Sanibel should be proud that its citizens cared enough to learn about a complicated environmental problem and then took steps to turn it around. That’s the Sanibel spirit. Vice-mayor Mick Denham in particular is working hard and effectively on water quality issues now, as is the city staff. We’re in good hands.”