Water-Related News

Lee officials ask SFWMD for more flexibility in water releases

Sanibel Island elected officials and regional environmentalists attending a meeting of the South Florida Water Management District in Fort Myers on Feb. 13. voiced their concerns about the management of water from Lake Okeechobee.

The SFWMD's governing board rotates among meeting locations in its 16-county district and had scheduled time in Fort Myers last week. Officials pointed out to the governing board that Lee County -with a population of 650,000 people- generates $2.7 billion a year in tourism revenue and issues of water quality would devastate that industry, which employs one-fifth of all residents.

Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane addressed the governing board during public comment to describe how 2013 was especially challenging, specifically pointing to flows that were 2.5 times higher than targeted levels and discolored plumes that stretched 13 miles from the beach.