Water-Related News

Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve awarded $250K for restoration project

Legislative appropriation grants provide much needed funding for Florida's waterways.

LEE COUNTY — The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently awarded a $250,000 grant to Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve for a hydrological restoration project. This project will divert nutrient-laden water from two Caloosahatchee creeks into new winding channels, enhancing water quality by filtering out nutrients and particles that would otherwise flow directly into the Caloosahatchee River.

“DEP is pleased to partner with Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve in Lee County to assist in protecting and restoring the Caloosahatchee River,” said Trina Vielhauer, director of the Division of Water Restoration Assistance. "Projects like this are important to reduce harmful nutrients and continue restoration progress.”

For this hydrological restoration project, portions of three berms will be removed and one channel will be excavated, allowing water flowing from residential and agricultural areas to stay on the land longer. The channels will rehydrate the land and allow nutrients to settle out before flowing into the Caloosahatchee River. Rehydrating the area on Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve will also improve habitat for wildlife such as the wood stork and smalltooth sawfish, both federally protected species.

Construction of the channels and berm removal began in October 2015 with project completion scheduled for January 2016.

"Funding assistance from the DEP for projects like this is truly appreciated in communities like ours," said Cathy Olson, conservation lands manager for Lee County Parks and Recreation. "These projects not only focus on better water quality and improved habitat for wildlife, but they ultimately improve the entire Southwest Florida community."

This project is funded by Fiscal Year 2015-16 legislative appropriations committed by the DEP to Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve.