Water-Related News

State says yes to Bonita water quality project

State water managers voted Thursday to push forward with a $3 million water quality project in Bonita Springs that will improve flows and wildlife habitat near the headwaters of the Imperial River.

The South Florida Water Management District governing board voted unanimously in favor of a project in what's called Southern CREW, or Southern Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed.

"The project consists of degrading berms, roads and other features to restore the natural hydrology," said John Mitnik, an engineer and construction manger with the district. "We're not anticipating any signification changes to the peak discharges to the Imperial River as we look to improve the habitat on the property."

More than 1,000 acres of a now-defunct residential development north of Bonita Beach Road and east of Interstate 75 will be replumbed to mimic historic conditions. The land sits between the 60,000-acre Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem and the Imperial River, which runs through the city and flows into Estero Bay.

"They're filling ditches that were draining the area too quickly, and doing some exotic removal," said Ben Nelson, Bonita Springs mayor. "So all-in-all it's going to allow us to move forward with CREW."