Cape Coral volunteers look to keep water quality safe
CAPE CORAL – It's been a wet year in Southwest Florida. The excess rain mixed with the Lake Okeechobee water releases has many concerned about water quality.
Cape Coral has more than 400 miles of waterfront property with most of it on canals. It's a lot of water for the city to monitor, which is why they started Canalwatch.
"I think everybody needs to almost take ownership of where they live," said Canalwatch volunteer Olympia Lynch. "Look at their canals and how they are doing."
Lynch is one of 60 volunteers for the program.
"The volunteers for Canalwatch are definitely our eyes and ears for water quality concerns," said Environmental Biologist Harry Phillips for the city of Cape Coral Environmental Resources.
Phillips says Canalwatch is a great resource for the city and tracking water quality especially this year.
"We do have influences from Lake Okeechobee and upstream, but a lot of this year has been our own rainfall," Phillips said.
Canalwatch volunteers turn in samples monthly.
"We just ask them to fill up the bottle," he said. "Part of that is rinsing it three times to get a good sample."
The volunteers also use a simple disk to check water depth and how far the sun can reach for plant growth.
The excess water this year hasn't brought too many concerns, but it's a different story for those connected to the Caloosahatchee.
"Some of the ones connected to the river have had blue-green algae," Phillips said.
Volunteers also turn in observations. Some of the biggest concerns are trash and lawn clippings, which can cause major damage down the line.
If you'd like to volunteer for Canalwatch, visit the city's website.