Water-Related News

Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association may become Calusa Waterkeeper

The Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association (CRCA) is applying to become a full member of the Waterkeeper Alliance. The Waterkeeper Alliance is the largest and fastest growing nonprofit solely focused on clean water. They preserve and protect water by connecting local Waterkeeper organizations worldwide. The goal of the Waterkeeper Alliance is swimmable, drinkable and fishable water everywhere. If the the CRCA's membership is accepted than they will be changing their organization's name to Calusa Waterkeeper.

The CRCA believe that the Calusa Waterkeeper program will dramatically escalate advocacy and activism of the Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association. Also known as Riverwatch, CRCA was established in 1994 with a mission to improve the Caloosahatchee River from its headwaters to its estuary, including its impacts on riparian and estuarine systems, wildlife habitat and marine life. It promotes public education concerning the historical significance, present condition and future of the Caloosahatchee River, its watershed and adjacent water bodies. Thus, CRCA is the logical organization to transform and become Calusa Waterkeeper, the local Waterkeeper Alliance member. Calusa Waterkeeper will promote increased public awareness of the importance of the River, Lake, Bay and Harbor to our quality of life. It will investigate domestic, commercial and agricultural uses of the River’s resources, monitor and work to improve regional water quality, quantity and flow characteristics.

As Calusa Waterkeeper, the organization's goals will be to reduce the harmful peak flows, augment flow to the MFLs, and restore water quality to swimmable, fishable, and drinkable conditions. Central to the Calusa Waterkeeper mission will be to bring additional attention to and action on the overarching challenge posed by climate change and sea level rise and to promote local, state and national policies that mitigate its onset and effects. The most immediate Calusa Waterkeeper objectives will be to:

  1. Improve storage, either natural (preferred) or manmade in the drainage basin and make sure a sufficient portion of this storage is allocated to estuary MFL demands.
  2. Reduce and ultimately eliminate harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee
  3. Have local and regional governments as well as the State of Florida and US Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency implement the intent of environmental laws for the River and estuary.
  4. Promote water resources-friendly legislation at the local, state and national levels.
  5. Stimulate aggressive governance and public attitudes at the scale and intensity necessary to address in a meaningful manner climate change and sea level rise threatening the very existence of the waters and watersheds of Southwest Florida, the state, nation and world.

Wanted: Water Quality Rangers
The Calusa Waterkeeper Rangers will patrol subsections of the jurisdiction (Estero Bay, Pine Island Sound, Matlacha Pass, Charlotte Harbor, the Caloosahatchee River, & Lake Okeechobee), collect water quality data, report conditions, and attend public meetings/hearings with the Waterkeeper. If you are interested, contact Waterkeeper@Caloosahatchee.org.