Water-Related News

Estuary goes from drowning to drought in a year

Last year the Caloosahatchee River estuary was blown several miles into the Gulf of Mexico after summer-like El Nino rains in January dumped about a foot of rain across the region.

Now incoming tides are pushing against the river, throwing off the estuary by pushing it inland.

"For the last four years now (the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and South Florida Water Management District) has been trying to give us enough to keep the salinity at 10 (parts per thousand) at the Fort Myers Yacht Basin, and because of that the tape grass has been coming back," said Rick Bartleson, a water quality scientist with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. "Last year with the extra strong El Nino rains we had, salinity levels that were too low for the estuary and around Iona (oyster beds) were knocked back to nothing, but they’ve been getting some baby oysters there."