Water-Related News

When Cape Coral drained the swamp it spurred environmental changes

It seems that throughout human history, the starting place for moving forward has been from as far back of forward as it’s possible to get. It’s the pendulum effect. A good example of this phenomenon is the effect that the extensive canal dredging in Cape Coral had upon environmental protection legislation in Florida.

1. In his Aug. 13, 2000, story, “Cape Development Affects Environmental Attitudes,” News-Press writer, Kevin Lollar, quoted a description of Cape Coral before development, by then deputy director of the Lee County Division of Planning, as follows: “No doubt it had a significant mangrove forest system. North of Gator Slough Canal, you would have had a matrix of pine flatwoods intermixed with wet prairies and dotted with small forested wetland systems like cypress domes and freshwater marshes.” Wildlife included panthers, bobcats and foxes, otters and alligators, and flocks of spoonbills said to be so dense they turned the skies pink in the morning.

2. Within two years of the start of Cape Coral, the land was stripped, reshaped and deeply scarred with miles of canals, “… without sacrificing,” boasted a 1959 ad, “any of the … virgin beauty of the magnificent tropical setting.”