Water-Related News

Volunteers being sought for water quality testing

Volunteers are being sought for the "What's in the Water" project on Fort Myers Beach.

In an effort to study "non-point source pollution" coming from Fort Myers Beach and going into the Gulf and Estero Bay, volunteers will collect water samples during in May during the dry season.

Penny Jarrett, education coordinator at the Mound House, said the project came about after she read about an opportunity to apply for the Planet Stewardship Education Program, which is offered through NOAA.

"I have tremendous respect and admiration for NOAA and thought it would be really wonderful to have some expertise from NOAA and guidance and just be part of the things that they are doing," she said.

Jarrett had just 48 hours to apply and she did so because she saw the impacts of red tide last summer. She said she wanted to do something to make a difference, while contributing to the understanding of water quality.

"It was so hard to see so many animals die and the dead fish on the beach," she said. "That was the motivation, the respect for NOAA and having endured the red tide and thinking if there was anything we could do as an island community, a barrier island."

Jarrett believes she was accepted into NOAA's program because of the non-point source pollution project looking into the possibility of nutrients linking to red tide alga blooms, which relates to NOAA science in a big way.

Since Jarrett is not a water quality scientist, but rather an environmental science educator, she met with the Vester Marine & Environmental Science Research Field Station Director Dr. Michael Parsons to talk about the project.

"I was going to test some particular sites with some students, on a smaller scale, but we talked and he suggested doing an island wide baseline data - one in the dry season and one in the wet season," she explained, whi