Water-Related News

Water quality targeted by Lee 20/20 land buys and fertilizer education campaign

As Southwest Florida braces for its next rainy season, Lee County is buying more coastal land for its preservation program and launching a campaign to reduce use of fertilizer that encourages spread of red tide and blue-green algae.

It's part of a strategy of providing more and better protection for the region's prized bodies of water.

Two large parcels on Pine Island, one in Bokeelia, another near mid-island in St. James City, will be preserved for conservation under the county's 20/20 program. Meanwhile, the county is preparing an extensive ad campaign intended to spread the word about using fertilizer near rivers, lakes and wetlands.

Commissioners on Tuesday approved buying a three-lot parcel west of Stringfellow Road in St. James City for $1.1 million and a smaller piece of land just west of the Alden Pines golf course community in Bokeelia for $235,000.

The St. James City land that will be added to the county portfolio includes 93 acres with access from Maria Drive on the south side of Stringfellow. Maria Drive eventually leads to a commercial wharf on the shore.

“It consists of freshwater wetlands, a freshwater pond, native pine flatwoods, oak hammock and a mangrove forest/salt marsh," said Robert Clemens, director of county lands.