Water-Related News

SWFL to feds: Don’t make us bear brunt of dirty Lake O releases, now or in the future

Fair is fair.

That’s the message Lee County’s commission and all of its mayors hope the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers takes to heart as it makes future decisions about releasing polluted water from Lake Okeechobee.

“There is a good chance that the Caloosahatchee will again be impacted by high-volume releases from the lake this rainy season,” they wrote to Colonel Andrew Kelly, the district commander for the federal agency that oversees the lake’s system, which includes the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie watersheds. Signing on were Lee Commission Chair Kevin Ruane, Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson, Estero Mayor Katy Errington, Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter, Fort Myers Beach Mayor Ray Murphy, and Sanibel Mayor Holly Smith. (Approval was pending but expected from Bonita Springs Mayor Rick Steinmeyer when the letter was sent.)

“We fully understand that the limitations of the current system do not allow for any one stakeholder to realistically achieve even near-perfect conditions (but) we do ask and expect out of the process is that the Corps recognizes that while the Caloosahatchee and the residents of Lee County realize minimal benefits from the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control project we should not continue to suffer the bulk of the adversity. (The Lake Okeechobee Systems Operating Manual) should therefore improve conditions in the Caloosahatchee Estuary beyond those expected from the C-43 Reservoir.”