Lower Tidal Caloosahatchee River

Lower Tidal Caloosahatchee River, covering 12,003 acres, is a bay situated in Lee County, with the associated WBID(s): 3240A.

The lower portion of the Caloosahatchee River has tidal influence and brackish waters, and is referred to as the Tidal Caloosahatchee River. The Tidal Caloosahatchee River is surrounded by the cities of Cape Coral and Fort Myers and is located within the larger Caloosahatchee River Basin, which spans from Lake Okeechobee to San Carlos Bay. It provides critical habitat for endangered species, as well as for a multitude of varieties of aquatic life. The historically shallow and meandering river has been deepened, straightened, and widened into a highly managed and regulated waterway. The river and estuary’s ecosystems are significantly altered, as watershed runoff and discharges from Lake Okeechobee have impacted the water quality and salinity regimes. The Caloosahatchee River originated as overland flow through marshlands and swamp forest from Lake Hicpochee, until 1881 when it was connected to Lake Okeechobee by a man-made channel. Ever since the upper river was converted into a canal (the C-43), the tidal portion has received excess and insufficient flows from Lake Okeechobee through a series of water management structures and locks. The W. P. Franklin Lock in Lee County separates the freshwater portion of the river from its saltwater mouth and its estuary. The watershed of the Tidal Caloosahatchee River is 30 miles in length and extends from the Franklin Lock downstream to the Gulf of Mexico.

Note that this waterbody is impaired for one or more parameters including Mercury. All recreational marine waters in Florida are impaired for Mercury based on fish tissue assessments and a statewide Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) pollutant limit for Mercury has been adopted in response. The largest sources of Mercury are from air pollution generated from local and global power plants.

This waterbody is located within: Caloosahatchee River Basin

View Maps / Data

CHNEP's Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) identified four action plans: water quality improvement; hydrological restoration; fish, wildlife, and habitat improvement; and public engagement. Click on the interactive maps below to view data associated with these goals and actions.

Water Quality Snapshot

The Water Quality Snapshot compares the most current water quality data to applicable water quality standards for Chlorophyll a, Phosphorus, Nitrogen, Bacteria, and Dissolved Oxygen to provide a snapshot of how a waterbody is doing. Water quality standards are outlined in Florida Administrative Code 62-302 for fresh/marine waterbodies of different types and uses. A Water Body Identification number (WBID) is an assessment unit that is intended to represent Florida’s waterbodies at the watershed or sub-watershed scale. The assessment units are drainage basins, lakes, lake drainage areas, springs, rivers and streams, segments of rivers and streams, coastal, bay and estuarine waters in Florida.

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