Monthly News & Updates

January 2024

Hello to Calusa Waterkeeper supporters and friends! This is the first newsletter of 2024, and we are excited for the momentum our organization is building in the new year. Our volunteers and staff have been working relentlessly on advancements to our sampling programs, an all new Ranger training curriculum and important advocacy objectives that are already being implemented. We invite you to learn more about our 2024 goals by reading our recently finalized annual plan, and get caught up on some important topics in this newsletter.

Calusa Waterkeeper

Capt. Codty Pierce

CWK Annual Plan

Join us March 24th

The Calusa Waterkeeper Annual Meeting and Fundraising Benefit will be held March 24th at the Westin Hotel & Resort in Cape Coral. Please Save the Date and keep an eye out for your official invitation in the coming weeks!

Florida Legislative Session Underway

The Florida Legislative Session is notorious for being a whirlwind of activity compressed into a couple months. There are many bills we are tracking, largely with help from our fellow environmental groups. We'll likely have some standalone action alerts as the session wears on, but today we are going to focus on informing you on two pieces of legislation:

Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve

We now have a better idea of the intent behind HB 957, filed by local Representative Adam Botana and accompanying bill by Senator Jonathan Martin, to modify the boundaries of the Aquatic Preserve (AP). Supporters say that San Carlos Island was never intended to be within the AP boundaries codified into law in 1966. Why all the initial mystery, and why it's all of a sudden a problem in need of a correction, are questions that have not fully been answered. It is clear this change is being sought solely to aid the development of waterfront commercial properties on San Carlos Island and potential dredging activities.

Contact Rep. Adam Botana

Contact Sen. Jonathan Martin

Despite the nuances of this situation, setting the precedent that the preserve boundaries can be altered at the request of property owners is a dangerous one.

Bad Bill Alert

Senate Bill 738 and House Bill 739 (entitled Environmental Management) would require the losing party in many environmental lawsuits to pay the court costs and attorney fees of the other parties. This is an attempt by the legislature to stop Waterkeepers and other groups from challenging environmentally destructive permits by threatening us with financial ruin. 

It's next hearing is in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday January 29. Join this action alert from Waterkeepers Florida to ask the Judiciary Committee to vote NO on Senate Bill 738.

Take Action

January Fecal Bacteria Indicator Results

CWK conducts Fecal Indicator Bacteria (FIB) sampling at up to 32 sites in Southwest Florida each month. Enterococci bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illness, infections, and rashes.

In both our December and January sampling, the vast majority of results have been above the Florida Department of Health's advisory threshold of 70 MPN. View the full results. (Please note conditions can change daily)

Save the Date(s)

Quarterly Ranger Meeting

March 9, 2024: Our quarterly gathering of all Ranger zone groups to share updates and collaborate throughout our work area. Guest speaker: Barbara Manzo, Chair of the eYes on Conservation 20/20 Coalition.

Spring Ranger Session

April 2024: We're currently halfway through our Winter Ranger Session and will soon confirm the dates for the Spring session beginning in early April. Please contact us if you are interested in being on the list.

Aerosol Toxin Monitoring Update

As outlined in our annual plan, continuing to advance our aerosol (ADAM) monitoring program is one of our primary objectives. After initially pioneering the design of the ADAM units in 2021, we have been testing and innovating on our scientific methods over the last year. Most recently we've been collaborating with colleagues at Suncoast Waterkeeper and the Sarasota-Manatee Science and Technology Society to test new technologies available for rapid processing.

The LightDek MINI is one of the promising new platforms we hope to deploy this year. This would provide a small, transportable device for in-the-field confirmation of the presence of cyanotoxins, aiding in our ADAM deployments and other harmful algal bloom monitoring. Our goal is to purchase this equipment and a season's worth of supplies by April 1st. We've done our best to budget for this monitoring initiative, but additional funding would help ensure we can accomplish this goal.

We are dedicated to providing the SWFL community with up-to-date information on water quality and its potential health impacts, and this initiative will advance our ability to do so.

Support Our Research

Your donations will help make this cutting-edge program possible!

In the Press & Around the Watershed

Water Wars: Take a deep dive with Roger Williams on our state's water issues

Florida Weekly Fort Myers Edition - Jan. 24, 2023

Officials investigating fuel spill in North Fort Myers canal

NBC2 - Jan. 17, 2023

Water quality tops discussion at GPICA meeting

Pine Island Eagle - Jan. 17, 2023

Study Quantifies Impact of Water Quality on Economy

SCCF - Jan 16, 2024

Experimenting with infrared filters as a means to discerning chlorophyll and algal blooms

Ralph Arwood - Jan 2, 2024

Aerial surveys of the C-43 Reservoir to-be and the Upper Caloosahatchee

Ralph Arwood - Dec. 19, 2023


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