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Local leadership needed in watershed protection

August 14, 2013
North Fort Myers Neighbor

Lake Okeechobee is the center piece for managing water resources here in Southwest Florida. We all agree that environmental issues are just as important economic ones. Without a balanced eco-system, our quality of life degrades, and the local economy becomes more difficult to sustain.

At present, our environmentally pristine way of life is under attack, due to polluted black water discharge from Lake Okeechobee. Sheets of tainted water, having a volume consisting of millions of gallons per minute, travel down the Caloosahatchee River every day. These flows run parallel to our shoreline and place the City of Cape Coral in jeopardy. Our salt water canals fill up, Yacht Club Beach gets closed, and sea grass necessary for sustainable local fishing, has all but been wiped out due to this dirty water.

Right now, the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) sits before the United States Congress, which would lay the foundation for creating a long-term solution to this regional problem. The WRDA would fund two watersheds (commonly referred to as C-43) in Hendry County, along with three others in Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and Palm Beach Counties, that would divert, store, and ultimately filter excess water flow during wet periods.

At the western anchor of the Okeechobee Waterway System sits the City of Cape Coral. As the population center of the region, it has a responsibility to advocate for the passage of WRDA, because the implementation of this law will sustain our quality of life for decades to come. Now is the time for city leaders to step up and become the regional advocate for the interests of Southwest Florida.

Vince Cummings, MPA

Master Of Public Administration

Cape Coral



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