DEP Partners with Fort Myers to Commit $1.7 Million for Restoration of the Caloosahatchee River

Oct. 16, 2014

~Stormwater project reduces the pollutants reaching the Caloosahatchee ~

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has partnered with the city of Fort Myers for a restoration project to reduce pollutants reaching the Carrell Canal and ultimately the Caloosahatchee River. The department is committing $840,000 and the city is providing matching funds in the amount of $890,000. The project will create stormwater treatment systems using diversion structures, filter marshes and control structures within the non-play areas of a city-owned golf course.

“This project, along with the department’s restoration plan, is a positive step forward for Fort Myers and the Caloosahatchee River,” said Tom Frick, director of the Division of Environmental Assessment and Restoration. “We are grateful to the city and the rest of our stakeholders for their commitment to our water resources.”

Water that flows off land and into creeks, streams or rivers after a rain is referred to as stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff usually contains a number of pollutants including fertilizers, pesticides, oil and grease. Once this runoff reaches a waterbody, the pollutants can cause rapid algal growth, algal blooms and other complications. Retention and treatment of stormwater runoff through filter marshes and diversion structures will reduce impacts on water quality.

“The city of Fort Myers has partnered with DEP for a long time with one goal in mind, to make sure our waterbodies are protected and restored,” said city of Fort Myers Public Works Director Saeed Kazemi. “We look forward to continuing this important partnership.”

This project is occurring in a largely urban area. Because there is little land area to construct new stormwater facilities, this project takes advantage of existing marshes and ponds to improve water quality. This project creatively uses space in a municipal golf course, improving the aesthetic for players and improving water quality for the community.

The Caloosahatchee River has been verified impaired for nutrient pollution. To address this the department adopted a restoration plan, called a BMAP or basin management action plan, in 2012. Stakeholders are actively engaged in implementing projects included in this plan, like the Carrell Canal project, to improve water quality.

For more information on the Caloosahatchee River restoration plan, click here.

More information on the EPA grant program administered by DEP can be found here.

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