Friday, May 06, 2016

Caloosahatchee River Reservoir Public Forum May 11

All are invited to attend a Riverwatch public forum to discuss the C-43 (Caloosahatchee River) West Basin Storage Reservoir being built in Hendry County by the South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The forum will be Wednesday, May 11 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm in the downtown Ft. Myers branch of Lee County Library in Community Meeting Rooms A-D, attached to the Talking Books building at 1651 Lee Street, Ft. Myers.

The forum is co-hosted by the Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association (Riverwatch) and the Southwest Florida Watershed Council.

C-43 West Reservoir is a 600 million dollar water storage project covering 15 square miles. The reservoir will capture excess wet season Caloosahatchee River flows to the estuary and then release the water back to the estuary during the dry season. This water management strategy is designed to help balance the Caloosahatchee estuary salinity and improve its ecosystem. Riverwatch and Watershed Council will discuss the reservoir and what additional features or projects can improve its contributions to solving regional water problems.

Moderating the event will be Chad Gillis, journalist for the News Press. Presenters will include Wayne Daltry speaking on the reservoir project history, John Cassani discussing water quality considerations of the project, John Capece describing water storage and delivery valuation, and Jennifer Hecker highlighting the project benefits. After the brief introductory presentations, the floor will be open to public comment, questions and discussion.

The forum is a follow-up discussion motivated by the News Press front page article on April 10 titled "Will reservoir be a dog?" by Chad Gillis. The article questioned water quality aspects of the C-43 West Reservoir Project. The story generated many responses and inquiries, including a South Florida Water Management District press release defending the reservoir project.

Leading up to the News Press article, the Riverwatch Technical Committee met on March 7 to begin the process of resolving its perspectives on the range of Caloosahatchee River water management issues, including the reservoir project. The News Press article of April 10 provides a unique opportunity for Riverwatch and Watershed Council to continue their deliberations and open these discussions on the C-43 West Reservoir to a more public audience.

1 comment:

  1. Robin Hilliard6:08 PM

    I'm thinking of moving to Ft. Myers and I have relatives there so I wanted information about their water quality. Water levels, salinity and pollution. Homes, yards and commercial developments in the Caloosahatchee area are the likely culprits of pollution. The University of Florida Water Institute put out a study in 2015 that includes the Caloosahatchee Reservior whose “primary functions….are to capture excess basin runoff and discharges from Lake Okeechobee during periods of high volume flows, and to provide an additional source of water to maintain desirable salinity in the Caloosahatchee Estuary during periods of low flow.” But the project isn't federally funded. Riverwatch and other environmental groups should get behind a push for the federal government to supplement the money Florida has already earmarked for the project.