The Florida Department of Environmental Protection last week held a public meeting to provide an update of the status of the first year of implementation of restoration plans covering Hendry Creek and Imperial River, as well as the Caloosahatchee Estuary Basin.
“Just a year ago, I was in Fort Myers to celebrate the collaborative effort between the Department and local governments to improve water quality in Southwest Florida,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “I applaud the great strides of the local governments and other stakeholders that are investing in projects to restore and protect these important waterbodies.”
Restoration plans were finalized in late 2012 in conjunction with local stakeholders, to allocate pollution reduction responsibilities of each stakeholder. This plan included detailed lists of projects to be implemented over the first five years and outlines monitoring plans to track changes in water quality, measure success and inform future management decisions.
Over the first five year phase of the Caloosahatchee River Estuary plan, stakeholders are expected to reduce approximately 148,000 pounds per year of total nitrogen (TN). The first phase of the Hendry Creek and Imperial River plan should achieve urban load reductions of nearly 12,000 pounds of nitrogen. Local agricultural operations will also be implementing best practices for water use and nutrient management.
To achieve these reductions, the local governments have committed more than $18 million to invest in specific stormwater management and water control projects in Lee County, Fort Myers and Bonita Springs.
Press Release, February 13, 2014