Published: May 12, 2010 3:28 AM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - People are fighting mad about water from Lake Okeechobee flowing toward Southwest Florida. Some say if any more of it comes this way it will ruin our economy.

Water is what Southwest Florida is known for, but people here are fighting to keep fresh water from Lake Okeechobee out of our salt water.

"This is a 911 emergency situation for us. It's going to impact our beaches, impact our livelihood."

In a public meeting, Corporal Alfred A. Pantano said because of a rainy dry season, water in the lake is much higher than it should be, so some of it needs to be released... straight into the Caloosahatchee River.

"At the end of the day, we have some really tough decisions to make and there's going to be some people who aren't going to be happy about it. There's no way around that."

But residents are still begging.

"This is not an environmental problem. It's not only an environmental problem. This is an economic problem. The economy of our region, the coastal region, is going to be damaged by what you're doing."

"This is our incubator for all of our shrimp and fish and living things."

"It messes up the fish and makes the water look nasty. It looks like ice tea instead of being real clear like it's supposed to be."

The former mayor of Sanibel said he won't give up.

"Here I am, once again, on bended knee and cap in hand saying we need some help."

The Army Corps of Engineers said the water from Lake Okeechobee is coming no matter what, but officials are still talking about how they will release it.