FORT MYERS, Fla.- The city of Fort Myers could soon start testing the water in the Caloosahatchee and its not going to cost taxpayers a thing.
Its a proposed plan that will tie river safety into the re-development of the downtown river district.
The city is counting on volunteers to test the waters. But the environment and the people who use the river are the real winners. That blue green algae that has been plaguing the river will be the group's number one focus.
"We rely on all these agencies to do testing but I would like for us to do our own testing and have our own analysis of the river from the city of Fort Myers' perspective and put that into the mix with all the other agencies," councilman Mike Flanders said.
Edison Sailing Center uses the Caloosahatchee for their summer camps. Right now, because of the algae, they're not letting kids in the water. Co-founder Ross Webb says he'll look forward to a local group overseeing this part of the river.
"It'll be a very positive thing we've needed something like that for more citizen activity and not just the county but more citizens involved," Webb said.
The board will be made up of Fort Myers residents, biologists, and environmentalists who will volunteer their time to focus specifically on the river. There are similar boards in surrounding cities and in the county but this will be the first of its kind for Fort Myers.
"When you have everybody checking on different areas it will be nice to see that there are some problems in some areas and other problems in other areas," Webb continued.
The city council has already gotten offers from local experts wanting to donate their time and they're sure they'll fill the other spots too.
"We rely on the citizens and their input and the experts in the community to come forward and I think they will," Flanders explained.
The city manager is hoping to have the plan in place in three to four months and that includes the volunteers to test the waters.