Water quality a top priority for Lee County leaders

Water quality is a top priority for local leaders coming before the Lee County Legislative Delegation. After last summer, when dead fish blanketed Southwest Florida beaches and blue-green algae blooms, it raised health concerns for the people who live here.

“You want to see that everyone is serious about this,” said Jim Ewald, a Fort Myers resident, “because they’ve been dragging their rear on this for a long time.”

Lee County asked the state delegation for help funding several projects, which aim to recreate natural systems to clean up the waterways.

“Rehabilitating our land so that we establish the historic water flows,” said Roger Desjarlais, the Lee County manager. “So in a way, it gets filtered either before it makes it’s way to the Gulf of Mexico or before it percolates through the ground into the qualifier.”

After canals turned green with algae and businesses took a significant revenue hit in Cape Coral, the city is asking for a plan to push the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection to report the progress they are making toward fixing the water crisis.

Water quality is predicted to take a front seat in March when the regular legislative session starts up and local leaders hope to get closer to a long term solution.

“As the population continues to grow,” Desjarlais said, “there’s really few things more important.”

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Michael Mora
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