Fast Facts

Here's a quick guide to what are some of the most important things to know when dealing with this issue.

  • Estuaries are the brackish lifeblood of the Gulf. They provide a nursery for most marine animals. When large amounts of fresh water flow from Lake Okeechobee down the Caloosahatchee River, the water compresses the estuary farther against the Gulf of Mexico. If fresh water pushes too far and too long, it can kill shellfish and seagrasses and chase game fish and crabs into the open sea.
  • Years of sediments from a variety of sources washing into Lake Okeechobee have resulted in a mud pit chock-full of algae-causing phosphorous and covering 300,000 cubic yards of the Lake's bottom.
  • At 730 square miles, Lake Okeechobee is the second largest freshwater lake in the U.S. It’s similar in size to Lee County, which is 804 square miles.
  • Lee County features nearly 600 miles of shoreline (590 to be precise), 50 miles of sandy beaches and more than 100 barrier and coastal islands.
  • In 1996, the U.S. Congress designated the estuaries from Venice to Estero Bay as an "Estuary of National Significance." There are 28 such designations in the U.S. After this designation, the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program was created.

How It All Began

To better understand Lee County's water quality issues, it helps to look at how the Lake Okeechobee flood control program began. Click below to read about it.

See How It Started

Related Links

Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association (C.R.C.A.):

South Florida Water Management District:

More Links


Caloosahatchee Watershed:
The area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake or groundwater is a watershed. They are delineated by the U.S. Geological Survey into a nationwide system and the Caloosahatchee Watershed is part of this system.

South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD):
Florida agency whose mission is to manage and protect water resources of the region by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply.

Go to the Glossary