Key Links

Government and Regulatory Agencies
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the lead agency in state government for environmental management and stewardship. Everglades-specific information can be found at and a water resource management section at
Official website for Lee County government. This site links you to the county's programs, services and departments. You will also find links to websites of the five incorporated cities that fall within the county boundaries, other public agencies and separately elected constitutional officers. For the Lee County Division of Natural Resources, visit For specific information on Lee County's water quality, visit
Homepage of the Lower West Coast Regional Service Center, which is designed to provide a local community perspective on the development of District water resource policies and implementation of water resources management initiatives in the Lee, Collier, Hendry, Glades and Charlotte County region.
Functioning as the steering committee for Everglades restoration, the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force was established by the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1996. The Task Force consists of 14 members from four sovereign entities. There are seven federal, two tribal, and five state and local government representatives.
Home page for the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), a regional agency of the state of Florida charged with managing and protecting water resources of the region by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply.  Contains a wealth of water-related content.
Home page for the U.S Army Corps, Jacksonville District, the second largest civil works district in the nation, with an area of responsibility that encompasses the state of Florida and the Caribbean.  Find information on Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule Study. There is a separate Water Management and Meteorology Section homepage at and a Flood Control Flood Plain Management Services Section located at

Water Projects
Official site for information on this massive Everglades restoration program.

Expedited Everglades Restoration Projects (formerly Acceler8) are a major boost for Everglades restoration, which reaffirms the commitment of the federal/state/local partnership to revitalize the ecosystem by stepping up the pace on select restoration projects. Included are the C-43 West Basin (Caloosahatchee River) Storage Reservoir and the Lakes Park Restoration in Lee County.
In May 2007, the Florida Legislature passed the NEEPP, which expanded the existing Lake Okeechobee Protection Act (LOPA) to include the Caloosahatchee and the St. Lucie Rivers and Estuaries. The primary goal of the legislation is to restore and to protect the state's surface-water resources by addressing water quality, quantity, timing, and distribution of water to the natural system.

Conservation/Preservation/Environmental/ Wildlife Organizations (Local/Regional)
One of Audubon of Florida's most significant contributions to Florida conservation has been its ongoing involvement in the restoration of the Everglades ecosystem. Keep up-to-date on Audubon's Everglades restoration efforts at Audubon of Florida News. Strategies include: restoring the Kissimmee River, healing Lake Okeechobee, ensuring water quantity for the Everglades, and safeguarding Southwest Florida and the Big Cypress. The organization has publications to inform interested citizens of its conservation efforts as well as ways to get involved in those efforts, including water initiatives.
Official website for SCCF, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of natural resources and wildlife habitat on and around these barrier islands.

Water-Related Websites & Organizations (Local/Regional)
Quick facts on protecting and improving the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary.
Grassroots non-profit organization designed to improve the River from its source to its mouth, including its impacts on riparian and estuarine systems, wildlife habitat and marine life. This organization is also commonly referred to as River Watch.

The mission of the Caloosahatchee Water Management Plan is: to assure an adequate supply of water for all existing and future competing uses, to improve the functions of natural systems and to improve surface and ground water quality.
The CRCT is tasked with the integration, coordination and evaluation of the region's environmental restoration activities and making recommendations to the Southwest Florida Regional Restoration Coordination Team (RRCT).  Its principal activities include the identification and prioritization of restoration science gaps and restoration projects. The CRCT is composed of representatives from environmental agencies, academic institutions, not-for-profit environmental groups and other environmental consortia.
Official website for The National Estuary Program (NEP), which was established to develop Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plans (CCMPs) for estuaries of national significance -- of which Charlotte Harbor is one -- that are threatened by pollution, development or overuse. The program is designed to protect the natural environment from Venice to Bonita Springs to Winter Haven.
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a non-profit organization that is leading the challenge to protect and sustain Southwest Florida's natural resources.
The CREW Land & Water Trust was established in 1989 as a nonprofit organization to coordinate the land acquisition, land management, and public use of the 60,000-acre Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed.  This watershed straddles Lee and Collier Counties and provides aquifer recharge, natural flood protection, water purification, preservation of wildlife habitat and public recreation.  The CREW lands play a vital role in maintaining the future quality and quantity of Southwest Florida's water supply.
Friends of Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve is a not-for-profit advocacy and support organization committed to preserving, protecting and promoting Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve for future generations through education and community partnerships, working together with Lee County and South Florida Water Management District.
Grassroots organization to promote the protection and restoration of the Caloosahatchee, its estuary, the Southwest Florida environment and the broader South Florida ecosystem.
Official water related website from the City of Sanibel.
Grass roots advocacy effort of local residents.
The Southwest Florida Watershed Council is a grassroots, multi-county coalition of individuals, organizations, agencies and businesses that have come together to address the issues affecting the Caloosahatchee and Big Cypress watersheds. The purpose of the Watershed Council is to ensure that the interests and concerns of all stakeholders are addressed and that long-term management strategies balance the needs of this region's growth and the natural systems upon which our economy and quality of life depend.

Research Reports and Water-Related Data
The report spans two volumes comprising more than 50 individual reports. The illustrated volumes, including a 44-page executive summary, provide extensive research summaries, data analyses, financial updates and a searchable database of environmental projects. The report covers environmental information for Water Year 2009 (May 1, 2008 through April 30, 2009) and project/budgetary information for Fiscal Year 2009 (October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009).

The Everglades Reports summarize available data and findings from research and monitoring of the Everglades Protection Area and will be used by the South Florida Water Management District and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for making decisions affecting implementation of the Everglades Construction Project and related activities.
Research from Southeast Environmental Research Program (SERP) addressed regional water quality concerns that exist outside the boundaries of individual political entities and included Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay and Whitewater Bay, Ten Thousand Islands, Florida Key National Marine Sanctuary and the Southwest Florida Shelf.
This website provides general information on the State mandate for minimum flows and levels to protect estuaries. For specific information on the impacts of flows on submerged aquatic vegetation in the Caloosahatchee Estuary, visit to see an overview of the research of Peter Doering and Robert Chamberlain.
The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AMOL) mission is to conduct basic and applied research in oceanography, tropical meteorology, atmospheric and oceanic chemistry, and acoustics. AMOL is one of the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Facilities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and is located in Miami, Florida. The homepage for the Ocean Chemistry Division (OCD), one of the four scientific research divisions within the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML), can be found at Its work includes projects that are important not only in enhancing our basic understanding of the coupled atmospheric/ocean system but also in assessing the current and future effects of human activities on the coastal and oceanic environments.
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) real-time stream flow data tables.
Where water's of the nation are not meeting appropriate water quality standards after implementation of technology-based effluent limits or other pollution control programs, the Federal Clean Water Act requires that Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) be established for the pollutants of concern. This website, created as a joint effort of America's Clean Water Foundation and the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators, is designed to convey important information relating to Total Maximum Daily Loads and to enhance state and local capacity to develop and implement TMDLs and other watershed-based approaches to help solve water quality issues.

The Caloosahatchee River water quality monitoring program was established in 1979 by SFWMD and extends from Lake Okeechobee west to the coastal structure that releases fresh water to the Caloosahatchee Estuary. The water quality monitoring program provides a water quality and nutrient loading data base for:

  1. Determining loadings to the Caloosahatchee River estuary
  2. Assessing potential downstream impacts on the Caloosahatchee River Estuary
  3. Implementing Lake Okeechobee Technical Advisory Committee's (LOTAC) recommendation for a comprehensive monitoring and research plan as described in the Department of Environmental Protection "Lake Okeechobee Monitoring and Research Plan"
  4. Determining long- and short-term trends necessary to identify potential problem areas in terms of water quality degradation and nutrient loadings.  Water quality data from the Caloosahatchee River also are used to determine the effect of Lake Okeechobee discharges and tributary impacts on the Caloosahatchee River

Other Resources
Center for Watershed Protection is a non-profit corporation that provides local governments, activists and watershed organizations around the country with the technical tools for protecting some of the nation's most precious natural resources: our streams, lakes and rivers.
CCA Florida is a statewide, nonprofit marine conservation organization working in an advocacy role to protect the state's marine resources and the interests of saltwater anglers.
Everglades National Park has been designated a World Heritage Site, an International Biosphere Reserve and a Wetland of International Importance.
The Florida Division of Forestry official website that contains information about its mission to protect and manage the forest resources of Florida, insuring they are available for future generations.
Managing fish and wildlife resources for their long-term well-being and the benefit of people.
National organization focused on clean water and oceans and conservation and restoration.
Located at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands on the gulf coast of Florida, the Rookery Bay Reserve represents one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America. The mission of the Reserve is to provide a basis for informed coastal decisions through land management, restoration, research and education. The Reserve works in partnership with local communities to promote coastal stewardship.
Network designed to create energy smart communities that offers a website with links to articles and publications as well as community success stories on a variety of topics from Community Energy, to Green Development, to Sustainable Business to help strengthen your local economy, improve and protect the quality of your local environment, enhance the quality of life in your community, and build towards a more sustainable future.
The Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council is a locally formed regional planning agency serving six counties: Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota. Its mission is to protect and improve the Region's physical, economic and social environment. The agency is directed by a 34-member Council composed of local elected officials and gubernatorial appointees.
The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is a network of protected areas established for long-term research, education and stewardship. This partnership program between NOAA and the coastal states protects more than one million acres of estuarine land and water, which provides essential habitat for wildlife; offers educational opportunities for students, teachers and the public; and serves as living laboratories for scientists.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading international, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the diversity of life on earth.
EPA Website for specific information on wetlands, oceans and watersheds. Other EPA Websites include: for the national estuary program and for the top 10 watershed lessons learned.
Homepage for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which is committed to working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.  For the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Southeast Region website, visit

Practice Responsible Yard Care and Environmental Stewardship

Tips from SFWMD on how you can help save Florida's limited water supply.
Complete details of Lee County Fertilizer Ordinance No. 08-08 that took full effect in June 2009 to limit the use of fertilizer and ensure the quality of coastal waters. The site provides an overview of the ordinance, fertilizer tips, and more.
Transform your yard into a beautiful oasis; save water, time and energy; and reduce pollution.
Information from the University of Florida IFAS Extension Lee County on creating a Florida-friendly yard and a recognition program that can help you transform your yard into a beautiful oasis that will not only conserve precious water resources and reduce pollution, but also will help you save time, energy and money.

Mandatory year round landscape irrigation measures for Lee County.
A program of the Institute of Regional Conservation in which you can discover how to turn simple gardening into habitat restoration by using plants that are native to your specific area.
Tips from SFWMD on irrigation and sprinkling.

Information and links from the South Florida Water Management District water conservation program called "Water Wisely: Conservation Starts in Your Backyard."

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Fast Facts

Lee County is home to four national wildlife refuges, six state parks, portions of the Great Florida Birding Trail and a 100-mile marked paddling trail, the Great Calusa Blueway.

More Fast Facts


Action Plan:
A plan that describes what needs to be done and when it needs to be completed.

Blue-Green Algae:
A type of algae natural to our area that blooms in the climatic and nutrient conditions it finds favorable.

Go to the Glossary