We've suspected this all along. Through independent scientific research, corroborative evidence demonstrates that excess freshwater discharges laden with nutrients act as a catalyst for the proliferation, frequency and duration of red drift algae and red tide in our back bays and near-shore water.
Ray Judah
Lee County Commissioner
District 3
News Archive

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) is installing a coastal observatory system consisting of eight Satlantic remote water quality sensors in the estuary and Caloosahatchee River. SCCF Marine Research Laboratory scientists are deploying the sensors to monitor water quality at points within the estuary and river up to Lake Okeechobee.

The first sensors are in the test phase, and the remaining sensors are scheduled to be placed by the fall of 2007. This will be a first step in collecting geographically and temporally specific information on nutrient inputs to the Caloosahatchee that will be available to the entire community.

The sensors are part of SCCF's "Preserve the Land - Protect the Water" campaign that also funded the acquisition of 25 acres of wildlife habitat along Casa Ybel Road, capturing the last stretch of the Sanibel River. Campaign funds came from the City of Sanibel and 1,400 individual donors, most of whom are from Sanibel and Captiva. In addition, the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau is providing funding for data maintenance of the sensors as part of its beach and shoreline budget.

"Collecting real-time data is a critical step in addressing and improving the water management policies affecting Southwest Florida, said acting VCB Director Tamara Pigott, so we actively support this SCCF initiative.

Founded in 1967, SCCF is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of natural resources and wildlife habitat on and around Sanibel and Captiva.

Stories From Your Neighbors

One way to truly understand the impact that freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee are having on Lee County is to hear your neighbors’ experiences. Those who live on or near the Caloosahatchee River are really seeing the effects first-hand. Here are their stories.

Read Local Stories

Tell Us Your Story

To tell us your tale, email us at mywaterstory@leegov.com. And thanks for taking time to help us better understand the scope of what’s happening to us all.

Send Your Story

Related Links

South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force:

South Florida Water Management District:

More Links


Phosphorus [P]:
An element or nutrient required for energy production in living organisms; distributed into the environment mostly as phosphates by agricultural runoff and life cycles; frequently the limiting factor for growth of microbes and plants.

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