Our community has been devastated by the ongoing water quality issues associated with freshwater releases from Lake Okeechobee and runoff from the Caloosahatchee watershed. Since the freshwater releases began in June 2018, we have seen our coastal waters transition from aquamarine to coffee brown, we have watched blue-green algae blooms invade more than 60 miles of the Caloosahatchee River and estuary, and we have experienced the worst red tide event in more than a decade. Each of these events magnifies the ecological impacts to our estuary and coastal waters — destroying sea grass beds, oysters, and the very life that depends on these important ecosystems.
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These events also threaten to diminish our standing as a world-renowned tourism destination — directly impacting our local economy, island businesses, property values, and our quality of life.