C a l o o s a h a t c h e e R i v e r C i t i z e n s As s o c i a t i o n — R i v e r W a t c h The Flow Volume 1, Issue 1 Winter 2006 Special Events: The Caloosahatchee River: • December 7—Holiday Party, A Ye a r i n R e v i e w Message from Mary Rawl, President LaBelle (see article below) If one person can make a differ- • December 10—Friends of Billy Creek Cleanup, Ft Myers ence, then this organization can accomplish more than we can • January 8—River Roots Ruts Run, Alva imagine. • January 27-29—Lake O Bird- There is no doubt that our River ing Festival, Moore Haven is in crisis. In fact, the organiza- • January 28—Discovery Day, tion feels so strongly on this point Manatee Park, Ft Myers that we have chosen to nominate • February 26-27—Swamp the River as one of America’s Cabbage Festival, LaBelle Top Ten “Endangered Rivers” for • March TBA—Annual Members 2006. While it is not a ranking Meeting/Elections—LaBelle that we desire, it will provide na- tional attention to our plight and hopefully move decisions in a more positive direction. Canoeists enjoy the newly-restored Ft Denaud Oxbow, Hendry If there was one issue that was fairly dominant in the local media Riverwatch intends to mount a The River is important to our this past year, it was water qual- campaign in the coming year to economy and our environ- Please check for updates highlight the issues that are ment. We cannot continue to ity. A day did not go by without a and additional meetings at threatening our River. Some abuse this important resource story about blue-green algae, red crca.caloosahatchee.org you have heard about, some in Southwest Florida. tide, dead zones in the Gulf, sew- age discharges into the River, you have not. Some are of Also, online membership large magnitude, some are mi- This organization would not services available, too. pesticides found in the River, nor, but all are important. succeed if it were not for the releases from Lake Okeechobee, dedication of our officers, or other issues. The coverage of Letters from new members… We plan to put our top priorities Board of Directors, and dedi- the local media has been awe- on a list, task the appropriate cated volunteers who attend The Meeting last night im- some and we wish to thank them parties with their action items, countless meetings and work pressed and moved me very publicly for their coverage. and keep a running list of the at public outreach events. intensely. I can’t fully ex- press in words what wonder- We have much to do. Stormwa- progress that is printed for all to see. We do not want to hear At our Annual Meeting in ful feelings observing your ter utilities are lacking, educa- the phrase “We can’t do that March 2006, we will be look- association’s commitment. tional programs such as Florida because…”. We want time ing for more of you to step The area is fortunate to have Yards and Neighborhoods are forth and serve on our Board. you all. under-funded, land use changes frames and we want those We need citizens from are approved a rapid pace with- schedules kept. Our leaders at Caroline Comings, Ft Myers all levels need to be held ac- Glades, Hendry and Lee out adequate diligence, and Counties and the incorpo- shortages of professional staff on countable for their decisions Friend of Billy Creek that affect the health of our rated municipalities within our We would like to thank the all levels are apparent. River. Watershed. Riverwatch organization for all the support that we re- Holiday Party ceived in putting together the December 7, 2005 "Restore our Waters" Forum Barron House, LaBelle on November 10 on Sanibel. We look forward to working Please join us for this event for all CRCA members and with you in the future. guests. Affiliated organizations are also invited to share the Holi- day Spirit. Dinner will be served. Party starts at 6:30pm. Maureen & Michael Valiquette, Sanibel Island Please RSVP to email@example.com Caloosahatchee River Citizens As s o c i a t i o n — R i v e r W a t c h Non-Profit Permit No 64 Tel: 863-674-5727 LaBelle, FL 33975 Efax: 561-828-8458 E-mail: Riverwatch@caloosahatchee.org A nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of the River and its water- shed, through education and promotion of the responsible use and enjoyment for all people. Friends of Billy Creek Established in October 2005 as an off- tion (CPR) by the South Florida Water Man- shoot of CRCA, this committee was estab- agement District's initiative for projects in lished in response to residents of the City the Caloosahatchee Basin. Additional of Ft Myers who wanted a cleanup of this funding sources have been identifies urban Creek . Billy Creek is a tributary of through the Florida Department of Environ- the Caloosahatchee, with the mouth in mental Protection (FDEP). Downtown Ft Myers just west of Riverside Community Center. The Watershed en- For more information on the “Friends of compasses 13 square miles in both the Billy Creek” (FOB) steering committee, City and unincorporated Lee County. please contact us at the Riverwatch phone number or e-mail address. The group got off to a quick start with many meetings to attend, as the funding A Creek Cleanup is planned for Saturday, for water quality projects and state appro- December 10, 9am-12noon at the canoe priations was in full-swing. This creek was launch at Shady Oaks Park. The City of Ft prioritized as the number one project for View from a kayak on Billy Creek Myers Public Works Department is assist- Local residents are working to cleanup the urban creek and ing with the logistics the Caloosahatchee Partners for Restora- add creek side amnesties in conjunction with Shady Oaks Park in Ft Myers. Other Ongoing Projects LaBelle Nature Park—Coalition for Eco-Recreation: Riverwatch is one of the Partners in this group that meets monthly to assist the City of LaBelle (on SFWMD-leased land) with this beautiful oxbow park due east of the Capt. Hen- dry House. Workdays at the Park are ongoing and many community groups are participating to enhance this effort. View the website at www.labellenaturepark.org to see the possibilities for this park and future Nature Center. Thanks to the following groups that participated in the Oct 1 Park Cleanup: LaBelle High School, Future Business Leaders, Na- tional Honor Society, Key Club, Labelle Middle School, Future Business Leaders, Daisy Girl Scout Troop 468, Girl Scout Troop 566, Cub Scout Bear Troop 9, Boy Scout Troop 9, members of Kiwanis, Rotary, and VFW. Oxbow Restoration—Ft Denaud Oxbow Grand Opening!: In mid-November, the water flowed through a new oxbow in west Hendry County. The project funded by South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), restored the his- toric oxbow to allow restoration of flows and habitat. The project was also a field trip for Hendry and Glades County schoolchildren, developed by Project Engineer John Capece and Hendry County Media Specialist Margaret England, both of whom are CRCA Officers. The day after the project was completed, fish were jumping and birds were sighted in the oxbow, according to Margaret. “To me, kayaking to the oxbow island is just as exciting as going to a National Park”. A formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and press conference are scheduled for early December.
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