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What is PURRE’s mission?

Our Mission: “PURRE is a nonprofit organization whose members and partners are committed to improving the health and productivity of the rivers and estuaries of South Florida.”

South Florida’s estuary system is in danger of being destroyed beyond the possibility of repair by man or nature if policies are not changed. Years of mismanagement, excess nutrients from polluted Lake Okeechobee and watershed runoff, and rapid growth development contribute to the deterioration of our precious marine ecosystem. These are the causes of our water-quality problems – and they have yet to be addressed.


Why is water quality such an important issue for the island?

Water, and the environment that surrounds it, is the reason most residents of Sanibel and Captiva live here.  Not only is the water a place to relax and enjoy nature, but it is a place that calms the mind and soul. Please enjoy a simpler lifestyle, away from the hustle and bustle of “mainland life."

Just as important is the value the water brings to our property. And not just on the islands but throughout beautiful Southwest Florida. Destroy the quality of the water and you will destroy the value of the property.  If we lose property values, the area will become a wasteland of old, dilapidating homes that will destroy the beautiful and unique island appearance that we all enjoy. Also, and equally important, are the tourist and fishing industries.


What makes Sanibel and Captiva unique?

The diversity of the people and the mixture of building designs together with the environmental sensitivity of the islands are what add to the uniqueness of both Sanibel and Captiva islands.  Their devotion to the environment and environmentally sensitive lands make these islands “one of a kind” destinations.  People come from all over the world to enjoy the beauty of Sanibel's and Captiva's “Forever Green ” natural areas.


The Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most visited National Parks in the country.  The polluted water has caused major destruction in the park and needs to be remedied soon or it could be damaged beyond recovery.


What needs to happen to improve the water situation?

The single most important thing that needs to happen soon is the moving of water from Lake Okeechobee SOUTH to the Everglades the way Mother Nature intended.  Once again, human intervention has brought an entire natural system to the brink of destruction.  If the US Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t modify its “Operations Manual” and listen seriously to all of the organizations and municipalities that are offering solutions to this massive problem, it will soon be too late.

The great state of Florida has been manipulated to the point of environmental and economic collapse and it is PURRE’s belief that the time has come to put the health of the environment and the people before special interests and big business. Also, control of chemicals entering our waterways with a statewide fertilizer ordinance to control pollution in the watersheds and tributaries is extremely important.


What advice do you have for visitors to the islands?

My advice would be to enjoy the beauty while you can and join to support PURRE and other environmental organizations that are working on the front line in the battle against the mismanagement of our precious waters.  We CAN make a difference - with your help. 

By joining PURRE you will receive monthly newsletters as well as frequent special notices and/or requests to not only keep you up to speed on what is happening in the water “arena," but from time to time you will be asked to write a letter to your elected officials to convince them what they need to do at the legislative level to remedy this massive problem.PURRE is a political action organization that is truly making a difference by working with state and national decision-makers.

Thank you,

Michael Valiquette, Chairman

Buisness office: 239-472-0200

People United to Restore our Rivers and Estuaries




think about this...

"We must build a peace in South Florida - a peace between the people and their place, between the natural environment and man-made settlement, between the works of man and the life of mankind itself. "
~ Florida Gov. Reubin Askew ~