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Update from chairman

September 2, 2008

As we move through the wet season, I thought I would update you as to what is happening here in our estuary.

In this report you will see pictures that were taken Saturday, August 30, in the canal behind my home on Sanibel just west of the causeway.August 30, 2008 - Sanibel Canal

What you see are large amounts of dead sea grass mixed in with nasty-looking scum foam. The sea grass is being killed by the large quantity of nutrient runoff entering the bay and estuary from the upper basin watershed; i.e. Cape Coral and North Fort Myers including the east river basin of Alva and LaBelle.

When the rain saturates the ground to the point where it can no longer hold water, the daily rains simply "run off" through the tributary and find their way to the Caloosahatchee River. Eventually that rainwater reaches San Carlos Bay and Sanibel. The concentrated pollution such as fertilizers, sewage overflows and road runoff in that water destroys the sea grass and smaller sea life, which then starts the decomposing process leading to the fermentation foam you see in the pictures.August 30, 2008 Photos Sanibel Canal

Although the dry season drought this year gave people a false sense of recovery, the water only cleared up due to the lack of water releases from Lake Okeechobee by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. This was simply due to water restrictions levied by the South Florida Water Management District.

During the drought season, PURRE continued to stress the point that our plight is far from over, and the rains will bring pollution. The result is now clearly visible, as you can see.

August 30, 2008 Photo - Sanibel Canal
We at PURRE continue to work hard on the necessary legislative changes that must be made to help clean up this storm water runoff problem. This is our number one problem as we see it.

Earlier this year a united group, which did not include PURRE, fought to defeat a statewide fertilizer ordinance because of controversial issues such as "pre-emption". (Pre-emption would allow the statewide ordinance to override county and local laws). This group did stall the passing of the bill long enough to allow the year's legislative session to end without a statewide fertilizer ordinance. We still believe a statewide bill is extremely important.  

August 30, 2008 - Sanibel Canal
While we understand that pre-emption is wrong, PURRE and its lobby team were in the back rooms working directly with State Senators Nelson and Aronberg, along with their upper-level staffs, to re-work the language of the bill to allow local improvements as municipalities saw fit.  The state bill could then have been used as a model for Florida counties and cities that would view it as baseline standard until such time that they chose to write their own stronger ordinance.

Although the legislature is still out, PURRE is continuing to work with the senators to have a well-written state fertilizer bill ready to go as soon as the session commences.
 
PURRE is working on many other fronts as well:
 
(1) We are still the leader in the efforts to "move water south". 
(2) Our "Solutions to the Pollution" white paper, drafted almost two years ago, is still the recognized summary of exactly what has to happen to solve the problems that plague our waterways.  
(3) We are relentless in pushing these concepts toward fruition.
 
Although we have cut our budget expenditures as much as possible, we still cannot operate without continued support.  Without your support, we will not be able to maintain our lobby and legal efforts nor our outstanding office management staff.
 
Please send whatever amount you can to continue to support PURRE and our most important mission: Protecting our way of life. Click here to make a donation through our secure website. Thank you.

Michael Valiquette

Michael Valiquette

Click here to make a donation online today! 

Contact:
Emilie Alfino, Communications Manager
Office: 239.274.7873
Cell: 239.357.1644

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"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 ~