Saturday, August 17, 2019

Collier Soil and Water Conservation District Meets on Marco


Supervisor Clarence Tears (right) speaks as his fellow supervisors listen in at the November meeting of the Collier Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors. Photo by Don Manley

Supervisor Clarence Tears (right) speaks as his fellow supervisors listen in at the November meeting of the Collier Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors. Photo by Don Manley

The Collier Soil and Water Conservation District’s odyssey since its Immokalee Road headquarters was severely damaged in Hurricane Irma continues, forcing the agency’s board of directors to utilize a variety of locations for its monthly meetings.

Recently, the CSWCD’s board of supervisors held its November gathering in a conference room at Marco Island City Hall. In attendance were supervisors Jim Lang and Nancy Richie of Marco and Clarence Tears, along with board chairman Dennis Vasey. They were joined by the agency’s Agricultural Mobile Irrigation Lab (MIL) supervisor-district administrator, Mark Siverling, the urban MIL supervisor, James “Nik” Nikolich, and agricultural MIL technician Paul Hayden.

Lang reported that the removal of hurricane debris in Collier has been successful for the most part, although some problem areas still exist, such as in the Golden Gate area. He expressed concern that with the summer rainy season’s end the debris “could become a tinderbox” as it dries, so it’s important that people be aware of the danger and take proper precautions.

Tears said he will send a letter to the chiefs of the county‘s fire districts and its municipal fire departments to alert them to this fact so that word can be spread to the general public.

Also in attendance was Howard Harrison, district conservationist for the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, who said he will be meeting with Collier officials to discuss debris removal, the clearing of canals and other matters.

Harrison also said that Lake Okeechobee’s water level remains extremely high, but, “There’s no place for all this water to go” because southern Florida’s rainfall total is 42 percent above normal this year “and it all came within a three-month period.”

Nikolich gave a report on the CSWCD home irrigation education program’s community outreach.

The program utilizes the Mobile Irrigation Labs to evaluate residential irrigation systems and their operation, as a free, non-regulatory service to homeowners who request it. Efficiently operating irrigation systems conserve water, save money and protect water quality.

Nikolich said the program has been used on Marco, including on city property, and that along with “xeriscaping,” landscaping that requires little or no irrigation or other maintenance, it has been effective in saving a significant amount of money.

It will be nine to 12 months before the CSWCD can return to its headquarters building. Until then, the board will continue meeting at a revolving series of locations. The next meeting will be held in December at the Golden Gate Community Center.

For more information about the Collier Soil and Water Conservation District, its programs, including the mobile irrigation education program, and the agency’s meeting schedule, visit collierswcd.org or call 239-455-4100.

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