The Department of Environmental Protection conducted a public workshop to discuss restoration goals for 12 tributaries that drain into the Caloosahatchee River. These restoration goals define the amount of identified pollutants that may be present for the water bodies to be considered healthy; the restoration goals are referred to as total maximum daily loads, or TMDLs.
At the meeting, DEP presented information and engaged stakeholders about the Caloosahatchee tributaries’ nutrient loads and provided updates from the last workshop. The department also presented information concerning water-quality model simulation, calibration efforts and the overall approach.
The Caloosahatchee River was originally a shallow, meandering river, but over the past 120 years the water body has experienced extensive modifications in the interest of navigation, flood control and development. As a result, heavy rainfall can bring large influxes of storm water runoff into the basin, and releases from Lake Okeechobee also produce large influxes of freshwater. These accelerated and sizable events significantly affect water quality in the estuary.