Review shows reduced nitrogen in Caloosahatchee

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FORT MYERS, Fla. One factor blamed for toxic algae blooms in the Caloosahatchee River is almost halfway to being cleaned up.

The level of nitrogen in the water is down by 47 percent over the last five years, the Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday. The reduction efforts are part of the DEP’s 20-year Basin Management Action Plan.

“The harder projects are going to be implemented from here on out,” said Sara Davis, the department’s environmental manager.

With 15 years left on the plan, environmental leaders like John Cassini are worried the cleanup isn’t happening fast enough.

“We’re talking about 20 years in getting this job done. That’s a long period of time to restore this water body and there’s a lot at stake economically, ecologically a lot of things in play here,” said Cassini, director of Calusa Waterkeeper, a nonprofit clean water advocacy group.

The DEP released its findings as part of a public meeting. Another is scheduled for October, a month before the department’s full progress report is due to the state legislature.

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