Congressman Rooney discusses water clean up project Thursday

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On Thursday, Congressman Francis Rooney met with residents of Captiva Island to show what he’s doing to preserve the waters there.

Lake Okeechobee releases have a major influence on water quality in Southwest Florida. While Rooney says they have more money than ever before from the Herbert Hoover Dike, he adds they’re short in other areas.

“Right now when we go on the boat, it’s nice and green. I’ve seen it at visibility up to 12 feet but we come in August and typically the visibility is less than two feet,” said part-time resident Loren Louden.

The water might be a beautiful blue-green today, but it could be hiding darker, deeper concerns.

“It’s really poor in later summer when we come vacation here,” Louden said.

In late October, the water had a murky brown tint. As levels get higher, more water is released from the Herbert Hoover dike, eventually flowing along the coast.

Congressman Rooney spoke to the Sanibel-Captiva Realtors Association Thursday about cleaning the mess up. He says part of the problem is fixing the dike, but it doesn’t stop there.

“We want the dike. We want the A2 reservoir. We’d like to have the Fanjul’s swap their land if we can get them to do it,” Rooney said.

But to make projects like the Everglades restoration happen, he says they still need more funding.

“The White House won’t do any more than the army asks for, so the corps asked for $200 million and the army cut it back,” Rooney said. “They never have enough appropriations to have these funded.”

Rooney says it all comes down to big money—and uniting under the same cause.

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