Water Quality: Cape Coral residents want voices to be heard

Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Blue-green algae build up in a SWFL canal. Photo via WINK News.
Blue-green algae build up in a SWFL canal. Photo via WINK News.

Blue-green algae has polluted local waterways in the past, and the state’s U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said its working to make sure this stuff doesn’t come back. This water-quality issue was at its worst in Cape Coral, but the army corps is holding a listening session in Lehigh Acres instead.

People in Cape Coral want to know why their voices don’t get to be heard by the army corps of engineers Thursday.

“We’ve been up there on two occasions looking,” Mark Richey said. “We’ve been looking up north, near Tampa at a place near Mayo.”

It was only six months ago that Richey’s canal was filled with blue-green bacteria. It’s back to normal now, but the memory lingers. He said his family has been looking at moving away since the nuisance invaded his home. He, along with neighbors, are bracing for more problems, as the engineers get ready to make water releases at Lake Okeechobee Friday, which will flow into our waterways.

“There’s always a concern,” Richey said. “But we knew eventually is was going to happen.”

This time, the army corps wants to listen to people like Richey. The army corps will hold numerous sessions around South Florida, but the only meeting taking place near Cape and Fort Myers is at the Lehigh meeting.

“It’s doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, considering that Lehigh is actually landlocked,” Richey said.

The army corps told WINK News the size of the venue location was the deciding factor for the event.

However, enough locally raised concern in the past 24 hours has the army corps looking to hold a session closer to the coast.

“We have certainly heard that a meeting in Cape Coral is something we need to consider,” the army corps said in a statement.

They also said it will need to be an affordable space that is also accommodating for a large attendance.

The army corps hopes to add that extra listening session scheduled for May; however, some say that might be around the time blue-green algae arrived last year.

“Any information we can get out and learn from makes me feel better,” Richey said.

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