On Monday, the Southwest Florida Watershed Council announced its Board of Directors for 2010-11, led by chairman James Evans, environmental biologist for the City of Sanibel's Department of Natural Resources.
Evans has returned as chairman for the second consecutive year.
"I feel quite honored," said Evans. "People on our board are leaders in their respective fields, so their confidence means a lot to me."
Evans, who began work involved with the Caloosahatchee in 1999 as a student with the Center for Environmental and Sustainability Education, explained that he became interested in joining the Southwest Florida Watershed Council after working on policy issues as a member of Sanibel's Department of Natural Resources.
He added that having a Sanibel "voice" on the council has a tremendously positive effect.
"It means that we can carry some of (the city's) goals through a coalition of like-minded people," said Evans. "It also gives us a voice that will say how we think things should be carried out."
Other board members include Vice Chairman Greg Rawl, P.G., Hydrogeologist/Water Resources Consultant; Treasurer Sharon Arnold, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and Public Relations; and Secretary Sarah Larsen, Florida Gulf Coast University.
Board members at-large include Karen and Noel Andress, SunMark Realty; Nick Batos, The Brooks Concerned Citizens; John Cassani, Lee County Hyacinth Control District; Don Duke, Ph.D., Florida Gulf Coast University; Don Eslick, Estero Council of Community Leaders; Ed Hanlon, Ph.D., University of Florida/IFAS; Jennifer Hecker, Conservancy of Southwest Florida; Mitch Hutchcraft, King Ranch; Tamara Pigott, Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau; Pete Quasius, Audubon of Southwest Florida; and Rae Ann Wessel, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.
"In the next year, our primary focus will be restoring healthy flows from the Caloosahatchee River," said Wessel, one of the founding members of the Southwest Florida Watershed Council back in 2001. "This follows right along with one of my passions.
Wessel also noted the four current goals of the council includes the storage and treatment of river flows, adaptive protocols, permit reissuance and the impacts upon the smalltooth sawfish.
The Southwest Florida Watershed Council, a 501(c)(3) organization, is dedicated to protecting, conserving, managing and/or restoring the land and water resources of the Caloosahatchee and Big Cypress watersheds to meet the economic, natural and cultural needs for this and succeeding generations.
Evans also noted that on Friday, April 16, there will be a meeting with the South Florida Water Management District on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. The meeting, open to the public, will be held starting at 2 p.m. in Student Union Room 214.
For additional information about the Southwest Florida Watershed Council, visit www.swfwc.org.