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Council supports Watershed report

By Staff | Nov 19, 2014

City Council voted unanimously Monday night to fully support the Caloosahatchee Watershed White Paper report that is the fruit of the labor of a group of Southwest Florida government and scientific individuals headed up by Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane.

Ruane addressed council at the meeting to bring them up to date on the project. He said it was the group’s task to identify the issues on the west coast of Florida and to find a unified purpose and address the region’s water needs with the South Florida Water Management District, as well as state and federal legislators.

“We get too much water in the rainy season and we need water during the dry season, but the west coast has not received the proper balance of what we need,” Ruane said. “We have to come together as one collective body to get legislation and solutions to our water quality issues. This area did not become one voice in this until two years ago and now, for the first time, we have 47 agencies, cities and counties together to sign off on this White Paper and take it to the water managers to show them our case. I’m asking you tonight for your approval as a council to support this effort.”

Council hardly hesitated to extend that support with an 8-0 vote, agreeing with Ruane that local jobs and tourism and the economy are at stake.

Tourism in Lee County generates more than $2.7 billion annually. Real estate tax revenue runs more than $293 million each year.

A recent Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau poll indicated that 94 percent of all visitors to Lee County identified our beaches as the most attractive asset.