Lee Commissioners Approve Agreement with FGCU for Water Quality and Treatment Research

Caloosahatchee River

Lee County commissioners voted to approve an agreement with Florida Gulf Coast University for a water quality research project to test methods for the removal of nitrogen from the Caloosahatchee River surface waters in order to improve water quality. The project will be funded by a $180,000 innovative technology grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which the board approved on April 6. The research, in partnership with FGCU and the South Florida Water Management District, will occur at the C-43 Water Quality Treatment and Testing Project Boma site in Glades County. In 2007, the Lee board voted to contribute $10 million toward the purchase of 1,700 acres of agricultural land, then owned and operated by the Boma family, in Glades County to construct a water quality project to benefit the Caloosahatchee watershed.

The South Florida Water Management District built 12 tanks, called mesocosms, containing wetland vegetation that were used to conduct a water quality assessment of nutrient removal from Caloosahatchee River water that was allowed to flow through the wetland cells. This project will utilize some of these mesocosms to test innovative technology that could reduce nutrients in water bodies, and prevent or mitigate harmful algal blooms. Work is expected to begin in June.

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