Southwest Florida Alliance of Chambers

The Southwest Florida Alliance of Chambers is a coalition of Southwest Florida Chambers of Commerce committed to advocating at the local, state and federal levels to improve Southwest Florida’s quality of life and to serve as a catalyst for positive change impacting business, environment and tourism.

2021 Legislative Priorities

  • We support consistent sustained funding levels for priority Everglades Restoration projects including the Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir to accomplish the objective of sending clean water south as quickly as possible; the C-43 Reservoir project and associated water quality treatment along the Caloosahatchee; and implementation of other critical storage and water quality infrastructure projects north, south, east, and west of Lake Okeechobee.

  • We support legislative actions implementing the Blue-Green Algae Task Force’s recommendations that aim to reduce nutrient pollution from all sources, in order to protect the public, businesses, and the environment from harmful algal blooms.

  • We support strengthening stormwater standards for urban landscapes (statewide stormwater rule update and ratification) and agricultural runoff, particularly for nutrient pollution from nitrogen and phosphorus that feeds harmful algal blooms.

  • We support funding for and plans to upgrade and build advanced wastewater treatment (AWT) to reduce nutrients in reuse/reclaimed irrigation water with monitoring of nutrient concentrations.

  • We support the establishment of statewide septic tank inspection and maintenance requirements.

  • We support funding for local governments to implement water quality improvement projects in their jurisdictions, such as upgrades to advanced wastewater treatment systems and other wastewater infrastructure, septic-to-sewer conversions, projects to meet Total Maximum Daily Load and Basin Management Action Plan requirements, and other meaningful actions to reduce nutrient pollution.

Local Accomplishments

COMMISSIONERS APPROVE MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR PRESERVE IN EASTERN LEE COUNTY

Lee County commissioners voted to approve a land management plan for the GS-10 Preserve in eastern Lee County that includes a water management and restoration project by the Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District. The board approved the purchase of the 624-acre GS-10 Preserve in April 2019 through the Conservation 20/20 program. The board and LAMSID entered into a memorandum of understanding to partner on the management of the land. The land management plan provides a general overview to construct a filter marsh to provide flood mitigation, total maximum daily load credits for improving surface water quality, and to provide for nature-based recreation.

LEE COMMISSIONERS VOTE TO PURSUE CONSERVATION 20/20 LAND PURCHASES

Lee County commissioners on Tuesday voted to pursue the acquisition of two parcels through the Conservation 20/20 program that are near publicly held land. The parcels are about a quarter of an acre located inside the Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve in North Fort Myers, east of Interstate 75 and south of Bayshore Road; and about 2.5 acres located within the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed, a 60,000-acre area of interconnected environmentally critical land. Both parcels were recommended unanimously by the Conservation 20/20 Land Acquisition and Stewardship Advisory Committee.

BYRON DONALDS FIRST BILL WOULD KEEP HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOM WATCHDOGS WORKING EVEN IF GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN

Making good on campaign promises, freshman Naples Congressman Byron Donalds introduced his first bill Wednesday: the Harmful Algal Bloom Essential Forecasting Act.

This bipartisan legislation would keep scientists on the lookout for potentially dangerous blooms even during government shutdowns. The bill would require the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science to continue monitoring and forecasting, the same way some government services deemed essential to public safety like air traffic control, armed forces and border security have continued throughout past shutdowns.

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REP. MAST, SOTO CALLING ON BIDEN TO FUND EVERGLADES RESTORATION IN INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE

Rep. Brian Mast (FL-18) and Darren Soto (FL-9) led members of the Florida Congressional delegation in requesting President Joe Biden and Congressional leaders include full funding for completion of the authorized Everglades Restoration projects in the upcoming infrastructure package.

“This infrastructure package is a historic opportunity to fully fund Everglades restoration and combat Florida’s ongoing public health crisis caused by the federal government discharging toxic water from Lake Okeechobee nearly every summer,” Rep. Mast said. 

Click here to read the full letter.

Participating Chambers of Commerce