Caloosahatchee watershed regional water management issues



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Lee County BoCC

Resolution


A RESOLUTION ACCEPTING AND ENDORSING THE “CALOOSAHATCHEE WATERSHED – REGIONAL WATER MANAGEMENT ISSUES” REPORT DATED NOVEMBER 18, 2014, WHICH SETS FORTH SHORT TERM AND LONG TERM STRATEGIES PLANNING GOALS TO ADDRESS WATER STORAGE AND TREATMENT WITHIN THE KISSISSMEE, LAKE OKEECHOBEE AND CALOOSAHATCHEE WATERSHEDS; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Whereas; The coastal communities of Lee County are consistently impacted by freshwater discharges from Lake Okeechobee and the Caloosahatchee watershed which impacts the ecology of our waters, the quality of life of our citizens, area businesses, and has a lasting effect on our local economy. Discharges occur as a direct result of inadequate water storage within the Kissimmee, Lake Okeechobee, and Caloosahatchee watersheds and the ability to convey water south into Everglades National Park and Florida Bay.

Whereas; In Lee County, tourism generates more than $2.7 billion annually. Real estate tax revenue in Lee County is more than $293 million annually. A recent poll by the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau indicated that 94% of all visitors to Lee County identified our beaches as our most attractive asset. Local water quality can have a tremendous influence on consumer confidence and can greatly impact tourism and our local economy. In addition to impacts on our local economy, too much or too little freshwater delivered to the coast can effect critical estuarine resources such as seagrasses, oysters and fishes. The combined impacts on the local economy and the ecology of our waters can greatly influence the quality of life of Lee County residents.

Whereas; A comprehensive strategy is needed to address water storage and treatment within the Kissimmee, Lake Okeechobee, and Caloosahatchee watersheds. In addition, land and infrastructure are needed to convey excess water south into Everglades National Park and Florida Bay where it is needed.

Whereas; Lee County and the five municipalities of Lee County have developed a list of short-term, low-cost strategies, as well as a longer-term list of state and federal priorities to address water storage and treatment throughout the Kissimmee, Lake Okeechobee, and Caloosahatchee watersheds. The goal is to improve the quantity, quality, timing and distribution of water to the coast of Lee County and restore historic flows to the Everglades and Florida Bay.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved by Lee County Board of County Commissioners, Federal, State and Local governments, working in concert, enact new legislation which provides adequate and reliable long-term funding for municipal water infrastructure needs to help close the funding gap. This funding shall be used solely to address water infrastructure needs and must not relay on traditional sources of revenue, such as a federal tax on water or sewer charges.

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This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption.


DULY PASSED AND ENACTED by Lee County Board of County Commissioners, this 17th Day of December 2014.

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