Harmful Algal Blooms: The Caloosahatchee Watershed needs our help!

On August 5, 2019, Calusa Water Keeper, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the protection of the Caloosahatchee River & Estuary in Southwest Florida, launched the second part of their summer campaign to inform both the medical community and the public on the serious health risks associated with the increasingly severe Harmful Algal Blooms. This included the world premiere of the alarming but truthful documentary, “Troubled Waters” produced& directed by K.C. Schulberg and filmed by Cat Chase of Cat Chase Media. This documentary featured both world renowned scientists and medical professionals, as well as local SWFL residents who frequent the Caloosahatchee River and its surrounding areas. Some of the footage used in the film was taken by airplane as it left LaBelle airport, surveying recent harmful algal blooms along the Caloosahatchee and throughout Lake Okeechobee.

“The research is becoming clearer, and the chorus of scientists sounding the alarm is growing louder,” Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani said. “It’s our responsibility to alert the people of Southwest Florida to what’s going on in their water and the threat it poses to their health.”

The sold-out event was held at the Broadway Palm Theater, and was filled with concerned citizens, many of whom had already become Calusa Waterkeeper Rangers. The Rangers Program trains and educates volunteers, creating citizen monitors of area waterways. These volunteers then conduct surveys and report conditions along the waterways.

The evening concluded with a riveting Q&A session, with a panel of professionals, who all appeared in the film. The public was encouraged to ask questions to further investigate the links between exposure to algae and illnesses, the importance of alerting the public, and of course the causes and possible solutions to this serious issue. The main conversation was about how we all must work together to inform and keep everyone safe, limit exposure, as well as simultaneously work to resolve the issue.

“The Caloosahatchee Watershed needs our help. Water quality is the lifeblood of our area; critical to all parts of the economy, social fabric, leisure and it is the underpinning of our property values. Water quality is a vital component to our area; one that we must all work to improve,” says Calusa Waterkeeper.

If you would like to learn more about the local harmful algal blooms and how they can affect you and your family, visit Calusa Waterkeeper online at https://calusawaterkeeper.org.

(Caloosa Belle/Danika J. Hopper) K.C. Schulberg and John Cassani, of Calusa Waterkeeper take questions from the audience during the Public Health Alert & Florida Water Summit 2, at the Broadway Palm Theater, on the evening of August 5.

Danika can be reached at dhopper@newszap.com

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