Waterkeeper members all have roots and respect within the Naples community.
“Wherever the human race has roamed, be it across oceans, continents, or into the depths of space, we are forever searching for the presence of water: clean water, plentiful water. In its abundance, civilizations have flourished. In its absence, life has withered.” – The Water Imperative, Audubon International
Storm Water Runoff & Natural Water Filters
The Conservancy has implemented a man made water filter for Coastland Mall that has been hugely successful. The Conservatory has already started to look for other areas locally where this could be applied. Golf courses serve as a major storm water run off polluter. Whenever it rains all the chemicals used to maintain golf course are washed into our waterways. Collier County Waterkeeper, with the support of information collected by the Conservancy, will seek out golf courses and suggest how they could install these water filters. Additionally, we will patrol and sample all 91 golf courses in Collier County to determine the top 10 where we are going to focus our attention. Our objective will be ton restoration through the installation of a natural water filters and remediation through working with the golf course to implement better practices. If circumstances arise where legal action is the best course to take the Collier County Waterkeeper will.
Rookery Bay, Keewaydin Rookery and Estuary
Keewaydin is a seven mile partially devolved island just south of Naples. It is a vast rookery and estuary for native species. This area has to be carefully monitored and can be with the help of Rookery bay. We aim to obtain a swath of land going through Keewaydin from the Donahues to stop the water, sewage, and power lines from ever going past his property line and preserving the island in as pristine state as possible.
New development in Collier County means more golf courses and more stormwater runoff pollution and more encroachment on mangrove forest up and down our Collier County.
The area at the northeast point of Rookery Bay watershed is the area most at risk. This is our last real pristine mangrove forest. The Collier County Waterkeeper wants to maintain this mangrove forest and aims to prevent our coast from emulating the southeast coast of Florida. Development is creating a major water quality threat on Rookery Bay. Henderson Creek at the in the middle of the Rookery Bay Watershed has shown an increase in population, and the further development on Keewaydin is threatening the mangrove barrier that protects Rookery Bay.
Over the last couple decades Florida has been invaded by the lionfish. Collier County Waterkeeper will sponsor a spearfishing club to help eradicate this invasive species on the natural and artificial reefs in the area and help to restore the natural habitat of our fisheries.
The water quality of the watershed is key to its health and the health of the local economy. This campaign will seek to protect and improve water quality in the watershed and coastal waters for recreation and habitat function. Key targets will be stormwater, septic systems, and wastewater treatment plants. We will act as an investigation, reporting and clean-up team, engaging point source issues identified through information compiled by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, local water management departments like Friends of Rookery Bay, Natural Resource Department at the City of Naples, and the Water Management Department at Collier County.
Additionally, we will monitor and provide water quality information to the public through the Waterkeeper’s Swim Guide website and mobile application. There are currently several beaches in Marco Island and Naples that do not have reliable water quality information consistently available. The Waterkeeper will keep the water quality ratings up to date for Naples, Marco Island and will pursue other volunteer monitoring locations.
The Waterkeeper will examine all the NPDES permits in Collier County. This could yield great results, because there are probably some problematic waste water plants.
Outreach and Education
The Waterkeeper will organize new events, as well as participate in existing and planned events, to promote awareness of the Waterkeeper organization, educate and involve the public of its campaigns and initiatives, and increase membership and support.
There will be a special emphasis on water purity, sports and entertainment events, where the Waterkeeper will be a sponsor. We will have a presence at water oriented athletic events; such as competitive sailing, paddling, canoe and swimming races, as well as music and entertainment oriented outreach and development events such as concerts and benefit parties.
We will develop a web presence through a website, Facebook and Twitter, and possible use of a devoted blog site, podcasts, a YouTube channel, and an Instagram feed. The social media presence will be used to attract attention and build membership. The Waterkeeper will be a conduit for publications and information released by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and other environmental offices by sharing on Waterkeeper social media channels. The Waterkeeper will also pursue corporate sponsorships with appropriate local and regional businesses such as Arthrex, Hertz, Naples Surf Shop, Naples Kayak Company among others.
The Waterkeeper patrol boat will also be an important vehicle for outreach and education. Having a regular presence on local waterways to pique and maintain public interest in the organization.
The Collier County Waterkeeper will support investigation, litigation and advocacy on all local water related issues and join forces with other water related NGOs and local government with common goals.
Rookery Bay extends beyond the north bay of Marco Island and includes the intercoastal waterways behind Keewaydin. This is a massive mangrove forest that is home to many endangered animals from the florida panther to the snail kite.
Gordon Pass leads to Naples bay which stems from the Gordon River. It is at the end of the Port Royal community in Naples. There are currently water, electric and sewer lines going under the pass to Keewaydin Island.
Gordon River starts deep within the mangroves juist east of Naples. It eventually flows into Naples Bay. Due to the efforts of the Conservancy, whose campus sits on the river, a natural water filter was installed to filter the water runoff from Coastland Mall. The filter transformed the Gordon River’s start back to a thriving ecosystem.
Marco Island sits as one of the last real outpost before the 10,000 islands. Off its coast is a mass breeding ground for sharks, stingrays, and dolphins.
Keewaydin Island is seven miles long located between Naples and Marco Island. It is a natural barrier protecting the intercoastal waterways know as Rookery Bay. The eastern side of the islands is mangrove forests, while its western facing side is a white sand beach. At the very southern tip, only accessible by boat, is a massive sand bar where you can camp. There was an attempt to build the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” to connect Keewaydin to Naples, but it was stopped by the efforts of the Conservancy.
10,000 Islands make up a chain of islands and mangrove inlets spanning from Monroe to Collier County. This roughly 100 mile stretch of small mangrove islands consist of mud, organic debris, and oyster bars. The Picayune Strand State Forest has built three canals within it through Goodland, Collier County, and Port of Islands, which all join together to flow south into the southern 10,000 islands and West Everglades. The mud and debris accumulated within 10,000 islands helps to prevent erosion, and the islands are anchored with mangrove roots, which can cause the islands to safely grow larger over time.
Big Cypress is a national park consisting of over 700,000 acres of protected swamp land. It is essential to the health of the neighboring Everglades and supports the rich marine estuaries along Florida's southwest coast. For years, sugar farming waste north of Lake Okeechobee has caused the over-nutrientation of the waterways with phosphorus, which promotes the growth of cattails in the low nutrient watershed. The phosphorus pollution from big sugar has the potential to change the landscape of Big Cypress by impacting the diversified plant life that thrive at different depths of the microtopography. Cattails, or typha, can grow at all depths and will completely take over Big Cypress if the flow of phosphorus isn’t diverted.