Anyone who was living in Southwest Florida in 2018 will always remember the two massive harmful algal blooms that devastated marine animals, and hurt the local economy. The blue-green algae bloom which started in Lake Okeechobee and wound up choking the Caloosahatchee River, the canals that line it, and its estuary, met the offshore red tide bloom which was lining beaches with dead fish, dolphins, and even a whale shark.
Those blooms, while devastating, also helped raise the public’s awareness of the need for real solutions to the many water quality issues we’re facing in Florida – and helped to kickstart actual policy solutions coming from Tallahassee.
Next Saturday, January 25th Florida Gulf Coast University is hosting a water quality conference called “Cela Tega 2020: Estero Bay is in trouble: What Citizens can do to help." It will bring together experts in science, policy and civic engagement with the goal of helping residents get the knowledge, information and skills needed to be a positive influence in addressing the many water quality issues we face in Southwest Florida, and not just in Estero Bay. The daylong conference begins at 8am. It’s free and open to everyone.
We’re getting a preview with Dr. Nora Demers, Associate Professor of Biology at FGCU and organizer of the Cela Tega Conference; Jennifer Hecker, Executive Director of the Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership, who will be presenting at the conference; and retired local journalist Charlie Whitehead who will be MCing the conference.