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New Regional Water Quality Assessment Finds Pollution Trending in the Wrong Direction

Calusa Waterkeeper
Florida Department of Health in Lee County algae alert warning sign.

A new assessment published by Calusa Waterkeeper found that water quality across southwest Florida continues to decline despite efforts to mitigate pollution stemming from development and agriculture.

The report used data from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection from nine Florida counties, from Hillsborough and Pinellas to the north to Collier in the south, including inland Glades and Hendry counties, to get a sense of water pollution trends in recent years.

The assessment uses data on what’s called ‘verifiable impairment’ — meaning water bodies that are conclusively verified as being polluted — but does not include water bodies that require further testing by the Florida DEP, so its findings are considered conservative and water quality across the region could be worse than the report concluded.

We dig into the findings with Calusa Waterkeeper John Cassani, and Marisa Carrozzo, Everglades & Water Policy Manager at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.

Calusa Waterkeeper assessment cover image.png