The City of Naples is in the process of taking several steps to improve our water and defend against red tide and bluegreen algae blooms (Harmful Algal Blooms). A new storm water project will soon begin as it is currently in the final permitting stage. In September a plan to improve the 21 lakes in the city will be brought forth for discussion.
Many oyster beds have been placed in Naples Bay over the last few months, and more are planned in the near future. A single oyster can cleanse 50 gallons of water a day, so these are all very positive steps in protecting our environment. As mentioned in the March Life in Naples editorial high nutrient levels starting as far away as Orlando feed harmful algae blooms all the way down to our area. This is causing fish kills, loss of tourism, beach closings, and damage to local businesses that serve the tourism industry.
This includes hotels, restaurants and water industries such as tour and fishing charters. While we are
working on cleaning Naples waters the best we can hope for is a stalemate. Continually cleaning the contaminated water from the North and East will be a monumental task until there is statewide
cooperation in tackling this threat.
Remember 38% of Florida is on septic tanks, farming nutrients both new and legacy are either already in the ground or added daily. Water released from Lake O has and will continue so we need to change the Best Management Practices that we are using. They will not move us forward to where we actually need to be. We need to know what the environmental trigger is that happens before the HABs.
The watershed that goes into Lake O needs to be put on a diet and quickly and we must cut the
pollutants going into the lake NOW! This is a long and arduous process that absolutely needs to be done for our health, economy and the environment. The real issue with our water quality starts
further up the state and until that’s all brought under control, we will have to fight daily to defend our water.
Naples must be committed to collaborating with Collier County and to supporting legislation which mandates improved environmental practices state wide. We should all demand that our grandchildren should have the same quality of life that attracted all of us to Naples in the first place. Everyone must
participate if we are to achieve this goal. I am optimistic that we are well on our way.