Commodore Tom Marmen wrote a letter to Pelican Isle members who do not belong to ECA. The letter is below
Dear Fellow Members,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Pelican Isle Yacht Club (PIYC), I would like to bring something very important to your attention – particularly to our newer members. We are so fortunate to be located on the Cocohatchee River, close to Wiggins Pass. However, as our long time members are aware, clean waters and a navigable pass are not a “given” but something that requires constant attention and significant political involvement by our members. By having navigable water, we ensure our Yacht Club will continue to grow.
The only organization monitoring the health of the Cocohatchee estuary and Wiggins Pass is the Estuary Conservation Association, Inc. (ECA). The ECA is a state chartered, non-profit organization which monitors water quality, navigation through the pass and the overall health of the flora and fauna in the estuary. The ECA works closely with Collier County government including the Board of County Commissioners and the Office of Coastal Zone Management and played a key part in the five year process to redesign and enhance the Pass. Each year, the ECA sponsors a public series of educational “Gulf Forums” on a variety of water related topics. Having attended some of the forums, I can highly recommend them. Their plans for the future include enhancing the recreational use of the estuary and increasing the fish and shellfish populations by building new oyster reefs.
There’s a financial aspect to these activities as well. We’re all co-owners of the Club and many of us have slips or own condominiums within or near the estuary. If this beautiful area isn’t kept pristine and if the Wiggins Pass became un-navigable, the value of all the adjacent property will decline.
The ECA conducts its annual membership drive at this time each year and copy of their membership application is available by downloading: ECA Membership Application 2015 . For your convenience, you may drop off your completed form and check with the PIYC receptionist. Thank you for your support.
I encourage you to join the ECA and participate in and support this organization. A significant number of our Club members already belong and I would like to see that portion become 100%. To learn more about the ECA, their website is www.estuaryconservation.org.
Thank you for your consideration.
President, Estuary Conservation Association (ECA)
I am delighted to be writing about the outstanding conclusion of the effort to straighten the Wiggins Pass channel.
I am motivated to do so by the letter published April 26, by C. Louis Bassano. He reminded me that there are probably many other county residents who are unaware that the very things he recommended have already occurred.
About five years ago, the Collier County Office of Coastal Zone Management, headed by Gary McAlpin, began an effort to provide safe navigation for boats in Wiggins Pass, reduce the cost of channel maintenance and increase the flow of water throughout the Cocohatchee Estuary. They were assisted by the ECA, a nonprofit organization charged by the state with monitoring, preserving and enhancing of the Wiggins Pass estuary waters, the Pelican Isle Yacht Club and environmental groups such as the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
After much effort, representatives of these organizations plus the engineering firm of Coastal Planning & Engineering agreed on a new approach for Wiggins Pass that would straighten the channel rather than trying to maintain the existing “S” curve. This redesign required and obtained the approval of over 20 federal, state and local entities such as the Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Florida Fish and Wildlife.
The Collier County commissioners gave final approval for the $1.7 million project in February with the funding coming from the tourist tax. By mid-March, Oren Engineering of Tampa started work and was to be finished in early May.
With the straightening of the pass, it is anticipated by county staff, the Corps of Engineers and the project engineers that it will need dredging about every four years compared to the old “S” curve which needed dredging about every 18 months. The straight channel will allow for increased water flow which will keep sand from accumulating in the channel and improve water quality throughout the estuary.
Additionally, the delays that occurred in the past while dredging permits were being obtained have been eliminated. The County now has a 10 year permit which will allow any necessary dredging to be done when needed.
The success of this project reflects the best in coordination and cooperation between governmental entities, volunteer organizations and individual citizens who are all dedicated to preserving and enhancing the environment.
Red Tide algal blooms can pose serious environmental, economic & health risks.
Understanding the causes of red tide blooms is a first and important step towards preventing the effects of these events from causing harm, and possibly someday being able to prevent them altogether.
The phenomenon known locally as “Red Tide” is caused by an overgrowth of microscopic algae called dinoflagellates.
Certain types of these dinoflagellates occur normally in low amounts in local waters. However, during harmful algal blooms such as Red Tide, they grow out of control.
At these high levels, the chemicals produced by these microbes are toxic and even deadly to marine life such as fish, dolphins and manatees, and can cause health problems in humans such as eye and skin irritation and worsening of breathing conditions such as asthma.
Aerial view of red tide affected waters.
The study, conducted in Sarasota Bay, identified patterns in which whistles function as individual names.