Cape Coral officials seek to remove a key part of their water retention and flood control mechanisms

Despite being delayed by Irma, the City of Cape Coral applied to remove the Chiquita Lock. This request has been deemed an application of “Heightened Public Concern” by the state. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is expected to rule on this permit on January 15th. It is expected to be approved.

Many Cape Coral citizens likely see benefits in the lock’s removal, and agree with the city that it will be a help to navigation and safety. However, it is also thought that modifying the city’s canal and storm water mitigation in this way will be another large setback to the water quality and overall health of the Caloosahatchee River.

John Cassani, Calusa Waterkeeper, has an interesting OpEd about it in this morning’s News-Press which points out several reasons and examples why the lock’s removal may be a bad idea. Concerned citizens are encouraged to contact the City of Cape Coral or Mayor’s office to ask them to withdraw the request. There will also be a short challenge period after the permit is approved.

Despite what side of the fence (lock?) you are on philosophically, it is a municipal/environmental issue that hits pretty close to home for a large chunk Cape Coral boaters (and voters). Ultimately, this is a “trickle down” water quality issue that stands to impact all of us who enjoy boating throughout Southwest Florida.