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Calusa Waterkeeper to hold online benefit Nov. 14

Clean water advocacy organization celebrating 30 years of Estero Bay tributaries being recognized as Outstanding Florida Waters

By Staff | Nov 4, 2020

This artwork will be auctioned off as part of an online benefit Nov. 14 for the Calusa Waterkeeper

It’s been 30 years since the Estero Bay tributaries were designated as Oustanding Florida Waters. That hasn’t made the work any easier for protecting the quality of the water in the region.

The Calusa Waterkeeper, in its 25th year fighting for the protection of the Estero Bay tributaries, will hold an online benefit on Saturday, Nov. 14 to commemorate the 30th year anniversary of the Estero Bay designation.

The evening will feature special guests, a silent auction, documentary premiere, and will spotlight the stakeholders that live and work around Estero Bay. It will be broadcast on Facebook Live from 5:30 p.m. until 6:45 p.m.

The highlight of the evening will be the world premiere of Calusa Waterkeeper’s documentary, “ETERNAL VIGILANCE: Fighting to Restore the Estero Bay Tributaries.” The 25-minute film showcases the imperiled status of Estero Bay and its nine tributaries, and showcases the heroes working to preserve and restore these vital waters. The documentary was made possible by a grant from the Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Partnership (CHNEP).

“Estero Bay was Florida’s first Aquatic Preserve. The Bay and its nine tributaries are magnificent bodies of water that are now imperiled and need our help. Everything we do here in Southwest Florida is dependent on the quality of our waterways: Our economy, our tourism, our recreation, and even our physical health,” said K.C. Schulberg, producer/director of the film and executive director of Calusa Waterkeeper. “We hope those who love our Southwest Florida lifestyle will join our virtual flotilla on November 14 to explore and restore the health and recreational value of Estero Bay’s tributaries.”

Schulberg said Estero Bay, the first aquatic preserve in Florida to be established in 1966, and its tributaries need additional protections. “Their status is degrading,” he said. He cited increased stormwater runoff and their nutrients, heavy metals and leakage from sewer lines and septic tanks as some of the threats to the waters, causing dissolved oxygen and fecal indicator bacteria to be found in the water. Aging infrastructure is to blame for the leaky pipes, he said.

The Calusa Waterkeeper is concerned about harmful algae blooms and recently won a successful court case against the Army Corps of Engineers to require them to study the impacts of releases from Lake Okeechobee on such blooms. “We want to bring awareness,” Schulberg said. “We really believe in protecting our water.”

The event will be produced by M&M Multimedia and broadcast live on the Calusa Waterkeeper Facebook page: www.facebook.com/CalusaWaterkeeper. The evening will include live in-studio presentations by Schulberg and his co-host Ruth Watkins, Calusa Waterkeeper president, and guest appearances by contributing artists, Clyde Butcher, Paul Arsenault, Myra Roberts, Theodore Morris, and Anika Savage, among others.

Admission to the online benefit and documentary premiere is free, however online registration is required at www.calusawaterkeeper.org/estero.

Attendees will have the opportunity to bid on a variety of silent auction items and packages to benefit Calusa Waterkeeper and help promote its mission of drinkable, fishable, swimmable water.

“Advocating and educating for clean water is serious business, but we’ll make sure to have some fun at this virtual benefit,” said Schulberg. “The silent auction coffers are filling up with amazing contributions. We’re thrilled to have such strong community support for our waterways.”