Lee County Commissioners have approved an agreement with FGCU for a water quality research project at the Boma site in Glades County to test methods for removal of nitrogen from the Caloosahatchee River surface waters in order to improve water quality.
The project will be funded by a $180,000 grant from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which the Board approved on April 6.
The research, in partnership with FGCU and the South Florida Water Management District, will take place at the C-43 Water Quality Treatment and Testing Project Boma site in Glades County.
In 2007, the Lee Board of Commissioners voted to contribute $10 million toward the purchase of 1,700 acres of agricultural land – then owned and operated by the Boma family – in Glades County for the purpose of constructing a water quality project to benefit the Caloosahatchee watershed.
The South Florida Water Management District built 12 tanks, called mesocosms, containing wetland vegetation that were used to conduct a water quality assessment of nutrient removal from Caloosahatchee River water that was allowed to flow through the wetland cells.
This project will utilize some of these mesocosms to test innovative technology that could reduce nutrients in water bodies, and prevent or mitigate harmful algal blooms. Work is expected to begin in June.
The Caloosahatchee estuary has a Total Maximum Daily Load state designation for Total Nitrogen and an adopted State of Florida Basin Management Action Plan to lower this pollutant. Commissioners spend millions of dollars annually on projects to reduce pollutants in the estuary.