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WinkNews: Experts at NaplesNEXT say we can solve SWFL water quality crisis

Hannah Vogel, WinkNews

Two sights that became all too common in Southwest Florida were vibrant blue-green algae clogging up freshwater canals and dead fish washing up on our shores from red tide.

Experts visiting Collier County for the NaplesNEXT Ideas Festival said we can fix our water quality crisis with easy solutions.

“This cannot become the norm,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of Everglades Foundation. “It comes down to money. The beauty of it is just a few short years ago, 75 percent of voters amended the constitution to protect the environment.”

One solution involves building a reservoirs to lake Okeechobee to stop what they are calling manmade pollution.

Eikenberg said a positive is the action Gov. Ron DeSantis has already put into motion.

“You can have 1,000 anglers go to Tallahassee and tell them need to build these projects,” Eikenberg said. “But unless the bureaucrats are moving dirt and contracting these out to the companies to build it then we’re just hamsters on a wheel.”

Eikenberg sees hope for solving the water quality crisis near our homes.

“Between the new regulation schedule of Lake O and these reservoirs that need to be built, five, six, seven years from now, we hope,” Eikenberg said. “And the science tells us you’re going to see a difference.”

Susan Goldberg of National Geographic said it’s possible to solve these issues, and she said it has been done before.

“I think all or many crises get solved because we do have a public awareness and a determination on the part of public that things are going to be different and things are not going to go on as business as usual,” Goldberg said. “This was a human-made problem, means humans can solve the problem. And I do actually believe that we’ve seen that over and over again.”

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