Water quality is essential to our quality of life in Southwest Florida. We are dependent on our waterways to live, work, and play, yet water quality is an ongoing concern in our region. To raise both awareness and funds for water restoration efforts in Estero Bay and its tributaries, Calusa Waterkeeper will host “Saving Estero Bay,” an online benefit on Saturday, Nov. 14th at 5:30 p.m. The event will be broadcast on Facebook Live (www.facebook.com/calusawaterkeeper).
Estero Bay was Florida’s first State Aquatic Preserve, and this year marks the 30th anniversary of the designation of the Estero Bay tributaries as Outstanding Florida Waters. While this should be a reason to celebrate, it is also a reason for concern. Estero Bay is a verified impaired waterway, and all of its tributaries have segments that are impaired in various contexts. Calusa Waterkeeper is a nonprofit organization focused on improving the quality of water in our region through public policy, advocacy, community education, training of 80 citizen rangers, monitoring, and court action when necessary. The Saving Estero Bay event will directly benefit these programs, which are critical to water restoration efforts.
“Decades ago, it took grassroots activists and forward-looking pioneers to earn protected status for the estuary system,” explains John Cassani, Calusa Waterkeeper. “Today, the quality of water in Estero Bay’s tributaries is declining at an alarming rate, and our organization plays an important role in restoration efforts. November’s event will allow us to continue this crucial work so we can all keep enjoying this natural treasure.”
Admission to the online benefit and documentary premiere is free, however online registration is requested on the event webpage: www.CalusaWaterkeeper.org/estero.
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 26-minute film describes the imperiled status of Estero Bay and its nine tributaries, and showcases the heroes working to preserve and restore these vital waters. A trailer for the film can be viewed on the event webpage.
The evening will also include live in-studio presentations by Calusa Waterkeeper Executive Director K.C. Schulberg and his co-host Ruth Watkins, Calusa Waterkeeper President. Contributing artists Clyde Butcher, Paul Arsenault, Myra Roberts, Theodore Morris, Anika Savage, novelist Robert Macomber and colorful fifth-generation Fort Myers native Woody Hanson will make guest appearances. A silent auction will feature donations by these notable figures, as well as local experiences and signed books by Erin Brockovich and a limited edition photograph by naturalist Don McCumber. Bidding on silent auction items will begin at noon on Nov. 1 and can be found on the event webpage.
Production of the “ETERNAL VIGILANCE” documentary was made possible by a grant from the Coastal and Heartland National Estuary Partnership (CHNEP).
To become a Calusa Waterkeeper member or to make a tax-deductible donation to Calusa Waterkeeper’s efforts visit www.calusawaterkeeper.org.
The title sponsors for Saving Estero Bay are Naples Daily News, News-Press, NaplesNews.com, News-Press.com and LOCALiQ. Additional sponsors include Salty Crab Bar & Grill, Natural Awakenings Magazine, SWFL RESET Center, Bay Water Boat Club, Lee County Rights of Nature, M&M Multimedia, Clean Okeechobee Waters Foundation, League of Women Voters of Lee County, and Estero Island Garden Club.
Additional in-kind donors include Pure Florida, Freedom Boat Club, Estero River Outfitters, Louise Kowitch, the Sea Gypsy Inn, Tarpon Bay Seafood at Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, Apollo Yachts, Castle Golf and Yemaya the mermaid.
Private donors providing support include Edith Hunt and Gregor Zore, Linda and Nick Penniman, Howard and Nancy Cohen, Howard Simon and Beth Wilson, Bill Nicholson, Whitney Green, Sandra Schulberg, Manny Aparicio, Liz Taggert, Barbara Lilly, and Louis Eason and Sandy Frank.