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East coast to the rescue

September 11, 2013
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

Hello from the east coast of Florida!

My name is Katy Lewey, I live on the Treasure Coast. I visit your beautiful area several times a year. It's one of my favorite places to visit.

I'm writing to you today to express my concerns and ask for help. We on the east coast are screaming for a state of emergency, and we want YOU to join us.

To enlighten you about our coast some, the recent news of our toxic algae bloom due to the Lake Okeechobee discharge has me so heartbroken. In the last year we have lost 51 dolphins, 111 manatee and over 300 pelicans. That number is climbing by the day. Our estuary has always been a fragile one to say the least. With the salinity being so low, there is a 100 percent mortality rate amongst our oyster beds. A project that cost us tax payers 40 million dollars.

I have personally got sick from the water without even coming in direct contact with it. People have experienced rashes that have been extremely hard to fight off without strong medication and/or tetanus shots. Many of these people will go on to face additional pain and issues as a result to this rare bacteria. Many of us believe this is a urgent call for a State of Emergency.

The east coast wants to help you guys desperately; we know your waterways are receiving the most from the discharge, 75 percent to be exact. We, the residents of the east coast, would offer this advice: many of our local commissioners, public officals and local politicians are on board and working for us. We want to see the same with your side. I was fortunate enough to do a recent spoil island restoration and many of our commissioners and public officials were out there getting their hands dirty.

I am also organizing a rally for the middle to end of October. Many of us from the east coast are bringing our knowledge and energy to your side to educate the public in a peaceful manner.

I leave on this note, as stated above: I love Fort Myers, I would love to possibly relocate there. Despite the changes in the water quality, I'm still coming to visit since your area is so beautiful. I have two small children whom have been deprived of one of the main assets why we all live here, and that's the water. I have a daughter who has a serious skin disorder and these waters could kill her given the right bacteria attacking her.

This battle has been going strong for decades. We HAVE to stop this. Please look into the Plan 6 proposal (CERP). Businesses are struggling, I have heard of MANY here and on your coast. You guys have seen too much devastation when it comes to the economical downfall. We have several that have lost everything. This is not good for a state that thrives itself on water. We need clean water.

I have formed a group on Facebook and am partnering with one of your loudest residents in hopes of having a successful rally. The public needs to know what's going on. You can search for "Save the Caloosahatchee River" group and stay up to date on the latest concerning your waters and event information.

Katy Lewey

Port St. Lucie



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