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Sanibel Mayor Speaks on Polluted Water, Asks for Support

We’ve all noticed it — the brown water that invaded the Gulf of Mexico a couple weeks ago that looked like this:

Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane spoke to Fort Myers Beach city council Monday morning about the issue.

The presentation was on his call to action and an update on what he’s working on with other agencies. He said it’s to, “build a grassroots effort with all the elected officials showing their cooperation to get their communities involved.”

The council agreed. “Instead of people talking about it when the water is dirty, I would like us to stay on the front burner even when water is clean,” Tracey Gore, Mayor of Fort Myers Beach, said.

Ruane plans on giving the same presentation at the Cape Coral and Fort Myers council meetings Monday and the Bonita Springs meeting Wednesday. His mission is to get the surrounding cities to send call to action letters to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers like he has.

“163 cities affected by this, it’s a two trillion dollar economic impact,” Ruane said. “High up Sarasota down to Monroe, and up entire east coast.”

Mayor Ruane says the goal is to have the water release from Lake O to be dispersed more evenly.

“We are trying to have a balance, we are looking for shared adversity, we believe they could more water up the lake, we could believe we could go north, east and west, and south,” Ruane said.

During public comment an activist from The South Florida Clean Water Movement spoke thanking city officials for paying attention to this issue.

“It’s a balancing act where we don’t want to scare tourism away, it’s a balancing act where we want tourism come in continuously. A thousand people moving to Florida today, that includes Fort Myers Beach, what we need to do is use education as our greatest weapon for our thousand people a day.” John Heim with The South Florida Clean Water Movement said.

RELATED: Lake Okeechobee Water Release Discolors Sanibel Island Waters

RELATED: Sanibel Mayor Responds to Lake Okeechobee Releases

Additional reporting by Allyssa Dickert