Tonight is the broadcast airing of “Preserving Our Waters: 50 Years of the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve” on WGCU Public Media. It is the culmination of months of work by some very dedicated and passionate people to tell the story of a group of local citizens concerned by the unchecked development in the Florida. They knew that if the estuaries where not protected form the removing of mangroves and dredging and filling areas to create new waterfront property the pristine waters and fish populations would be ruined.
Bill Mellor was the president of the Lee County Conservation Association which lead the charge in protecting Estero Bay. Through several years of battles with developers, they created what would become the first aquatic preserve in Florida and created the blueprint for the Aquatic Preserve Act of 1975 and the aquatic preserves system which now encompasses 41 aquatic preserves and over 2.2 million acres of submerged lands in Florida.
Those fisherman of the LCCA knew the importance of preserving Estero Bay, but the productivity of these waters can be seen as far back as the Calusa Indians that thrived in Southwest Florida for centuries. But it is because of people who care about Estero Bay that we can enjoy these waters today.
There are many issues that threaten our waters and a lot of work needs to be done to keep Estero Bay a productive estuary. But the efforts of the past are influencing people today to make sure the watershed of Estero Bay not only survives but thrives in the future.
Watch WGCU Public Media tonight at 8pm to support “Preserving Our Waters”. To find ways you can help protect the watershed go to wgcu.org/waters.