Protecting Water

Read the latest on our Florida’s water quality here.

Read about the future of Florida’s economy and environment here.

Our very existence depends on water for everyday consumption, commerce, recreation and the overall economic vitality of the region. Many of our natural treasures also rely on clean water --- our beaches, native wildlife, marine life, sea grasses, mangroves and plants.

The sole source of freshwater for our region is rainfall captured mainly during the rainy season, June through September. Water collected from rainfall is naturally stored in aquifers --- natural underground reservoirs.

Rapid and unsustainable development has seriously eroded the quality and the quantity of our precious water supplies. From Lake Okeechobee out to the Gulf, making the right decisions about how to manage our water quality and resources impacts our lives on a daily basis.

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida has a long history monitoring and protecting our water, including the first landmark Naples Bay study conducted in 1979. Water quality monitoring and research are still large parts of the work we do.

Throughout the five-county region, we work with planners and decision-makers to ensure they are educated on the that stringent water management tools and best practices are in place, utilized and enforced across the region, and that they base their decisions on best-available science.

Regional Waterways

Caloosahatchee River
The Caloosahatchee River has long been a water resource for urban and agricultural use. In recent years, it was designated as a highly endangered river. Read more

Clam, Estero & Naples Bays
Our bays provide habitat for marine life. Assessing the health of habitats in bays provide indicators of effects of pollution. Read more

Estuaries & Watersheds
Estuaries are areas where rivers meet the sea. These water sanctuaries protect us from the full force of ocean waves and storms, while providing a habitat for aquatic plants and animals. Read more

Lake Okeechobee
Lake Okeechobee is the second largest freshwater lake within the United States, and the main source of freshwater flow into the Everglades. Read more

Rookery Bay
Rookery Bay is part of one of the world’s largest mangrove estuarine systems, and one of the few left undisturbed in the United States. Protecting Rookery Bay led to the birth of the Conservancy in 1964. Read more


How Wetlands Function
Wetlands play an important role in replenishing our water supplies. They function as natural water filters, absorbing and dispersing many harmful pollutants. Read more

Cocohatchee Slough
Part of the Western Everglades, this area of wet forests, wet prairies, and streams delivers life-sustaining water to the western Everglades. Along the way it filters out pollutants, feeds and shelters fish and wildlife, recharges aquifers, and protects humans from floods. Read more

This 60,000-acre watershed spans Lee and Collier Counties and its 5,000 acre marsh is a key area critical to the restoration of the Everglades. Read more

Water Issues and Research

Lakewatch Volunteer Water Quality Program
Since 2004, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida has participated in an ongoing statewide effort to establish an estuary pollution monitoring program, utilizing a network of citizens. Read more

Harper Methodology
The Conservancy believes that the Harper Methodology is an inaccurate method of measuring pollution around wetlands that may allow developers to build in environmentally sensitive areas. Read more

Mangrove Research
Red, white and black, mangroves are tropical trees that grow in a tightly knit forest along tidal estuaries and bays. They provide shelter and habitat for a variety of animals and serve as an indicator of the health of coastal waterways. Read more

Stormwater Regulation
Stormwater runoff occurs when surfaces like driveways, sidewalks and streets prevent rain from naturally soaking back into the ground. If not treated properly, runoff causes serious environmental impacts, human health problems and damages our regional waterways. Read more