Study Reveals Ways to Protect Water Supplies as Development Heats Up

Nearly half of Collier County’s coastline sits within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Past local decisions altering freshwater inflows, plus other ecological stressors along the reserve’s boundary, could threaten potable water stores needed by the county’s growing population.

A three-year study, led by reserve staff members in cooperation with an advisory group, recommended extra watershed planning, installing new culverts under roads, diverting flow from canals, and removing manmade berms. These steps, if taken by local and state water managers over the next several years, will bring water back to wetlands and underground reserves while recreating a more natural flow to downstream estuaries. The study was funded by a National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative grant through a partnership with the University of New Hampshire. (2017)

Partners: Rookery Bay Reserve, University of New Hampshire