NAPLES NEWS: A year of advancements, setbacks for environment

Naples News: Written by Editorial Board. December 23, 2017.

Southwest Florida was in the midst of a growth spurt a year ago, creating reasons for elected leaders to focus in 2017 on safeguarding our environment.

That’s why protection of natural resources was one of seven community priorities identified by the Naples Daily News editorial board a year ago. So how did the area fare?

There were notable advancements in the past year as well as some important steps taken toward longer-term preservation. Unfortunately, there also were setbacks, reminding us of the need to stay vigilant to protect the natural beauty that is Southwest Florida’s calling card.

One such alarm came via a report card on the region’s estuaries, released in June by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Analyzing state data, the report assigned letter grades to water quality (presence of nutrients and bacteria in our water bodies) and natural habitat (preservation of wetlands, mangroves and coastal area tracts). Water quality was graded as a D throughout most of Lee and Collier counties. Habitat protection rated higher, though Naples Bay and the Caloosahatchee River areas were graded D-.

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