Caloosahatchee River

The Caloosahatchee River is a river on the southwest Gulf Coast of Florida in the United States, approximately 75 mi (121 km long). It drains rural area on the northern edge of the Everglades northwest of Miami. An important link in the inland waterway system of southern Florida, the river forms a tidal estuary along most of its course and has recently become the subject of efforts to restore and preserve the Everglades.

Description

The river issues from Lake Hicpochee, in southeastern Glades County, approximately 10 mi (16 km) WNW of Clewiston. It flows WSW past La Belle, where it becomes tidal, forming an estuary along its lower 25 mi (40 km). It broadens as it nears the gulf, passing Fort Myers and Cape Coral. It enters the Gulf of Mexico 10 mi (16 km) southwest of Fort Myers in San Carlos Bay protected by Sanibel Island.

The 5 mi (8 km) Caloosahatchee Canal connecting Lake Hicpochee to Lake Okeechobee allows continuous navigation from the Caloosahatchee to the Okeechobee Waterway system. Since the late 19th century, dredging and channelization of the river, as well as the artificial connection to Lake Okeechobee and its use as a water supply for urban and agricultural uses, have substantially altered the hydrology of the river. As a result, both the magnitude and timing of water delivery to the estuary has been substantially altered. Recent programs by the state government have attempted to establish minimum flow levels in the river, in part to help restore the water supply to the Everglades. A federal wildlife refuge for manatees has been established at the mouth of the river on San Carlos Bay near Fort Myers.

External links

* [http://www.sfwmd.gov/org/wsd/mfl/calmfl/ South Florida Water Management District: Caloosahatchee River and Estuary]
* [http://www.gulfbase.org/bay/view.php?bid=caloosahatchee GulfBase.org: Caloosahatchee River]
* [http://northflorida.fws.gov/Manatee/Maps/lee-overview.htm USFWS: Caloosahatchee River-San Carlos Bay Federal Manatee Refuge]
* [http://crca.caloosahatchee.org Caloosahatchee River Citizens Association (Riverwatch)]


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