The Caloosahatchee River is a
riveron the southwest Gulf Coastof Floridain the United States, approximately 75 mi (121 km long). It drains rural area on the northern edge of the Evergladesnorthwest of Miami. An important link in the inland waterwaysystem of southern Florida, the river forms a tidal estuaryalong most of its course and has recently become the subject of efforts to restore and preserve the Everglades.
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 estuaryalong its lower 25 mi (40 km). It broadens as it nears the gulf, passing Fort Myers and Cape Coral. It enters the Gulf of Mexico10 mi (16 km) southwest of Fort Myers in San Carlos Bay protected by Sanibel Island.
The 5 mi (8 km)
Caloosahatchee Canalconnecting Lake Hicpochee to Lake Okeechobeeallows continuous navigationfrom the Caloosahatchee to the Okeechobee Waterwaysystem. Since the late 19th century, dredgingand channelizationof the river, as well as the artificial connection to Lake Okeechobee and its use as a water supplyfor urban and agricultural uses, have substantially altered the hydrologyof 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 refugefor manatees has been established at the mouth of the river on San Carlos Bay near Fort Myers.
* [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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