Evolution of Our Water Quality


The 2019 – 2020 Estero Island Historic Society speaker series continues with Dr. Darren Rumbold’s presentation of, “The Evolution of South Florida’s Water Quality Issues” on Monday, February 10, 2020 at 7 p.m. at St. Raphael’s Church, 5601 Williams Drive. The presentation is free of charge, with donations welcomed.

Dr. Darren Rumbold is the Program Director of the Coastal Watershed Institute and Professor with the Vester Marine and Environmental Science Research Field Station at Florida Gulf Coast University.

This presentation will summarize significant events in south Florida’s water quality issues beginning in 1881, when a contract between Hamilton Disston and the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund resulted in a canal connecting the Caloosahatchee River to Lake Okeechobee. It will touch on farming practices by white pioneers along the shores of Lake Okeechobee starting in the early 1900s, and review when problems began to be recognized in the Caloosahatchee River Estuary; and how concern about coastal development and the dredging of finger canals led to Estero Bay’s designation as Florida’s first aquatic preserve in 1966. It will close with efforts over the past four decades to improve water quality in the Caloosahatchee River Estuary and Estero Bay.

Dr. Rumbold joined the faculty of the Coastal Watershed Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University in 2006 as an Associate Professor in the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences. He was a Lead Environmental Scientist coordinating mercury monitoring and research by the South Florida Water Management District. He is a former recipient of an Environmental Science and Engineering Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, during which he worked at U.S. EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment in Washington, D.C.