To the editor:
East County Water Control District hosted its Second Annual Wings Over Water Festival at Harns Marsh on April 5 and 6.
As chairman of the board of commissioners, I would like to thank our community, sponsors and partnering organizations for their help in making this a successful community event. We exceeded our attendance goals for this year and hope that the event continues to grow each year with the help of our community.
The district is dedicated to preserving and protecting water resources within Lehigh Acres and part of Hendry County - and has been servicing the area for 55 years. The WOW Festival was created to help the public discover the beauty of Southwest Florida's water, land and wildlife. It also helps to raise awareness about our efforts to protect these resources and ECWCD's services.
The festival was made possible by the dedication of our staff and the generosity of our sponsors: The News-Press Media Group, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, Mosaic, AIM Engineering and Surveying Inc., Brown and Brown Public Risk Insurance Agency, Brian and Sara Cottrell, Signs Fort Myers, MWI Pumps, and the Audubon Society of Southwest Florida.
Local environmental agencies, like Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and Lehigh agencies like Florida Government Utility Authority were amongst the 12 organizations that set up booths at the education station.
Groups like the Lehigh Acres Community Initiative served food to raise money for their beautification efforts of the Lehigh community, while the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce hosted a rubber duck race to raise funds for the chamber.
We hope that community members will take the time to visit Harns Marsh and we know you will be surprised.
Harns Marsh is a stormwater retention area which helps to filter water and reduce flooding to the Orange River. It is important for visitors and residents to understand the role water quality and conservation play in keeping our environment safe. The project began in the early 1980s and transformed the 598-acre former farmland into the major storage area it is today.
Over time our water quality and conservation efforts have helped make Harns Marsh a sanctuary for more than 160 species of birds and wildlife. Although this area is not a park, it is open for passive recreation such as walking, bird watching, et cetra.
Thank you to our community of their support and to all of our partners for making this a successful event. If you have any questions regarding Harns Marsh or the District, please contact Carla Ulakovic, our community project specialist, at (239) 368-0044.
ECWCD Board of Commissioners