To the editor:
The East County Water Control District just concluded a free, four-part speaker series to commemorate our 55th anniversary, to provide an overview of our services, and to celebrate the rich history of Lehigh Acres.
As chairman of the Board of Commissioners and as a speaker at the series, I would like to thank our community, sponsors and presenters for their help in making this a successful community event. ECWCD exceeded its attendance goals and has received positive feedback from guests.
The series took residents on a journey through the history of Southwest Florida, its environmental changes, and the development of Lehigh Acres from the early years to the real estate boom; as well as provided a look toward the future.
For 55 years, ECWCD has been preserving and protecting water resources through drainage, conservation, mitigation, navigation and water best management practices in 70,000 acres of land in both Lehigh Acres and the western portion of Hendry County.
The district and the Lehigh Corporation have a blended history since the same board of directors governed both for many years based on the one-acre-one-vote election rules - making the speaker series a natural fit.
The real estate boom of the mid-2000s provided tremendous growth for Lehigh Acres, while the recession has put budgeting issues in front of many of its government agencies.
ECWCD strives to continue to improve its services and protect our environmental resources through thought-out planning. Our major programs include: canal cleaning and mowing; rights-of-way maintenance and management; aquatic plant control; as well as limited parks powers at Barbara Farrell Park, Charlie Matheny Park and Jim Fleming Ecological Park. ECWCD's powers provide protection of stormwater resources through flood and drainage control; the district has no power over central water as that belongs to FGUA.
Education programs, like our speaker series, help us reach a broader audience and raise awareness on the district's services, our projects and plans, as well as Lehigh Acres' environmental needs for the future.
I would like to thank each of our speakers: Jim Hull, CEO, AIM Engineering and Surveying; Kevin Erwin, owner, Consulting Ecologist Inc.; Amy Bennett Williams, author; Matt Johnson, author; Ruth Anglickis, vice president, Landex; Fay Richmond; Lee County Commissioner Frank Mann; Bob Howard; Wayne Daltry; ECWCD Commissioner J. Nathan Stout; State Rep. Matthew Caldwell; David E. Lindsay, East County Water Control District manager; Capt. John Haberman, Lee County Sheriff's Office; John Wayne, Interim chief at the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District; and Donna Lizotte and Michael Currier, of the Florida Government Utility Authority.
As a presenter during the third session of the series, I had the opportunity to share my experiences as a resident, a former Lehigh Corporation employee and as chairman of the ECWCD's Board Commissioners and would like to thank our residents for their support on behalf of the district and all of the presenters. Weekly we saw the audience grow and become more engaged in the question and answer sessions with our presenters.
In addition to the hard work of our staff, the event was made possible, in part due, to the generous donations from local businesses like Mirror Lakes Golf Club and Building Industry Issues of Southwest Florida.
For questions regarding the district's programs, contact Carla Ulakovic at (239) 368-0044.
ECWCD Board of Commissioners