Stay in the know about wildlife, water quality, and ecosystems on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and in Southwest Florida

Sanibel Island Fishing Club, SCCF, Discuss Importance of Community Data

May 13, 2024
lake okeechobee rainy season algal blooms

Image: Algae bloom on Lake Okeechobee in spring 2023

On May 7, SCCF attended a meeting of the Sanibel Island Fishing Club (SIFC), where Environmental Policy Director Matt DePaolis gave a presentation on water quality focusing on the sources of pollution and efforts to improve it at the local level and beyond.

Active on the island for over 30 years with ideals rooted in clean water and conservation, the SIFC echoed these sentiments deeply.

DePaolis spoke about SCCF’s research and advocacy for water quality in the Caloosahatchee Estuary, along with its intrinsic connection to the health and management of Lake Okeechobee. Topics also included the importance of critical restoration projects — such as mangrove plantings and oyster reef restoration — to improving the quality of our local environment.

“The meeting and following discussion highlighted the importance of drawing upon local expertise for conservation goals and using community science for data collection,” DePaolis said. “While there are robust monitoring systems in place for red tide and other harmful algal blooms, there remain opportunities for observational data to be collected by fishers, boaters, and other community scientists who are frequently in our coastal environments. These firsthand experiences are important to fill the gaps in our observational capacity.”

The SIFC and SCCF discussed future engagement to gain a greater understanding of the health of our local ecosystems through an observing network that all stakeholders could access and contribute to.

Submit Algae Sightings

SCCF wants to know when and where all types of algae sightings occur in our region to monitor conditions around the islands, as well as investigate algae bloom occurrence with patterns in seasonal weather changes and Lake Okeechobee water management practices. Submit your sightings to our algae reporting database.

If you have other observations concerning water quality and impacts to our coastal ecosystems, please email You can also submit wildlife sightings here.

SCCF Sea Turtle Hotline: 978-728-3663
CROW Wildlife Hospital: 239-472-3644 EXT. 222


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