Suncoast Waterkeeper’s Healthy Tributaries Program gets donation from Charlotte Dem Environmental Caucus

by Mary Lundeberg, Secretary, Charlotte County Democratic Environment Caucus

A plan to monitor water-quality on the Peace River and other area waterways is getting closer to being fulfilled. Suncoast Waterkeepers wants to monitor water quality by developing a network of trained volunteers who will gather water samples from the Alafia, Little Manatee, Braden, Myakka and Peace rivers. The monitoring program, named ‘Healthy Tributaries Program’ will need about $50,000 for the first year of operation.

Maurice LoMonaco entertains at fundraiser. Photo provide by Mary Lundeberg.

A fundraising dinner recently held by Charlotte County Democratic Environmental Caucus brought the Waterkeepers almost one-third of the way to their goal. The fundraising dinner, hosted by Cheryl Brelon’s at her home, featured Chef Dario Leo from Rossini Trattoria Gastronomica Restaurant. He provided a cooking lesson and delicious food, while Maurice LoMonaco entertained guests with his fabulous music. The event, attended by 30 people, raised $14000.


The guest speaker was Andy Mele, environmentalist with Suncoast Waterkeepers. Mele explained, “Nutrient pollution is creating a water crisis throughout the state of Florida. Millions of fish, mammals, turtles and other organisms died in the recent “apocalyptic” red tide”. Water-quality environmentalists throughout Florida, “recognize this and are committed to sustained action on controlling nutrients at their source.”

According to Mele, the Peace Riverwater quality has not been tested for many years. “This must change”, he said. Suncoast Waterkeeper plans to determine possible health and environmental threats, share this information with media, universities and elected officials, and encourage legislation to keep our tributaries healthy and clean.

The money raised this far is about a third of the cost of the first year’s budget, but is enough to move forward with the project. If you would like to volunteer for the Healthy Tributaries Program to collect samples or collate data sets, contact Andy Mele at Suncoast Waterkeeper,

To learn more about Suncoast Waterkeepers, visit

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