Learn the History of the Caloosahatchee

Proposed canal connecting Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee

SCCF’s Policy Director, Rae Ann Wessel, is to be featured speaker at the Captiva Island Historical Society’s final program of the 2017 season. Rae Ann’s passion for the river’s current condition stems from a long time understanding of its history. Join the Captiva Island Historical Society on Wednesday, April 5th, at 5:30 pm.

The Caloosahatchee was once a meandering stream which started in a little area known as Lake Flirt just east of LaBelle. The need to get vegetables and fruit to market as well as efforts to drain the swamp, advanced the concept of an inland canal network.

Farmers, many of whom moved south when several frost events further north, caused an increase in settlement along the banks of the Caloosahatchee. Steamers plied the waters laden with citrus and vegetables shipped downstream were bound for markets out of ports at Punta Rassa and Boca Grande.

Rae Ann’s recounting of the history of food to market and changes to the river will take place at the Captiva Civic Association building on April 5. The Captiva Island Historical Society event, sponsored by Sanibel Captiva Trust Company will start with a reception on the patio at 5:30 followed by Rae Ann’s presentation at 6 pm.

Rae Ann Wessel, SCCF’s Natural Resource Policy Director, works diligently with decision makers and motivating local residents to become engaged in the political process. This is a program of a different sort for Rae Ann allowing her to express her deep understanding of the waterway’s changes and honor her mentor Charles Foster aka River Rat whose life on the river spanned nearly all of the 20th century.